This appeared on Enrique´s blog yesterday, and is a critical analysis of the negotiations set to begin today between Ortega and the Blue and White Alliance. The author is a founding member of the Movement for Sandinista Renovation (MRS).
By Enrique Saenz, Feb 26, 2019
We are on the brink of the negotiations between representatives of the Civic Alliance and Daniel Ortega. It is no longer called a dialogue. It is important that we analyze well the starting point, to help us to see where it can go.
As usual, let´s start at the beginning.
Why is Ortega starting these negotiations? Why now and not before?
For a very simple reason. All his life he has specialized in negotiating on the edge of a cliff. And he now felt that the water was up to his neck. On the one hand is the process of the application of the Democratic Charter, begun within the framework of the OAS. On the other hand is the threat of sanctions by the European Union. And also the unsheathed sword of the Nica Act with the threat of stronger sanctions on the part of the United States. Meanwhile, the economic and social crisis is getting worse, and Ortega does not have the means to contain it.
But above all is Venezuela. Ortega is looking at himself in the mirror and knows that a departure of Maduro, by whatever path, will leave him in the middle of the street, puny and with the spotlights of the international community lined up in front of him.
If these are the reasons, does it mean that Ortega is attending the negotiations in good faith and with the spirit of finding a solution that is beneficial to the country?
In no way!
We would be very gullible if we thought that. Rather, we would be reckless, irresponsible. Ortega would have to be born again to act in a different way than he has acted in the last forty years.
So what does he want?
The same as always. Stay in power. Absolute power. This is his primary objective. And if he could, re-establish the conditions that existed before April. But if the internal and external pressure keeps him from remaining as such, his objective would be to remain as a factor of power, in other words, retain levers of domination, like the judicial apparatus, the police, the army, to get back in the game, like in the 90s, to “govern from below.”
But there is more. Ortega has been accused of crimes against humanity by the highest international and interamerican organizations on issues of human rights. So what does he want? He wants impunity, for himself, his family and the perpetrators of the massacre. Even though he would not have the least scruples in sacrificing some.
Also Ortega is now an economic tycoon. He has accumulated wealth of at least 2.5 billion dollars. Of course, he is determined to retain that wealth,.
Remaining in power, retaining his apparatus of domination, ensuring himself impunity and retaining his wealth. These are the objectives of Ortega. There are no secrets.
To achieve them he has unleashed an entire strategy that includes international negotiations, propaganda, disinformation tactics, bribery, intimidation and above all repression. One of the principal pivots of his strategy is to paralyze and subjugate out of fear.
The negotiations are part of his strategy, and he will attempt to turn in his favor the current harassment of the international community.
What will Ortega look for in the negotiations?
Above all, confuse and distract the international community and Nicaraguans. He will push and pull with wheedling and dilatory tactics and will try to sell a discourse and agenda to the gringos; another agenda to the Europeans; another agenda to the Secretary General of the OAS; another agenda with the internal negotiators and another to Nicaraguans.
He will attempt to sell marginal concessions like a show of flexibility, and since it is a negotiation, he will demand concessions in exchange.
With these ploys he seeks to freeze the application of the Democratic Charter and the threats of sanctions, and he will use the argument that we Nicaraguans are reaching an understanding in a negotiation process.
What else is Ortega pursuing?
Wear down the Civic Alliance. Plant discord, divisions and antagonisms among the opposing forces. And he has already begun. It is enough to look at the social media to confirm it.
He also seeks to plant the distrust of the population in the opposing leaders and organizations, inject discouragement and demoralization: “You cannot trust anyone”. “There is no solution.” “We do not have any recourse.” Ortega wants to make us believe this. And that campaign has already begun.
He already said it clearly in the speech on February 21st. Let us remember: the negotiations, according to him, are to consolidate peace, stability and security.
What peace? The peace of the graveyard. The peace of the dungeons that the paramilitary groups have sown.
Stability and security for whom? Stability and security for his regime. Because the people are living in continual distress, continual insecurity, without rights, without freedom, without guarantees.
He did not mention at all the word democracy.
If this is the starting point, and knowing the insolence and lack of scruples of Ortega, does it make sense to participate in the negotiations?
Definitely yes. We need to use this stage.
Ortega has advantages, but he also presents great disadvantages and fragility. The wisdom and skill will be in exploiting these disadvantages of Ortega to the benefit of freedom, justice and democracy.
This commentary has become very long. I invite you to read tomorrow.