Above the deafening bellow of the vuvuzelas, the cry for justice of Yadira Córdoba was heard very clear. The mother marched vigorously with the full-face portrait of her son Orlando Córdoba printed on her shirt, among the crowd of exiles who on Sunday morning filled the wide Second Avenue of San Jose, Costa Rica, where they marched for “unity” among all the anti-Ortega government “blue and white movement,” of Nicaragua.
“I come to ask for justice for the spilled blood of my son on May 30, 2018, so that there will be no more bloodshed. They wanted to silence my son’s voice, but here I am as a mother, demanding an end tp so much violence. The person that committed genocide must go and only by being united can we achieve that,” said Cordoba. The woman has been in exile for months in Costa Rica. She is one of the more than 70,000 persons that sought refuge from the repression and persecution of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.
Cordoba marched as one of the “Mothers of April” while on her side, behind and in front of her, hundreds of exiles from Masaya, Jinotega, Managua, Matagalpa, university students demonstrated. In the march also participating were released political prisoners, discharged doctors, various social leaders, members of civil society, and peasants, some of whom had come from Nicaragua to San Jose for the rally.
In fact, it was the peasant movement that summoned this “march for unity.” The mobilization started from La Merced Park, a reference point for Nicaraguans even before the April crisis and its subsequent wave of exiles. There were flags, whistles, musicians, the always deafening vuvuzelas, drones flying over the crowds, and many, but many blue and white flags.
It was a march as vital as those that took place in Nicaragua before the dictator Daniel Ortega banned them with bullets. It could be said that even the weather conspired so that the march resembled those made north of the Costa Rican border. The usual cold and gray weather of San Jose overturned: there was sun and it was warm. Sweating and transmitting images of the march via his cell phone was Byron Estrada, a young former political prisoner who traveled from his native Leon to participate in the march in San Jose.
“We ask for an end to the repression, of the killing of peasants in the north. Enough with the besiegement against political prisoners,” said Estrada, who was detained at the border of Penas Blancas by officers of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship and interrogated.
Many diverse leaderships
In the front line, leading the march, was another released political prisoner: the peasant leader Medardo Mairena, who had been sentenced to 216 years in prison for invented crimes. Mairena was also busy talking to journalists who managed to get through the fence of people that surrounded him: some were protecting him and others who were asking for a “selfie.”
“This is a march for unity. Of unity because in exile there are many leaderships of the territories that represent municipalities and departments of Nicaragua,” Mairena told Confidencial. “The peasant movement has always been on the side of the victims and today we reencounter our brothers in exile, and we know difficult things have been since the regime tried to kill us all.”
Mairena emphasized the diversity of sectors that attended the call for the march in a political context marked by the decision of the Ortega Murillo regime to close the doors to the national dialogue with the Civic Alliance, and the refusal to advance the elections. Against this backdrop, various sectors of the “blue and white struggle” have begun an organizational process to confront the regime.
The word unity is important for Mairena. The peasant leader recognizes the differences between some of the positions of these sectors, but was categorical to seal the “unity” with the march this past Sunday in San Jose. “It is more than proven that this is unity, because in this march there are people from different sectors saying yes (present) to Nicaragua,” assured the peasant leader.
Walking towards democracy
Hundreds of demonstrators advanced 1.5 kilometers on the Second Avenue and concluded their route in the “Plaza de la Democracia” (Democracy Square), a very significant journey: Nicaraguans walking towards a democracy that they still cannot achieve in their country.
In the “Plaza de la Democracia” the demonstrators crowded together and listened to the speeches of some of the social leaders, among them the ex-political prisoner and small merchant representative Irlanda Jerez.
“This march is showing the regime and the international community what the Nicaraguan people want. The blue and white people want freedom. We demand justice and to return to our country, but with freedoms,” said Jerez. “We will all return when Nicaragua is free. We are all together in one front to defeat the dictator who has kidnapped our homeland. We join around this call and it is great to march in exile with unity.”
The “Plaza de la Democracia” boomed with energy when a drone flew over the crowd and they began to jump and shout: “Daniel (Ortega), listen, we are still in the struggle!