This end of the year speech by Daniel Ortega takes place in the context of the report issued earlier in the month [December 2018] by the GIEI that accused the government of human rights violations so severe that they categorized them as crimes against humanity. In this speech Daniel Ortega highlights economic and social rights, those human rights spelled out in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the right of everyone, especially the impoverished majorities, to have their basic needs met. While there may be legitimate debate about its effectiveness, this government, for better or for worse, has placed a priority on responding to those basic needs.
While this fact does not legitimize the severe human rights violations contained in the GIEI report, it is a key reason why some people continue to support the government, and refuse to believe the accusations against it. It is also why they are reluctant to support any change to an unknown future government where these economic and social rights would no longer be a priority – which has been the norm in the history of Nicaragua, and humanity in general. These aspects of basic human rights will be important to include in any future process of reconciliation if stability is to be achieved in Nicaragua.
Government of National Unity and Reconciliation
December 31, 2018
With great Affection for all Nicaraguan Families, our best wishes, so that in this year we might have Health, we might continue cultivating Strength, and God might make us more and more resistant and more and more capable of constructing Peace. Thanks, Compañer@s
Words of Daniel
Work, Peace and to get to Work and Peace, Reconciliation. This is the starting point, Reconciliation, and this has been our Flag, this has been our Commitment throughout all the Time, and it was our challenge to achieve Peace. And what it cost to achieve Peace…How much pain! But in the end Peace was achieved.
And then, we entered into the Reconciliation Process. For what reason? To be able to develop the Country, progress in the Country toward Peace, Stability and that would then allow us to fight Poverty, eradicate Extreme Poverty, democratize Health Care, Education, Housing, the Right to Land; in other words, all the Works that later we began to develop in the New Stage, from 2007 to the month of April 2018.
And as we said in the Message, it is a matter of recovering Peace, Stability, which we have been recovering, we have been consolidating; and in 2019 it is the challenge that all of us Nicaraguans have of finish consolidating Stability, Peace, and then that will give us the conditions to take up again the path of Economic, Social Growth, so that the Rights of all Nicaraguans can really be respected.
Because a Nicaraguan in Extreme Poverty is a Nicaraguan who does not have their full Human Rights. A Nicaraguan who does not have a home, is a Nicaraguan who does not have their full Human Rights, be that they rent a home or that it is their own. I am referring to the Nicaraguan who does not have a home to rent, because they have to live alongside the rain gullies, improvising a home, where he and his family are exposed to losing their lives.
And this is what we have been developing during all this time, all these years, regardless of the political differences that have been present there in our situation. Political differences, Economic differences, ideological differences have been present there; but beyond those differences, we have been able to build, we have been able to progress, progress with historic Works like the Highway to San Carlos, Río San Juan.
I remember that This Highway was promised since I was a boy, because I used to travel to Chontales. To travel to Chontales, the Route goes by there, later you turn to San Carlos by Acoyapa, that is where the turn is. And the promise was there, and the promise became a reality, thanks to the effort, to the tenacity of the People accompanied by their Government.
We are a few months away from finishing now this other great Work, another Highway that is going to unite the Pacific with the Autonomous Region of the South Caribbean. And the Route will also be by land. The Route that has been aquatic to El Rama, in El Rama you got on a boat, and from there to Bluefields, the Route that has been aerial, very expensive, now it will be a Route by land, that also assures us, and we are already working in that direction, assures us the conditions to build the Port in Bluefields, a Port that will be able to incorporate merchandise, and will also be able to transfer merchandise for export.
We then will no longer be dependent on the Ports of the Sister Peoples like Honduras and Costa Rica; currently we depend on the Ports of Honduras and Costa Rica. Now having a Port in the Caribbean, well, we will have our own Port, surely some merchandise will always move through Puerto Limón in Costa Rica, others through Puerto Cortés en Honduras; but now we will have our own Port to export Nicaraguan products and to import products from other Regions, and also to import the inputs needed to carry out Economic Activities in our Country.
And the other Works that we have inaugurated in this year 2018: The Fernando Vélez Paiz Hospital which is the most modern hospital that the Health System of Nicaragua currently has, of the entire Health System, Private as well as Public, it is the most modern. For what reason? To serve the People, Nicaraguan Families who cannot pay a Private Hospital. There they have another Hospital, and those that are being built.
And the Highways that have continued to be built in the midst of the difficulties of this year. And the Homes that have continued to be built in the midst of the difficulties of this year. And the Overpass that we recently inaugurated, that was able to be inaugurated in spite fo the difficulties of this year. And the Schools that have been able to be built, and the Health Posts that have able to be built, and the Paved Roads and Streets in the different Communities and Municipalities of our Country, that continue to be built and continue being inaugurated in spite of the difficulties.
In other words, this is a Heroic, Brave People, who in spite of the difficulties knows how to work, how to move ahead, how to open Paths there where obstacles present themselves. And the challenge that we have for 2019: Continue opening Paths, so that in this New Path we advance more quickly, even more rapidly, toward the Goals that we have in order to erradicate Poverty, Extreme Poverty: Health Programs, Housing, Highways, Education, multiplying Education.
The Education Programs have not stopped! This Year End we have seen thousands of Youth graduating, in spite of the difficulties; even graduating in majors that previously were not part of the Curriculum. Graduating in the management of the Braille System, for example, to be able to train Nicaraguan Brothers and Sisters who cannot see, the Blind. These really are Miracles, thanks to God, Miracles that are happening every day.
A People with Energy, with Spirit, in the midst of the pain that they have suffered, is full of Joy, and pushes forward, to Come out Ahead, Small Traders, Medium Traders, Craftspeople, Farmers, Ranchers, all working!
Are the challenges big? It is true the challenges are big, no one can deny it, but Peoples throughout the History of Humanity have shown that even in the face of the biggest catastrophes, the biggest tragedies, Peoples afterward have come back from behind, overcoming the catastrophes.
And there are other Peoples who have been learning to live with catastrophies, I am referring to natural catastrophies. We see those zones in Asia how they are constantly being destroyed by Earthquakes, by Tsunamis, impoverished Peoples, and developed Peoples. Of course, the developed Peoples have more capacities to confront these catastrophies, but in the end the capacities of the Human Being to not be demoralized in the face of difficulties, to not let themselves be beaten by those who try to demoralize People. Because there are always those who try to demoralize People.
Nicaragua itself, how many earthquakes! Two large earthquakes, the last was in December, and Nicaragua has been getting out of catastrophies, Hurricanes…How can we not remember the thousands of deaths of Hurricane Mitch! They were thousands, more than 2,000 Nicaraguan Brothers and Sisters who were victims of Hurricane Mitch,. And all that zone that was affected by Hurricane Mitch where the force of the water was so violent that it changed the course of rivers.
Then, the Bridges that had disappeared were rebuilt, first, provisional Bridges, and later, permanent Bridges. And in all this we are grateful for the Solidarity of Peoples and Brother Governments, who in an unconditional manner, without any type of conditions, have maintained Aid with the Nicaraguan People, knowing that they are offering this Aid for the benefit of Nicaraguan Families.
Brother and Sister Nicaraguans, Nicaraguan families, we are People with a lot of Faith, a lot of Tenacity, a hardworking People, a People who are creative. All these Virtues that the Human Species has, the Nicaraguan People also have, and these Virtues, accompanied by the value of Solidarity, become a Powerhouse in moments like these, of difficult passage, to return or open New Paths, New Routes for Peace, for Stability, and for the Wellbeing of Nicaraguan Families. That is why we do not tire repeating that Nicaraguan wants, the People want, Work! Peace and Reconciliation!
Happy New Year Nicaraguan Families! Happy New Year Brother and Sister Nicaraguans! Happy New Year Nicaraguan Youth!