Category Archives: National Dialogue in Nicaragua

Without Pressure there are no Negotiations

Yaser Morazán has an important presence in social media in Nicaragua, and had been critical of the business sector´s reluctance to get involved in acts of civil disobedience to show resistance to the government. The business sector´s gradual dominance of the Civic Alliance has also been a complaint of several sectors, and was highlighted in a tumultuous meeting of exiles in Costa Rica recently. The Civic Alliance recently restructured itself to make itself more inclusive of other sectors of society. In this interview Yaser goes into more depth about these issues.

Without Pressure there are no Negotiations

Interview of Yaser Morazán in Domingo, La Prensa, August 18, 2019

by Abixael Mogollón

[see original Spanish here ]

He is loved and hated in social networks. Yaser Morazán knows this. From exile he is working on a document to resist the dictatorship, and in this interview explains how small actions that go from releasing pieces of paper to more radical actions like building a barricade on the border with Costa Rica are going to end up forcing Ortega to return to the negotiating table. He has met with members of the international community, and members of the Civic Alliance, and he states that this is a key moment for the Alliance, since it is important to renovate it or it will be destined to disappear.

What forced to you to into exile?

In order to continue sharing the ideas about civil disobedience, focused boycotts and other campaigns, it was better to put myself in the safety of exile. I have more than 100 screenshots of death threats, or that reveal my address, so I thought that the only way to continue doing my work was by going into exile.

What are those other campaigns?

The national and international plan of civil disobedience I started to suggest while in Nicaragua in a meeting with the Civic Alliance. It is not an initiative that started from my exile. It is a proposal that intends to create a mechanism of economic, institutional, cultural and social pressure; to be able to weaken the pillars that sustain the dictatorship. They are civil resistance strategies without using the body as a human foxhole, and that ensure freedom and life for the people who participate.

What type of actions does this document have?

First, I start from recognizing the violent nature of this regime. To the extent that we understand that we are in a state of exception, our capacity to struggle has to adapt to that reality. Basing myself on this, we have to create a series of actions to stop participating in the social, cultural, political and economic dynamics of the country; like national, school stoppages, fiscal and tax strikes, paralyzing state institutional processes, not participating in events sponsored by the regime, like fairs, festivals, congresses. It is creating a social blockade where we demonstrate to the regime that it does not have a country to govern.

How would these measures be applied?

We have to prepare a document that would be presented to Nicaraguan public opinion, where activities, roles, resources and times would be established, in this plan goals or demands will be defined that we are going to ask the dictatorship to meet. For example, the return of the legal status of the NGOs that were confiscated, the return of the equipment stolen from journalists and communications media. For this to happen, we have to tell the regime that we have this work plan where we establish actions of low, medium and high impact. They will be implemented over time to the extent that the regime responds to our needs, otherwise we will increase the intensity.

We would begin with a simultaneous press conference in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the United States where Nicaraguans, exiles and the diaspora would present this plan, even have this document read in the pulpits of churches. Then we would hold a virtual march. Then we would organize masses and religious ceremonies for peace throughout the entire national territory. Then we would continue with actions that have been effective and that people like, such as releasing blue and white balloons, small pieces of paper of those same colors, papers with messages, blue and white paint or writing on public buses, bathrooms, and currency with the slogan #SOSNICARAGUA. All in secret and anonymously, because we cannot continue doing it facing weapons and violence.

We are talking about fighting a dictatorship with pieces of paper and paint.

If they do not listen to our demands we would move to medium impact actions. That can be that the diaspora call for temporary stoppages of sending family remittances, the stoppage of sending packages to Nicaragua, stop buying airline tickets to and from Nicaragua, preparation of lists on the national level of businesses and companies connected to the Sandinista Front. That can begin with businesses of the Army, the National Police and the Ortega Murillo family.

It is important to promote media and political pressure against the embassies of Taiwan throughout the world for continuing to finance the dictatorship. We have to be confrontational with the Central American Bank for financing the dictatorship, this has to be an action plan among all the actors, those in exile, the diaspora, the Alliance and the National Unity. Finally, if after a year these actions do not work, I think that we have to be considering once again revisiting the idea of an indefinite national strike.

Do you think a national strike is viable? Taking into account the small and medium businesses which would mean closing and hoping that Ortega would leave power?

Personally I have not called for an indefinite national strike on social networks, first of all because I am not in Nicaragua, and secondly because I recognize the real fear of the business owners, and thirdly because I do not promote activities where I cannot participate. Nicaraguans have to understand that it is not viable either to live in a dictatorship, in fear and under repression. The situation is already radical for us, and we have to take radical actions to be able to survive. The other option that we have is not do anything and resign ourselves to live in a dictatorship like the people of Cuba did, or hope for what is eventually going to happen as in Venezuela.

You do not believe in the national dialogue to remove Daniel Ortega?

Negotiation is an end and not a means,. The dialogue will happen when the regime, pressured by our actions, now sits down to negotiate. In April it was the blockades, then it was the marches, but now we do not have anything to offer, and those who have nothing to offer have nothing to demand. I am convinced that without pressure there is no negotiation, and without destabilization there is no liberation of Nicaragua.

It has been said on social networks that among the strongest actions is doing a blockade on the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Done by the exiles themselves. In this way we paralyze regional commerce and we create a crisis in the region that will force the presidents of the isthmus to take clearer and more forceful positions.

Do you think that this really is possible in a foreign country?

We activists do not ask permission. If people had asked permission in Nicaragua, no blockades would have been built. I think that we are experiencing a crisis and drastic measures are required, at least in Costa Rica the most that they can do is put you in jail, but they are not going to kill you, as can happen in Nicaragua if you want to build a blockade.

A little while ago on social networks there was a call to boycott a business for having red and black chairs in their place, don´t you feel that this is diverting attention to superficial things?

I am happy with this new version of a country that we have, because I think that Nicaraguans have stepped it up to identify any manifestation of violence. In this case the regime has used symbols to repress. Violence is not just blows, it is also when they rub in your face that they have power over public spaces. In Nicaragua red and black means mourning, grief, blood, death, and we all know that. In terms of the issue that you are mentioning, that business is the property of a Sandinista deputy from Rivas, and what she did was mark off her territory and she has the right to do it, but the people also have the right to decide where they are going to consume, and where they are not going to consume. When we quit consuming in a Sandinista business, what we are doing is giving our income to a blue and white business, and that is a very effective way of protesting, because we are touching on what most hurts the Sandinista Front, which is money.

Before the crisis you openly defined yourself as a Sandinista. Then you made the distinction between being a Sandinista and an Orteguista. What has happened to that idea since you went into exile?

I come from a Sandinista home, where I was taught the ideals of Sandino and I believed that the FSLN represented those values. I refused to see the corruption and the lack of values that public institutions and people directly connected to the party exercised. Always looking for a leftist orientation, I started to participate in the Sandinista Renovation Movement, because I thought that that was where it was at. In fact, in the first marches of April I wore my t-shirts with Sandino, diverse Sandino, or Sandino with a cell phone logo, because it was my way of reclaiming my idea of Sandinism. Starting in April and May I was seeing that the same methods that they were using to repress the population, like the torture and killings, were exactly the same methods that I imagine they used in the decade of the 80s to justify their revolution. For me April was a wake up call. I insisted in the fact that I was a non Orteguista Sandinista, but I have come to the conclusion that it is the same thing. Some killed in the 80s and others do now.

At this moment is seems everything is stagnant, it seems that people are not united at least on social networks.

I think that it is part of the democratic processes that people have the capacity to say the things that they are thinking. Some just resort to insults, aggression, vulgarities. Nevertheless I prefer that people are expressing their opinion in excess, and not that they express their opinion as we did prior to April. Although at times they might go over the mark for nearly everyone, including me. It does not matter, it is better than a complicit silence.

There is a sector that hates you and another that adores you in social networks, and some criticize you over the fact that being in exile you call for actions like the boycott.

I defend freedom of expression. People have the right to say what they are thinking about me or whoever. Likewise I have the capacity to ignore or block what does not interest me. We are all part of this process, it is normal, healthy, it is necessary. I have been generating material for social networks for four years, which meant that I was somewhat media friendly and I have received a lot of threats. I only suggest, propose, challenge, criticize, but I never impose, and those who want will join, and those who do not… The beautiful thing is that we all do what we can with the resources that we have.

You have met with members of the international community who are following the crisis in Nicaragua. What assessment does their role deserve?

Their role has been mediocre and ineffective. In fact one of the ambassadors to the OAS told us that the sense of timing for politics is very different from the urgent sense of timing that the Nicaraguan people needed; and an authority from the US government told us that Daniel Ortega was not going to negotiate because negotiating his departure meant that he would end up in jail, and that that was not going to happen. The international community is not going to liberate us. Over above the interests of human rights, the international community has political and economic interests. It is not a coincidence that over all the condemnations, the United States continues being the principal trade partner of Venezuela and Nicaragua. Now is not the moment to continue complaining, it is the moment to look more within.

And what do you have to say about the Civic Alliance?

They have played a good role in what it has been theirs to do. My criticism always has been around what they have not done, for example, from the beginning the people of the Alliance were telling me that their mandate was not to direct a popular insurrection, but that their mandate was the national dialogue. I think that they have stayed in that role, and that role has been dictated by the business and bureaucratic approach that that structure has, that is the reason for my criticism that the Alliance cannot be abducted by big capital, the private sector has the right to have a voice and we to ensure that it have one, but not that it be the only voice. That the businesspeople have the power to vote but not to veto. This moment is important because the Alliance is destined to strengthen itself or disappear, but it depends on them and how they channel the popular unrest.

At what moment did big capital take that control?

The business version that we have of the current Alliance is different from the one that was called by the Bishop´s Conference. With the first version of the Alliance we all came out to support them. But as time passed, people were replaced, which is why in the last negotiating table 50% of those there were from the private sector. AmCham, FUNIDES and COSEP, and that made me reflect at what point these people were representing the people who were in the barricades in the neighborhoods, the mothers of April, the mothers of the political prisoners, and currently those ex political prisoners. I think that the Alliance should be restructured for the good of Nicaragua.

Until there is a dialogue, what should the Alliance do?

I think that they should go into a process of assessment about their strategies, effectiveness and efficiency about what they have been doing so far, and they should be sincere and say to the people of Nicaragua: “this is as far as we go or this is our new work proposal”. The departure of Ortega will depend on our measures. If we are not forceful, the regime is not going to ever want to leave power, and we will be destined to be Venezuela or Cuba. Ortega prefers to govern a country in extreme poverty than end up in jail. This type of dictator does not leave because they wake up one day being good people.

Has the scenario been considered where these measures are applied to the letter and Ortega remains in power?

No. Right now I do not have a plan B, because first I have to try plan A. Evaluate, to change, strengthen and remove. Rather I am sticking to these ideas, because I do not want to lead people to use methods from the past that no one wants anymore.

How are the exiles doing?

Where I am here in Costa Rica people are depressed, feel powerless, frustration, sadness. While in Nicaragua the people that belong to organized structures are afraid, suffer persecution, death threats; while the Nicaraguans who are not involved in anything are living the most normal lives in the world. Because the regime what it is doing is creating an enclosure, teaching society a lesson through punishments or rewards, so that you are clear, that if you demonstrate you are going to suffer, but if you do nothing you are going to live comfortably. It is the same Cuban model. We cannot have the luxury of going back to the same“ normality” that existed prior to April, but if we do not increase this pressure that is what is going to end up happening.

Personal plane

Yaser Morazán is 33 year old and is from the province of Matagalpa. He is the son of a retired soldier Alfonso José Morazán Castillo, who was abducted in October 2018 by the Ortega regime and was released in May 2019.

He did Chemical Analysis Laboratory studies in the National Technological Institute in Granada, and then studied Social Work at the Central American University (UCA). His first relationships with human rights organizations was in 2007 working with the Organization of American States (OAS). He also did post-graduate studies in Family Psychology.

He has been working since he was 19 years old. He loves Nicaraguan food, especially beans and tortillas. He has been an activist for 13 years, and before going into exile used to produce multimedia pieces for social networks. He says that ignorant and violent people make him nervous.

 

“The Alliance should listen to the people” says Doña Francisca, peasant leader

On July 28, 2019 Hagamos Democracia, an Nicaraguan NGO whose legal status was revoked by the Nicaraguan government in December, invited Nicaraguans in exile to a meeting. Nicaraguan exiles who did not receive an invitation broke into the place and demanded to be included. A fight broke out in the end where some people were injured. This article provides Doña Francisca Ramírez´s interpretation of that event and the situation of the exiles.

“The Alliance should listen to the people” says Doña Francisca, peasant leader

by Loanny Picado, July 29, 2019 in LaLupa, online magazine

[see original Spanish at https://lalupa.press/2019/07/29/la-alianza-debe-escuchar-al-pueblo-dicen-dona-francisca-lider-campesina/ ]

One day after members of the Civic Alliance and the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB) were challenged by a group of exiles in Costa Rica, who expounded on a series of demands, Francisca Ramírez, a leader of the Peasant Anti-Canal Movement who also is in Costa Rica, said that in the face of the discontent the Alliance should listen to the people.

“The Alliance should reorganize, it should listen to the people above all, I think that the entire problem is rooted there. They have not been able to unite the sectors for this very reason. When the dialogue happened, they told me that a peasant woman could not be at the negotiating table, because there were other much more intellectual people who should be there. That should not be how it is”, said Doña Francisca.

During the event organized by Hagamos Democracia, representatives of the Civic Alliance and the UNAB were present, among them Violeta Granera, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Mónica López, Ana Quirós, Max Jerez, José Pallais, Mario Arana and Luciano García, and the ex political prisoners Edwin Carcache and Medardo Mairena.

The exiles demand decisive actions

A group of people barged into the place who identified themselves as exiles in the face of the harassment, persecution and the massacre that the Ortega-Murillo regime unleashed in 2018 as responses to the civic protests of the citizenry that left a toll of more than 300 murdered.

The group of exiles, who ended up staying in the activity organized by Hagamos Democracia, demanded timely actions to confront the dictatorship, like a national strike, as well as other actions that would ensure their return to Nicaragua, but especially more unity and representation of the different national sectors.

“I believe that the Alliance needs to get down to the reality. This struggle is all of ours, the Alliance should correct itself, it must listen to the people, the exiles suffer a lot, and no one understands that suffering better than the one who is experiencing it. Within the Alliance there are people who should not be there, decisions are made in another way, when they should be a consensus of all the sectors, “ expressed Ramírez who did not participate in the activity.

Among the exiles who questioned the Civic Alliance and UNAB were citizens who participated in the barricades in Carazo and Matagalpa. The lawyer in exile Álvaro Cerros ended up injured at the end of the event.

Ortega is the only enemy

In spite of the differences shown during the event, Ramírez thinks that perspective has not been lost, and that the only enemy is the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

“Here the only enemy is Daniel Ortega, we should be clear about that. It is difficult from the suffering of the peasant in exile to see how we are doing. All the sectors should be listened to, we should not be closed, “ said the peasant leader.

Doña Francisca, in spite of her years leading the Peasant Anti-Canal Movement, has been distanced from it, but said that she is willing to meet with Medardo Mairena to carry out action strategies to help the peasants.

 

“Sanctions are the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand”

This interview of the Director of Human Rights Watch was done on the release of their report on repression and torture in Nicaragua. It is significant because it came out right before the Nica Act demanded sanctions against Nicaragua if there was no progress by the Nicaraguan government  on prosecuting human rights abusers and corruption. It also came out days before the General Assembly of the OAS would look at applying the Democratic Charter to Nicaragua for similar reasons. 

“Sanctions are the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand”

by Carlos F. Chamorro in Confidencial, June 20, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://confidencial.com.ni/sanciones-es-el-unico-lenguaje-que-entienden-ortega-y-murillo/ ]

Hours after Human Rights Watch presented in Washington a report on the repression and torture against the freedom of expression in Nicaragua this Wednesday, in Managua and Masaya the Police repressed and detained citizens for protesting.

This police State merciless with civil protest and the attempts of the Ortega-Murillo regime to mislead national and international opinion about the fulfillment of the agreements in the dialogue table, are some of the reasons that moved José Miguel Vivanco, Director for the Americas of HRW, to vigorously demand the United States, Canada and Latin American democracies to “redouble sanctions” against Managua.

The HRW report proposes applying individual sanctions against the members of the chain of command of the National Police: its Supreme Commander, President Daniel Ortega; the ex Director, Aminta Granera; the current Director, Francisco Díaz, and generals Ramón Avellán, Assistant Director; Jaime Vanegas, Inspector General; Luis Pérez Olivas, Director of the Judicial Support Office (DAJ also known as El Chipote); and Justo Pastor Urbina, Director of the Special Operations Office (DOEP).

Vivanco stated that these sanctions “that freeze pocketbooks” worry authoritarian regimes, but he also highlighted that “It is the only language that they understand.”

“If the international community stops, or lets itself be confused by the recent release of prisoners who should never have been in prison, there are no possibilities that an improvement would result in human rights and public liberties, much less a transition to democracy”, warned Vivanco.

In this wide ranging interview offered to the program Esta Noche, he analyzes the principal findings of the report titled “Crackdown in Nicaragua: Torture, ill treatment and Prosecutions of protestors and opponents.”

This report analyzes the pattern of the repressive methods and is based on more than 70 interviews, and an exhaustive study of 13 political prisoners who were tortured, and some of the doctors who treated them. What is its principal conclusion on the situation of Nicaragua?

This is a study done in Nicaragua. We have been able to enter Nicaragua, to go around the country and gather direct testimony from the victims, their relatives, doctors and civil society experts. On the basis of that information and testimonies, we have arrived at the conclusion that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are directly responsible for the commission of serious and massive violations of fundamental rights. These violations have been committed by police agents and highly armed criminals who have a license to shoot and kill.

The people who have survived the murders, or those who have been left seriously wounded, have been arbitrarily detained by the regime. They have not had the possibility of defending themselves before an independent tribunal, exercise their basic rights. Many of them have been the subject of brutal and abhorrent torture.

The torture that we have been able to document are extremely cruel. They include sexual rape, removing fingernails from those detained, electric shock, brutal beatings, asphyxiation to the point of killing the detainees…really they are the very practices of the dictatorships of the sixties that governed the southern cone of Latin America. Those of Pinochet.

Is there proof of these tortures that you have pointed out?

Yes, there is. We gathered the proof in the report. We are fortunate to have the testimony of doctors, and not just the victims and witnesses who have supported us in the preparation of this report. Doctors who in some cases we have had to protect their identity, and who in other cases have had to leave the country. Several doctors told us, and it was information consistent with several localities, that there was an order issued by the regime at the highest level prohibiting especially the doctors in public hospitals, but also in private ones, to assist and treat victims of the repression. Something really unheard of that shows the level of cruelty that this regime is willing to reach.

The allegation of the regime is that they reacted to an attempted coup, and that on the other hand abuses were also committed by the protestors against the police and the partisans of the Government. What criteria does the report have about these allegations?

There is no evidence that we have been able to gather, credible evidence, that would pass a minimal level of reasonability and seriousness, that would show that an initiative of a coup was in play here. Under no circumstance can one justify the type of atrocities that Murillo and Ortega are responsible for, as well as the hierarchs of the party in power, and particularly the highest authorities of the police of Nicaragua. There is no possibility of justifying before any type of serious, impartial international body that a State would end up committing these type of atrocities to protect itself from an imminent coup. But there is no evidence that that has occurred in Nicaragua.

The arguments of the regime are for propaganda purposes. Typical of a tyranny. That abuses were also committed against the police, there is no doubt about that. We have serious information that reveals the death of police offers during some confrontations.

They Urge International Sanctions

You propose that the international community be called to apply sanctiopns, principally individual ones against those responsible for the repression. Why? Is there evidence that sanctions in individual cases like Nicaragua might produce the results that are sought, establishing justice, truth and ending the repression?

A totalitarian regime like what Nicaraguan is suffering today is, usually, very sensitive to sanctions that are directed at freezing pocketbooks. Because what it deals with is punishing the corrupt people who have stolen from the national coffers. And since those who are governing Nicaragua have done it for many years, without being accountable to anyone, in a system of government with complete concentration, where there is no independent oversight over the use of public funds, the fact that the United States, Canada, the European Union and some of the most important democracies of the region would freeze the assets of the hierarchs of the regime and their relatives and their front men, and at the same time cancel their visas, we know that that worries them.

We believe it is time to redouble and duplicate the sanctions. That is why we are offering a list headed by Daniel Ortega as the Supreme Commander of the Police, an entity that has shown no mercy with grotesque cruelty toward disarmed civilians; vulnerable people in different places in Nicaragua. It is a Police force that Daniel Ortega directs. And therefore he, along with other police authorities, should be the object of these sanctions. That they be replicated by the European Union and democracies of Latin America.

The government of the United States in previous sanctions already applied them to Daniel Ortega´s wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to one of her sons, Laureano Ortega, and also to the current chief of police, the treasurer of the party and the administrator of the Albanisa funds, Francisco López, now HRW proposes sanctioning President Ortega. What consequences does it have that a State with which Nicaragua has diplomatic relations would sanction Ortega?

Legally it is possible that a democratic and sovereign State, for reasons linked to corruption and the violation of fundamental rights, might do so. It is acceptable that someone like Daniel Ortega would be included in that list. In our opinion this is the only language that Ortega and Murillo understand. It is time to redouble the pressure. If the international community quits, or is distracted, or lets itself be confused by the recent liberation of prisoners who should never have been in prison, and allows itself to be manipulated by the propaganda of the regime, there are no chances that an improvement would be produced in terms of human rights and public freedoms, nor much less a transition to democracy.

This transition should be accompanied in any negotiation by strong and unequivocal sanctions from the world community.

How do you evaluate what happened yesterday in Managua, when the time frame ended that Ortega himself had accepted for definitively freeing all the political prisoners? The government says that it already complied because it freed some prisoners from an agreed upon list with the OAS, the Vatican and the Civic Alliance. But the Civic Alliance says that they have not complied because there are 86 prisoners left, and the police state prevails. What can be expected from the international community?

Much more can be expected from the international community. Here there are full judicial responsibilities that should be exercised by the international community. On a multilateral level as well as bilaterally. In this sense the OAS has a role to play, and in fact there is a General Assembly in Medellín where we expect that the issue of Nicaragua will be on the agenda, and not just that, but the application of the Democratic Charter with direct sanctions against the regime.

You ask me what can be expected from the government in these negotiations. I would say very little. It is a duplicitous regime that manipulates national and international opinion. In addition it is a regime that represses those who bravely challenge it in the streets and churches. Many of those who have been freed continue connected procedurally to a fraudulent process. Many are freed but detained in their own homes.

The proposal to quit financing the Police

There are another two proposals in the Human Rights Watch Report. One is about the proposal that the European Union and the Central American Integration Bank end the financial relationship that they have with the Police. And the other is the invocation of the convention against torture of which Nicaragua is a signatory. With these two cases, can processes and investigations and penal processes be opened in light of these crimes?

In international law there are solid principles and precedents that allow for the exercise of universal jurisdiction if some of those responsible for the repression in Nicaragua are found under the jurisdiction of a State that is respectful of and has signed international commitments on matters of human rights. That path exists and we call on the member states of the European Union, the OAS, the United States and Canada to take advantage of any opportunity to begin a penal type process for the atrocities committed. Some of these cited authorities of the regime have direct responsibilities. This is an important path.

In terms of the financing for the police, we have discovered with this investigation that the police budget is maintained to a large extent on international aid. The European Union provided the Police last year $1.2 million dollars as part of a donation. We have tried unsuccessfully to find out whether the European Union is going to continue contributing resources to the Police. We have spoken with the authorities at the highest level, and we have not been able to figure out the response. We do not understand what their position is. The responses of the European Union are ambiguous. We hope that the political debate that this report generates would force the bureaucrats of the European Union to make a clear and firm decision about suspending any type of financing for an entity that has stood out for its repressive conduct.

Press Release of the Governmentof National Unity and Reconciliation Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Nicaraguan Government with this press release states its position that it has fully  with the prisoner release commitment it made in the negotiating table with the Civic Alliance

Press Release of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:91258-nota-de-prensa-del-gobierno-de-reconciliacion-y-unidad-nacional ]

Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

United Nicaragua Triumphs

The Nicaraguan State makes known to our People and the International Community:

  1. That in the Session held on March 27 of this year 2019, through the Delegations present in the Negotiating Table, the Freedom was agreed of People involved in the violent events since April 20189, in accordance with agreed upon Lists.
  2. That these agreed upon Lists were turned in and reviewed with the Representatives in Nicaragua of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR).
  3. That the Apostolic Nuncio Mons. Waldemar Stanilaw Sommertag, Representative of His Holiness Pope Francis in Nicaragua, and Luis Angel Rosadilla, Special Adviser to the General Secretary of the OAS, were Witnesses of the Consensus around those Lists that were turned over to the CICR.
  4. That on Saturday, June 8, the National Assembly discussed and approved a Amnesty Law that made possible the liberation of all these People, on Monday and Tuesday June 10 and 11 this month of June, with the Commitment of No Repetition.
  5. That the Witnesses Luis Angel Rosadilla and Mons. Andrea Piccioni, in Representation of the Nuncio, as well as the Delegates of the CICR, participated, accompanying and verifying, as Observers of the liberation, in accordance with the agreed upon Lists. The CICR on Monday June 10, and all on Tuesday, June 11.
  6. That on reaching the date committed to by the Nicaraguan State and the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation, all these People enjoy Freedom, with the Commitment of Non Repetition, according to what is stipulated in the Amnesty Law No. 996.
  7. We the Nicaraguan State and the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation have complied with our People and the International Community, in accordance with the Commitments contracted that are explained in this Press Release.

Managua, June 18, 2019

Government of National Unity and Reconciliation

Will Ortega be able to stop the international sanctions?

This article published yesterday on the author´s blog, lays out the importance of the events of the coming days for the immediate future of the country. June 18th is the deadline the government agreed on for the release of all political prisoners, and June 21st is the date the Nica Act stipulated for Pompeo to report to Congress about whether the Nicaraguan government was progressing in respect for human rights and fighting corruption. Later this month there is also an important meeting of the representatives to the OAS that will also be looking at the government´s compliance with the agreements signed in the negotiations with the Civic Alliance.

Will Ortega be able to stop the international sanctions?

By Enrique Saenz, June 17, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://enriquesaenz.com/2019/06/17/podra-ortega-detener-las-sanciones-internacionales/ ]

We are starting a week with two dates that can set the path for the coming months. First, June 18th. This is the date set in the commitments in the negotiation table for the definitive liberation of all the hostages by the regime. There are still 89 people imprisoned. In addition, other commitments that the government signed are yet to be fulfilled, among them the full re-establishment of citizen rights and freedoms, including the freedom of the press and freedom to demonstrate.

The other date is June 21st. The time frame set by the NICA ACT when the the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, certifies before the US Congress whether the Ortega regime is carrying out effective steps in the direction of the following objectives:

  • Trial of those responsible for acts of corruption and money laundering
  • Trial of those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against humanity
  • Re-establishment of the rule of law, respect for the law, the separation of powers
  • Institutional reforms for holding early, free, transparent elections with independent international and national observation
  • The protection of civil and political rights.

This is what the NICA ACT sets out. For everyone it is clear what the reality is, but it is not overdoing it to highlight the following points:

Ortega has not taken one step to fight corruption. It is natural, he would have to put himself at the head of the list of those to be tried. Rather, he has sought how to conceal BANCORP, a financial institution constituted with oil aid funds for the purpose of moving capital.

Ortega has not taken one step to try those responsible for human rights violations and crimes against humanity. This is natural, he would have to put himself at the top of the list of those to be tried. Rather, using his servants in the National Assembly, he imposed an amnesty law with the intention of covering himself with a mantle of impunity. It is obvious that the trial of those responsible will only be possible with Ortega out of power.

Ortega has not taken one step to re-establish the Rule of Law and the separation of powers. Rather, he violates the law at will. And let us not even mention the separation of powers. He turned judges and magistrates into executioners, and subjugates from the most lofty hierarchs of the powers of the state to the last council members of the smallest municipality. The only law in force is the will of the monarch.

Ortega has not taken one step to re-establish citizen rights and freedoms. Rather he maintains a de facto state of siege; his para military groups publicly move about committing abuses with complete impunity; he fortified a police state and an environment of generalized repression. He continues the closure of communications media, non governmental organizations, and the usurpation of property.

Ortega has not taken one step for electoral reforms that would make it possible for early, free, legitimate, transparent elections observed by credible international organizations.

On these points there is no mystery for anyone. Now we will see what the Secretary of State reports to the Congress. And what maneuvers Ortega will come up with in the coming days.

On the other hand, what happens this week will have an influence, without a doubt, on the deliberations of the foreign ministers of the continent within the framework of the General Assembly of the OAS, to be verified in Colombia, starting on June 26.

To finish, two considerations. The renewal of the Negotiating Table will only make sense if Ortega fully complies with the commitments that he assumed, beginning by the re-establishment of citizen rights and freedoms.

Second. The individual sanctions on hierarchs of the regime for corruption and human rights violations have nothing to do with sovereignty and self determination. Just the opposite. The violations of international law and agreements signed by the State of Nicaragua have consequences that the ringleaders of the regime are fully aware of.

Let us hope then that the outcomes of the current week mark a step forward in the struggle for freedom, justice and democracy.

 

Message of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua to Priests, Religious, Lay Christian Faithful and all People of Good Will

This pastoral letter, a theological reflection on the Easter mystery in the current context in Nicaragua, also has clear political consequences. It was issued by the Nicaraguan Catholic Bishop´s Conference on May 1, 2019

Message of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua to Priests, Religious, Lay Christian Faithful and all People of Good Will

[see original Spanish document at https://twitter.com/CENicaragua/status/1123467920892420097/photo/1 ]

“Easter joy: key for reading the current country history”

“In this you will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another”

(John 13:35)

These words of Jesus Christ, that show the path that all those who want to be his disciples should follow, St. John Paul II used to say, are far too accurate to try to minimize their scope. Many things will be necessary for the historical path of the church in our time, but, if charity is missing, everything will be useless (cf. 1 Cor 13:2; cf NMI 42).

Our faith in Jesus Christ dead and resurrected for our salvation does not allow us to remain outside the events of the world, and for us, the cultural, political, economic, family and social situation of the country. Closing oneself selfishly in ones own comfort and, even worse, stoking feelings of hate among brothers and sisters, is not evangelical.

The Second Vatican Council teaches that the Christian message should not separate us from the construction of the world, nor lead us to be unconcerned about the common good; rather it obliges us to undertake all this as an obligation (cf. GS 34).

For this reason we note with pain how the suffering of the Nicaraguan family continues. Political prisoners, lack of respect for constitutional rights, exiles, refugees, people seeking asylum, poverty, unemployment, insecurity, conflict over land and their corresponding consequences for the displacement of families from the west to the Caribbean Coast of the country, invading fertile lands that historically the indigenous peoples have possessed, and those natural reserves like Indio Maíz and Bosawas, show that without the Presence of the God who has placed his tent among us, we do not have a future.

The Easter that we celebrate offers us the key for living the joy of hope, and teaches us how to inspire it in others. Forming and being formed for joy and hope is, without a doubt, an aspiration of all Nicaraguans. This hope is seen darkened by the sin from which Christ has come to free us with his death and resurrection. It is an arduous task to discover the path of easter joy and leading people and communities to produce the fruit of the Spirit which is joy according to the Gospel. The task is very demanding, because it implies taking the focus off oneself and placing the interests of others and the nation over ones own.

Moved by this joy of the hope which is embodied in the Risen One, we exhort all Nicaraguans to build:

  1. A Nicaragua where all of us are capable of achieving a vision of change that would lead to a qualitative transformation.

We are called to build a holistic concept of peace, and in this sense, construct a society where peace is lasting, just and coherent with the interests of all. The peace that flows from the Crucified-Resurrected One that remains in the face of the test of time and is not the object of short term arrangements. It is the peace that our country needs in order to not repeat a history of suffering, death, pain and agony. Only in this way will Nicaragua begin a new history without the burdens nor pacts of the past.

  1. A Nicaragua where the centrality of the human person and their dignity as children of God is assumed.

“…you have not received a spirit of slavery to go back again to fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as children” (Rm 8:15). This spirit creates the joy of freedom.

The exercise of freedom and the dignity of the human being is prior to the State. A modern and functional, ethical and moral State, has the obligation to protect, respect, promote and defend these rights, that are also prior to any social agreement. The State should be completely and holistically at the service of the human person, so that acts are never carried out that would affect this nucleus of values. It is then an imperative that in a society actions of repression and persecution should not exist, promoting rather a climate of unrestricted freedom and trust.

For this reason every person should be able to exercise their fundamental rights and public freedoms under the protection of the political constitution, laws and international treaties ratified in a sovereign way by Nicaragua. The freedom of people does not allow for timetables, nor conditions or bureaucratic excuses.

  1. A Nicaragua where we respect and strengthen democracy and its institution structure.

The life of the human being has meaning within the framework of democratic values, principles and institutions. We should not forget that respect for democracy should be inspired by the idea of strengthening the institutions and principles that are the basis for the rule of law: the supremacy of the law, division of powers and respect for human rights. This implies that the government structures are not an arbitrary power, nor the opportunity for apportionment of titles, perks and privileges.

We Nicaraguans must work to achieve a politics with ethical principles and at the service of the common good. Easter joy urges us to work for the construction of this historic project in order to steer us to the encounter with God. In this sense, this challenge becomes morally urgent, inescapable, without the delays that over time will be the causes of new and repeated vices. The dynamic of the process requires avoiding impasses that would be fatal for the country.

The independence of the branches of government provide stability in the exercise of power and the defense of the citizens. For no reason can only one branch of the State prevail over the rest.

In the case of the electoral branch it is important that in accordance with established norms, it be revamped in such a way that it be trustworthy and independent, so that a neutral, impartial and nationally and internationally observed electoral process might take place. Otherwise, free elections will not happen. The people are the true sovereign.

In the case of the administration of justice, it must be absolutely independent, impartial, professional and ethically imparted, outside of political, partisan and ideological designs. Without independent justice there is no freedom.

  1. A Nicaragua where the freedom of expression is exercised without restrictions.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (cf. John 1:14). Every principle of freedom of expression has its origins in the highest expression of God, who freely showed his love for humanity through the Word incarnate.

The freedom of the press and expression is a fundamental requirement for building a democratic order in Nicaragua, a modern and pluralistic state. Without freedom of expression all the other freedoms wither and end up perishing. It incarnates the power of the people to make pronouncements, denounce, access information and nourish themselves from the infinite exchange of ideas, opinions and positions. Freedom of expression, that sinks its roots in the Word made flesh, is a natural principle for the new order of freedoms and development to which the country aspires, shunning disinformation, slander, defamation and the love of scandals.

  1. A Nicaragua where peace is the fruit of justice.

Love and righteousness meet together; justice and peace kiss each other. Truth springs from the earth, justice looks down from heaven” (Psalm 85:11-12). For the Psalmist justice is like the rain that sprinkles the earth, and the fruit that emerges from it is truth. Truth will always be the path of justice.

In this moment of crisis we Nicaraguans are called to establish agreements on matters of justice that are lasting and respected, in such a way that we support every initiative of dialogue that is done with good will, and particularly the effort that the Holy See has been doing through the different messages that Pope Francis has sent us, and the presence of the Nuncio as International Witness and Accompanier. These agreements have to be laden with a profound ethical and moral sense, capable of revealing the story of the tragedy and pain of the victims. We must not forget that truth and justice kiss one another. This is the certainty that should guide our searches for new horizons in Nicaragua, which demand contemplating the truth about the facts, no impunity for the guilty, reparation and reinsertion of the victims and their families, as well as guarantees of no repetition. It is the only thing that can provide true security to the citizens. Only in this way can a country be morally constructed.

The exhortation of joy happens in the heart of a dramatic existence of Nicaragua which is experiencing a crucial moment in which it will have to define the bases of its future as a country, and its destiny as a nation. Rejoicing in the Lord or being joyful in the Lord entails a way of situating oneself in life, in the drama of existence. This has to be a constant of Christian character. Joy has to be the fruit of being rooted in Christ, in the dynamic of his humiliation and glorification. Because in spite of the contrary signs that we are experiencing, the Lord is at the door, close and active. It is not a matter of looking for routes of evasion in the face of the current situation, but addressing them from communion with Christ. In the same way that the resurrection is rooted in the night of the cross, so the energy and joy of the Christian will spring from communion with the sufferings of the Lord.

Let the Queen of Heaven, who rejoiced with the resurrection of her Son, while participating in his painful passion, intercede for us and make us participants in her joy.

Issued in the Offices of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, May 1, 2019 on the feast of St Joseph the Worker.

SEAL OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

SIGNATURES:

Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, President

Mons. Pablo Schmitz, OFM Cap., Bishop of the Diocese of Bluefields, Vice President

Mons. Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara, Bishop of the Diocese of Estelí, Secretary General

Mons. Roland José Álvarez Lagos, Bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, General Treasurer

Mons. Bosco Vivas Robelo, Bishop of the Diocese of León

Mons. David Zywiec Sidor OFM Cap., Bishop of the Diocese of Siuna

Mons. Sócrates René Sándigo Jirón, Bishop of the Diocese of Juigalpa

Mons. Jorge Solórzano Pérez, Bishop of the Diocese of Granada

Mons. Carlos Enrique Herrera Gutiérrez, Bishop of Jinotega

 

 

 

Police Attack the Most Crowded Way of the Cross in Nicaragua in a Holy Week Turned into Protest

In the agreement reached between the Government and the Civic Alliance on March 29 as part of the second National Dialogue, the government agreed to “ensure the right to concentration, demonstration and public mobilization”. This article shows how difficult it still is to practice these basic rights, and also the creativity of the people in exercising them during the events of Holy Week. The Nicaraguan public were surprised to learn right before the start of Holy Week – on April 10th – that the most eloquent bishop in critiquing the government response to the demonstrations – Mons. Silvio Báez – was suddenly called to Rome. 

Police Attack the Most Crowded Way of the Cross in Nicaragua in a Holy Week Turned into Protest

April 20, 2019 by Wilfredo Mirando Aburto and Carlos Herrera,

Published on UNIVISION website

[see original Spanish at https://www.univision.com/noticias/america-latina/la-policia-ataca-el-viacrucis-mas-concurrido-de-nicaragua-en-una-semana-santa-convertida-en-protesta ]

Holy Week has coincided with the first anniversary of the social and political crisis in Nicaragua. Citizens have taken advantage of the religious traditions to protest and circumvent the prohibition against political demonstrations. Nazarenes dressed in blue and white have been seen in the processions, crosses with the names of the victims of the repression, and children dressed as political prisoners. “A crucified people will always resurrect”, warned Bishop Silvio Báez.

Managua, Nicaragua.- The penitential way of the cross of Managua, one of the most popular in Semana Santa in Nicaragua, ended with a violent episode: the police attacked the faithful who attended the solemn procession not just to pray, but to protest against the government of Daniel Ortega and his repressive policies. The attack with pellets and flash bombs left at least two people wounded.

Holy Week has coincided with the first anniversary of the Nicaraguan social and political crisis that started April 18, 2018, when the citizenry took to the streets to protest against some failed reforms to social security. The traditions for the passion of Christ this year have been a syncretism of religious devotion and demands for justice and democracy.

The penitential way of the cross of Managua was one of the clearest scenarios of this convergence: thousands of people were carrying flags of Nicaragua and the Catholic Church, and alternated between shouts for libertarian slogans and the Lenten responsorials.

The Way of the Cross started at eight in the morning this Holy Friday. It went down the Carretera Masaya, the same avenue in Managua where many anti-governmental protests were held in 2018. During the entire trajectory mothers of political prisoners demanded freedom. Meanwhile the relatives of the youth murdered by the paramilitary and police repression carried on their backs wooden crosses, like Jesus in the procession, in representation of the impunity: of the 325 people murdered that human rights organizations documented, nearly 95% do not have judicial processes to investigate them.

The procession – that was presided by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes – took place normally until reaching the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua. After the Nazarene entered the Church, dozens of youth decided to continue protesting on the grounds of the church. A group went out to the platform of the Cathedral with wooden crosses and were immediately attacked by a police contingent.

Witnesses told UNIVISION news that the officers shot firearms in the air to chase them away, and immediately discharged metal and rubber pellets at them, as well as flash grenades. Two people were reported lightly wounded and some people fainted.

Hours after the incidents, the Police apportioned responsibilities for the aggression: “A group of hooded people, armed with stones, mortars and some firearms, tried to manipulate the way of the cross of the Cathedral”, they said in a press release disseminated by the spokesperson for the Sandinista government.

As of the publication of this article, more than a hundred of demonstrators and faithful continued trapped in the Cathedral of Managua. The police kept the area closed off. Members of the Civic Alliance (the opposition that is negotiating with the government) and people from the Catholic Church were trying to mediate to evacuate the people trapped in a safe way using buses. Another episode that recalls April 19, 2018, a year ago, when the police indiscriminately attacked young people entrenched in the Cathedral.

“Christ encountered Nicaragua with 500 people murdered”

Since Palm Sunday that starts Holy Week, Nicaraguans have taken advantage of the Catholic processions and traditions to protest against the government in the light of the lack of public spaces to do so. The Sandinista administration since September 2018 has maintained a zealous police state that violently dismantles any attempt at citizen protest. In the last month more than 150 people have been detained in street protests.

Citizens have taken advantage of the Holy Week processions to persevere in their demand for justice and democracy, because they feel protected with the Catholic Church. The demonstration this Holy Friday in Managua has been one of the largest in months.

Th Catholic Church, that has provided support “to the people in their demands” since April 2018, has opened the doors of their churches and allowed the traditions of the passion of Christ to be adorned with blue and white colors instead of the traditional Lenten purple.

Father Edwin Román, one of the emblematic figures of Catholicism during the protests while trying to mediate in the conflict, placed a flag of Nicaragua on the principal altar of the Church of San Miguel in Masaya. This parish commemorated Holy Week recalling the names of the 35 people killed from that city. Some of those demonstrators were killed in the parish itself and its surroundings. The bullet-ridden walls of the church are stony witnesses to the brutal repression suffered by Masaya for months in 2018.

“We are not experiencing a Holy Week the same as previous years,” pointed out Fr. Román to Univision news. “This Holy Week Christ encountered Nicaragua with 500 people murdered by this dictatorship, more than 800 political prisoners, hundreds of brothers and sisters in exile, families divided, more hunger and less jobs,” assured the pastor, who Sandinista sympathizers have physically attacked and accused of alcoholism to discredit him.

Mothers of those killed in Masaya joined the religious activities of San Miguel. Dozens of children were dressed in jail uniforms in the procession of the captives to demand the liberation of the political prisoners. And this Holy Friday in the penitential way of the cross, Fr. Román read every one of the names of the fatal victims of Masaya, while the faithful responded, “Present, present!”

“I pointed out this reality that we are experiencing and the struggle that we Nicaraguans have with this cross, but also the hope that afterwards Nicaragua is going to resurrect,” said the priest Román.

Nazarenes dressed in blue and white

In dozens of Nicaraguan cities the faithful and citizens also found other ways to express their protest. The most common was dressing Jesus of Nazareth in blue and white tunics, the color of the civic protest. It happened in parishes in Managua, colonial Granada, León and in the city of Tipitapa, where the adolescent Richard Pavón Bermúdez was murdered at the beginning of the protests in 2018.

In the diocese of Matagalpa, led by Bishop Rolando Álvarez, dozens of altar boys in their white and red tunics recalled young Sandor Dolmus, an altar boy of the diocese of León, who was killed by a paramilitary in June of 2018.

“In this historic moment we want to say with the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua: our greatest contribution as pastors of this church that is in pilgrimage in Nicaragua will continue being accompanying the people in their sufferings and grief, in their hopes and joys, and raising our prayers of intercession so that Nicaragua might find civilized and just paths toward a peaceful solution in light of the common good”, said Bishop Álvarez on Holy Thursday.

Another one of the expressions of protest in processions happened in the municipality of San Juan de la Concepción. The actors in the traditional Judea (representation of the Passion of Christ) dressed in blue and white. In the Judea of Masatepe, one of the participants painted on their dress the name of political prisoner Christian Porras. The night before, in the same city of Masatepe, during the silent procession they lit “600 candles for those who were killed” in the atrium of the church.

The masses in many churches this Holy Week have been impregnated with messages that have further heightened the courage of the faithful and citizens to continue demanding justice and democracy. The most emotional ceremonies have been those that the auxiliary bishop of Managua has officiated, Mons. Silvio Báez, who after the Easter celebrations will be transferred to Rome.

The transfer of Báez to Rome has been interpreted by believers and non believers as a “forced exile” due to his incisive critiques of the Sandinista regime over the massacre and lack of democracy. “He (Báez) is a stone in the shoe of the government”, assured the bishop of Estelí, Abelardo Mata. This Holy Week has been the send off for Monseñor Báez, one of the most popular and respected bishops. In one of his last masses, Báez left a phrase that was taken as prophetic by Nicaragua: “A crucified people will always resurrect.”

Excerpt of Speech by Daniel Ortega on the last day of the National Dialogue April 3, 2019, on receiving the credentials of 13 Ambassadors

When the National Dialogue was renewed on Feb 27 of this year, a deadline of March 28th was set for agreements to be reached, in light of the criticism that the government would only use the negotiations to buy time to prevent the implementation of sanctions from the OAS, European Union and the US due to serious human rights violations. By mutual agreement the deadline got extended to April 3, when agreements were still not reached on key issues, e.g. the Guarantors of the implementation of the Accords, and on moving up the elections. This speech was given by Daniel Ortega on the last day of the extended negotiations. We have only translated the last part of the speech where he refers to the national situation.

Excerpt of Speech by Daniel Ortega on the last day of the National Dialogue April 3, 2019, on receiving the credentials of 13 Ambassadors

[see original full speech at https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:88884-presidente-daniel-y-vicepresidenta-rosario-reciben-cartas-credenciales-3-de-abril-de-2019, as usual, capitals reflect the original]

…Well, we are committed to Peace. In all fields we are committed to Peace. We want Peace with Security, with Stability and free from the threat of the use of force. Because, what Country can develop in Peace if it is under the threat of the use of force? It is true, the United Nations has  a very clear Article which is a commitment of all of us Countries who are part of the United Nations, where we promise to not use force and to not threaten to use force either. We are all committed, but up to what point is this Principle followed?

All Nations, all Peoples need Peace to be able to confront the big challenges that we have. To be able to confront the damages from Climate Change, to be able to reforest, to be able to improve the conditions in our Countries, Peace is needed. If there is no Peace, it is simply not possible to build a Highway, to plant trees, or strengthen the Hydrographic Basins. It is not possible! In a situation of confrontation, of violence, of war, there are no conditions for that. There is more destruction.

If we go Country by Country we are going to find all over the need for Peace. Because even those countries that are not directly involved in acts of war, in acts of violence, in acts of aggression also suffer the impact of an environment that also threatens Stability: Terrorism. What is more terrible than Terrorism! And in our Region, Drug trafficking, Organized Crime, which is another form of Terrorism that threatens Security, the Stability of our Nations.

Then, the pressure that generates migrants, migrants even risk their Lives, not because they want to go to enjoy, but because they want to survive, and do not find in their space, in their places, in their Countries the conditions to be able to survive. And migration is nothing more than the search, with complete logic, with complete Justice, to improve their Life conditions of Families who find themselves closed up in zones where they are easily victims of Terrorism, of the different forms of Terrorism that exist in the World, and they have the Right, in desperation, to find these Paths.

Before there was the big immigration that arrived in America from Europe, but not to benefit the Original Peoples who were the owners of those Lands; it was a big immigration that arrived in search of Wealth. With so much more reason we should understand the behavior, the attitude of the Peoples who in Africa and here in Latin America and the Caribbean, and above all in the Region of Central America, Mexico, in this Mesoamerican Zone, seek the path to the North, with the Hope of improving their Life conditions.

A Solution to this problem exists, of course it exists! Just as also a solution exists to what is a Policy of Contention to stop the advance of Global Warming. They exist and are well marked, the decisions, commitments, investments that need to be done, because investments need to be made to save Life on the Planet.

Likewise, migration demands investments. Why? So that the Peoples that find themselves in conditions of greater exclusion, greater poverty, can insert themselves, can culturally strengthen themselves, can have the tools to fight Poverty, but this demands investment.

And this is not a matter of- take note here- aid, it is not aid! It is simply an investment, because if we do not want currents, rivers of People going to Europe, going to North America, then you have to invest so that current is stopped, taking into account that these Peoples come from Continents, Zones that have been historically excluded, that have been historically dispossessed, expropriated, their Wealth, their Resources confiscated, and it is nothing more than a small compensation, that in this case is not simply a matter of compensation or restitution, but also stopping the flow of immigration that they feel threatens them.

And you know, Dear Brother and Sister Ambassadors, that here in Central America, in Mesoamerica, from Colombia to the United States, there is a path of horror and terror that has to do with the fact that there is a large market of consumers of drugs in North America, and this encourages and feeds the production of drugs in South America, and makes we the Peoples victims who are on the path where this drug is transported from South to North.

It makes us victims of Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, Gangs, all of which is multiplying, simply to satisfy the demand of drug consumers in the First World, in the North; and moving also part of those drugs to other Regions of the Planet. But in particular we have the problem here, and we have to invest from our limited resources to fight Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime, keep the Gangs from being installed here.

We have the smallest Budget in the Region. We have the smallest Budget of all of Latin America and the Caribbean here in Nicaragua, but with a great effort we have been able to stop here what could be the presence, the control of Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime.

We have been able to defend the Safety Record of the Nicaraguan People. We have achieved Economic Growth that is the envy of all of Latin America and the Caribbean until the month of April last year, where, well, there was an explosion of Terror, Terrorism, which was manifested with complete clarity after an action aimed at overthrowing the Government, and this brought as a logical consequence a threat to Security, Stability, Peace and Well being, to the levels that Nicaragua had achieved in the fight against Poverty. A conspiracy!

And, always seeking the Path of Dialogue, seeking the Path of Dialogue, once more seeking the Path of Dialogue to achieve Security, Stability, Peace. We tried it once. It was frustrated. We are trying it again. Progress is being achieved, Agreements are being achieved, but there are always the forces that do not want Peace, that do not want Stability for Nicaragua.

Those forces are always there. It is normal, in all parts of the World these forces exist, extremist forces that burst in, threatening Well Being, Stability, and not just Countries like Nicaragua, but that also are threatening the Stability and Security of Developed Countries.

Extremist, radical attitudes are taking positions with terrorist, fascist discourse, and we are in that Fight, seeking Peace, seeking Stability, without ignoring that in our Region we are not the only ones who are in this Fight, Brother Peoples find themselves also confronting what this aggression is, what this destabilization is.

Cuba, an already blockaded Country, and a blockade that is intensified against Cuba in these Times, in spite of the fact that in the General Assembly of the United Nations there is now 1 vote left, 2 votes, in favor of the blockade. The immense majority of Nations, the States vote there that the blockage against Cuba be lifted.

Against Venezuela it is an aggression against a Country, a State that has not done any damage to any State, any Latin American People, much less the US People.

What was the sin of Venezuela, the sin of Commandante Chavez and now of Nicolas to provide continuity? Simply carrying out Programs to benefit Countries with greater difficulties, with more Economic-Social fragility in our Region, opening their hand to all.

Even taking free Energy to North American Families, so that they could provide themselves with a little heat in cold times, that they would not die from the cold. Because  in the United States there are people who die from the cold because they are in Poverty. What Darío saw when he went through New York still exists, and which led him to write: “50 story homes…” seeing the enormous buildings of that time, and along with that he said: Under the bridges and in the streets there are people, my God, that are dying from the cold, and what is even sadder, my God, from pain, pain, pain…! That is what Darío saw when he traveled.

And to these Families, who the US Government itself did not provide coverage, Venezuela brought them programs; and let us not even mention the amount of Programs here in the Caribbean Region, in exchange for what? In exchange for nothing! Unconditionally!

There are situations that really cause also a lot of pain, when they are examples that should be taken, should be followed. And we recognize that on the part of the International Community that has this Sensibility, this Responsibility, there are Programs, and there continue to be Programs toward Countries that find themselves in very fragile conditions. Programs, for what purpose? To provide tools to these Countries to get out of Poverty.

Alongside them are those who think rather that all type of Aid has to be withdrawn, and this simply is what is going to make the problem even larger, the problems bigger.

Today that we have received you, Dear Ambassadors, we have given you a welcome in the name of our People, recognizing the Good Will of all of you. We had the opportunity, I would say the privilege of knowing many of your Leaders, your Governors, of visiting your Countries, Developed Countries in Europe as well as Developing Countries in Asia and other Regions of our Planet, and there we always found the Principle of Solidarity, which is a determining factor to be able to work for Peace.

And well, I now tell you, here we are making one more effort for Peace, Agreements have now been able to be made, always a Negotiation is complex; the terms of this Negotiation really are a true challenge because it is a short term which was established for this Negotiation to arrive at Agreements. We hope that the disposition, the Will might exist, as has been demonstrated in this Negotiation Table, that also that same Willingness might exist of the external factors who really need that Nicaragua completely re-establish Stability, Security, Peace, that Democracy be strengthened. And there are those who do not want this to happen.

But I am sure that, taking into account the Will of our People, of the immense majority of Nicaraguans, is Peace, beyond the Political, Ideological Positions and Religious Creeds. I am sure that we are achieving it and I am sure that you, with your Peoples, with your Governments, you are also accompanying this effort for Peace in Nicaragua.

Welcome, in the name of Peace!