Medardo Mairena challenges the Army of Nicaragua: “Allow international human rights organization to go to the territories”
by Leonor Álvarez in La Prensa, May 9, 2020
Users of social network reacted to the demand of the Army, that asked that they present proof of the supposed participation of the Army in the repression of opponents and citizens during the 2018 protests.
The coordinator of the Peasant Movement, Medardo Mairena, who is one of the those who accuse the Army of their participation in the repression, published this Friday May 8 a video where he directs a message to the Armed Forces.
Mairena tells the Army that if they want proof of the supposed human rights violation on the part of soldiers, that “they allow international human rights organizations to enter the country and go to the territories.”
“The Army is asking for proof where they have violated human rights, where they have killed peasants. The proof exists in the territories, and they know where it is. It is easy and simple, that they allow the international organizational defenders of human rights to enter Nicaragua and allow them to go to places, so they can verify and demonstrate where the proof is”, he says in the video that lasts one minute and 23 seconds.
This past Wednesday, May 6, the spokesperson for the Army of Nicaragua, Colonel Álvaro Rivas, asked for evidence of the participation of soldiers in the repression against opponents and the murders of peasants, in some strong declarations offered to reporters of the television channels 12 and 10, among other communications media.
“It is a complete falsehood what this individual is saying. So it is necessary, that if he has evidence, that he present it, we as an institution are open to listening, we have made that clear, if he has it, let him come and propose it, look, this is the situation, and we are going to proceed in accordance with the law. Now, accusing is easy, but demonstrating is difficult and complex,” said Colonel Rivas, referring to Mairena. This is what triggered several reactions in social networks, responding to this demand of the Army with videos that assure that there is evidence for these deeds.
Reaction of the Army
In reaction to Mairena´s call, that the doors be opened to the investigation of international human rights organizations, the spokesperson of the Army responded that this institution “strictly complies with what is established in the Constitution and the Law.”
Colonel Rivas also said that the Army has been clear in making known their work, and they base their credibility on the fact that “what we do, we say we do, and what we say, we do.”
“In different moments we have made known to the Nation all the data of our missions and tasks, and not on the basis of speculation and lies, which is the custom of individuals who do that under dark interests. We repeat that we are open to listening and acting in accordance with the law,” was added to the response of the spokesperson of the Army, requested by La Prensa.
Some of the videos published that they say are proof of the involvement of the soldiers were disseminated in 2018, where apparently a military presence is seen in the territories, in moments in which the country was experiencing clashes in the barricades that civilians built throughout the country, to stop the repression from the police and armed groups allied with the Ortega regime.
They also mention as supposed proof the case of the six people killed in Cruz del Río Grande, among them the minor children of the peasant Elea Valle, a 16 year old adolescent girl and a 12 year old boy. The Army said at that time that they were part of a band of criminals, even though the father of the minors, who also was killed in that group, was a recognized opponent from the region, Rafael Pérez Dávila “Comandante Colocho”.
In another published video that they mention in the social networks as proof, the former Minister of the Interior, Ana Isabel Morales, appears, giving instructions about how to mount surveillance operations against opponents in the context of the repression in 2019, mentioning “the compañeros of police intelligence and Army intelligence, who are working here in the territory.”
The country has been living in a crisis since April 2018, when armed repression began against the civil protests that demanded the departure of Daniel Ortega from power.
Since the beginning of the crisis, when citizens and dissidents began to denounce the involvement of soldiers in the armed repression, the Army of Nicaragua has denied their participation, and have said that they would never “point their weapons at the people.”
The Military have presented reports where they deny accusations
The Army has done two reports to counteract the accusations that the Peasant Movement has presented to international organizations. The last one was presented this past March, with the review of 23 cases related to the recent denouncements of Mairena.
In the document titled “Notes on supposed murders which are denounced by the Peasant Movement and some communications media”, the Army determined that “the stories recreated by those who denounce these supposed crimes intend to project them before national and international public opinion as events connected to the deeds occurred in the country starting in April 2018.”