President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo at the Closing of the XVI Congress of the UNEN

This event received a lot of attention for several reasons: 1) Daniel gave awards to university student leaders who led protests in the past, but have opposed the current protests, and to two university presidents who have been loyal to him, in the face of the student led uprising that continues today, whom he continues to call coup mongers, terrorists, criminals. Those receiving awards included Fidel Moreno, who was explicitly named by the US as a subject of the Magnitsky Act.  2) for the first time Daniel publicly called his brother, Humberto Ortega, a “pawn of the oligarchy and the empire.” 3) The day after the Bishops released their Advent message that calls for reconciliation based on justice and peace, he says that the Bishops “act with a criminal, terrorist mentality”. All of this within the context of the recent Executive Order of Trump expanding economic sanctions to anyone who is “involved in serious human rights abuses” in Nicaragua.

 President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo at the Closing of the XVI Congress of the UNEN[1]

Published on Dec 3, 2018 en the official online media of the FSLN, El 19 Digital

{Spanish version: https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:84742-presidente-daniel-ortega-y-vicepresidenta-rosario-murillo-clausuran-xvi-congreso-de-la-unen ]

The President of the Republic, Comandante Daniel Ortega Savaadra and Vice President Rosario Murillo, presided Monday night at the closing of the XVI Congress of the National Student Union of Nicaragua (UNEN).

During the event President Daniel Ortega conferred the Rubén Darío Cultural Independence Order on outstanding student leaders, outstanding union leaders of the Universities, and Women University Presidents.

Commitment to victory

Vice President Rosario Murillo, at the beginning of the event, recalled that the coup mongers “were not able nor will be able…and shall not pass, shall not pass” in the midst of the thundering applause of those present.

“Here we are full of love for the homeland, love for Nicaragua, here there is loyalty to the homeland, here there is loyalty to the homeland”, she said.

“And it is in this commitment to victory that we are meeting, each day walking forward, building new victories, because here, as Darío said, a sun shines on us that will never set”, she added.

“And that sun shines already on new victories. We are heading to the 40th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, and we move forward and walk cultivating and harvesting more victories, but in addition, this month of December we are going to commemorate 40 years of the physical departure of the Sandinista priest, guerrilla fighter, commander Martín, commander Father Gaspar García Laviana, and I ask here for a big applause of commitment to the legacy of Gaspar, who flew the flag, made Nicaragua his home and was committed to the poor, to the underprivileged, to the worker down to his last breath, and left us an infinite legacy”, she exhorted and an enthusiastic applause rocked the hall of the Olof Palme.

“Continue struggling, continue flying the flag, because as long as Nicaragua has sons and daughters that love Nicaragua, it will continue being free, worthy of dignity, sovereign, independent. We will continue being children of Sandino”, she emphasized.

Rosario Murillo greeted the brother ambassadors from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, El Salvador and Iran.

“Our brother ambassadors, friends of Nicaraguan students, comrades, companions, thanks for accompanying us”, she commented.

We are the same

“I was looking at the faces of the companions and I say, I am sure, those of us of that time, we continue being the same, ready to take on all the commitments to fight and win each day. What a pleasure it gives me to see so many dear companions, of so much time of struggle, enhancing today´s victories from the commitment to fight, fight, fight, this is our battle cry”, she pointed out.

“Comandante Daniel, as we announced at noon today, giving out awards to University presidents, student leaders, workers, union members, union leaders of our universities, recognizing loyalty to the homeland, love for the homeland, love for Nicaragua and loyalty for the homeland. This is how we move ahead in revolution”, she said.

In what follows she read the 173-2018 Presidential Agreement which says:

Our President, considering that this year, 2018, is the Centennial Anniversary of the Reforms of Córdoba, and that our National University has been committed and faithful in the fight to achieve the materialization of its principles and postulates, quality education, the conquest and defense of University Autonomy, Higher Education available to all, particularly for the historically dispossessed classes, as well as the development and strengthening of a University at the service of the people.

Two, we are at the 59th Anniversary of the student massacre of July 23rd in León, where the university students José Rubí, Mauricio Martínez, Sergio Saldaña and Eric Ramírez gave their valuable lives, how much heroic history, how much heroic patrimony, how much legacy that it is up to us to walk each day.

How much pride in our coherency, our consistency, our invincible revolutionary spirit. This marked a high point in the history of the struggle of our people for their liberation, fight against the Somoza dictatorship.

That in the fight for the conquest and defense of the constitutional 6%, firmly assured today by our Government for National Unity and Reconciliation, was an inspiring element of courage, of resistance of our people against neoliberalism in the terrible decade of the 90s to safeguard the rights of the children of workers and peasants to higher education.

That the unions of university teachers have more than four decades of being founded, and that as historical reference points we have the lives offered of heroic brothers, Sandinista militants like Dr. Oscar Danilo Rosales, fallen in Pancasán, a professor of the School of Medical Sciences of the UNAN-León.

The professor and revolutionary leader Ricardo Morales Avilés, member of the National Leadership of the Sandinista Front, fallen in Nandaime; the professor of the UNAN –Managua, Sandinista comandantes Iván Montenegro Chávez, fallen in the final offensive against the dictatorship, professor of Science at the UNAN-León and later the professor Miguel Bonilla, fallen in Managua, professor of the UNAN-Managua.

Five, that the unions of workers have contributed the blood of their best sons, their best companions, to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship, among them we have Alí Abarca Meléndez, Santos Sobalvarro, Edmundo Maltés and Juan Ramón Padilla.

It is agreed then to grant the Rubén Darío Cultural Independence Order, to the unions of the universities in the persons of two outstanding leaders, Maritza Espinales, compañera Maritza, since 2001 the Secretary General of the Union of Administrative Workers of the public universities, and currently a deputy in the National Assembly of Nicaragua, Vice President of the National Assembly.

To the Sandinista intellectual Compañero Freddy Franco, not just a union member, since 2005 the Secretary General of the Teachers Union of the public universities, and president of the Federation of University Unions of Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Currently an alternative deputy in the National Assembly of Nicaragua.

This agreement takes effect starting on this date.

THE RUBEN DARIO CULTURAL INDEPENDENCE ORDER

“The workers of the universities in the person of these two long-standing, coherent, consistent, long suffering compañeros progressing to new victories, Maritza and Freddy”, she pointed out.

Then she read the Presidential Agreement No. 172-2018.

The President of the Republic considers that the Nicaraguan Student Movement reveres 104 years of existence in our country.

From its origins accompanying the Nicaraguan people in their struggles and aspirations for freedom, emancipation, peace and development.

Two, this year that celebrates the Centennial of the reforms of Córdoba, and our National University has been committed and faithful to the struggle for the materialization of the principles and postulates of the Reforms of Córdoba, quality education, the conquest and defense of Autonomy, higher education accessible for all and particularly for the historically dispossessed classes, as well as the development and strengthening of a University at the service of the people.

And that we are in the 59th Anniversary of the massacre of July 23rd in León, and that the fight for the conquest and defense of the 6% today with our Christian, Socialist and Solidarity Government has firmly assured this fight, was an inspiration for the resistance, for the fight of our people against neoliberalism in the grim decade of the 90s, thus safeguarding the rights of the children of workers and peasants to higher education.

Five, that throughout the history of our country the university has been a fundamental link for the conquest of freedom and peace for Nicaraguan families, who have contributed the blood of their best sons, outstanding student leaders of the stature of comandante Carlos Fonseca Amador, so much pride; Casimiro Sotelo, Julio Buitrago, Edgar La Gata Munguía, Marlon Zelaya, Alfonso Baca Ríos, and in the decade of the 90s, Jerónimo Urbina, Porfirio Ramos, Roberto González.

This year Cristián Emilio Cadenas, who we all know was despicably murdered, because he was forced to return to the CUUN when he had already left, at gunpoint, they forced him to return to the CUUN where they have already set on fire the installations of the CUUN.

And he died burned, giving his life with courage so that we might continue forward, with faith and hope.

Other victims of the coup terrorism, of the criminals who played with hate, these are the hate crimes that we were not famiiar with in our Nicaragua, in recent history.

Our president agrees to grant the Rubén Darío Cultural Independence Order to the national ex-presidents of the National Student Union, UNEN.

Julio Orozco, national president of UNEN, 1993-97; Alonso García Rizo, national president of the UNEN, 1997-2000, Fidel Moreno, known as Fidel Antonio, Vice national president of the UNEN 1997 to 2000; Bismarck Antonio Santana Tijerino, president of the UNEN, 2000 to 2003, wounded by a bullet on Dec 13, 1995, he lost a leg, this was in the that grim and dark period of the so-called 16 years.[2]

Students fighting for the 6%!

Also receiving the award were Yasser Martínez Montoya, Yasser Enrique, president of the UNEN from 2003-2006; César Antonio Pérez, César Pérez, president of the UNEN from 2006 to 2009; Walpa Pineda, national president of the UNEN from 2015-2016; Isaac Lenin Bravo Jaén, president 2013-2016; Luis Manuel Andino Paiz, current president, since 2016; Leonel Morales, president of the UNEN UPOLI and survivor of an assassination attempt, but the fact is that they were not able and will not be able [to be successful].

The present Agreement takes effect starting today.

Award to Presidents

She also cited Agreement 174-2018:

The president of the Republic in salute to the 104th anniversary of the existence of the Student Movement in Nicaragua, that from its origins have accompanied and accompany the Nicaraguan people in their fight and aspirations for freedom, development, sovereignty and peace, in this year of 2018 when the Centennial is celebrated, inspired in the legacy of the Father of University Autonomy, Dr. Mariano Fiallos Gil who fought for a quality, inclusive public university committed to freedom, peace and development: agrees to recognize for her outstanding contribution to the development of Nicaraguan public universities granting the Ruben Darío Cultural Independence Order to the compañera Flor de María Valle, the current president of the UNAN-León, the first women elected as the president of the National University in León in March 2018.

“Compañera Ramona Rodríguez Pérez, Monchita, the president of the UNAN-Managua in 2015. She is also the president of the National University Council CNU, since August of this year. The First women president of the UNAN Managua and the first woman president of the CNU”, commented Compañera Rosario Murillo.

The example of the youth highlighted

In his message to the participants of the XVI Congress of the UNAN, president Daniel Ortega highlighted the role that the youth have played in the defense of the achievements of the people and the revolution.

“Here are the youth, the youth who with the effort of families, on occasion with the effort of the mother, who is father and mother at the same time, and with their capacities, intelligence, vocation, spirit of service, after making a long and not easy journey, passing primary, after secondary school, came the big challenge: the university”, said the Nicaraguan president.

“The National University, where to be able to go there you have to pass a test by fire. And that is what shows this can-do spirit that working families have, humble families, poor families, from the city and the countryside; even families in extreme poverty, who with great sacrifice are able to take boys and girls to primary school; and finally they are able to graduate from high school and then take the leap to university,” he emphasized.

Loyal to the Homeland

He pointed out that that it is the “university of the people, the university of the poor, the university of the children of peasants, the university of the children of the workers, and with a high level of awareness, this understandable degree of social awareness, this high level of solidarity awareness, this high degree of patriotic awareness, this high degree of awareness that makes the students of the UNEN loyal youth to the homeland, loyal to the revolution, loyal to the poor, loyal to the peasants, to the workers.”

He indicated that in this example, “there loyalty is committed, fighting for them and with them so that we might continue this struggle to eradicate poverty and extreme poverty.”

He greets the ambassadors of sister countries.

In what follows President Daniel Ortega greeted the ambassadors from the sister countries invited to the closing of the UNEN Congress [he greeted Ambassadors from Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Iran, Palestine, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Venezuela].

The nefarious inheritance of neoliberalism

The Statesman pointed out that “neoliberalism that had the complete support of the Yankees, the European Union, what was it that it left the Nicaraguan people? In educational matters in primary , secondary education, privatization,” he mentioned.

“That was the policy; privatize, privatize education, privatize health care, privatize the basic services of the Nicaraguan state, that is what they did,” he added.

They privatized businesses with millions in income

Privatizing big telephone companies that are a source of income, resources for any country, now which we Nicaraguans would like to have, but they privatized them in the midst of deals, big commissions, telephone companies mean multimillions of dollars worth of income, we used to say, do not privatize them, they were the years of the 90s, from the opposition we used to say, do not privatize them, and they insisted on privatizing,” he pointed out.

“We used to tell them, but you have to realize what the telephone companies are and are going to be in the future, an enormous source of resources for the country, and no, they decided to privatize, and they embarked on snatching properties away from the peasants who had been benefitted by the Agrarian Reform, and they embarked on evicting the workers who had received state enterprises,” he lamented.

The fight in the streets

“When the protest began- because, yes we went to protest, we held protests – why protests? So that it be negotiated and that participation in the privatization might be given to the workers. That was our proposal because we were facing a reality: the government had decided to privatize”, he added.

He restated: “and we did not think about embarking on a new insurrection to overthrow the government, because it was easy to overthrow it, for us it would have been easy to overthrow the government of Ms. Chamorro, the government of Dr. Alemán or the government of Mr. Bolaños, it was easy, simple, but we did not think about that.”

He explained that it never occurred to them to overthrow the government. “I always repeat, how, when we were in those negotiations in the midst of the protests in 1990, at the beginning of the 90s when they began with their privatization plan, snatching from the people, the poor, the revolutionary conquests, when they fired thousands of education workers, thousands of health workers, when they fired workers in customs, state workers, simply because they were Sandinistas or because they suspected that they were Sandinistas.”

“It did not occur to us to overthrow the government. Yes we did protest and compared to the protests that we did – that we were doing then – that have nothing to do with the crimes that they committed in this coup attempt”, he highlighted.

They sent the Army on the people

He recalled that the neoliberal governments did not hesitate to send out the Army on the people. “They did not hesitate to call the Army and send out the Army against those who were protesting. The Police were not enough, rather they sent out the Army as well, to shoot at the workers who were defending the companies that they had been given by the revolutionary state,” he said.

“Workers died there, defending supply centers, there in the province of Estelí, he remembered.

A general at the service of the oligarchy and the empire

“ And who was the Army chief, who violated the principles? The chief of the Army was General Ortega. General Humberto Ortega was head of the Army, that at that time, since then, with the departure of the [Sandinista] government simply decided to pass over to the side of those who had won the elections, and turn himself into a pawn of the oligarchy and the empire. A servant of the oligarchy and the empire”, he emphasized.

“This explains why he sent out the Army, an Army that was not, is not for that. He used it. We cannot forget, we cannot forget how the oligarchs, the imperialists, when they faced situations of protests on the part of the people, did not hesitate to establish a state of emergency, martial law, and brought out the Army to repress the people,” he continued.

“We continue seeing it in these times, in different places where it continues happening,” he commented.

“And when we were in those moments, we were negotiating for two months in that hall, of the Olof Palme (convention center), a hall where the workers were negotiating with the ministers , and another room where we were, talking with the leadership of the government,” recounted President Daniel Ortega,.

“Engineer Antonio Lacayo was the leadership of the government of Ms. Chamorro. And of course, it was difficult for them to reach an agreement in the negotiation in the midst of the protests, there were deaths, and one day Engineer Lacayo showed up and said to me, `Daniel, Doña Violeta says that she is no longer going to continue in the government, that she is going to give you the keys to the Presidency and that you all take the presidency,” he continued.

“I said to him, `No, we are going to take the presidency again when we win it with the votes of the people.´”, recounted the president, that he said to the then Minister of the Presidency, Antonio Lacayo.

“And I said to Engineer Lacayo, that they should continue negotiating and reach an agreement, there with the workers, and in the end an agreement was reached, that they were going to cede to them 25% of the companies that they were privatizing, returning to the Somocistas, who had returned also to Nicaragua,” he said.

He added that meanwhile the students were accompanying that struggle, “students from the National University were present, also some students from the Central American University, and let us not even talk about the battle that had to be taken on for the 6%, a battle that had to continue.”

President Daniel Ortega emphasized that while they (the neoliberal governments) were in power, “it never occurred to us to day, `let them leave´. Never. `Let them end their period and we will see them in the elections´, that was our position, and we saw them in the elections in 1990, later we saw them in the elections of 96, then we saw them once again in the elections of 2001, three and nothing. And the spokespeople for the right and the oligarchy would say, `you have now struck out, three and nothing´, but…We revolutionaries do not understand strike outs! And we went to the fourth election and there the people decided that the Sandinista Front should return to power.”

Comandante Daniel Ortega referred to the conditions in which he found the country: “ we found the government, the country, I am not going to make a list, I am only going to refer to one point. The neoliberal governments had privatized energy, they had not put clear norms or clear rules on the companies who had bought the energy plants, who, at the moment of buying the state plants, bought what was in good shape and did not buy what was in bad shape, and of course, by means of commissions, corruption and they did not make bigger investments in energy.”

He recalled that some two years before the FSLN came to government we already had an energy crisis in the country, and “there was the government running around to try to bring in a ship, those ships that they rent, they come with a plant, so the ship comes in and is installed in Puerto Corinto, there it is connected to the distribution system, but well… how much does that energy cost and it does not belong to the Nicaraguan state. It was rented from a speculative business and they charged what they want because they knew that the country was drowning, but in spite of that, the energy blackouts continued throughout the country, there was daily rationing in the entire country.”

“When we took on the government we found that the country, all of Nicaragua was collapsing, was broke, because a country without energy simply cannot function, cannot move forward, and there is where Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías appeared. He came to our installation, the installation of the people of Nicaragua, and then talking with him about the situation that we had, because the truth is that, if this problem was not resolved, then simply the government that we had recently assumed would be able to do very little for Nicaragua,” he recalled.

“What industry, what productive activity, what social recreational activity can operate without energy? And we were without energy, blackouts for hours. And there is where I said to President Chávez, we have this problem, explaining the problem to him, I did not dare to say to him help me, explaining the problem to him, he comes up and addresses other compañeros: Do we have plants in Cuba that are going to Caracas? Yes, the compañero sayd to him. Daniel, we are going to resolve this now. The plants that are in Cuba, that came from Korea, very modern plants, made in Korea and they are placing orders, Cuba and Venezuela together. Those orders went to Cuba, one part stayed for Cuba, and another part was going to Venezuela. Venezuela was looking for how to cover their basic energy needs, so the plants that we have in Cuba have to be brought now to Nicaragua, afterwards we will take more plants to Venezuela, but let us bring the plants that are now in Cuba to Nicaragua and those plants are the ones that saved Nicaraguan,” he stated.

The Comandante added that the oligarchs did not see this, the sellouts who when the energy came, from the hand of the Bolivarian Revolution, were incapable of recognizing it and being grateful for it, and rather what they did was drink the milk, “because of course, the energy they took, they used it, there was no bad government there when the energy was coming from Venezuela, they ran to use the energy, and as they say: they drank the milk and cursed the cow, that is how it was.”

He says that “that is why I do not get tired of repeating that in this process that we have lived through, in this new stage of the revolution, the Bolvarian revolution has been present, the sword of Bolívar has been present, through the sword of Chávez.

Also how, after the transition to immortality of Chávez, our brother Nicolás Maduro Moros, Constitutional President of the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, maintains that firm commitment with the Nicaraguan people.

And then how the economy moved all these years, and the social programs and everything that the people know how to value, and that explains why Nicaragua has a high rate of growth until the coup attempt against the state in April,” he stated.

“A country with a high degree of security, stability, a country at peace, thanks be to God, a country in economic growth, a country of social growth, a country admired by the way in which we were advancing, in spite of being a very small economy, this caused more admiration, because it is not the same thing, a country that has a lot of resources that is able to channel those resources correctly, and it brings well being and growth to the people; as a country like Nicaragua, always in very precarious conditions from the economic point of view, but knowing how to promote the solidarity of peoples and particularly the Venezuelan people, and knowing how to promote our own capacities, because we were in conditions also of placing our products in the market of ALBA, and placing our products in the international market, because we have a force of peasants, farmers, small producers, medium producers, workers who have a great capacity for developing our own capacities, taking into account our own resources and our own riches and that is where the growth that we have had came from,” he explained.

“But of course, the traitors, always conspiring with the empire. Since we came to power in 2007 they began to conspire, they began to ask for sanctions against the people of Nicaragua, they began to apply sanctions, but we said: it is important to continue, it is important to continue, because we have the intelligence, we have the strength, we have the human capital to be able to continue beyond the sanctions,” he expressed.

“And in the desperation, when they realized that they could not stop this highly humanitarian, highly humanist, highly solidarity based process, then they had no other alternative than to embark while armed on murdering the people, to try to overthrow the people who are the government and who are the president of this country,” he confirmed.

The president of Nicaragua, comandante Daniel Ortega, emphasized how all the oligarchs and sell-outs came together, “how they came together, how also some hierarchs of the church came together, after we invited them, we told them that they would be mediators, they quit being mediators and moved to being an active part of the coup forces, and this said by they themselves, now in declarations that have appeared, it is now clearly seen who were behind the roadblocks, encouraging roadblocks, in other words, encouraging crimes, who by principle, as Christians, as pastors, should have completely rejected any crime.”

He emphasized that these Catholic hierarchs “do not have anything to do with that Christ who was being whipped. When they took him to crucify him, and having all the power as the son of God to be able to do away with all those who were whipping him and were going to crucify him, he knew rather to say, pardon them, that they do not know what they are doing. These friends who speak in the name of Christ do not know that word of Pardon them that they do not know what they are doing.”

“They do not have anything of Christians, and they act with a terrorist, criminal mentality, they do. They happily joined the terrorist and criminal coup, the death of their brother Nicaraguans did not hurt them, the torture did not hurt them, the stark exhibition of those who were tortured, were mistreated, and then burned, no, it did not hurt them. They never said one word, nor have they said one word condemning these criminal deeds. Never”, he stated.

“God wants that in these days of Christmas that a little bit of light from the star of Bethlehem that might cleanse them would reach them, he wished.

“Dear compañeros, dear boys and girls of the National Student Union. I do have here the conclusions that you read and we are going to take them to seek responses, here facing greater challenges, even in greater difficulties, we are never going to resign, we are never going to resign overcoming the challenges, overcoming the difficulties and providing a response to the people, providing a response to families, giving a response to the students,” encouraged the comandante.

“And greetings to all of you, and through all of you, to all the students of the university, the university that receives the children of the poor. And sending a greeting to all the families who are part of this blessed extraordinary effort that has allowed you to reach the doors of the university, the university classrooms, and then achieve a degree to later serve your families, serve the community, serve the people,” he added.

“And on this day offering homage, as well they deserve it, the heroe and martyr students who have given their lives for just causes, the students of our universities who in different circumstances, fighting for a better Nicaragua, for a Nicaragua in peace, for a Nicaragua with justice, have given their lives, without asking anything in return, nothing, and they as Leonel Rugama used to say, they did not say that they were dying for the homeland, they did not say that they were dying for the people, they did not say that they were dying for the dignity of Nicaragua, but they died, “ he pronounced.

The president concluded his words saying, “Long live our heroes and martyrs! Long live the National Student Union of Nicaragua! Long live Darío! Long live Sandino! Sandino lives, the fight continues, Free Fatherland or Death!”

[1]Their representatives sat on the government´s side during the dialogue, opposite the “self convened” students who led the initial protests. Largely considered part of the FSLN party apparatus.

[2] 1990-2006, period when the FSLN was not in power.

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