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.