Oscar René Vargas is a well known political analyst, now in exile in Costa Rica after the government ordered his arrest in July. He joined the FSLN in 1967 and was forced into exile during the Somoza regime that same year, after rescuing Ortega from a safe-house surrounded by Somoza´s military. He was named Nicaraguan Ambassador to France shortly after Ortega came back to power in 2007.
In this piece he analyzes the impact of the resignation and denouncement of the Supreme Court Judge Rafael Solís that was made public on January 10, 2019.
The Sorcerers of the Government
Oscar-René Vargas /January 15, 2019.
- In the year 180 AD the Greek writer Lucian de Samósata in his short novel called “True History” wrote a story that captivated his followers. His story tells how Eucrates was able to secretly obtain the magic formula that a renowned Egyptian sorcerer used. The spell allowed him to give life to inanimate objects and put them at his service.
- With the magic formula he made a broom go out to get water, but on concluding that task, the broom continued bringing in more water. On not being able to stop it, Eucrates, now desperate, cut it in two with an axe, only to discover that the two halves took on life, and continued their work until the house of the sorcerer was flooded.
- The power of this cautionary tale drew the attention of Goethe, who in 1798 developed it in his poem Die Zauberlehrling, the sorcerer´s apprentice. The message of caution: you should not unleash forces that cannot be controlled.
- Nicaraguan political history reveals that the message has not been heard, sooner or later dictatorships have always unleashed uncontrollable social and political forces. One example we find in the resignation and declarations of the ex Magistrate Rafael Solís.
- The entire principal ring of power, from top officials to the last member of the social base of the party in power, are going to suffer the repercussions of Solís´ declarations. The decisión of Solís can push others to do the same. It is almost certain that now key officials will be watched. The Ortega-Murillo regime cannot control the repercussions of his desertion, nor do they have the capacity to prevent new desertions.
- Cohesion and strength are basic for confronting the social and political rebellion of the self convoked from April; now Ortega has to deal with this desertion that puts him in a bind with his followers, now that distrust has come alive and will continue its work until the maintenance of the Ortega-Murillo regime becomes unsustainable.
- Solís´ resignation has an immediate demoralizing effect for his social base, in addition to the legal, juridical effects that can be derived from his denouncement and criticism of the massacre, and the future behavior of the judges in the processes against political prisoners.
- The resignation and denouncement of Rafael Solís was not just any act. It is a stake in the power center of the presidential couple, which helps to accelerate the implosion of the Ortega-Murillo regime. With the information from Solís, surely the blows of future sanctions will be more well aimed and directed.
- The worldwide impact was immediate: The New York Times published the news, and many foreign newspapers did as well. Radio France International interviewed him, and all of them think that this is not an isolated event, new resignations are expected, and in this way the regime is going to run out of rope.
- Ex magistrate Solís not only managed a coffer of secrets from all the legal and unconstitutional abuses that were done in the country, but he also was the trusted political operator of Ortega in the judicial system, and knows intimate details of power. He was a participant in and/or knew about all the most important political operations.
- The adverse economic situation, the difficulties to process transition political agreements, the collapse of the power center, allowed for the reinforcement of the State of terror denounced by the IACHR, GIEI and ratified by Solís. All of which has resulted in the exhaustion of the Ortega-Murillo regime in terms of the international community
- What is horrifying about what has happened in Nicaragua in the last 10 months is that all the red lines that we could imagine that existed have been crossed, be that out of an absence of principles, or political calculation or logic of dictatorial power.
- What is horrifying about what is happening is that there are no longer any limits; the police and the para-police armed groups who are operating have no limits, and that is part of the strategy of terror that is trying to paralyze society.
- The intent of the persecution, repression and torture has the purpose of breaking the resistance of the self convoked, with the supreme purpose of keeping power for power´s sake. The government uses also detention and criminalization as a form of repression of social protest.
- The judicial branch indeed is acting in the political persecution of the self convoked, and passively in the protection of the Rule of Law and democracy. The judicial system is an important element of the dictatorship while providing complicit coverage for the repression.
- The Ortega-Murillo regime represents a “new type of fascism” which is expressed in a poisonous and cynical way, like a dark tide, fed by the policy of the regime.
- The problem is that the social and political rebellion of April weakened the backbone of the governance of the authoritarian regime, without generating a new form of power, and between it and the self convened citizens. The denouncement of Solís shows that the Ortega-Murillo regime is remaining within the logic of power or death.
- Ms. Murillo is calling on sorcerers disguised as international evangelical pastors to come to pray in certain sites. No magical formula, no incantation of the sorcerers, no enchanter at the service of the dictatorship will be able to stop the unrelenting march of the collapse of the Ortega-Murillo regime.
San José/Costa Rica, January 15, 2019.