Category Archives: Nicaragua Unrest

Open Letter to the Left from the Left: Nicaragua and the responsibility of the Left

This is a statement signed by hundreds of people from the left in Spain and Europe that criticizes the left that continues to support Ortega.

Open Letter to the Left from the Left

Nicaragua and the responsibility of the Left

Hundreds of people, including deputies from Podemos, IU and PSOE in Spain, Spanish and British professors and doctors, sign the pronouncement.

Published in Confidencial on Sept 7, 2018

In 1979 the Sandinista Revolution brought an end to decades of tyranny and Yankee interventionism in Nicaragua, starting a fruitful period of justice and social progress, that won the admiration and solidarity of the Left on a global scale, mobilizing thousands of internationalists in its defense and support. The FSLN (Sandinista Front for National Liberation) was the organization that led this process, and Daniel Ortega their highest representative.

For that reason there are those who from the left maintain that criticizing the FSLN and Ortega at this moment would only serve to open fissures in the face of imperialism, the revolutionary thing being to entrench oneself in a narrative appropriate of the 80s, sidestepping a condemnation of the Ortega government. Meanwhile murders, kidnappings…State terrorism are happening there.

The debate in the heart of the left should be supported on cross-checked data based on the many direct testimonies that come from Nicaragua, beginning with the protagonists of the struggles, and followed by the reports of human rights organizations. Only in this way will we avoid fulfilling the prophecy that whatever comes after Ortega will be worse, because who is going to trust in a left that refuses to denounce the barbarism, that for 10 years were not interested in Nicaragua, and in the eleventh hour is quiet and stutters in the face of the barbarism?

For this debate we the signers bring forward our position in a synthesized form:

THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT

  1. The FSLN entered into a process of decay since the loss of power in the year 1990 with the famous “piñata”, which entailed years later the spin off of the MRS- Movement for Sandinista Renovation- persecuted and finally proscribed by the Ortega-Murillo government.
  2. The recovery of power by the FSLN in the year 2006 reflected the depth of the Sandinista sentiment among the population, but their “socialist, Christian and solidarity” program entailed the abandonment of all intention of social transformation. The recovery of power was based on the alliance with the most reactionary church of Cardinal Obando, the anti-constitutional and anti-democratic pact with the corrupt right of Arnoldo Alemán, and the flirtation of the new bourgeoise of the FSLN suckled by Ortega with COSEP [the Superior Council of Private Enterprise].

2.1 This alliance of Orteguism with the church and the economic powers never deserved much interest for many analysts of the European left. Now, in contrast, when the ecclesiastical leadership is opposed to the government, some see it as a sign of the revolutionary character of Ortega. Likewise, the fact that the high Nicaraguan bourgeoise is looking for an arrangement independently from Orteguism would indicate the anticapitalist character of the program of government. That does not suppose any contradiction with the fact that the Ortega-Murillo family might be one of the richest families of the Nicaraguan economy.

2.2 The official discourse in these twelve years of despotic power continued the anti-imperialist rhetoric, at the same time that, in practice, on the one hand US companies have been able to extract the resources that they have wanted from the country, and the IMF has comfortably imposed its neoliberal policies.

2.3 In terms of the situation of women in Orteguism, the decision of the FSLN turns out to be especially serious, in its opportunistic rapprochement with the ecclesial hierarchy, to promote the abolishment in 2006 of the right to a therapeutic abortion, in effect in the country since 1837, which became prohibited even in the cases of danger to the life of the mother, where the pregnancy is the result of rape, in the face of serious deformities of the fetus, etc. Later reports from human rights organizations and organizations that defend women and children have warned of the dramatic consequences that this legislation is having on a country with a high rate of violence against women, rape and forced marriages of adolescent women.

  1. The reality is that the ideological drift of the Ortega regime toward evangelical esotericism, as well as and especially their social and economic policy, have been consistently conservative and anti-democratic, no matter how much it was eventually seasoned with paternalistic and charity programs financed with Venezuelan resources, as long as they were flowing into the country. The characterization of a regime as leftist, or progressive, cannot be sustained on its rhetoric, but on its deeds; a camarilla that violates rights and freedoms, that holds on to power, that negotiates with the resources and sovereignty of the country, that enriches itself and fills all the crevices of political, media and economic power with relatives and friends, that finances, arms and mobilizes paramilitary groups to sow terror among the population…is not a regime of the left nor is it progressive.

THE CURRENT MOMENT

  1. The popular uprising of the last three months has been led by young students, who were joined by people from popular neighborhoods, a spontaneous, self-convened and peaceful uprising, fruit of the discontent incubated over a long period, and without a political leadership nor a program for change.

4.1 This uprising was preceded by two years of peasant struggles against the transoceanic canal and other extractive projects, peasant struggles supported by urban and ecological sectors. The canal project, principal catalyzer of the opposition, is a faithful image of a policy that bets on mega-projects of a decadent capitalism, independent of any ecological, social, economic or even mercantile consideration.

4.2 In fact, the first detonator of this popular uprising were the protests, above all student led, over the inaction of the government in the face of a prolonged fire in the Indio-Maíz natural reserve. After the later explosion (let us insist on its peaceful character) over the pensions, the government has entered into a spiral of State terrorism using its police forces as well as its aligned militant groups and bands of armed and financed fringe elements.

  1. Apparently with the rebellion quelled at bullet point, after nearly 400 killed, hundreds of peoples arrested and disappeared and thousands of people wounded, in these moments the Ortega-Murillo government is using a selective and more discrete repression, but likewise arbitrary, of the dissidence: roundups, purges (by mid August according to Human Rights Watch 135 doctors had been fired), processing…The continuity of the repression is blocking the path of the national dialogue to which the government had committed itself.

THE ROLE OF THE LEFT

  1. The left of the Spanish state has not expressed, in general, a clear position in the face of the Nicaraguan situation. The political leaders are quiet while at the second level some texts and press releases are written that call the grassroots to not allow themselves to be captured by international manipulation to weaken the bastion of the Latin American left. It seems that his anti-imperialist discourse is enough to continue considering Ortega “one of ours”, a criteria that reminds one of Roosevelt in his relationship with Somoza (“he is our son of a bitch”), and that involves renouncing political principles in favor of a mafia, caste or sect complicity.

6.1 Some pro Ortega-Murillo positions have been disseminated based on reasoning that is as simple as distant it is from reality and the values of the left. Some extreme examples are: “The empire against Nicaragua” (June 10, 2018) signed by the Director of International Relations of the PCE; “On Nicaragua and feminism” (July 10, 2018), press release of the feminism area of the PCE.

6.2 At the same time, the denouncements of old Sandinista reference points are silenced or ignored, like Ernesto Cardenal, Gioconda Belli, Sergio Ramírez, Dora María Téllez, Mónica Baltodano, Henry Ruiz or Edmundo Jarquín, just to cite some examples, all of them participants in the anti Somocista struggles and insurrection, and from the first revolutionary government presided by Daniel Ortega, as well as the great majority of the representatives of culture, like Carlos Tunnermann, Alejandro Serrano Caldera, the Mejía Godoy brothers…Have all these people been bought by the CIA or have they succumbed to the imperialist logic?

6.3 Also in many cases the testimonies of the direct protagonists in the struggles are ignored or discredited. It is the case of the Nicaraguan students who have traveled across Europe tyo explain the situation in that country (Caravana Informativa de la Solidaridad Internacional para Nicaragua), certainly having the support of representatives of Nicaraguan immigrants who obviously are living those events with particular intensity and proximity. It is just to recognize in this respect the support to the Nicaraguans of some formations of the field of the left in our country, like the UGT and CCOO unions in Madrid.

  1. The Nicaraguan issue is not a political anecdote, it is a cornerstone on which to demonstrate our commitment to those values that precisely define the progressive and leftist camps, as elemental as democracy, human rights, social justice and the defense of the planet. A left that does not know how to read the reality in these terms, and that in the face of truth chooses rhetorical loyalty to some corrupt acronyms and caste complicity will not have any authority to make proposals.
  2. As is logical, the Nicaraguan right and their international allies take advantage of the popular disaffection toward the regime to prepare their return to power without Orteguista intermediaries. If a good part of the international left, and the Spanish left in particular, do not do anything in relation to the current just democratic struggles in Nicaragua and in defense of the population that is demonstrating unarmed in the face of state repression, it should not be strange that this spontaneous process might be an open field for opportunists and rightists.
  3. We should recognize and celebrate, aside from this, that not all the left has shown itself to be dogmatic and insensitive to these events. One example among many others, is the “Urgent Declaration for Nicaragua” from July 17th, signed by Latin American intellectuals and activists, from which we take this sentence: There is no worse imperialism than the internal colonialism that becomes oppressive violence dressed in anti-imperialistic rhetoric.

Madrid, September 7, 2018

Contacts:

José R. González Parada, ggp.joserra@gmail.com

Luis Suárez-Carreño, Luis_suarez_c@hotmail.com

See signers here: la carta original aquí.

 

 

 

Ortega denies the repression and blames the US and Narcos for the crisis in Nicaragua

This interview by a Spanish News Agency (EFE) has received a lot of attention in that Daniel Ortega denies all responsibility for the hundreds of deaths, claims that the only armed paramilitary groups belong to  the opposition, calls “liars” those who claim the police have fired on the population, and makes many more assertions about the uprising  that directly contradiction the recent Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Report from the  Interamerican Commission on Human Rights entitled “Gross Human Rights Violations in the Context of Social Protests in Nicaragua “ , in addition to thousands of video and photographic evidence available on youtube, twitter and facebook.For the first time he admits that the Army has been involved in the Government response to the protests, in spite of the fact that early on the Army issued a release saying they would not be involved.

Ortega denies the repression and blames the US and Narcos for the crisis in Nicaragua

EFE, Managua, Sept 4, 2018

By Fernando Gadea and Sabela Bello

The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, denies that he has suppressed the protests with repression, does not feel responsible for the deaths in the streets during the last months, and blames the United States and drug trafficking for financing, supporting and arming violent groups.

In an interview with the EFE Agency in Managua, the leader of the Sandinista Front of National Liberation (FSLN) and president of the country described the protests as a “criminal coup” that, in his opinion, form part of a plan to remove him from Government.

Different international organizations have quantified in more than 400 the number of deaths in these protests, and pro human rights organizations have been expellted from the country after denouncing the repression.

These denouncements are complemented by those of personalities like the Nicaraguan writer Serio Ramírez, the last Cervantes award winner and ex vice president of Ortega in a Sandinista Government, who spoke about “police and armed paramilitary forces with war rifles, who act jointly against an unarmed population.”

“He knows that he is putting to work his capacity as a story teller. He is a great story teller and is telling a really gruesome story about what is a tragedy that this people is experiencing. He is lying,” responded Ortega.

The president directly blames the United States for what he considers a history of interventionism in Central American, and especially Nicaraguan, politics.

“It is a matter of not respecting the Nicaraguan people, but rather implementing a policy of permanent interference to force the people in favor of that interference and their candidate,” he explained.

“It is really clear. We return to Government and the hostility from the United States comes. And the first thing that they did was remove us from the Millennium Challenge that was part of a project agreed upon with the previous Government to place funds throughout Central America,” he added.

“They punished Nicaragua, stated Ortega, because the Frente is not democratic for the United States, and immediately they began to organize armed groups.”

During more than an hour of interview, Ortega referred on several occasions to a supposed intervention to directly accuse the United States of arming the groups that are protesting against the Sandinista Government, united with groups of drug traffickers.

“There was an activity – according to him – that originated with the extreme right in Florida. It has been a permanent umbilical cord that was left there since the period of the Contra war. A relationship so close to US politicians of Florida with the Contras that it turned into a friendship.”

“It really hurt the right with a lot of political power in Congress the fact that the Front returned to Government, and a spearhead was installed that fed these armed groups and began to connect with groups involved in drug trafficking. In some actions against them activity was found connected to the cultivation of marijuana,” he stated.

Ortega roundly denies that there are Sandinista paramilitaries, and states that the only armed groups are those who are protesting against the government.

The president pointed out that “the only paramilitaries that have existed in Nicaragua are those who were formed after 2007 and have committed and continue committing a multiplicity of crimes.”

“We – he said – have waged this battle with the Police and the Army. There are people from the Army who have died in this combat and they do not exist for the right nor for the human rights organizations.”

In his story nor does he admit the denouncements from different organizations and the population against the Police for shooting at demonstrators.

“This is a big lie. I saw the demonstration on television, because they were broadcasting it. And what there was there was an attack on the part of the demonstrators against another march that was headed toward the Bolivar Avenue, an armed attack,” he added.

“The 22 Police killed these months, for example, how can the deaths of 22 policemen killed by peaceful demonstrators be explained? The hundreds of Sandinistas dead who were kidnapped in homes and murdered, those that were burned. How can we explain all of this?”, reiterated Ortega.

He also denied the denouncements of the European Union, the UN and the OAS accusing the Government of repression, arbitrary detentions and torture, for considering that they are influenced by the US.

The Nicaraguan president points out that “for them (opponents) the 22 dead police do not exist, nor the compañeros burned who were civilians, nor the burned home where a child died who Sergio (Ramírez) mentioned, distorting the reality.”

“A home where a Sandinista compañero lived who had a mattress factory and since he did not joint the strike and was in the hot zone, they went to attack him and started a fire. They burned his house and the entire family died,” related the president.

On the other hand, he assures that there are no political prisoners in Nicaragua and “those who are arrested are held for crimes that they have committed against the people, and are being submitted to the appropriate processes. No one is arrested for their ideas and for their political activism.”

About the accusation of lack of press freedome, he denies it and says that it is enough to put on the television channels, see the news and read the newspapers.

“There is so much free press that there is even a program where they interview these days hooded people who are armed paramilitaries on the right, and where they come out saying peacefully that more deaths are needed here,” pointed out Ortega, who added that “they calmly state it.”

He does not feel responsible for the deaths and explains that “here those responsible for these deaths are those who have promoted, financed and fed these acts, and behind it is the US policy from Florida that has achieved influence in the US Congress.”

In the opinion of the president, “what bothers the US right the most is the alliance that the Frente was able to construct with workers and business owners who ideologically are not Sandinistas, but that accepted the proposal of making a Government among business owners, workers and the government.”

“The threat was not against the Sandinistas, but against the business owners who have interests in the United States and who move large financial operations. They created the conditions for developing offensives like the one of April,” he reiterated.

He adds that this is combined “with weapons, because if there have been deaths it is because there have been weapons, and if there were not weapons they would not have been deaths.”

The protests against the Administration of Daniel Ortega started when a decree became known that would reform social security.

“There were protests, there were no deaths, but they invented that a student had died. I saw these protests on television and there were no weapons there, on neither side, the weapons came out the following day at night. They combined marches without weapons during the day and at night the armed groups came out to attack municipal government offices, offices of the Frente, hospitals, state institutions and to kill Sandinistas,” he added.

In his opinion, “that is where the skirmish began, the confrontations and the deaths,” that according to the Government were 195, while different human rights groups calculate the victims to be more than 400.

He also disparages the petition for elections which the European Union and European Parlament have joined, arguing that “in Europe there is a pretty conservative wave as well, where in spite of the differences with the United Setates, they tend to unite their positions around Latin America.”

For Ortega “it does not make sense” to move up the elections planned for 2021 and he thinks that “it is the most absurd thing that has been proposed,” because that “would set a very negative precedent that would lead to a situation where at any moment it would happen to a Government when the opposition did not like its measures.”

“It would be living the history of Ibero-American countries who were not stable and had to be constantly changing governments because people were going out to the street to protest and the army would come in and remove the president,” he stated.

The president accepts the fact that there has been a loss of jobs, especially in the tourism sector, where different business sectors put the job losses at 70,000 since the beginning of the crisis last April 18th.

“Indeed there has been a loss of employment, the country was paralyzed by the famous barricades for a long time and that affected employment, and that is the challenge now, to be reactivating activities, as is being done, “ the president pointed out.

He states that “national tourism and the sources of small local businesses are more quickly reactivated,” but “where there have been more problems is in the attraction of international tourism, because this situation tends to frighten off tourists.”

About his supposed family enrichment, he states that it is “totally false”, and ask that those who make this accusation “present proof.”

In reference to the position of vice president of the Government which his wife, Rosario Murillo holds, he explained that “the compañera is there in so far as she is an activist of the Frente and because of her capacity.”

Daniel Ortega´s speech on the commemoration of the Heroic Feat of Pancasán

Daniel Ortega gave this speech on August 29, 2018 for the gathering on the 51st Anniversary of the Heroic Feat of Pancasán. In the past there was no massive celebration of this anniversary. Many analysts interpreted the gathering as a response to the release that day of the report “Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the Context of Protests in Nicaragua” by the UN Human Rights Office. The report is a clear contradiction to the Government´s interpretation of the current crisis, which has characterized all the protestors as coup supporters, and claims the kidnappings and human rights abuses are being carried out by the opposition. This interpretation for the gathering is supported by the content of the speech, whose translation follows. [Capitals are maintained from the original. Spanish version of this speech can be seen at: https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:80862-conmemoracion-del-51-aniversario-de-pancasan-29-de-agosto-del-2018 ]

Brother and Sister Nicaraguans, Nicaraguan Families, of this Nicaragua that wants Work and Peace, and Justice! Work, Peace and Justice! We are receiving those 524,363 signatures[1], in other words, we are adding more, and those that are missing, those that are missing, check it out!

And we are asking for Justice, yes, Justice, Justice, while Human Rights Organizations, International as well as Local ones, most of them do not act with Justice. For them these victims do not exist. For them these tortured people do not exist. If the tortured person is a Sandinista, they do not exist, for the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, imagine that! That Commission manipulated by who?, by who?, by the Powerful, by those who have take over entire Continents, by those who have committed genocides against entire Peoples.

These are the owners of this Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, who came to Nicaragua because we invited them, they come to Nicaragua, and in their Reports, these murders, these tortured people, these disappeared people do not exist, they do not exist! The 22 murdered Police, they do not exist! For them the terrorist coup promoters are some “angels” who do not torture anyone, they did not kill anyone, and so these Brothers and Sisters, who tortured them? Who killed them? Who tortured these 22 Police? Who killed them? These Brothers and Sisters who were disappeared, who has them?[2]

Look, this is why more and more in the World no one believes in the International Organizations, because they are turned into instruments of the Powerful, of those who impose their Policy, of those who impose their Policies of Death on the Peoples of Planet Earth.

They are the same ones who turned the Peoples of entire Continents into slaves, who transported them from Africa so that they might exploit the plantations of cotton of white Colonialists there in the North, in the United States of America. They are the same ones, the same Colonialists who have invaded, and continue invading, and destroying and ravaging entire Peoples.

These Organizations of the United Nations, in this case this Organization that has to do with Human Rights, is nothing more than an instrument of the Policy of Death, of the Policy of Terror, of the Policy of Lies, of the Policy of Infamy. They are despicable, despicable! And it is good that we Nicaraguans are getting to know them better. The barricades did not exist for them, look at that! They did not say a word in their Reports, and they completely ignored the deaths caused by the murderous Coup promoters.

Murderous coup promoters who came to disrupt the Tranquility of a People; who came not only to kill, to murder State Workers, Sandinistas, to destroy Hospitals, Schools, but who also came to destroy the Economy of our Country, and to destroy Social Security, so that Social Security might disappear and the Workers would not have Social Security. That is why they pounced with so much fury, that is why they pounced with so much rage, like rabid dogs, looking for a way to destroy Nicaragua!

Thanks to God, we have been able to recover Peace, Stability, Work, still not in the way in which Work had been developing, the Economy, before these terrorist activities; but yes, Nicaraguan Families have been able to recover what is more important than the material things, which is Peace and Security, in the Home, in the Neighborhood, in the Villages, on the Beach. And this Peace, this Security, we are not going to allow it to ever be snatched from the Nicaraguan People!

If there is Peace, if there is Security, then one can work and be able to improve the Economy, and make the Economy grow, and there will be more Work every day; the person who was left unemployed can find a job, as long as there is Security and Peace. That is why they are desperate and talk about barricades every day…Their minds are stuck!

And with Security, with Peace, well, it gets reactivated, the Economic Activity is revived, Employment is revived; there is still a way to go for us to have the same amount of employment that we had before this terrorist attack. And in these conditions, of course we are going to save Social Security, we are going to save Security for the Workers!

We know that we are now here, on the other hand, we are meeting one another in the Block, in the Neighborhood, in the Community, in the Village, in the Hamlet, meeting, calling all us, beyond Political Thought, Ideology.

We Sandinistas have a profound Commitment to Peace, and therefore at the moment of dialoguing, of looking for how to once again develop the Practice of Reconciliation, we cannot nor should we exclude anyone. The doors have to always be open to talk, to converse; so that those that we are seeing as evil, we quit seeing one another as evil, and so that we think that fighting among ourselves we do damage to ourselves, and we do damage to Nicaragua; and that reconciling, as we had done since 2007 until April 18, 2018, Nicaragua grows, progresses.

This is the Path, this is the Route, and this is the most effective Dialogue that can exist; the Dialogue that People practice with People, Family with Family. If with Dialogue, the Word, after that terrible war from 1979 to 1990 we were able to come together, with as much and more reason now it is conversing, dialoguing, People to People, that we are going to assure Peace, Stability, and Progress in our Country.

Meanwhile, you have to continue fighting for Justice, for Justice because these crimes cannot be left unpunished, and on this day on which we are receiving these signatures, that we are going to send to those blind people from the Human Rights Organization of the United Nations, and we are going to share them logically with the Sister Peoples who remain in solidarity with the Nicaraguan People.

We also want to send our Message to the Nicaraguans who are in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica there are thousands of Nicaraguans, for ages they have been there; even, the deportations of Nicaraguans are normal, common, Costa Rica regularly deports Nicaraguans, for example, this year they have deported 478 Nicaraguans.

Well, this is in their Norms, their Laws, we cannot, in that sense, say no, that is the decision of each Country; we are against what is discrimination against Nicaraguans, lack of respect for Nicaraguans, after they also serve the People of Costa Rica. This we cannot accept, that we have to condemn.

And in these months of April, May, June and July many Nicaraguans left for Costa Rica, there are some thousands of Nicaraguans who left for Costa Rica, the Costa Rican authorities say that it is a controlled migration, in other words, it is not a migration that would lead them to be alarmed, but a controlled migration, we are talking about 26,000 Nicaraguans.

Yes, 26,000 Nicaraguans, now afterwards it has slowed, the flow of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica has dropped, and I am sure that these 26,000 Nicaraguans have not gone to Costa Rica because they are criminals, I am sure that the 26,000 are not criminals. Most have left because, well, when there are tensions, when there are situations like these, a lot of people get afraid and look for Relatives that they have in the neighboring Country, look up friends that they have in the neighboring Country, and go there to wait to see what happens.

And what can we say to those who feel free from sin? They can return with the Security that no one is going to arrest them…they can return! And we are going to formally propose to the Costa Rica Authorities that they send us the List of those who are asking for refuge there, asylum, whatever it be, and to be able to say to them: Look, from all this List, these are the only ones that have accusations for crimes, because they tortured, because they killed, because they destroyed, because they burned.

We are going to tell them with complete clarity, and if they want them to stay there in Costa Rica, well let them stay in Costa Rica. Because those who are identified because they committed crimes, those will have to go to a judicial process and let the Judge finally say, let the Judge decide how the law is applied.

So we are going to formalize this Proposal to the Government of Costa Rica, that they present to us the entire List, and then even the corresponding Agreement can be signed with the guarantees, that those who do not have any legal proceedings here in our Country because they have not committed crimes, can return, and no one is going to touch them, no one is going to capture them, and they can be reunited with their families again.[3]

Today we are commemorating Pancasán, in this month of August how many dates, right? …The Literacy Campaign, we commemorate one of these days the Literacy Crusade, and I saw and heard Professor Orlando Pineda, a Historic Literacy Teacher, addressing the Message to all of you.

Pancasán is a Stage in the Heroic Struggle of the Nicaraguan People, of the Sandinista Front, and we had the opportunity in those months of being in Pancasán doing coordination with the Compañeros who were in the Camps in the mountains; even coordinating the transfer of Dr. Oscar Danilo Rosales, a Doctor who taught in the University of León.

And the Guerillas needed a Doctor, the Guerillas where Carlos was leading the Guerillas; our Brother Carlos Fonseca had suffered a violent attack from those sicknesses that water causes when it is bad, and of course since he was drinking water there from the mountains, he had a fever; and there was a need for a Doctor, and it was when Oscar Danilo made the decision to join the Guerillas of Pancasán, join as a Guerilla Doctor.

And there in Pancasán was when Carlos made the comment when Compañero Francisco Moreno was with one of the Peasants from the Guerillas, took the initiative of teaching them to read. The Peasant did not know how to read, so Carlos was the one who commented when he saw him; So teach them to read, you have to teach them to read. Carlos created the slogan there: “Teach them to read”, and that slogan became a reality in the Great National Literacy Crusade. It was turned into an immense blaze.

And these Brothers who gave their Lives in the mountains, in the Zone of Pancasán, they gave their Lives for Work and for Peace for Nicaraguans, for Work, for Peace and Justice for Nicaraguans, and among them our Brother Silvio Mayorga, who was one of the Founders of the Sandinista Front; our Brother Rigoberto Cruz, Rigoberto´s psuedonym was “ Pablo Úbeda”; Rigoberto, from La Libertad, Chontales, we are from the same Town, from La Libertad, Chontales; Rigoberto Cruz, also from the Historical Leadership of the Frente, Rigoberto, one of the Founders.

Francisco Moreno, the young man I mentioned to you, was a Secondary Student; Otto Casco, Fausto García, Oscar Danilo Rosales; Nicolás Sánchez, such a skillful and fierce Peasant that they called him “The Tiger of Cerro Colorado”, a mountain of the Zone of Pancasán; Carlos Reina, Ernesto Fernández, Carlos Tinoco.

And Peasant Leaders were killed and tortured, like Eufresino Dávila,  Leocadio Picado, Moisés Picado, Felipe Gaitán, Fermín Díaz and his five children, and Oscar Armando Flores who was tortured and then killed. More than one of them had to have known here the Women, Amada as well as Benigna, because Amada and Benigna, Benigna was the partner of Bernardino Díaz Ochoa, that Peasant Hero who was tortured and murdered.

And don´t believe that the children, the people that have relatives that were Killed, murdered, from those Times, passing through the period of the war imposed by the United States, up to these times, well, how many children are they? How many relatives? A ton, a ton. And how many children do you have? Even babies murdered. It is not one, it is not two, it is not three, they are dozens! Because in the mountains they obliterated whole Families, thinking that with that they were going to kill the Sandinista Front of National Liberation. Like the coup promoters, like the terrorists who were thinking that sowing terror and death they were going to kill the Sandinista Front.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, dear Nicaraguan Families, our Message continues being, it is true, the search for Justice for all, for all, and for all of Nicaragua, Peace and Work. So that there can be Work there has to be Peace. So that there can be Work there has to be Security. For there to be Education, that the children can go to School without their Parents concerned about what can happen to them, there has to be Security, Work and Peace, Peace and Work. To continue fighting for Work, Peace, Security, all of us together, Brother and Sister Nicaraguans, reconciling ourselves as God orders, reconciling ourselves to one another as Christ orders.

Sandino Lives, the Struggle Continues!

Free Fatherland or Death!

And that long live Nicaragua, Blessed and Always Free!

 

[1] Refers to ongoing effort by government to send its supporters around to the neighborhoods to get them to sign a petition asking the government to try the “terrorists” it claims are responsible for the human rights abuses. Some people claim it is a way for the government to identify at the neighborhood level who is supporting them and who is not, which makes people nervous as the situation gets increasingly polarized.

[2] Cf Section III, 3 “Abuses by Anti-Government Protestors” of the above report.

[3] Cf Sections III, 1. G.”Violation of Due Process Rights”, and Section IV “Investigations and Judicial Response” of cited report.

The Land Takeovers Put Many into Checkmate, and They are Trying to Convince Pellas to Negotiate with Ortega

This article appeared on the nicaraguainvestiga.com website. The context is that the business sector for 11 years had been in an alliance with the Ortega government that provided them with tax breaks, macroeconomic stability and favorable business climate; in return the business sector refrained from criticizing the government. After the 40 some  deaths -mostly students – in the first few days after April 19, the students pressured the business sector to take a stand, and COSEP called for a  march in support of the students on April 23rd. That marked the break in an alliance which Ortega in his speeches repeatedly refers to as part of his strategy for poverty reduction. Since then thousands of acres of private land have been taken over by masked armed groups, often with FSLN flags or other markings, where settlers have set up makeshift housing. It is widely recognized as pressure from the government on the business sector.  Carlos Pellas is considered the wealthiest person in Nicaragua, and his hospital attended many of those wounded in the uprising, as hundreds of victims said they were refused treatment by the public hospitals. Some public hospital personnel also reported being pressured to change hospital records to reduce the number  wounded or killed by gunfire in the public record. That did not happen in Pellas´ hospital. 

The Land Takeovers Put Many into Checkmate, and They are Trying to Convince Pellas to Negotiate with Ortega

August 27, 2018 in nicaraguainvestiga.com

According to the latest information from the National Union of Producers and Farmers of Nicaragua UPANIC, the land takeovers at the hands of Ortegista envoys is over 8,742 manzanas [14,861 acres], which is equal to some US$16.4 million in economic losses. Added to the fall in commerce and tourism, this has business owners overwhelmed, many of whom, according to what sources close to them are reporting to us, are pressuring the leadership of COSEP [The Superior Council of Private Enterprise] to negotiate with the government.

The business owners met recently with Bayardo Arce, Economic Advisor to Ortega, who sent him as his emissary recommending that everyone should work along the same lines as they had worked for 11 years, before the social and political crisis. “All of us said that if all of us said yes, we were going [to do so], because we had not started this, but Carlos Pellas refused”, a source that asked to remain anonymous revealed to us.

According to our source the businessman Carlos Pellas said, “The problem here is what do we do with the 400 deaths, which you cannot tell me did not happen, I know, because I had to take care of them in the Hospital, the people are going to make us all pay for that.” He assured me that was what the decisive multimillionaire Nicaraguan said.

With this powerful response the business people began a debate that only revealed the enormous fissures that are opening among the business sector of the country, whose majority are convinced that Ortega twisted their arm with the land takeovers and with the fiscal persecution to get them to accept again the “previous way of working.”

THEY ARE GOING TO THE UNITED STATES THIS WEEK

The serious differences among the business owners who are debating between conserving the benefits that the Government is offering them, under the risk of being massively savaged by the people who demand justice; or openly and ferociously declaring war on Ortega, was not able to be settled, which is why this week several of them will travel to the United States to hold talks in a safe, peaceful environment without pressure, and it seems also far from the national press, according to what a another source connected to the local business sector revealed to us.

“All of the leadership of millionaires of this country are going to meet in Miami, is it a meeting only of them. The only one that I see as the strongest is Carlos Pellas, the rest would already be with him, but if not everyone goes along, none are going, that is what has been agreed”, our source said emphatically.

Speech of Daniel Ortega on the 40th Anniversary of the Taking of the National Palace, August 23, 2018

This speech was given on the 40th anniversary of the taking of the National Palace . On Aug 22, 1978 the Rigoberto López Pérez Command of the Sandinista Front took Somoza´s Congress hostage and demanded the release of political prisoners and money.  At the beginning of his speech Ortega names those involved, and for those familiar with the event, makes a glaring omission by not mentioning the names of two other top Sandinistas of the time who led the event, Hugo Torres and Dora María Tellez. Both have left the party and today accuse Ortega of mounting a family dictatorship. Tellez is currently in hiding due to death threats.

It is an important speech because it shows Daniel Ortega´s view of events in the country, his attitude toward and his description of the protestors. It is enlightening to compare his description of the situation with the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights  report, which assigns the great majority of the violence and abuse to State actors.  (Capital letters as found in the original text of the speech)

Speech of Daniel Ortega on the 40th Anniversary of the Taking of the National Palace, August 23, 2018

Brother and Sister Nicaraguans, Nicaraguan Families, and in the Nicaraguan Family, in the Center of the Family, the Soul of the Family, the Future of the Family and of the Nation, the Children; there it is, in the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. And for those generations that are growing, we have to give them all our effort, all our time we have to give them, so that these children and young people can grow, can develop in a Nicaragua in Peace, in Peace. This is the line, Eden [Pastora], you know, Peace! I was listening to you, yes I was listening to Eden when he was talking to you…in Peace! In Peace! That is the line: Peace!

And now with Eden, the Chief of the Rigoberto López Pérez Command, today in the 40th anniversary of that historic feat, here are some of the brothers, of completely popular origins, who have remained firm, loyal, the Compañero from the Rigoberto López Pérez Command, José Hermógenes Hernández, alias “La Tunga”; the Brother José Santiago Pupiro Nicaragua; the Brother Porfirio Jalina Sánchez; the Brother Billy Ramírez López; the Brother Israel Ramírez Guevara; the Brother Miguel Rutilio Miranda; the Brother Emilio Mena Alba; the Brother Donald Pantoja Herrera; the Brother Juan Lorenzo Hernández; the Brother Eddy Olivares Hernández, and the Comandante Edén Pastora Gómez. Part of the Comando; other Brothers have now passed away, died in different circumstances

The month of August is a Month of Heroic Dates, and it is that all the months of the year have Heroic Dates. In the first days of August our Brother Selim Shible fell in combat.

In August was the Heroic Campaign of Pancasán, now the 26th and 27th of August we commemorate that Heroic Feat, where Sandinista Compañeros, Sandinista Guerrillas gave their Lives in the Struggle for Peace. That is the objective, the reasons for being of the Revolutionary, of the Sandinista: the Fight for Peace!

In August was that great Achievement, after the Triumph of the Revolution in July of 79 came that great Achievement, that great Battle against Illiteracy, the Great National Literacy Cruzade was the great Battle.

And how many other Dates, Heroic ones, in August. There is no day in August where we would not have a Heroic Date. And in these days of August the People are celebrating the recovery of Freedom, because this People was held hostage, all of Nicaragua was held hostage, and Nicaraguan Families were filled with pain. Hard Days, terrible days, days of terror! Whole communities, entire Towns, entire Neighborhoods, subjugated to the terror of those who because of their selfishness promoted the disappearances…Here we have a Child with the photo of Bismarck de Jesus Martinez Sanchez. They kidnapped him, and they have disappeared him.

I was telling you, all this horror, all this horror that was as terrible as an earthquake, but more terrible still, because it was not Nature causing damages, causing death, causing destruction, causing fires, but they were other Nicaraguans whose Souls they poisoned, who they filled with hate and sent them to kill their Brothers and Sisters, so that we might kill one another Brothers and Sisters against Brothers and Sisters.

Until April 18th this was a Country in Peace, a Country in Economic Growth, a Country with extraordinary Social Programs that were getting the more impoverished Families out of Poverty, and getting the people in extreme Poverty out of extreme Poverty and moving to the scale of Poverty. Because we already know that the person who is in extreme Poverty is in the hardest situation that a Human Being can be in, that a Family can be in.

We were making progress in this Struggle, and in the midst of natural contradictions and in the midst of profound political and ideological differences, we were able to create a great Alliance between Workers, Business owners and the Government, together, with one objective: Erradicate Hunger, erradicate extreme Poverty, erradicate Poverty in our Country; and inviting investors also, from other Nations, from other Countries, to invest behind this objective.

A Country with extraordinary Security; a Country that was growing in the attraction of Tourism, not just National but also International Tourism; a Country highly rated by the International Organizations and by the International Community, but of course, there were always there those who carried hate and poison, disparaging the Country.

Since we came to Government once again in 2007, those who want to destroy Nicaragua began to launch hate, poison, destruction against the People, against the Poor, against Families, because in the final account, when sanctions are applied on Nicaragua of an economic order, the one who suffers is the People. And since then they began to ask for sanctions against Nicaragua.

Traitors, yes! Sandino used to call them “Traitors” and he would call them “patsies.” These traitors are always there, if even Christ had a Judas, let´s not even talk about us! The Judases and the traitors going on their knees to the United States, to Washington, to beg them, to ask the Empire to punish Nicaragua, thinking that with that this People is going to give up, or that this People is going to sell out. They have paraded there, they continue parading the traitors, the “sell outs”, they continue doing it, and they are sowers of destruction.

As I was telling you, until the 18th the Country, think of it, 11 years in Peace, in Stability…! And they could not resist! They knew that it was necessary, as it is necessary, it is indispensable to make Reforms in Social Security. Because they had made it go broke, they gave us a Social Security that was broke in 2007 and these Reforms had to be done.

And when the Security approved the Reforms, instead of holding a peaceful protest, that they are perfectly have every right to do so, what they did was a criminal uprising, armed, against the People, against the State Institutions, and then, launching themselves now directly and personally against everything that was Sandinista, beginning with the Slogan, just as the Nazis used to say: The Jews have to be done away with, here these nazis were saying: the Sandinista have to be done away with; destroying Health Posts, Centers of Attention to Children, Centers of Attention to Women, Hospitals, Schools, Universities; the Technical Centers where the children of harworking Families are trained, from poor Families, from Hard working Families, destroying them and turning them into torture centers.

All that hate that was hidden came out there. They took it out with their words, it is true, they took it out with their insults before that day, but afterwards the hate released turned into bloodshed, destruction, torture, disappearances. And they wanted to take apart the economy!

How they were bothered in those moments, because they wanted you to be closed up there in your homes, shaking, and hunting you down, looking for a way to kill you. Still in those days, in some of those Marches that they call “Peaceful”, they have murdered Brother Sandinistas. They killed the son of Bernardino Diaz Ochoa who in turn was killed by the criminal Guardia that the yankees imposed on us here with Somoza, the Compañero Lenin; and his mother is Benigna Mendiola, a Peasant Heroine.

She and Bernardino were Peasant Leaders from there the Villages of Matagalpa, from inside the country, from Yukul, from those places, from La Tronca, from all those places. Peasant Leaders who joined the Struggle of the Sandinista Front. Then they captured, tortured Bernardino, and they killed him; they also captured Benigna.

And then, throughout this painful History, this painful calvary that Nicaragua has gone through, Benigna, now the widow of Bernardino, had other children that fell fighting against the tyrany, other children who fell and Relatives who fell during the yankee aggression in the period from 1980 to 1990. We were talking with Benigna one of thes days, and with two of her sons, and there are 13 relatives that have been murdered; the last, Lenin, who they killed there in Matagalpa in a “Peaceful” March. Look closely at that.

I was telling you that, all that hate is still here, that poison, it still does not get out of the people who are bothered when they see that the Towns, the Municipalities, the Cities are recovering normalcy; they are bothered when they see the woman that is there selling roquillas [type of corn cookie or cracker], the woman griling food on street, the woman that has the storefront, those that have their small business, that have their business open.

They would like the businesses closed, and broke, this is what they want! They want to see Nicaragua destroyed, they think that in this way they are going to take Power, and they do not realize that the People in these days of terror have discovered how much evil, how much poison, how much terror Human Beings can cause against their Brothers and Sisters.

That is why that, beyond the provocacions, beyond the crimes that they continue committing, burning homes of Brothers and Sisters, they burned the house of a Family in these days, we have to be united, we have to be vigilant, and that they do not believe that because we are Lovers of Peace and we want Peace that we are going to allow them to continue killing us, that they continue torturing us, that they continue attacking.

Our Marches are Peaceful, they are Peaceful our Marches, these Marches that have been held all these days have not attacked anyone; they are Marches for Peace, for Justice, Marches against Hate, and we have to continue waging the Battle for Peace, and that what comes out of their mouths do not come our of our mouths, that words full of hate and evil not come out, wishing them death or threatening the Neighbor with death. We do not threaten anyone with death, but we do know how to defend the Life of Nicaraguan Families, Brother and Sister Nicaraguans.

And the Route so that Nicaragua might continue recovering, because we are in a Process of Recovery and thanks to God Nicaragua is recovering…Of course we have had to pay the costs of the destruction. When year after year for these months the Budget Reform was sent to the Assembly, because well, at the beginning of the year we have the Budget that was approved the prior year being implemented, and now in these months the calculations are done about whether what had been budgeted had a little more income, and if there was a little more income, then something more could be distributed in Health Care, Education, Zero Hunger Program, the Pig Program, the Hen program, in the Food Packets.

And thanks to God every year, from 2007 to0 2017 the Reform that we would send to the Budget was because there had been more earnings, more income for the Country, and that therefore there was more money to share for Social Programs, for Education, for Health.

Now, because of the evil ones, they cannot be called in another way…evil! Because of the evil ones we have had to cut the Budget; because of the evil ones many Brothers and Sisters have been left without jobs, without work; because of the evil ones we have the Reform of Social Security unresolved, because they want Social Security to disappear and that the Workers be left without that protection. Because of the evil ones we have a Recovery Process in the field of Tourism, there it is progressing, but we still do not have the amount of Tourists that were coming into Nicaragua as last year, even at the beginning of this year we were doing very well.

So we have to continue fighting for Peace, because Peace is fundamental for Stability, for Security, and so that, with Peace, with Security, with Stability, the Productive Activities might rise up. And they are being increased, first of all, the Peasants who produce the food of Nicaraguans, for all of us; where Rice and Beans is produced, there they are being produced in spite of the damage caused, in spite of the fact that the Banks are not making loans as they did at another time. But there are the Peasants stepping up to the plate to ensure the Food Programs for Nicaragua, and to be able to export also some of these products, as we export Coffee.

Likewise, in a heroic way we see Families, Brother and Sister Nicaraguans who are owners of a Small Business, as they have installed again, with all valor, with all fearlessness they have installed a Small Business, and the Small Businesses have multiplied, and also Medium Enterprises, and also Large Enterprises have begun to resume.

And the Free Trade Zone, after they blocked and assaulted the Free Trade Zones Plants so that they would not work, the Free Trade Zone at these moments has now recovered, and even more, they have been able to generate a little more employment that what there was before this dark wave of destruction.

So, continue working for Peace, continue working for Stability, for Security. We have to trust first of all, in our own Efforts, in our own Capacities, in our own intelligence that we Nicaraguan have, trusting in God that we are going to Progress, and we are going to recover, and more, the Levels of Growth that we had before this disaster.

And no curse for the Nicaraguans who have a destructive behavior. We say to them: you are doing damage to yourselves, you are doing damage to your Family, you are doing damage to your Community, you are doing damage to the People of Nicaragua. Realize that this is not the path for Happiness of Nicaraguans; this is the Path to Hell, and Nicaraguans do not want Hell.

And in the Neighborhood, in the Vicinity, in the Community we have to look for how to approach many Brother and Sister Nicaraguans who in the midst of all this catastrophe were dragged along, but who now are aware that it was a grave mistake. So, you have to look for how to approach them, and that more and more Nicaraguans come together to make the New Path, all Nicaraguans, all Nicaraguan Families to make a New Path of Peace, of Reconciliation which is what will come to provide Happiness and Progress to all Nicaraguan Families.

Long live the People of Nicaragua!

Long live the 40th Anniversary of the Attack on the Palace!

Sandino Lives, the Struggle Continues!

Free Fatherland or Death!

And long live Nicaragua, Blessed and Always Free!

We are here in the Avenue from Bolivar to Chavez, and I am looking here at the Commandante, our Brother Hugo Chavez, as he accompanies us; as our Brother Nicolas Maduro accompanies us, they have attempted to take his life recently, we have condemned that attack. It is the madness, the desperation of those who do not want to see the People in Power.

So it is that, in this day we are with Chavez, with Nicolas, with the Bolivarian People, with the Venezuelan People, as we are also with the People of Fidel, the People of Raul, the People of Cuba; as we are with the People of Evo, with Bolivia, Valient People, Heroic People; as we are with the Peoples of Our America, who have Dignity and who are in Solidarity with the Nicaraguan People.

 

 

 

Words of Eloquence and Meaning

For the past several weeks I have struggled to come up with the right means of expression to describe how I feel about circumstances in Nicaragua.  In the shadow of killings and abductions and fear, Nicaragua would seem to be quite unlike the country in which Winds of Peace has worked over the past 35 years.  Pictures of massive protests in the places I know, photos of masked shooters in the neighborhoods where I’ve been, blood in the streets where I’ve walked: these are surreal images that choke the words I should say.  I have not traveled to Nicaragua since February, and I feel as though I’ve been away even longer.

The development continues, nonetheless.  Loans are being made:  last week, two women’s cooperatives received small, initial funding for local agriculture.  Grants are being given: despite the vastly reduced attendance in schools over recent months, elementary-age reading initiatives are being redirected through community sites and churches  Repayments are being made: even where full repayment might be delayed, partners are reworking payment plans to honor their obligations as best they can.  There may be few causes of great joy within the current turmoil of Nicaragua, but there are hopeful moments.

Of course, what matters in this crisis time is not the impact upon a small U.S. foundation; Winds of Peace is just fine.  Of importance is the real-life upheaval being lived out daily by Nicaraguans who struggled for daily survival long before the first protests were launched, and who now find themselves threatened with even greater hardships than before.  Most North Americans would have a difficult time fully comprehending Nicaraguan poverty prior to April 18 of this year.  We have even less likelihood of  understanding their realities given the way things are today.  And my words are simply insufficient to the cause.

So I invite readers to shift their attentions to the “Nica Update” entries at this site.  They are frequent updates on the status of the confrontation and the contain the observations and experiences of men and women caught up in current struggle.  They are words of passion.  They are expressions of the most deeply-held beliefs of Nicaraguan people yearning once again for peace and equity.  They are the fluent articulations of a people’s soul, in a time of deep distress.

Over the din of bullets and bulldozers, emerge words of eloquence and meaning….

 

“No one would like to have a murderer as the woman who gave you life”

This is an interview done this week of Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo,  Rosario Murillo´s daughter, and Daniel Ortega´s step daughter. (She is mentioned by Pinita in the previous post). Here she compares her experience of being an abuse victim of her stepfather and the complicity of her mother, with the current experience the country is undergoing.

Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo

“No one would like to have a murderer as the woman who gave you life”

“Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo no longer have a way out”, stated Zoilamérica, daugher of Murillo in exile in Costa Rica.

By Yamlek Mojica Loásiga, August 21, 2018 in Seminario Universidad

“We are facing a fundamentalist sect”, Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo.

The name of Zoilamérica has been in the collective memory of Nicaraguans now for decades. Daughter of Rosario Murillo, and step-daughter of Daniel Ortega, who in 1998 she denounced for having raped her for more than 20 years, and Murillo for being an accomplice of those crimes. Since then she has been the victim of harassment and intimidation on the part of the presidential couple. Five years ago, due to that same persecution, she went into exile in Costa Rica.

Zoilamérica is a sociologist and currently works as a university professor. She states that what is happening in Nicaragua is a case of a fundamentalist sect similar to the Nazis.

In this interview she analyses her mother´s way of governing, and the persecution of the Nicaraguan state against opposition actors of Ortega even on Costa Rican soil.

Do you think there are similarities between the crisis of Nicaragua and your history of abuse?

There is a sensation that life trained me to experience the first symptoms of the cruelty, manifested in the abuse, as well as in the terrible vengance that my mother undertook in order to get from me a retraction of my denouncement of Daniel Ortega for sex abuse. And to silence and isolate me.

I feel that the most difficult part is not that the brutal and ever more unscrupulous forms of repression against the people be repeated in the scenario, but rather the way in which the exercise of power has been internalized.

I have compared it exactly to the dynamics between sexual abuse and the abuser, in the sense of this first stage that the cycles of abuse have, of manipulation, of the creation of conditions to get one to consider the right of possessing. I feel that unfortunately the revolution has become a great tool for manipulation.

In my case there were the family connections between the abuser and myself: in this case it was the manipulation of the symbols of the revolution, the discourse, the sentiments, all the history. That manipulation worked, I believe, in the same way that it works in sexual abuse. On that basis we give over quotas of our will to that person. In the case of sexual abuse, out of fear, because of the co-dependency, a point arrives where the abuser annihilates all your will. Likewise in Nicaragua we were giving over quotas of power that ended up building this abysmal concentration, that annihilation of will.

Then, I had no other option than remaining isolated for a long time, remaining for a long time under the effects of what the violence then was. But the hardest thing is seeing how this process of manipulation in the violence in Nicaragua, the concentration of power, was also similar in terms of the silence that surrounded me for many years.

In what sense?

I remember that after I made the denouncement, the question most asked of me was whether anyone knew. Now we can ask ourselves: Did no one know that there had been so much electoral fraud? Did no one know about a political pact that was done to distribute among themselves the branches of government? Yes they did know. Why did no one say anything? It is confirmed that complicity does work, and that sexual aggressors clearly choose those they want to convert. We were vulnerable coming from a context of dictatorship, and we thought that we were going to get out of it, fully believing in someone.

It is the same thing that happened with a ten year old girl who came from a world of deprivation and that suddenly the revolution comes, added to that power, and invents for her a world of protection that then turns into a world of abuse. I believe that the most complicated part for me has been that it is being repeated today. The complicity of my mother becomes present again. A complicity with two actors who have as their only purpose in life keeping and sustaining political power. Exactly in the same way in which they stated their alliance around denying the facts about which I accused them, that capacity continues functioning in the same way that they try to disguise and give another version of the facts.

Why do the ranks of the Sandinista Front of National Liberation keep quiet about Ortega?

I think that part of this manipulation has to do with turning loyalty into complicity. On the other hand, if we take that path, denouncing is a synonym of betrayal, thinking differently is also a synonym of betrayal. In this fundamentalist culture that the Sandinista Front has, enough mechanisms have been found to also subdue willpower. This subjugation also is marked by opportunism, because there are also those who have been paid to quit thinking. Nevertheless, I believe that we should not assign the same responsibilities to the leaders, as to people who so far continue expressing to being close to feeling that the FSLN is their option. They are people who, in spite of everything they see, want to try to rewrite history. There are people who will continue saying that they are sandinista, and that they are going to continue supporting a sandinista government, even though they are not allowed to say that Daniel Ortega is not the one. I think that it is important to understand the quota of pain, of sacrifice of many people. Still in Costa Rica there are people who say they have contradictory emotions, of course, because it hurts them to say that they gave everything in exchange for nothing.

You talk about loyalty. Is the FSLN loyal to Rosario Murillo?

I would not call that loyalty, but submission, She has a capacity to exercise leadership in a ruthless manner. Being ruthless implies that everything that is in front of you should be useful to your purposes. Without being able to say no. Loyalty assumes your willingness, but none of these people are asked if they want to be loyal to her, but rather today are trapped in a power dynamic that they cannot get out of. Even this mechanism of turning everyone into murderers so that in the end all are accused is part of the same dynamic. That is not loyalty. It has to do with methods of profound subjugation. This that I am telling you has to do with that Machiavellian capacity for subjugation. She is an expert in creating forms of submission. I do not know if there is another person with the same capaity for impregnating fear. It is very interesting because suddenly in the Nicaraguan imagination, even up to a very short time ago, Daniel was the good one and Rosario was the evil one. This precisely has to do with the fact that his gift is manipulation, and her gift is creating terror.

Why the insistence of Murillo on minimizing people? Why does she need to describe the oppositon as “residue” and “scraps”?

Something that for me was always difficult was the indifference. In other words, with that indifference the message is: “you do not exist”. I did not exist as her daughter for ten years, ten years of not knowing absolutely anything until I withdrew the lawsuit, because I couldn´t do it any longer, because that was being translated into revenge. Where I am getting at, on the one hand, is that profound conviction that “no one is as great as them.” On the other hand, is the mystery of the verbalization in order to be small. I do believe that people have compared the Nazi context and the superiority of the races to them. Here also we are facing a fundamentalist sect, only that it was created tailor-made to the need itself for alienation. It is an act of absolute arrogance and superiority that turns into something very dangerous, because no one is like them. This means that everything that surrounds them should be eliminated, and even more so the smaller they are. In this search for answers they think that they have some type of insanity, and in that way we excuse them because “they do not know what they are doing”, and that is not true. Or we give them the proper title of dictators and we think then this justifies their political logic, but what we have in Nicaragua is worse than that; it is a case of political alienation. They are alienating everything that would justify them as the omnipotent and only ones with the power to lead the country.

What do you feel when you see the name of your mother accused of so many crimes?

In one of the vigils for Nicaragua I had a very intense experience, because seeing a sign of Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega with a big sign of murderers still touches my conscience. I think that no one would want to have a murderer as the woman who gave you life. It is profoundly contradictory. It still is a blow to my humanity. Nevertheless, it is the reality that I have had to live with and about which I continue to learn, above all, trying to understand what this is going to mean for me in the future. This is the most difficult thing. There are people who do not know the difference between them and me; there will be a time at the end of their days that I will have to articulate where their story ended and where mine ended.

You fled from Nicaragua in 2013. Do you identify with this exodus of Nicaraguans who are fleeing out of fear of your family?

There is a principle of refuges status that is interesting, and it is called fleeing out of a well founded fear. I would say that for Nicaraguans you will have to open a chapter that would be called “well founded terror.” If I could express the level of terror that I experienced on knowing that my own mother could be capable of hurting me and hurting my children, I can understand that the situation of fleeing is because they are sowing terror. They want left in Nicaragua those who accept being subjugated, they do not care how many of us leave, as long as those who stay accept being in jail, kidnapped, and that they are not going to accomplish. Definitely those who come from Nicaragua are people who cannot live with that fear that they are sowing. It will have to be seen what it means to have a wave of terrorized immigrants with the conditions that implies. They are designing a country tailor-made for the reign that they need.

Persecution from paramilitaries has been denounced within Costa Rica. Do you believe it?

I think it is very difficult for the government of Costa Rica to admit it, but the geographic closeness would allow one to think that this risk exists. It is a serious situation. Above all because of the possibility that they might have deserters within their own ranks fleeing to Costa Rica, and they can be the people who supply information that can implicate them. It has to be understood that Daniel Ortega above all is going to avoid a trial for crimes against humanity; the family, better said. We have to be careful in not placing in doubt the capacity of the Costa Rican state to protect us; rather, it is recognizing that they can turn any circumstances into circumstances of risk.

What other things have you experienced here? Have you been the victim of xenaphobia?

Costa Rica is a country with highly advanced legislation on all these issues; nevertheless, in the case of xenaphobia, historically it has had to share the country with immigrants. This can generate contradictory feelings. On the one hand, admiting the ethnic diversity of this country, the labor participation that we have. Nevertheless, the level of acceptance of us foreigners can be increased. I think that at times we have very marked cultural differences and this can generate reactions of exclusion and very big distances.

The people mention a lot “the New Nicaragua”. What does this mean for you?

The New Nicaragua for me means an educational process that tries to deal with this legacy. If my family sowed anti-values and perverse practices, I would like to contribute with something, deconstructing that or giving testimony about what I had to do to be less Ortega Murillo and more Zoilamérica. That which is coming also is an unresolved stage. No more leading roles, no more the need to be highlighted as the best option. Every time a person uses the social networks, they are using a mechanism of power that is outside of him. First let us reconnect with our own power.

How do you see the future of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo?

I feel like there is no way out. In the pursuit to build a trap and a jail for all of Nicaragua, they built their own; they are trapped. The problem is that they still have with them all the victims of that spiderweb of power that they wove. Gradually that will be freed up. The stage that we will still have to see will be when their own people turn on them and say: “this is as far as we go.” Surely that moment for them will be the most difficult one. So far, they continue accustomed to the fact that no one objects to their will. The international community is going to have to test out ways, like they did with the peace accords. I am sure that this also is going to imply moving from this type of mechanism to something that might be truly effective, and, if not, it will be up to us Nicaraguans to do it.

 

Letter from a Christian in Nicaragua to a priest in Spain

The following is a letter written by Pinita Gurdian, a well known member of the Christians in the Revolution movement in the 80s, in response to a letter from a Spanish priest friend. It is a witness to how she – and her family – lived their faith in response to the events of the day. In the 70´s and 80´s, that faith led them to sacrifice for the Revolution.  They continue to risk themselves  for a revolution, but one that she feels is being prevented by those  in government today.

August 16, 2018

Dear Benjamin,

Since I received your first letter about what is happening in these times in Nicaragua I wanted to write to you. I have thought a lot about what I wanted to say to you, because, even though we met for a short time, those years of dreams and utopias connected us as so many people who dreamed and worked for justice. Since that time, your name was always on the list of friends that offered so much solidarity during the Revolution, who I continued to tell about the process that little by little was developing and that later deteriorated over the years.

Our family, as you know, was fully committed to the revolutionary process through our Christian commitment. We completely abandoned all our goods and privileges to join this process, in which we believed all our dreams would be fulfilled of a more just society, and more in accordance with the faith that we said we professed. Our children committed to all the tasks that the moment required, many times putting their lives ar risk, to such an extent that in 1987 one of my sons was seriously wounded in combat, whose result left him with permanent lesions in various parts of his body, among them a cerebral lesion, and he had to undergo seven later surgeries.

At the beginning of the process everything was going well and our enthusiasm grew with each accomplishment. I do not question the intentions of those who led us to victory. This is shown in a paragraph in the first proclamation of the FSLN in 1979:

“Corruption and crime will be left behind forever: the use of the State as the patrimony of a family; the use of the Army as the personal guard of a tyrant and the prostitution of Public Institutions. The Government of National Reconstruction will direct its best efforts to promote and organize popular participation in the solution of the major national problems: hunger, unemployment, malnutrition, unsanitary conditions, illiteracy, lack of housing, the vicious legacy of fifty years of Somocism.” Proclamation issued on June 18, 1979, when the Government Junta for National Reconstruction was formed in Costa Rica, one month before the triumph.

We joined this project with our hearts, bodies and souls. But slowly that was changing, and even though we heard about abuses, luxuries when there was rationing, when authoritarianism began to be heard, we were blind and deaf. We did not want to see nor hear about what was right in front of us. Not all the leaders were in that line, but everything was changing, and criticisms were not permitted, with the excuse that we were suffering a war of aggression. Our guide and friend, and the person who was the inspiration of our commitment, the Jesuit Fernando Cardenal, member of the Sandinista Assembly, once had the courage to stand up and make a criticism about the lack of austerity of the leaders. One member of that Assembly responded to him, also publicly, saying, “You took a vow of poverty but we did not.” No one got up to support Fernando.

In spite of everything we continued forward because, even though many errors were made, we also saw the accomplishments to the benefit of the people, that can happen only within a Revolution. We were faithful to the end, and the day that the elections were lost I remember as one of the saddest days of my life. All those lives sacrificed, all those efforts to improve the lives of the poorest. And they, the poor, voted against us. The Revolution of that time had an independent and honest Supreme Electoral Council and they did not change the data, resulting in a loss for the FSLN. Everything has its cause and effect. The people, with their vote, expressed their discontent.

In 1994 the FSLN organized a congress where there was an attempt to change their leadership and provide opportunities for an entire generation that had been formed in the revolutionary work with strict discipline, but without renouncing their own criteria and thinking. A renovation was needed. The group that was led by the Ortegas and some others, like Tomás Borge and Bayardo Arce, denied any change, and another group of high level leaders, led by Sergio Ramírez, Dora María Tellez, Luís Carrión, Victor Tirado left and formed another party, The Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS). The first group was left with the symbols of the FSLN.

Since then the MRS became for them traitors, and they accused them of everything that tends to happen in Nicaragua, no matter how ridiculous it might seem. Very soon this party was stripped of their legal status. Nevertheless its members have always continued to be very active in politics, fighting and working for Nicaragua.

But the biggest betrayal of the FSLN was in 1998 when a shameful pact was made with the President of that time, Arnoldo Alemán, accused and sentenced as a thief. The FSLN pardoned his sentence, leaving him with with his booty and free from punishment. In exchange, the percentage needed to win the elections was lowered, and key posts in the branches of government were divided up, and since then they lost all their independence.

The most scandalous thing that they were able to cover up with the pact was the denouncement of sexual abuse from his adopted daughter, Zoilamerica Ortega Murillo, perpetrated by Daniel since she was eleven years old, before the triumph, when they were exiled in Costa Rica, and it continued on after the triumph of the Revolution. This was denounced in detail by she herself also in 1998. Rosario Murillo, her mother, also negotiated her power in exchange for protecting Daniel, accusing her daughter of lying and refusing her daughter all the support she needed. She currently lives in Costa Rica, because in Nicaragua she is denied opportunities to work and her partner was expelled from the country. In a speech Rosario said that she was ashamed of her daughter.

Daniel allied with the Catholic Church and penalized therapeutic abortion, a resource that had existed in the country for more than 100 years, for the purpose of ensuring the support of the Church. This has led to the death of hundreds of women. Doctors go to jail if they attend an abortion, even though the woman is in danger of death.

Thanks to these pacts Daniel returned to power in 2006. Likewise the history continued of abuses, ruses and electoral fraud, also changing the constitution to allow for re-election. Following later with a pact with private enterprise, with freedom to do all deals without state intervention and providing them with perks in taxes, etc. Everything, as long as they left him, Daniel, to do and undo whatever he wanted. In this way he was able to fulfill his objectives of illicit enrichment with every type of business managed by his children, and employing populism, giving handouts to poor people to get votes. He was doing all this using millions of dollars, aroud 500 million per year, that he was receiving from Venezuela. That money never came into the coffers of the state, forming a separate company for the exclusive use of the President, and leaving Nicaragua with a debt of millions of dollars.

In full view and knowledge of the Nicaraguan people, he sold the sovereignty of Nicaragua to a Chinese shell company for the construction of an interoceanic canal in Lake Cocibolca, the greatest reserve of fresh water in Central America. The purpose of this was to buy the lands that surround the lake at their property registry value, which are the most valuable tourist reserves of Nicaragua. Their owners are peasants who refuse to sell their lands, where they were born and were raised, and who intelligently know that they are the future for their children. Here is where the true rebellion began. They are not accepting selling at any price. This story began five years ago. International water experts have come in to give conferences on the ecological damage this would cause. The protest marches that the peasant have been doing with great frequency have prevented the beginning of the construction work.

It has to be noted that the policies that the IMF imposes have been strictly implemented by this government that calls itself, socialist, Christian and in solidarity, impoverishing with adjustment policies the poorest and benefitting the richest. Even though it is true that according to the World Bank poverty has been reduced in Nicaragua, it established a patronage model, and Venezuelan money was used to do big business deals. Nicaragua is considered as one of the countries with the most number of millionaires of Central America according to Global Watch Report 2014. At the same time Nicaragua today continues to be the second poorest country of Latin America and the third most corrupt (Infobae). The government that calls itself anti-imperialist needs the resources of the empire and depends on them. The only thing leftist it has left is the discourse.

We are experiencing exactly the opposite of what the first proclamation of the FSLN said, which this long letter began by citing. We have returned to repeat the same and painful history of abuse, repression, murder, jail, torture and persecution. I am not exaggerating if I tell you that our lives are in danger, above all those of us who really are fighting without weapons, more with words and denouncements. We are waging a civic struggle. We have against us a police force that responds only to Daniel, and an illegal group with weapons of war and faces covered, para police forces that shoot lead bullets mercilessly and without feeling against defenseless people, be they civilians, youth, priests or children. Since April 18th we have more than 400 people killed with shots directed at the chest, thorax, back or head. Unfortunately we have a good amount of youth whose lives have been changed forever, because of the impact received they have been left paraplegic or without an eye, because of the rubber bullets they received. Several hundred political prisoners, many of them savagely tortured. Hundreds of disappeared. Large amounts of youth who have had to migrate illegally through the borders to save their lives. Thousands who are in hiding for being on the list with death threats. As an example, Carlos Mejía Godoy saw himself forced to seek exile in Costa Rica. What I tell you is not an exaggeration. These are moments of terror. Everyone in the country closes their doors at 6pm. During the entire day one is exposed to being stopped, without any type of order or reason, even by para police, because if not, one runs the risk of receiving one or several bullets. They get you out of the vehicle, ask for your cell phone and review your contacts. They can go through what you have because they suspect that it can be food for people who are in hiding out of fear of being jailed. Very similar to what was experienced in Chile with Pinochet. We are waging a civic struggle, self convened, the only flags that wave in our marches are the blue and white of the Country and we encourage one another with slogans like “They were students, not murderers” and protest music.

The Catholic Church has played a role of prophet and the defense of human rights, exposing their bodies to the murderous bullets to stop attacks against the population. They have been beaten and insulted. Their word has been inspired in denouncement and in defense of justice. Just as I am critical with the behavior of the church in everything related to abortion, on this occasion I feel proud of being Church. I believe that I am not mistaken if I tell you that this behavior of the church is unprecedented. Two bishops were those who set the standard for this very extraordinary twist: The auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Mons. Silvio Báez, and the Bishop of Matagalpa, Mons. Rolando Álvarez, both Nicaraguans and have received serious death threats. In general all the bishops, priests, delegates of the word, catequists have been risen to the challenge, opening the doors of the churches to provide refuge to those who are persecuted and curing the wounded. The hospitals have fired from their jobs all the doctors and medical staff who tended the wounded. Several of the wounded died for being denied medical attention in the public hospitals.

The protest marches are massive and I participate in all with my blue and white flag, with the danger of receiving a bullet. But it is what I can do. Making statements with my face uncovered, demonstrating and helping, visiting and consoling. The day of the march that we called “The March of the Mothers”, in addition to being impressively huge, was May 30th, Mother´s day in Nicaragua. That day we remembered the mothers who had lost their children in the previous month and a half. The government put sharpshooters stationed in the high point of the new recently inaugurated baseball stadium, ready to kill at the end of the march. The result- 18 young people killed, many with bullets to the head from Dragunov weapons. As you can see the Police obey Daniel, and the Army, called to prevent armed groups outside the law, has declared itself to be impartial. A clear form of support to this government. One more sign about how Daniel and Rosario were able to coopt the Police, the Army and all branches of government to their benefit,.

The purpose of this letter is to share my vision from my Christian commitment and from the analysis of a heart-wrenching reality. The blood that has run in Nicaragua in the last four months of so many young people motivates me to share this letter with you, someone who I sincerely esteem.

My family continue seriously committed, but for a change that would benefit the great majority. Like in 1979, when our lives took a turn to work and achieve the utopia that our faith feeds. A change that would bring justice and democracy. The God of life, who is Father and Mother, will listen to our voices and will console our tears. I cry out to Him and in He I hope and trust.

A big hug with the usual affection,

Pinita