There have been a number of observations aired on the independent television channels regarding the role of the student delegates and the bishops who are the mediators and guarantors of the currently stagnated national dialogue. The commentators say that in the first encounters there was a lot of ingenuousness and hastiness in demanding the immediate resignation of the Ortega-Murillo pair, plus an impromptu proposal for a series of reforms to the state structures.
Some believe that those two demands motivated the government to launch their line that a “coup d’etat” was being cooked up in the dialogue, and for that reason to put up obstacles to the dialogue until they achieved its current state of impasse. That line of thinking suggests that if these demands had not been made, the dictators wouldn’t have been “frightened”, nor would they have impeded the dialogue from reaching a positive culmination.
To my way of thinking, these observations are unfair. First, because the demands made were not only just, but also necessary; neither the students nor the bishops were removed or impervious to the overall demands of the people who were under attack and outraged from the moment of the dictatorship’s first crimes. Secondly, because if that national demand hadn’t been proposed at the outset, the people would have felt that their principal demands weren’t being reflected, and therefore they wouldn’t feel well represented in the dialogue with the dictators, as they really did feel.
As for what happened later – the repression and the killings – it’s a fact that the dictators and their representatives at the dialogue would have reacted in an equally negative manner on any pretext. Why do they think the regime flaunted all their military paraphernalia on land and in the air on that very same initial day of the dialogue, if not for the goal of frightening people with their destructive power? They’ve never had any other interest apart from that of continuing in power.
If those demands hadn’t been made during that initial opportunity, they could never again have been made “right to his face”, as they were. Not because the delegates of the Civic Alliance would have been afraid, but because their demand had more value when made face to face with the dictator and in such an opportune manner.
Now more than ever, Ortega the dictator continues repressing, imprisoning and killing, as happened last Sunday, September 23, when the death of a young boy of 16, several wounded and many prisoners were added to the toll during a cowardly attack against a peaceful demonstration. All this, less than 24 hours after Ortega’s last threat and his wife’s cynical call for “peace”.
Given everything that has transpired since the first meeting of the dialogue – the blood and death in between – the observations referred to are part of the right to think. Differences of criteria, as in this case, don’t signify a rupture; rather it’s something easy to understand when there’s good will and the common objectives against the dictatorship predominate.
That’s the positive side of any observation among those who share common patriotic goals within the popular movement. This is being demonstrated in the steps taken towards a National Blue and White Agreement, where the only ones left out are those who exclude themselves due to their complicity with the electoral frauds of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.
Happily, for the patriotic cause, those who exclude themselves aren’t the grassroots activists of any of the political parties that kowtow to the Ortega regime in their electoral farces, but the party strongmen who never consulted with their bases at the moment of sealing their pacts among the top echelon. And if at some time they did so and found their grassroots willing, it would have been from the effects of the traditional demagoguery that clouds the conscience of their followers. A great many of them are now involved in the civic marches.
The agents of this collaborative agreement [currently in the making] are employing a new kind of politics – socially broad, tolerant of ideological difference and with a great sense of nation. This consciousness is being impressed on the new opposition by the student and the popular movement. The traditional politics of caudillismo [strongman rule] are being buried in order to open a new democratic perspective towards the reconstruction of our country.
As we’ve said on other occasions, you can’t restore a democracy that never existed here. But that doesn’t mean imagining an idealized democracy either, free of social contradictions. However, it does mean one with respect for the right and freedom to struggle for social justice without dictatorships or messianic impositions, much less submission to foreign interests.
If this collaborative agreement can be forged, and everything indicates that it will be, it would be the most important, and in several aspects unique, political victory in our history. Its first predecessor was the National Union for Freedom, (Udel), that Pedro Joaquin Chamorro succeeded in organizing in 1974. It was the Udel that, for the first time, broke with the political prejudices of the traditional opposition, uniting conservatives, socialists, communists, Christians, liberals and independent unions against the Somoza dictatorship.
The second predecessor was the National Opposition Union (UNO). However, although the UNO had an ideological spectrum, it occurred under different historic conditions: a civil war with external financing and military training. The UNO couldn’t hide its political and economic dependence on an external power, mirroring the situation of the military side of the opposition, the “Contra” or counterrevolutionary forces.
The historic conditions that have given rise to the National Blue and White Collaboration are more difficult than those the Udel faced, since at that time the struggle was against the reelection of Anastasio Somoza Debayle under the slogan “There’s no one to vote for” and against the idea of reelection.
Now, we’ve already seen more than 400 killed in five months of repression and still nearly every day there are new crimes of the Ortega guard to lament. All because the people have demanded the resignation of the dictators, the organization of early elections, as well as an end to the repression and freedom for the political prisoners and those of conscience.
In the case of Udel, it was created seven years after the massacre perpetrated on January 22, 1967, during which the opposition was distorted and betrayed by the advent of “mosquito” opportunism, whereby parties played a role as docile opposition. The UNO was born in wartime, but later the peace accords gave way to the corruption of Arnoldo Aleman, who later made a pact with the Ortega forces, which in time degenerated into this corrupt and bloody dictatorship.
Now, though, in the middle of this tragic harvest of deaths, under a repression with no end in sight, with people dismissed from their jobs, abducted, tortured, judged in secret trials, under absurd accusations and with false witnesses, a National Blue and White Collaborative Agreement is necessary to continue the struggle more united in the face of the dictatorship.
Organizing this National Agreement is urgent, because its mission is political and humanitarian to save so many lives that are in danger under the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.