This is an account of the incident among Nicaraguan exiles in a meeting on July 28, 2019 in Costa Rica from the viewpoint of one of the panelists, Félix Maradiaga, whose NGO was also intervened and closed down by the Nicaraguan government in Dec 2018.
The Complaint of the Exiles: National Strike and More Representation
By Félix Maradiaga, July 29, 2019 published in Confidencial
[see original Spanish at https://confidencial.com.ni/el-reclamo-de-los-exiliados-paro-nacional-y-mas-representatividad/# ]
A description behind the “bitter episode” of the encounter among Nicaraguan exiles and members of the Civic Alliance and the National Unity in Costa Rica.
This Sunday the organization Hagamos Democracia (as a member of the Blue and White National Unity) organized a conversation with people in exile in Costa Rica and members of the Civic Alliance and the National Unity.
I was invited to the panel composed by several invitees, among whom were Violeta Granera, Edwin Carcache, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Medardo Mairena, Mónica López, Ana Quirós, Max Jerez, José Pallais, Mario Arana and Luciano García (I hope I did not forget anyone). In what follows I lay out in summary fashion the evolution of this activity, which was pretty complicated:
At the beginning of the meeting, a group of exiles entered, very upset because they had not been invited. They demanded to be present at the same time that they said that they did not feel represented by the Alliance.
Luciano García, president of Hagamos Democracia, trying to accommodate, explained to them that he apologized, but the invitation was limited because the capacity of the hall was limited to 120 people. After a heated discussion, that I am sure you have seen in the social networks, Luciano spoke with the manager of the place so that they would accept going beyond the original capacity of the room.
Thus it was that the activity began, through a long session of questions and answers. In total more than 300 people remained in the room.
The questions and strong complaints on the part of a group of attendees revolved around the following issues:
- Demand for a national strike and plan for civil disobedience
- Emergency plan to meet the need for food, health care and jobs for the exiles.
- A plan for the safe return of those in exile.
- The establishment of a formal and democratically elected representation of the exiles in Costa Rica. Several attendees said that they did not feel represented.
- More unity among the opposition
- Representation of other sectors on the negotiating table (for example, peasants and mothers of victims).
- Electoral reform
- Primary elections for choosing candidates
- Participatory preparation of a nation plan, etc.
(I am sure that I have forgotten some issues).
It is clear that the community of exiles in Costa Rica is very upset and have enormous needs that have not been met. I want to be the first to admit that we have not been able to provide an adequate response to the brothers and sisters in exile. That is why I understand the tone of anger and complaint on the part of a good part of the attendees. Other incidents occurred, however, of physical violence among the exiles, that indicate to us that we still must work to build a culture of civility and democracy.
For nearly three hours an effort was made to respond with transparency. Nevertheless, the meeting ended abruptly when two small groups of attendees began to argue among themselves over internal differences that I did not understand well. The discussion ended in an regrettable way, when some people from the audience came to blows against one another. The situation did not lead to anything more, but it left behind a very bitter taste.
I feel sad at seeing the violence among the exiles themselves. I understand the level of tension that is experienced in Costa Rica, but nothing justifies the use of fists when we want to build a nation in freedom.
In spite of this bitter episode, I reiterate the commitment to continue making the greatest human effort from my small trenches to achieve a quick departure of the dictatorship, who is the true adversary. We are not going to rest until we see a free Nicaragua.
May God bless Nicaragua!