Category Archives: Nicaragua Demonstrations

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.

 

President Daniel Ortega: We have a commitment to make the Interoceanic Canal a Reality in Nicaragua

President Daniel Ortega: We have a commitment to make the Interoceanic Canal a Reality in Nicaragua

Published in El 19 Digital Aug 13, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:93076-presidente-daniel-ortega-tenemos-el-compromiso-de-hacer-realidad-el-canal-interoceanico-en-nicaragua ]

Comandante Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, stated that he has the historical commitment with the people of Nicaragua to make the Great Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua a reality, in declarations offered during the event of the 39th anniversary of the founding of the Naval Force.

He highlighted that this project has not been abandoned, and that it would provide more development to the country and improve the living conditions of the people.

“We have not abandoned it, on the contrary historically we have the commitment to the Nicaraguan people to make the canal a reality for Nicaragua,” stated comandante Daniel Ortega.

Likewise he stated that work has been done and that it is in a new phase of once again preparing the environmental studies that had already been presented, but that had to have adjustments made.

“We are not talking about a work that is going to come in to affect, to do damage, rather it comes in to strengthen global commerce, and give Nicaragua a source of resources that would allow Nicaragua to provide better development, better growth and therefore improve the economic conditions of all Nicaraguan families. This is what I wanted to recall, because all of a sudden then, because we have not spoken much about the canal in these times, recall that our commitment is to continue working for the construction of the Canal through Nicaragua”, certified the Nicaraguan leader.

This was stated by comandante Daniel after highlighting that the idea of the Interoceanic Canal was the product of historical and current studies that endorsed the national and world economic necessity of having a new maritime path that would shorten the distance between the continents.

On addressing the issue of the Great Canal, the Nicaraguan leader indicated that the Great Canal Project is “a project that has the backing of the immense majority of Nicaraguans.”

A history marked by ambition

At that moment he showed documents that mentioned that the President of the United States at that time, Stephen Grover Cleveland, addressed the US Congress to submit the studies done by engineers of the Navy of that nation about the viability of this construction work.

They did it along the route that at that time was considered the natural route for the canal, which was entering through the Rio San Juan, crossing through the lake and making a 14 kilometer cut through the isthmus of Rivas to arrive at Brito (…), they did the study. Did they ask the permission of the people of Nicaragua? No, simply the decision was that the United States needed a canal and they had set their eye on Panama and Nicaragua, because they were the points that showed the best conditions to be able to build the canal, and which had already in fact functioned as a canal during the gold rush in the United States, where thousands of families from the east coast traveled to the west coast crossing US territory running thousands of risks, dangers, there was still indigenous resistance, there were bandits, robbers, deserts. So they started very clever US enterprises, an enterprise of Cornelius Vanderbilt was begun, he said here is the opportunity, really with a great vision as a businessman he organized the transit route through Nicaragua, and the boats with passengers left from New York heading toward the small port that existed in the Rio San Juan”, recalled comandante Daniel.

Indicating that on arriving in San Juan de Nicaragua they would travel the Rio San Juan, and then in Brito were awaited by other ships to take them to California.

Nicaragua a strategic point

“Thousands of North Americans crossed through Nicaragua and another route was also opened through Panama, more to the south. The Nicaragua route was more to the north, closer, but the fact is that already before, since the Spanish arrived to take over these lands and impose their cultures and exploit the original population, the indigenous, already before a fight had begun with the British. Because the British wanted to take over Nicaragua and why? If here there were not large amounts of gold, which is what the colonizers most looked for at that time, nor silver? Because the British as well as the Spanish used to say very clearly in those years: they would say that the nation that dominates this route through Nicaragua is going to dominate all of Latin America, they saw it as a point for global expansion throughout the region. At that time, the United States still did not have all the potential to influence as later it did, and the clash was between the Spanish and the British”, laid out the president.

He highlighted the fact that at that time the two superpowers fought one another over our territory, which did not belong to them.

“Who had given them Nicaragua? Ah, but they were fighting over Nicaragua and Nicaraguans subjected to a war between empires. Later the United States came in and William Walker came in the period of the transit route, but Walked came with other ideas, he was interested in taking over Central America to seize Mexico, and then install again the power of the racists, the [white] supremacists in the United States. Walker belonged to the forces from the United States who had been defeated, who did not admit the defeat, and those who brought Walker here thought that they were bringing in a mercenary, and they did not realize that they were bringing in a racist ideologue, [white] supremacist and suddenly he named himself president of Nicaragua and began to shoot those who had brought him, and the battle against Walker got started”, he recalled.

Interoceanic Canal was not a crazy idea

On returning to the topic of the document presented by Cleveland, he highlighted the fact that the studies confirmed that building an interoceanic canal through Nicaragua was not any crazy idea, and that was confirmed by the confrontation between Spain and England over wanting to dominate the route to make themselves owners of the path “and then the United States now as a state with their troops intervening in Nicaragua, occupying Nicaragua, imposing a treaty on Nicaragua so that Nicaragua could not make any concession with another country. It was the time in which the United States would say, as they like to repeat today, ‘America for the United States´ Why? Because they did not want the competition from Europe. So, it was a time in which the United States was entering, they reached agreements with the British, and finally, we are talking about the year 1889 in the month of February when president Grover Cleveland turns over the studies [on the canal] to Congress.”

We have not abandoned the canal

He showed the maps of the studies done by the US navy engineers over several years and which were presented to Congress, who discussed the issue, saying that the canal would be built through Panama.

“This is chock-full , the studies are complete, a complete study and were the Nicaraguan people consulted perhaps? Was it done perhaps out of a minimal level of respect, was an agreement done to do this and the people taken into account? No. Simply the studies were done, and then where the canal would pass through were discussed then in Washington, there in the United States, whether through Panama or through Nicaragua, without asking the Panamanian people, and without asking the Nicaraguan people, they making the decision there in Washington”, he said.

At this point he highlighted that Nicaragua, the Sandinista Government, has not abandoned this project.

He recalled that in an encounter of presidents of Central America with the then president Barack Obama in Costa Rica, he talked informally about the topic.

“We were standing talking, before sitting down to start the formal meeting. The issue of the canal was already there, the agreement of Nicaragua, the canal authority had already been constituted. So the Costa Rican authorities with their typical usual practice of always picking fights with Nicaragua, were there raving against the canal, they were yelling every day, we were not responding. Every day they were yelling, insulting us, but we had nothing to gain to be yelling back, simply it has to be done- we were saying. And the president of Costa Rica was there, president Obama, (…) president Martinelli was there, the Central American presidents were there, and let´s say that I was interested in seeing how they would react to mentioning the issue of the Canal, and I said to president Obama: `President, the studies are already beginning for the construction of a Canal through Nicaragua´. He was listening. `…we are working on them with a Chinese company, and the Chinese company is interested in the entire world participating in this construction project, particularly US companies, European companies, Russian companies, in other words, that the international community participate. Why? Because the cost of the construction project is very high and logically the company needs to organize a large financial fund to be able to carry out this construction work”`, he said.

In this encounter Obama was listening, and even though he did not comment, president Daniel Ortega said to the then president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, that Costa Rica should not be concerned because the Canal would not be built through the route of the Rio San Juan, for being a zone rich in forests and wetlands and the environment must be protected and not damaged.

So work is being done- he said – so that the canal route might be toward the north far from the border with Costa Rica, therefore you have no reason to be concerned, so president Chinchilla did not say anything, she made no comment, I simply explained that the canal was not going to pass through the Rio San Juan which was the big concern that they expressed, when I was finishing, Obama says to president Martinelli who is where Panama canal is, `We support the canal through Nicaragua. We are not concerned, we do not see it as competition that is going to hurt us, we believe rather that is something beneficial´; in other words, it is an attitude that is rational because really the canal through Panama is the only route that we have currently for crossing, and in spite of the fact that the canal through Panama was enlarged, there are always lines [waiting] to be able to pass through it, because every day the maritime traffic gets larger, so it provides a place for a canal to be opened up through Nicaragua, and there would be two paths, if one highway is congested, well, it is expanded, and if expanded it still continues congested, the need to build another highway is normal, and in this case it is a matter of opening the canal through Nicaragua which is not our idea. Because all of a sudden this issue of a canal through Nicaragua is presented as if it were our idea, that occurred to us because we are Sandinistas, because we are revolutionaries it occurred to us that a canal needs to be built through Nicaragua, when since the arrival of the superpowers in America the fight began over the canal through Nicaragua”, he concluded.

 

The Strategy of Termites

The current FSLN administration  promotes itself as a pro-poor government, and rallies its supporters with the threat that the current opposition would not be as beneficial to the poor as the FSLN is. Yet this recent post by a key analyst in exile examines the economic policies that have resulted in ever increasing  inequalities  in Nicaraguan society  after 11 years of FSLN rule. He then goes on to address the current political struggle.

An interesting aside is to note the similarities just between the economic policies as such applied  here with the economic policies implemented in the US since the 1980s.

The Strategy of Termites

By Oscar René Vargas, July 30, 2019 published by Las Mesa Redonda, online magazine

[See original at Spanish at http://lamesaredonda.net/la-estrategia-de-las-termitas-oscar-rene-vargas/?fbclid=IwAR17AJ0Py30oYAbN_k3l2ir-BX2e_z7XQrywKmidnDqB9xtJiu3-UWjLzMs ]

 

  1. The waves of the sea grow gradually, they can be impressive in size, reach a maximum and then they fade away. One wave follows the next and so on. Social and political waves do not have the same regularity as those of the ocean. But in the present and the foreseeable future it is probable that we might have new social and political waves; lived social experiences do not die, they revive.
  2. In spite of being a country with a lot of natural wealth (minerals, water resources, forests, an extensive coastline on both oceans and enough agricultural land to feed its inhabitants), more than 50% of the population is found in conditions of poverty, the problem is that the distribution of wealth is very unequal.
  3. Wealth combines physical assets (buildings, cars, home goods and the other articles that individuals possess), as well as financial assets (bank deposits and financial investments), distributed in an unequal way.
  4. Nicaragua is a society where inequity predominates, with “unfocused” social spending that does not promote equity. The regressivity is the product of fiscal transfers in favor of large capital. Taxes are reduced and the capacity of large capital to evade them is increased.
  5. In Nicaragua the tax system is inefficient, generates a low level of collection – which limits social investment, maintains many subsidies to capital, and to sum it up, is unfair.
  6. In recent decades (1990-2019) the banking and financial sectors established their control over the economy. Transactions and investments were made and are made more and more to the image and likeness of the circulation of financial capital.
  7. The cycle of productive capital was more and more subordinated to the dictates of the interests of the banking sector. And the priorities of macroeconomic policy became a simple reflection of the needs of the banks and other agencies of the financial sector.
  8. Among the measures that constitute the basis for the economic model adopted by the regime is the indiscriminate promotion of large investment, which occupies a privileged place. Reality does its best to debunk the idea that any investment promotes growth and the distribution of wealth.
  9. The regime promotes, authorizes and supports agroindustrial, mining, logging or housing projects without taking into account the negative impact that they can have on the equilibrium of ecosystems, destruction of forests, water pollution, aquifer recharge areas, and the undesirable consequences derived from altering things.
  10. Insecurity, corruption and the repression of the regime are blocking productive investment, which has a negative repercussion on social investment or spending.
  11. Social spending or investment is slanted against the population with less resources, and principally benefits the wealthiest 10% of the population, who need it the least.
  12. Average capital yield in recent years has been higher than the increase in the minimum salary and the median nominal wage per worker. That is why we have growing inequality in income distribution.
  13. There is profound inequity in asset ownership that has a negative impact on income distribution. More wealth implies more income and viceversa, principally among those whose receipts come from income from property.
  14. The Somoza and Ortega-Murillo dictatorships were and are exclusive, and their policies have created strong authoritarian states that, in addition, have interest in keeping the population from knowing one another, communicating with one another, and mixing with one another, and on the contrary, do everything possible to turn their neighbor into a potential enemy.
  15. To organize those who authoritarian society and the dominant ideology do everything possible to keep as isolated individuals opposed to their peers, it is important to start from what is local, where people know one another well and interact, and where they have more security and trust.
  16. The governing caste is systematically destroying the economy of the country; it is wiping out the cream of the population and leading us toward a catastrophe.
  17. The regime promotes the political opportunism of the traditional politicians, which consists in passive adaptation to the regime and the parasitical nomenclature.
  18. It is clear that brutal social justices remain in the country, along with poverty, overabundance, unending increase in inequalities, the independence of institutions is ended, the lives of “those below” did not improve, sectors of the middle class were impoverished, and it is evident that the country exists immersed in a corrupt sea.
  19. The Ortega-Murillo regime did not transform the State, it went backwards in terms of human rights, did not progress in transforming the production model, there is an absence of fiscal transparency, many decisions are concentrated in few hands, the concentration of wealth was promoted, and for this reason it is not possible to provide continuity to the current model, a change in direction is needed.
  20. The democratic struggle against the dictatorship is a labyrinth and complex fight. It is important to begin from the cracks in the Ortega-Murillo regime, widen them, plant seeds in them, directly apply solutions to the small and large difficulties that arise in the fight against the dictatorship.
  21. At this point, the most reliable gamble of the regime aims at wanting to negotiate directly and only with the United States. For now it is only a gamble, a game of representiveness. There is an asymmetry between desire and reality.
  22. The crux of the democratic struggle consists in how to pave the way to defeating the dictatorship, how to find a way that would make the triumph of the social movements easier, how to mobilize the masses at each specific moment that would allow for the end of the regime. Finding the bridge that would allow the ebb tide to move to the second social wave; that is the task.
  23. It cannot be forgotten that one of the keys to politics resides in knowing how to correctly manage different moments. The most important part of a negotiation is listening to what is not said; to do so, an a prior analysis and strategy are needed.
  24. As known, the strategy of termites is based on their collective and coordinated action, which allows them to reach the point of eating up the structure of a house until making it uninhabitable or causing its collapse.
  25. The challenge of the social movements is to act like termites, collective and coordinated action, to defeat the dictatorship.

San José/Costa Rica, July 30, 2019.

 

The Complaint of the Exiles: National Strike and More Representation

This is an account of the incident among Nicaraguan exiles in a meeting on July 28, 2019 in Costa Rica from the viewpoint of one of the panelists, Félix Maradiaga, whose NGO was also intervened and closed down by the Nicaraguan government in Dec 2018.

The Complaint of the Exiles: National Strike and More Representation

By Félix Maradiaga, July 29, 2019 published in Confidencial

[see original Spanish at https://confidencial.com.ni/el-reclamo-de-los-exiliados-paro-nacional-y-mas-representatividad/# ]

A description behind the “bitter episode” of the encounter among Nicaraguan exiles and members of the Civic Alliance and the National Unity in Costa Rica.

This Sunday the organization Hagamos Democracia (as a member of the Blue and White National Unity) organized a conversation with people in exile in Costa Rica and members of the Civic Alliance and the National Unity.

I was invited to the panel composed by several invitees, among whom were Violeta Granera, Edwin Carcache, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Medardo Mairena, Mónica López, Ana Quirós, Max Jerez, José Pallais, Mario Arana and Luciano García (I hope I did not forget anyone). In what follows I lay out in summary fashion the evolution of this activity, which was pretty complicated:

At the beginning of the meeting, a group of exiles entered, very upset because they had not been invited. They demanded to be present at the same time that they said that they did not feel represented by the Alliance.

Luciano García, president of Hagamos Democracia, trying to accommodate, explained to them that he apologized, but the invitation was limited because the capacity of the hall was limited to 120 people. After a heated discussion, that I am sure you have seen in the social networks, Luciano spoke with the manager of the place so that they would accept going beyond the original capacity of the room.

Thus it was that the activity began, through a long session of questions and answers. In total more than 300 people remained in the room.

The questions and strong complaints on the part of a group of attendees revolved around the following issues:

  • Demand for a national strike and plan for civil disobedience
  • Emergency plan to meet the need for food, health care and jobs for the exiles.
  • A plan for the safe return of those in exile.
  • The establishment of a formal and democratically elected representation of the exiles in Costa Rica. Several attendees said that they did not feel represented.
  • More unity among the opposition
  • Representation of other sectors on the negotiating table (for example, peasants and mothers of victims).
  • Electoral reform
  • Primary elections for choosing candidates
  • Participatory preparation of a nation plan, etc.

(I am sure that I have forgotten some issues).

It is clear that the community of exiles in Costa Rica is very upset and have enormous needs that have not been met. I want to be the first to admit that we have not been able to provide an adequate response to the brothers and sisters in exile. That is why I understand the tone of anger and complaint on the part of a good part of the attendees. Other incidents occurred, however, of physical violence among the exiles, that indicate to us that we still must work to build a culture of civility and democracy.

For nearly three hours an effort was made to respond with transparency. Nevertheless, the meeting ended abruptly when two small groups of attendees began to argue among themselves over internal differences that I did not understand well. The discussion ended in an regrettable way, when some people from the audience came to blows against one another. The situation did not lead to anything more, but it left behind a very bitter taste.

I feel sad at seeing the violence among the exiles themselves. I understand the level of tension that is experienced in Costa Rica, but nothing justifies the use of fists when we want to build a nation in freedom.

In spite of this bitter episode, I reiterate the commitment to continue making the greatest human effort from my small trenches to achieve a quick departure of the dictatorship, who is the true adversary. We are not going to rest until we see a free Nicaragua.

May God bless Nicaragua!

 

 

“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.

 

Homegrown fascism is what Nicaragua has

This is an important current assessment given the background of the author, his intimate knowledge of Daniel Ortega, and touches on a number of important and sensitive topics: the role of the military, US and big business in the current crisis. 

Homegrown fascism is what Nicaragua has

Interview of Julio López Campos by Julián Navarrete

In the Sunday supplement “Domingo”, July 7, 2019

Julio López Campos never imagined that the boy he met more than 50 years ago as a student leader would be responsible for a massacre in Nicaragua. In this interview it is the first time that he will call him by his full name: Daniel Ortega, because forever he has simply been “Daniel”, that untiring student leader who went from neighborhood to neighborhood, and who had so much trust in him that he did not need intermediaries to talk to him, and many times he welcomed him into his home after his speeches on July 19th, the day on which is celebrated the triumph of the Popular Sandinista Revolution in the country.

Along with Daniel Ortega, López Campos was the person responsible for the international policies of the Sandinista Front. Even during the internal division of the party at the beginning of the nineties, he led the movement that made Daniel Ortega secretary of the party. He had a lot of differences with him that led him to break relations in the year 2000, based on the pact that the current president of Nicaragua made with ex president Arnoldo Alemán, the strongman of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC).

“But after he became a criminal, they have no name for me”, says López Campos in this interview, where based on his knowledge of Ortega he analyzes the future political scenarios for the country.

How can we define the regime in Nicaragua?

In previous years we used to debate whether this was an authoritarian regime or a dictatorship. The alliance between Daniel Ortega and big capital made it difficult for the big business owners to accept that this regime was a dictatorship. They even found a very charming formula to describe it: “responsible populism.” Nevertheless that discussion ended with the events of April. Then everyone began to say unanimously that we are facing a dictatorship.

Do you believe that it is a dictatorship?

I want to go a little bit further. Because with the passage of time and seeing things in our country, it is essential to confirm that we are facing a version of homegrown fascism. I am completely convinced and can demonstrate it.

Why?

We have all the traces of fascism, except for one element: the backing of big capital, and even that is yet to be seen. Outside of that factor, you have all the elements of political theory to describe it as fascist.

How can this be explained?

Never in the history of Nicaragua have two people (Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega) controlled and made decisions about the entire apparatus of the State of Nicaragua. This is not an authoritarian regime. A new phenomenon has developed here in recent years: a small group has appropriated the rights of the entire society. Here there is no possibility that the workers might organize in an independent manner, nor on their own account, that they might demand salary increases, there are no strikes, no freedom of expression. Here the possibilities for independent media have been confiscated. Here no candidate can criticize the regime because they will be taken prisoner. We are in a regime of ongoing terror. There is no judicial mandate, no time frame for a house search, to harrass you.

Are you saying that this transformation has developed over recent years?

The crisis was what removed the veil and allowed us to see the nature of the regime in a transparent way. For example, many of us had differences of an economic and political nature with Ortega. But when the mass murders began, when the regime of terror began, because here it is not only the Police, here there is a very powerful paramilitary apparatus that is at play around intelligence work, creating panic among the people. These are the forces that contribute to the abductions, and serve as witnesses in the political trials. In other words, there is a terror apparatus here that can only be described as fascist.

Last year, during the harshest part of the crisis, you said that Daniel Ortega felt comfortable. Did he prevail in the end?

My statement seemed very harsh to some. But the truth is that Daniel Ortega showed that he was in his element, and later events confirmed what I said at that time. What I mean to say is that we have become familiar with the development, the expansion of this regime even taking it to fascism. And that cannot be resolved at a negotiating table.

And how will it be resolved?

This is a problem that the Nicaraguan nation has to resolve, and there is only one way: defeating it, overthrowing it, or by the insubordination of the people, as it was on the point of doing last year, or through the ballot box, but it has to be overthrown and destroyed.

How effective can the 75 day resolution be, that the Organization of American States (OAS) set for the government to negotiate?

These points are important. Not so much because they come from the OAS, but because they strengthen the position of the Civic Alliance. The issue is that there were already two accords that they had achieved: complete liberation of prisoners and the recovery of freedoms. And the Alliance got up from the table until these two agreements were fulfilled. So the Alliance would have to begin its strategy for negotiating from there.

Do you think Daniel Ortega has made concessions during these months?

Ortega was left no other alternative than to take the steps that he did. And the truth that it was a victory for the people of Nicaragua to have seen these compatriots leave the jails. That is a partial victory, because Daniel had to give in. This shows us that it is possible that things can be obtained from the dictator by way of strength. Because you have to be honest, those who had the highest profile of resistance to the fascist regime were the political prisoners. They behaved as heroes in the jails, as great patriots. This resistance we have still not finished assessing, but it was the resistance in the jails that made all of us outside ashamed if we were not doing something for them to be released. So that is a victory of the heroism of the prisoners. Notice that none of the prisoners has been coopted by the dictatorship, all of them left jail with a patriotic strength, one of surprising challenge and struggle.

Can this peaceful revolution that emerged in April overthrow a dictatorship?

I believe that in the campaigns of April we were just steps away. We only needed a slogan, which I am not going to say today, to achieve that objective.

People are going to ask…

Really there was hesitation in that circumstance to advance in the correct direction. But there is certainly no doubt that Nicaraguans conserve the political awareness of the need to change things. They are only waiting for the moment to unleash it. And I can enumerate tons of examples where the strength of the opposition is much stronger than that of the Sandinista Front. What happens is that the regime of terror does not allow that political awareness to be exteriorized. That is why it is vital that the Civic Alliance does not sit down to negotiate if democratic liberties have not be recovered. Because are you going to negotiate with empty streets? The only thing you are going to do is expose yourself.

How do you evaluate the behavior of big business?

They completely showed us that democracy is something dispensable. That what is really important is economic stability, capital accumulation and profits. Now they know that Ortega will not be the same factor for stability. There is the uncertainty. Next to the interest of big business was the interests of the US government. It worked for US policy, and that is why 11 years went by in absolute tranquility because of the alliance with the business people and the willingness of Washington. So both are concerned about stability. They could negotiate bilaterally with Ortega. That is why we Nicaraguans need to pay attention, because there can be no thing more terrible and more dramatic than they impose stability on us over the blood and sacrifice of so many Nicaraguans.

Do you think there could be a new negotiation of the business people with Ortega?

I think that big capital is attracted to stability. Because they can only exist if they think about their own interests, and that is a threat, a vulnerability of the process in which we find ourselves. That is why they say in the streets “only the people will save the people”. Because there is awareness about this risk, because they did it for 11 years.

You recently wrote an article about the behavior of the Army in this context, but a year ago you told La Prensa that you were giving them “a vote of confidence”. What role should this institution currently play?

For years I have said that the Army is a condition for peace in Nicaragua. Now I am not so sure. With complete responsibility we should ask ourselves whether under the administration of General Avilés that apartisan army that had been built since the nineties was buried. I want to bring attention to this delicate situation. The other thing is when the outcome of the crisis it talked about, the Army is almost not mentioned. I think that you would have to be naïve to think that there could be a conclusion to the crisis without the participation of the Army, either on the side of the people, or on the side of the regime. And it is important to be building bridges so that at the right time, with the appropriate resources and means, the Army might act for the people.

That moment has not arrived?

Not yet I think. But it will have to come…

In the worst of the crisis, many people requested the operation of the Army to disarm the paramilitaries. Why would it have to act now that there is relative tranquility?

What I have no doubt about is that there are others who are working on the Army, from inside and outside the country. That is why popular sectors have to think seriously about looking how to build bridges to the Army as well. There is no way to resolve a crisis of this magnitude without the military factor. There is no way.

Are you proposing a military coup?

I do not know what the circumstances will be that might take place…

You worked very closely with Daniel Ortega. How was your relationship?

I was responsible for the international policy, and as you could imagine, I was with Daniel on all his trips. But since we had also known one another as boys, obviously we knew one another well. In political terms we had an absolutely close relationship. It was known that many times after the July 19th speech, Daniel came to our house many times. But we broke with him when he made the pact with Alemán.

Did you imagine that Daniel Ortega would unleash this repression?

Never. That is why I tell you, I had differences that led to a political rupture. But that was one thing, and another thing is what happened…Well, to help you understand, this is the first interview that I am not talking about “Daniel” but “Daniel Ortega”. Because for me it is difficult to say his full name. For me he was “Daniel”, but since he turned into a criminal, I cannot call him that. Because in addition I saw the repression. For me it is unacceptable. He does not have God´s forgiveness.

Ortega says that a coup attempt against him occurred. Is his reaction not justified from that point of view?

No there is none, there is no possible justification. For my work in the revolution I went to Cuba numerous times, and I had nearly a relationship of friendship with Fidel Castro. I can tell you that in Havana once a complicated situation of insubordination occurred in several neighborhoods, with reason because the shortages there are diabolical. Do you know what Fidel Castro did? He went to that place, stopped three blocks before and told his bodyguards to stay behind. He went ahead alone just with two of them, disarmed. It was at night  and he went to confront the people. He spent hours there talking with the people, but he really came through. They could have killed him, and in the end he resolved it. So in one written piece I said to him, “Daniel, Fidel Castro taught you how to deal with such situations. You have no justification for ordering people to be killed.” Sharpshooters were used with the idea that killing 10 or 11 would stop this thing. That is why they were used. And obviously La Chayo (popular nickname for Rosario Murillo) was involved in this. Another person that I do not mention, I never mention her.

Did you not have a relationship with her?

No, because she had no power. She was simply the wife of Daniel. In the trips we did have to be traveling together in the same plane, but I never related to her very much. In addition at that time she had a very strange way of dressing that made me uncomfortable. And luckily I made a distinction between personal issues and political ones. In other words, my closeness with Daniel Ortega was political. I had access to him at any place.

At that time she had no power. Do you think that now she functions in a combination with Ortega?

That is how it is. Her strength began with two factors: the weakening of the leadership of the Front, and the accusation of rape of Zoilamerica against Ortega. She openly took the side of Daniel, and it was then that she grabbed power. At the same time Daniel was weakened in his leadership. For me Daniel Ortega was admirable, because that guy had no rest, neither Saturday nor Sunday. He was everywhere, meeting with people. Everyday, everyday. But now you know that Daniel has not gone anywhere for some 15 years. So, who does this work now, it seems to me that la Chayo grabbed more space, more power.

Personal plane:

Julio López Campos is 72 years old and is from Managua. He is married to the ex-commandante Mónica Baltodano and is the father of the activist Mónica López Baltodano. He was a boy from a poor family. His mother was a “washerwoman with 10 children.”

He was a leader in the Miguel Ramírez Goyena school at the same time that Daniel Ortega was a leader in the Maestro Gabriel school. They have known one another since that time.

He studied Political Science and International Relations in Switzerland.

During the insurrection he did the work of preparing the masses in the Pueblo Unido movement. He prepared people from block to block in the neighborhoods. So he knew who was a Sandinista or a Somocista; how many doctors, medical posts, nurses and medicines there were, as well as what objects could be used to make barricades for the insurrection.

He was the Secretary for Political Education and Propaganda for the first year of the revolution. Tomás Borge told him he was responsible for the slogan, “National Directorate, give us orders”.

He received the Carlos Fonseca Award in the 1980s. He was never expelled from the Sandinista Front.

Professor Gabriel Putoy: “Commissioner Avellán hit me in the forehead with an AK 47”

Monimbó, Masaya has always been a Sandinista stronghold, so it was somewhat surprising when it was one of the neighborhoods that most strongly protested the government´s brutal response to the protests in April 2018. This interview recounts the experience of one of the recently released political prisoners from that neighborhood. While the specific details of his confinement differ, the general treatment described mirrors the stories of other recently released prisoners. 

Professor Gabriel Putoy: “Commissioner Avellán hit me in the forehead with an AK 47”

Published in Artículo 66, online magazine, July 2, 2019

[ see original Spanish at https://www.articulo66.com/2019/07/02/profesor-gabriel-putoy-el-comisionado-avellan-me-dio-un-golpe-en-la-frente-con-un-ak-47/ ]

After torturing him and convicting him, the regime proposed that he be reconciled, promising to give him back his job and pay him his entire salary.

Gabriel Leónidas Putoy Cano, 41 years of age, is a Mathematics professor, from the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, Masaya, who was abducted for eight months and 25 days in the dungeons of the Jorge Navarro penitentiary system, known as “La Modelo” in Tipitapa, after he was captured on September 15, 2018, accused by the dictatorship of the crimes of aggravated theft, simple kidnapping, minor injuries, torture and interference with public services.

Putoy was sentenced to 47 years and eight months in jail, after the justice of the regime found him guilty, and put him on the list of “terrorists” and enemies of the government of Daniel Ortega. Nevertheless, on June 10th, he was freed under the new Amnesty Law.

Purgatory at the hands of the dictator

Professor Putoy was abducted by Orteguista anti-riot police and paramilitaries on Saturday, September 15 of last year, when he had taken refuge in a safe house in the San Fernando neighborhood in the city of flowers [Masaya]. “I knew that they were out looking for me, but days before I had gone to my home to leave a cake for my son, because he had a birthday, I suppose that they followed me, then within two days the police and paramilitaries came to the house where I was and captured me,” narrated Putoy.

Like an inferno and purgatory, is how Professor Putoy describes his capture and the months that he was abducted, where he denounced that he was subjected to torture and taunts on the part of the Orteguista agents, who were commanded by the Commissioner and “beloved native son of Masaya”, Ramón Avellán.

“They captured me at noon, then they took me to the police station in Masaya, there they began to kick me, they beat my entire body, Commissioner Ramón Avellán said to me, “Uh-huh son of a bitch, do you think that this has ended? This has not ended yet, son of a bitch, it has barely begun, and the worst of who you are, son of a bitch professor, don´t you realize what you are teaching your students?” Then he began to kick me and he asked an officer to lend him this weapon, and I was just praying to God, I was saying that if it was my time to die, that let it be soon, all of sudden I felt a hard blow to the forehead, Commissioner Avellán had hit me with an AK 47”, the very shaken, now ex-political prisoner said.

According to Gabriel Putoy the torture by the repressive agents of the regime continued, who kept him naked, from the time of his capture until they transferred him to the old Office of Judicial Support, known as “El Chipote” in Managua.

“When they took me out of the office where they tortured me, and officer said that I should take off my clothes, but I couldn´t do it, because in addition to being badly beaten, I was handcuffed, so a policemen ripped off my clothes and I was left naked, then they transferred me in a white car, the driver diverted the vehicle through Tipitapa and the officials were kicking me, the driver from time to time was punching me in the face.”

“They took me to a desolate place, they put a hood on me and they began to kick me; for awhile they quit beating me and I was no longer hearing anything, then I head someone say, “Don´t bring him here, because I have two already, another one was saying: “Tell the boss”, then a man came up to me and told me, “you saved yourself, you son of a bitch, because you are going to El Chipote.” I got to El Chipote at seven pm and the inferno continued there, they beat me and asked me about weapons and that I tell them who was financing me, but I did not know anything, so they were worse than the torture,” said Putoy.

They proposed that he reconcile himself with the dictatorship.

After being tortured, convicted and his human rights abused, Professor Putoy revealed that three days before being freed, the Director of the “La Modelo” penitentiary system, Julio Orozco, proposed to him that he reconcile himself with the regime of Daniel Ortega.

“On Friday June 7, the director of La Modelo, Julio Orozco, came to the cell where I was and said to me, “Reconcile yourself with the government, everything will be returned to you, if you are fighting for your salary, well everything will be given back to you, even the months that you were here they are going to pay you for, we only want you to reconcile yourself with the Comandante, because if you don´t, you are going to rot in jail. But I said to him that no, because I knew that with the help of God I was going to get out, because in addition, it was not easy all that I experienced, and the last thing that they did to me, after the death of Eddy Montes, that they nearly killed me, and now they wanted to buy me off, never”.

He has not received his severance pay

After nearly of month of having gotten out of the dungeons of the dictatorship, the Mathematics teacher has not received his severance pay as a teacher. He worked for the Ministry of Education (MINED) for 19 years.

“Last August (a month before his abduction) I went to the school where I was working in Masaya and they told me that my salary was withheld, that I had to go to the Ministry of Education. In the Ministry, the provincial delegate, Soraya Amador, told me that I had to make a phone call, but I told her that she was not fooling me, because the call that I was going to make was to the Police, so she ordered them to close the door to the office so I could not leave, but I was able to get out in a hurry. Today I continue to demand the 53,222 córdobas of my severance pay which by law I have the right to, because it is the fruit of my work, “ concluded Putoy.

Professor Gabriel Putoy is one of dozens of political prisoners in Nicaragua who continue demanding that the dictatorship respect their rights and stop the harassment and repression.

 

 

Social Inequality

By any reckoning, any resolution to the current crisis will  still leave a very polarized society. In fact current government pronouncements fuel the polarization by continuing to refer to the opposition as coup supporters, many of whom were actually FSLN members shocked at the willingness of the government to kill their own people.

But another reason for the polarization – and one of the key arguments the government makes to garner support – is that it  has implemented, and continues to implement, policies that benefit the poor majorities, i.e. building public parks, investing in health care infrastructure, rural roads, providing subsidies for production, etc. Any glimpse at the official website el 19 Digital provides daily updated lists of examples. The unspoken but obvious question the government poses to the population is whether another government would implement such policies. 

This article stresses how important it is that any future government  address this key issue. The position of the opposition is that the current  “pro-poor” policies of this government are forms of political patronage, financed with  money siphoned from the Venezuela oil deal that Ortega used to enrich his family, and has also used to buy popular support. Therefore some of them argue that such policies should be terminated by any responsible future government, because in fact they are unsustainable. While this may seem a logical argument, if the end result is that the poor feel abandoned again, it will only feed the polarization.

The opposition now legitimately asks the question where the government is getting the money to finance all the police and paramilitary activity. But if a future government is not able to find the resources to respond to the social inequality, it will be asked a similar question about their own increased spending on “security”. Because if history is a gauge, what is saved by cutting social spending, ends up getting spent on social control.

Social Inequality

By Oscar René Vargas, published in electronic newsletter Artículo 66

June 30, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.articulo66.com/2019/06/30/la-desigualdad-social/ ]

If the people below move, those above will fall.

  1. The social inequality that prevails in Nicaragua has reached such levels that it conspires against social harmony, the environment, the security and development of the country.
  2. The social inequality is also violence on the part of the higher social strata toward those “below”, and every day moves us as a country away from the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  3. Important changes have only happened in the spheres of those above, the lives of those below continues not to be of interest the powerful.
  4. This growing inequality is not sustainable, and the way to attack it, the master key, is: employment, decent, well paid, productive work with rights and social protections.
  5. The phenomenon of child labor has its origins in the inequality, poverty and extreme poverty that leads families to send their youngest members out to work, as well as the different forms of domestic violence that force minors to earn their own living.
  6. The discrepancy between the volume of services provided and the meager health results have several explanations of a social, economic and political order, but the deficient and disfunctional public [health] system has a very direct influence with direct repercussions on the most vulnerable sectors.
  7. Also undeniable are the different forms of corruption that have grown like a cancer with multiple metastases in all the health sector to the detriment of the poor.
  8. We are immersed in a mind-boggling and monumental corruption of the Ortega-Murillo government that has lost even the smallest trace of honesty in the so called mafia of power.
  9. All of this are effective obstacles to health care services, and get translated into social inequities and inequalities.
  10. The social inequality must be the future of the country agenda from here to 2030. It is where we should go because the dominant, authoritarian and despotic style of development is not sustainable.
  11. Equality has to be in the center of the future economic policy of a progressive government, because what has increased is the disparity, the inequality between the one who has the most and the one who has the least; the inequality of income, distribution of wealth, opportunities and access to public goods.
  12. In the future the logic of zero corruption has to be implemented, zero cronyism, zero nepotism; eliminate all that blight of the national political culture.
  13. To effectively fight against inequality it is important to close off the tax evasion of big capital and take the case to a national debate.
  14. The country needs a redistribution of income and wealth, above all of profits.
  15. A national debate that would allow us to reach a consensus around a solution to the current imbalance in the distribution of income, social inequality, access to health care, type of education, as well as the appropriation of wealth.
  16. Therefore, the progressive government has to have as its priority objectives: improving equity, reducing social inequality and poverty.
  17. In other words, being in favor of a key point: not imposing poverty salaries as a mechanism for business productivity and bloated profits for capital.
  18. If we should learn anything from these hours of struggle and indignation, it is that without a social and political organization of citizens, the adversities will become a permanent and recurring tragedy from which no one will be exempt.

San José, Costa Rica, June 30, 2019