This article was published on the website nicaraguainvestiga.com on Aug 8, 2018. This young anonymous Nicaraguan addresses a debate among the international left that has come out to strongly defend Daniel Ortega in this crisis. The most well known figure in this group of leftists is Max Blumenthal, who came to Nicaragua in July and did an extensive interview of Daniel Ortega. A good example of this international debate can be seen in the article written by Mary Ellsberg (daughter of famous Daniel Ellsberg) and the response by Charles Redvers. The translation of the analysis of this young Nicaraguan follows, with the translation of a response posted to the same website, that shows the polarization in Nicaragua today.
The left has to be re-invented, which is urgently facing new challenges in a new context
Published on August 8, 2018 on website of nicaraguainvestiga.com
There is no need for preambles and introductions. It does not matter who you are. One of the many with their faces covered. I was born in Nicaragua in the midst of the war and the Revolution of the 80s. From my mother I learned the commitment to the people and the values of Sandinism. And from my father…he only left me a photo dressed as a militiaman where he carried me as a recently born baby in his arms.
I am one of many who had to put on a mask when the government took its off.
What today pushes me – or better said, forces me – to write these lines is a feeling of being really pissed off “encachimbamiento” as we say in Nicaragua – that comes from deep inside and is broadly shared.
To understand one another better, first I will tell you that Nicaraguans by nature are affable and expressive, even tend to be pretty moderate in their expressions of anger; as if publically showing your anger (or “slamming down your hat” as is said popularly) were a sign of weakness. So we have a wider scale of emotions than normal: when in the rest of the world someone is furious, here we say that he is “very upset”, and in that particular scale, the highest level has its own, real name: really pissed off “El encachimbamiento”. The dictator Somoza was able to experience in his flesh the scope of this phenomenon and with a lot of similarities, 40 years later, the bicephalous dictatorship of Ortega-Murillo is also experiencing it.
This “encachimbamiento” is not a simple rise in sugar or attack of rage, it is a chemical-social process even poorly studied by political scientists, that has a gradual evolution. It is like a state of interior fermentation, the fruit of multiple and repeated setbacks, trials, frustrations and suppressed humilliations, whose slow maceration ends up suddenly reducing the level of fear and causing some highly flammable fumes.
This “encachimbamiento” is precisely what unleashed all this situation in which Nicaragua is immersed since April 19th. It is clear.
But as a result of all this, another anger has been emerging in me, as in many other compañeros and compañeras. Even more, it can be said that we are “very upset” with the right minded international left. I would even say that I am really pissed off (“encachimbado”).
Really pissed off with that jurassic left who, with their doubts, suspicions and silence are being accomplices of a bloody repression exercised against a genuine movement of civic insurrection. A left that in passing, also is irremediably missing the train of history, even that would be a lesser evil…Because while its bigwigs pass the time wisely debating and commenting in their forums and think tanks about “soft coups”, “color revolutions” and the imperialist thesis of Gene Sharp, the killers of the Ortega-Murillo regime emboldened and reaffirmed in their holy “revolutionary” war proudly go out hunting to pursue, kidnap or kill (preferably disarmed, of course) the opponents labelled “vandals”, “criminals”, and “terrorists”.
How comfortable are these ideological reference points for transforming legitimate social protest into a CIA coup conspiracy! And how useful they end up being for Ortega-Murillo to be able to defend their businesses and justify their misdeeds flaunting the seal of impeccable revolutionaries, harassed by a horde of youth and “right wing vandals financed by Imperialism”…only for trying to do the same thing that 40 years ago they did in their revolutionary times: get rid of the dictator! What an irony!
And what disdain! In other words, if the struggles of the people are not framed within an appropriate strategic context, decided by them and directed by them at the right time, they are not valid. In other words, the struggles against a dictator can be good or bad depending on whether that dictatorship is from the right or proclaims itself to be on the left?
It must be that we are young, uncouth, without theoretical foundations and without the life experience, and to top it off, short sighted, because where we see a fight of democracy against authoritarianism, they see reasons of State, large scale conspiracies and strategic battles to preserve spaces that the left cannot lose. What bad luck that our struggle appears too much like those so called “color revolutions” to be able to be recognized by the Sanhedrin of the revolutionaries!
Even so, you right-minded Gentlemen of the left (and I say Gentlemen because fortunately there are almost no Ladies) are going to forgive us for offering you some reflections here.
First of all you do not know our history. A history marked by the misfortune of having been born in the backyard of an empire with everything that implies, and in addition for having been Nicaragua the place designated for the construction of an interoceanic canal that before existing had already cost us more than one civil war and many invasions of Yankee marines. Nicaragua has always been in the crossroads of geopolitical and strategic interests, and for something to change in a place like this, it is not always enough that the people decide it to… you also have to ask for permission higher up.
We are not naïve. We know that the gringos always are going to try to interfere, abort or reclaim true processes of social change, no matter how incipient or soft they may appear.
To respond to that threat, calling every uncontrolled popular initiative coup supporters, and massacring your own people in the name of revolutionary principles, not only is immoral and unacceptable but it is also completely counterproductive, because while that is happening, the gringos play the role of the good guys, appearing as the only protectors of democracy and human rights, and leaving the left the pitiful role of defending the most disgraceful causes.
In the name of what principles and what ethics can so much cruelty be justified, so much perversity which which our people are being punished? Because in reality that is what this is about: an exemplary punishment for being ungrateful, rebellious, capricious recidivists and for coming in and causing a commotion on the farm that they placidly controlled.
How can one govern with so much hate? With what kind of deranged mind was it possible to give the order to close the doors of the hospitals to youth who were bleeding? Or fire doctors for the simple fact of having treated wounded demonstrators? Or giving poisoned food to students in the barricades? Or pass by throwing acid on the face of the demonstrators? Or ordering the police to be killed who did not want to be part of this massacre? Or pay 2,500 córdobas extra to workers of the Municipal Government of Managua to go hunting with the license to kill and steal? And when they ended their “clean up” tasks, to continue persecuting, threatening, kidnapping, and torturing.
Just to mention some absolutely proven and irrefutable facts.
Confusing this murderous drift and this banana republic nepotism with a socialist, Sandinista or minimally leftist project, defending it, or even faking neutrality in the face of it, not only is a crass mistake, it is a disgrace that history will have difficulty in forgiving.
One thing is recognizing that today the empire has refined its methods with strategies much more difficult to detect and more in harmony with the era of mass and manhandled communication in which we live.
Something very different is to mechanically apply this analysis to any situation of social protest, or free from responsibility any regime just for the fact that it calls itself socialist and revolutionary, and in the name of those sacrosanct principles our people must put up with the outrages and horrors that not even Somoza committed in such a short time.
This would be an absurdity, an insult to intelligence and above all; an attitude of profound elitist disdain for the struggle of an unarmed people (for how long…?) who in the face of repeated abuse of authority loses fear and takes to the streets recovering its memory and dignity.
An absurdity, first of all, because the Ortega-Murillo regime, whereever you look, is not leftist, no matter how much an effort is made to disguise its neoliberalism with its psuedorevolutionary poisonous verbosity. This government has nothing leftist beyond its seal and letterhead, snatched through ruses from a party that they themselves emptied of all substance and turned into an electoral and repressive machine at the service of their political and economic interests.
What would Sandino say, who began his struggle against the mining companies installed in Nicaragua, if he knew that the government that today usurps his name has sold most of the subsoil of the country to large extractive multinationals? Without mentioning the sale of the concession for the construction of the interoceanic canal to a murky Chinese enterprise, arbitrarily snatching land from peasants without even consulting them, or at least trying to convince them.
Where are the leftist politics of a character capable of plotting any ruse to remain in power, he, his wife and marimba of sons and daughters, each one of them in charge of businesses, companies, concessions, TV channels, etc.?
How can they continue seeing in the figure of Ortega a reference point for the left after the aberrant history of sexual abuses has been more than proven, committed during years against his stepdaughter Zoilamérica, when she was a minor?
A reference for the left a person capable of pacting with the Catholic Church on a medieval law that penalizes abortion, even therapeutic abortion (in other words, that prevents doctors from intervening to save the life of a mother if this implies that the fetus would be at risk).
But even with so much indulgence and pacts, the move turned out badly for them. After frolicking for 11 years with large capital, the Church, and even the US, Daniel Ortega suddenly felt betrayed and cynically went back to dust off his “revolutionary” artillery: overnight private enterprise became coup plotters, the Church a satanic sect, and the youth the “divine treasure” of the Fatherland that he referred to in his speeches, a horde of vandals, terrorists and criminals accredited to Imperialism.
Having gotten to this critical point, what Daniel Ortega most needs is to not lose the Leftist franchise, continue selling the story that he represents and safeguards the essence of anti-imperialism, and in this way reaffirm that all the opponents of the regime are nothing more than a pack of Somocistas, liberals and pro-imperialists.
It is not to fall into any contradiction, nevertheless, to recognize that in situations like this one, the first to look for gain are those who always are, those who are most prepared and have the most resources and experience: the right supported by the US and their multiple operators.
It is obvious that the gringos are always prepared to fish (and even more in a turbulent river) and redirect social processes to terrain that they control. But then what should we do? Do we resign ourselves to this? Throw in the towel? Or do we continue alone in this struggle?
But let´s not fool ourselves there either. If the US has not promoted the most decisive coup on this government it is not for lack of means or ideas, but because in some way it continues to serve its interests in the region, and because the gringos, like the right, that is more afraid of a popular uprising that they do not control, than of a tyrant with whom they can negotiate. Daniel Ortega knows this well and takes good advantage of it, launching the threat that without him the region would be immersed in an uncontrollable chaos.
And in the face of all this what does the right-minded Left think?
It is very true that created interested do not admit too much reasoning but in addition, many of the bigwigs are not willing to risk that their anti-imperialist curriculum be placed in question if they would withdraw their support for the old fellow bus rider. In the best of cases they can come to admit that Daniel Ortega has made a mistake, that he went a little too far, or even that this has happened from letting his wife Rosario get involved in affairs that were not hers to contend with.
But in the final analysis with Imperialism involved, they end up invariably thinking that the end justifies the means and that therefore “it is not the time to enter into debates that would weaken the progressive camp in Latin America.” Enough reason, according to them, for Nicaragua to continue being immolated in the name of Alba and with this logic, surely in a whisper, more than one will be saying of Daniel the same that the gringos said of their ally the dictator Somoza to justify his bloody abuses: “He is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.” To continue arguing that “what comes after Daniel could be a risk.” Indeed in this country so subjected to foreign interests, every change is a risk, but to stick to the rotten beam out of fear that the whole floor might fall down does not appear to be the most intelligent option.
In the face of an ideologically disperse opposition and with the only common project of demanding the departure of Ortega-Murillo, would it not be more consistent, from a perspective of the left, to accompany these youth in solidarity, who still recognize in themselves the ideals of Sandino, and to support these authentic popular movements so that they are not left alone, and their causes are not seen to be recovered by other foreign interests?
So that our parents, who sacrificied the best of their lives (and our childhood) for such a generous cause do not feel that they have fought in vain, nor think that these bloody and demented drifters have something to do with the ideals in which they believed. They are not to blame for the fact that some pyschopathic murderers disguised as revolutionaries make them go to their graves with this unjustified burden of blame on their backs.
What will this country have in order to be so branded by history? 40 years ago it was up to our parents to overthrow a dictatorship. Now it is up to us. Without weapons, almost without support, surrounded by misunderstanding, almost without means and almost without time to think and organize ourselves.
Mister bigwigs of the right-minded left, if you love Daniel Ortega so much as a reference point and a fellow bus rider, keep him! But out of respect for all those who have sacrificed their lives and continue sacrificing them for dreams, ideals and not for petty interests, please, get out of the way, cross the sidewalk and change your name. The left, internationalism has to be reinvented. Stop the bull and come down to the level of the paving stones [reference to stones used to build the barricades]. Because contrary to what you think, that is a better place to glimpse the future.
Instead of continuing to twist reality to make it fit your obsolete theories, instead of defending the indefensible, try at least to find a small hole in your speculations to justify the fact that a bunch of really pissed off people, without weapons, without resources, without contacts with the CIA might have the right to exist, express themselves and fight for their rights and their leftist ideals.
Mister bigwigs: we not only are unable to recognize ourselves in the practices of that left that you represent, but at this point of the game we declare that we are its orphans!
The left is urgently facing new challenges in a new context to which we do not have clear questions nor responses, and much less certainties or theories. There are things that we are not able to understand. But there is something much worse than not understanding: being convinced that one understands and turning to inadequate responses. But in any case, and for now, there are principles that have to be held on to: ethics and humanism without which there is no possibility for a left.
In another time a prophetic and lucid communist dissident said:
“The old world is dying. The new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.”
I hope the Left does not continue making themselves accomplices of them…
Nicaragua, July 2018
What follows is a translation of a comment on the article left on the same website by Jorge Ledesma Paz on Aug 13, 2018 at 12:46am
I am not going to debunk an ideological theoretical position because it would be throwing pearls before swine. I will only say that in the bipolar world you are either on one side or the other. Here, the opposition, the republican government is supplying, as it supplied the contras in the decade of the 70/80s. Whoever believes that overthrowing the government will change history is mistaken. Here being really pissed off comes from the Sandinistas, we who have been attacked, violated, murdered and even burned by a plague that we will take to justice so that it pays for the rupture of the institutional order that they wanted to create. The synthesis: you are either an accomodating traitor functional for the republican government in power at the time, or you are a revolutionary, who values the history of struggle of our people without tarnishing the photo of a miliciaman, a sign of what love for the fatherland entails. All the rest is cheap rhetoric learned in some corredor of the UCA, created by oligo-bourgeois dinosaurs who want to usurp what they have not known how to win in a decent fight!
LEAD 19, Free Fatherland or Death
From some place in Nicaragua