This speech Daniel Ortega gave is wide ranging, touches on history of slavery, the coup attempt in Venezuela, international labor day; but it is also important in that it shows the government´s perspective on the Sanctions in effect on specific members of his family and the regime, the National Dialogue and their counterpart, the Civic Alliance. At one point Ortega compares the current process to a similar negotiation process at the end of the “contra war”. As usual capitalized letters and italics are in the original Spanish.
Ceremony in Homage of the VII Anniversary of the Journey to Immortality of Comandante Tomás Borge Martínez and the Celebration of the Day of the Workers (April 30, 2019)
Words of Daniel:
Brother and Sister Nicaraguans; Families, Men, Women, Youth, Boys and Girls of these Lands of Darío and Sandino, Lands of Diriangén, Land of Andrés Castro, Land of José Dolores Estrada, Land of Benjamín Zeledón, the Land of Carlos, the Land of Tomás, our Brother, who we always have present with all his Strength, with all Light, with all his Steadfastness, with his Word, with his Action.
Seven years now since the Journey of Tomás and he has been present in all these Battles for Peace, because that is the World, the World always is confronting the aggression of the Superpowers, not just now, but always Empires looking how to subject, dominate, enslave Peoples.
Enslaving them in the most brutal way, like they enslaved the Peoples of Fiery Africa as Rubén used to call it, and turned them into merchandise. Who? The West, that presents itself as the purest and most sacred Democracy that exists on the Planet throughout History. They turned Men, Women, Children into merchandise who they placed on ships there in Africa. They placed them on ships in chains, they took them to the Slave Depots.
We have had the opportunity to get to know these Slave Depots in visits to Peoples in Africa, in Ghana, in Senegal; good centuries-old constructions, dungeons, and there were the slaves, Men and Women snatched from their Lands, their Peoples, turned into merchandise. And the business people of that time would go there to buy the merchandise, they would put the slaves out to show them, and the business people there, the slave trader, logically a western man, a “civilized” westerner, to examine them, to see how their teeth were, how their sight was, how they were, if they were strong, how much to pay for them.
That is how Human Beings were trafficked, under the sacrosanct Western Empire that moved this slave force from Africa to Europe and then toward these American Lands that were also subjected, looted, exterminated. This has been the History of Humanity, in other words, the powerful of the Earth defining and deciding what Human Beings would be turned into merchandise, what Countries would be turned into Colonies.
This practice has not disappeared, it has been repeated throughout History. What was Slavery, what was Feudalism, what was Colonialism, what was Neocolonialism, the same forms of domination of Empires, of Imperialists of the World, as well Sandino used to call them. They feel they have the Right to decide the fate of Peoples.
Today we have seen once again the Imperialists of the World acting in the same way in which they have always acted, and pouncing on our Peoples, not Respecting our Peoples, not Respecting the Governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, that even, given the circumstances, threat, pressure, subject them to their dictates.
They also do not Respect them, they insult them, humiliate them; for them simply we continue being merchandise, they see us as merchandise, and for that reason they do not admit, do not accept that Peoples honorably might decide for Peace, Progress, Well being…They do not allow it!
And how many times have we asked ourselves: What harm has the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela done to the Peoples of Our America, or to the Peoples of the World, or to the North American People itself? What harm has it done them? Simply put into practice a Principle which is Christian, a Socialist Principle, the Principle of Solidarity. They have condemned this. Solidarity that even they have taken to North American Families; North American Families that would die of cold and that with the Programs that Comandante Chávez took there to the United States allowed impoverished Families to have access to heat who in the wintertime would have died of cold.
What harm did Chávez do to them? What harm has Nicolás done to them? What harm has the Bolivarian Revolution done to the United States of America? And why such brutality? Why so much hate? Why so much poison? The pride of the powerful, empires, those who have the whip, those who are accustomed to mistreat and whip Human Beings. And if the person that is being attacked complains or protests, they get upset; in other words, they do not even give the person the Right to complain, not even give Human Beings the Right to be upset, so they get more angry, more violent, more terrifying.
Today they launched another onslaught against the Sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the onslaught started since dawn, and they were already claiming victory. It was another Coup, another Coup attempt, because a Coup was done against Comandante Chávez, and later came other Coup attempts. Now, one more attempt.
Thanks to the Awareness of this People who carry the Strength of God in the example of Bolivar, in the example of Chávez, the Bolivarian People of today were able to defeat the Coup. For them our Solidarity, our Love, our Affection, our Respect, because in the midst of the blockade, and the terrible Sanctions that this People have been subjected to, this is a People that does not lose its Morale, does not lose its Dignity, does not give up. It does not give up or sell out!
And on this day where were are here with the Example, the Thinking of Tomás greeting the 1st of May which is the day that reminds us of heroic moments in the struggle of the Workers precisely in the United States, the Martyrs of Chicago; that Democracy, that for demanding fair labor shifts, then later they captured them, processed them and hung them. It was the form of execution of that time. That is the Democracy that they would like to implant in our Countries, put in Rulers and submit our Countries to these brutal practices.
The Fight for Peace, as we would say, is an ongoing Struggle, Latin America, the Caribbean, the World, all fighting for Peace. Cuba fighting for Peace! What harm has Cuba caused the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, or the US People? On the contrary, Cuba, the Cuba of Martí, with Fidel building there a Society in the midst of the aggression, the blockade, a blockade that now is intensified.
They are behaviors that do not really have any rational explanation, but rather are the manifestation of the arrogance, pride of those who turn rabid when they come upon Peoples that have Dignity, that simply demand respectful relationships with the Superpowers. And we are in those struggles, we are in those struggles, and as they apportion Sanctions, they apportion Sanctions all over, even sanction those who have been their allies, who were one after the Second World War.
But it is nothing strange that the imperialists would have this behavior, what is really shameful and indignant is it is the behavior of the Judas and the Cains.
This is what is most disgraceful. They are the same ones who grabbed Christ and looked for the Romans, the Ruler, they sought out Pilate to ask for Christ´s head from him.
Pilate even wanted to save Christ because he was not finding a cause, but those same ones, those who our General Sandino called “stooges” and “sell-outs”, they are the most heinous that can exist on our Earth and on our Planet, those who turned over their People, those who turned over their Country to the Imperialists of the Earth.
Those who are on their knees asking for Sanctions against their Peoples, those who rejoice every time that their Peoples are sanctioned, that is the most heinous thing that can exist on the Earth, and the most heinous thing that can exist here in our Country Nicaragua, yes, it is the most heinous thing, because they are continually celebrating. Every time there is a Sanction against Nicaragua, they celebrate, if there is a Sanction against Cuba, they celebrate, if there is a Sanction against Venezuela, they celebrate, they rejoice, they celebrate, yes they do!
Where is their Soul? Where is their Heart? They do not have neither Soul nor Hearts! What they have is venom! They were born marked by venom, which turns them really into wretches, that is Human Wretchedness, they are an expression of Human Depravity.
In the face of these realities we cannot give up, since we have not given up seeking even how to converse and seek Accords with these Human Wretches. I have not heard even one Pronouncement, even one Press release on the part of those who promoted and engaged in pain, death, when the Country was in Peace and better than ever.
I have not heard on their part, nor on the part of those who coincide with them in the different economic, commercial or spiritual fields, I have not heard even one word of condemnation of the Sanctions that have been applied on Nicaragua. Rather they rejoice, even though it affect they themselves, because they also affect them. They should not believe that it is not affecting them, it also affects them.
But they have the Heart, or they do not have the Heart, as is said, it is a behavior so rotten that, even though it affects them, they rejoice, because Sanctions are being applied to Nicaragua, thinking that with this they are going to be able to destroy the Dignity, Spirit, Steadfastness, Awareness of the immense majority of Nicaraguans who do have Dignity and will not give up or sell out.
But well, just like Cuba, 60 years there waging Battle with Sanctions, Venezuela and how many People are not suffering. And the Sanctions have been extended now to other Countries, right here in Central America there have been Sanctions on other Countries, because many migrants from Central America are going to the United States, so Sanctions come in, and insults come in. And what is arriving from Central America and from these Mesoamerican Countries, said in the very words of their Highest Authorities, he said that “all this was a hole”, this is how he said it with these clear words, that it was a hole, of what?, “of shit”, that is how he said it, this is how he described these Countries.
That is a complete lack of respect, a humiliation for our Peoples, a humiliation for the US People themselves, because we know that the majority of the US People have a different attitude and behavior. And that is why we are experiencing this New Cycle of Battles for Peace, and to progress toward Peace, to Stability, seeking Agreements and Negotiations, as I was telling you about our case, that they might allow us to protect Nicaraguan Families, because the first victims of the Sanctions are the Poor, the Workers, the Peasants, the Producers, the Merchants, and even the Big Business people, all suffer when there are Sanctions!
They use the Sanctions as a year ago they used the roadblocks, you remember, then it was the roadblocks, now there are no roadblocks, then there are the Sanctions to seek to achieve their objectives: Nothing good for the Nicaraguan People. And we are committed seriously to this effort of Negotiation and the least that we can do is talk, as we are talking.
They give themselves the right to insult us every day. They give themselves the right to be attacking us every day. We have the Right and the Obligation to be completely clear in what conditions we are in, with whom we are negotiating, and therefore, the determination that we have to strengthen to wage these Battles. That is why, with everything and what is there in the midst of Human Depravity, we cannot give up on the fact that the Miracle of Peace with Reconciliation might be the result.
That Miracle was possible at the end of the 1980s, it was possible to arrive at Peace Accords, under conditions of complete confrontation, of war, yes, a situation of war that Nicaragua was experiencing, with thousands of dead, thousands of people mutilated, thousands of wounded, thousands of orphans, thousands of widows. And finally, after we had sworn that we would not dialogue, finally there was no other Path, we are Nicaraguans, we are here, as we have said, and therefore, there is no other Path than dialoguing.
About the Dialogue that was started, and it has to be remembered, the Dialogue began with intermediaries, because at that point we were not willing, neither they nor we, to sit down face to face. That is why these Negotiation were so long. In the end progress was achieved in the Dialogue, Peace Agreements were able to be achieved, and then the Reconciliation Process that allowed us to get closer to one another, thousands of Nicaraguans with whom we had such profound differences, because even blood had been shed from within families.
I would say that the conduct of most of Nicaraguans was to walk toward Reconciliation, but there always remained a remnant, who are the same people who carried out the ambush there heading toward Sébaco, Darío, they ambushed that July 19th that caravan of buses. And they ambushed it not with rocks, not with mortars, it was with AK, with AK rifles. There was the Human Depravity that was not able to enter into the Reconciliation Process.
So the challenge, the challenge that we have now is once again work so that first we achieve and implement the Accords, and then that we work also with Peace, Reconciliation, being clear yes, that there will always be a segment that will not accept and will condemn the Reconciliation. That will always be present there.
The important thing is that this People, and it has to be recognized, this is a People, like all the Peoples of the World, in spite of all the challenges this is a working People, and in the name of our Heroes, Martyrs, in the name of Tomás, we greet the Working People on their Day, May 1 which is their Day, which is the day of the Workers, of all Workers, from the Peasant who is out there with their little machete, working the land, or the Compañera who is there with her little store, selling fried banana slices, fried cheese, that has their fried food; or the Compañeros who are in the Medical Service, a work that requires a lot of Vocation, a lot of Patience, because it deals with saving Lives, curing diseases. What a great responsibility for a Doctor, for a Specialist, for a Nurse! The pressure that they have on behalf of the Patient and the Family of the Patients, and it is understandable.
Teachers, what a Vocation! The Workers who are in what we call the bureaucratic field, well, that might appear to be a pleasant little place, because they spend the time seated there and in air conditioning; another person spends the time seated at the computer, even though they might not have air conditioning, but they pass the time seated because they have to be there responding through papers or with a computer. But that is a work that I would not wish on anyone, the bureaucratic work of being seated there hours and hours and hours.
They are Workers who are fundamental, necessary, all that we call the Bureaucracy, they are Technical Leaders, Professionals who work all the time, and they work in the State as well as in the Private Sector. In other words, when we talk here about the Workers, we are talking about Workers in general.
How many activities that require effort, work: Coffee growing, Ranching, the preparation of land for planting, the planting of Corn, Beans. The basic foods for all Nicaraguans, where does it come from? From working hands, as also Works of Art come from working hands, and Crafts come also from working hands. Fishermen, Workers also, risking their Lives on our Seas; how many times Workers disappeared, or Fisherman dragged away by a wave, and died.
And the Workers of the National Police, they are Workers, of course, the Police, and the Workers of our Army, the Soldiers, Officers, likewise Workers. And those who are in the Judicial Branch, also Workers, who never satisfy anyone. It is difficult for the Judicial Branch to be seen well by everyone, always one party is not happy. And the Workers who are in the Sports field, an Athlete needs a lot of dedication, a lot of effort, a lot of discipline to be in shape. The Workers of the Communications Media.
Students…the work of the Student is to study, study, study and get good grades! And well, there are many cases of Students who in the face of economic difficulties when they want to move on to the University have to work and study. Double recognition for these Young People.
We could continue enumerating there the different Skills. Carpenters are also Artists, Carpentry needs Creativity. And the Brothers many of whom are boys, other now older, who shine shoes, the Shoe Shiners, are Honorable Workers, yes, who are celebrating their Day.
Women, who, when they are “housewives” are not recognized much and not valued much. And these Women who we see also in the creeks and the rivers, in the lagoons, washing clothes for pay and who earn a living washing clothes, they are Honorable Workers!
And the Street Vendors, the Vendors in the Markets, those who sell food, clothing, all Workers. A multitude of Skills, all need an effort of work, physical, intellectual, creativity. And I am not going to continue with the list of Workers, because we would be here all night.
But on this day, in Homage to Tomás, in Homage to the Day of the Workers, in Homage to the Brothers and Sisters of the Caribbean Coast, who now in the Month of May are celebrating the “Mayo Ya” Feast, here is Lumberto [acting president of Supreme Electoral Council], here is Valdrack [Vice Chancellor] and here is Ivan; well, now they will be able to go to celebrate that Feast on the new Highway that for the first time in History unites the Pacific with the Caribbean. There is the Highway, there runs the Highway, we are inaugurating today that Highway.
[continues with intervention of ex General Óscar Mojico providing details on the construction of the highway all the way to Bluefields: 72.8 kms of hydraulic concrete made to specifications to last 50 years under swamp conditions… the speech ends with a focus on this new highway].