Nicaragua’s Drama and International Political Opportunism
Is a government’s sovereignty more important than Nicaraguan people’s lives?
I am deeply saddened by the views of some politicians from the International Left when, in the name of anti-imperialism, they express their solidarity with Daniel Ortega’s corrupt and repressive government. I think they are suffering an ideological paralysis, or they are comparing Nicaragua’s situation today with previous events in the past out of political schematism, which goes to prove that they only know this ideology from speeches… in the past.
The argument that Imperialism is endorsing our people’s struggle will now be reinforced after the Global Magnitsky Act was enacted against three of Ortega’s high-ranking officials (four if we count fugitive on the run, Roberto Rivas) for crimes against human rights. They would be right to eye this law badly from a State which grants itself laws of extraterritorial powers, by force. Nevertheless, in Nicaragua’s current situation, where human rights are being violated, lives are being taken, where hundreds of unarmed young people are being kidnapped and tortured… we need to ask: Is a government’s sovereignty more important than Nicaraguan people’s lives?
I would say it isn’t and let me explain myself by giving you the following example. An armed group of people storm inside a house and murder the family’s children because they were protesting against the Government’s corrupt acts and were demanding that the dictator resign. Then, another guy from another country takes advantage of that moment to settle pending scores with the murderers and punishes them.
Of course, this guy is acting out of self-interest rather than seeking justice for this family, but it is an indirect act of justice to the grieving family too. According to international laws, this event wouldn’t justify the stranger’s interference, but the family would feel like they had been avenged and wouldn’t see any reason for him to be condemned, even though they still might think that the stranger interfered.
Meanwhile, other guys from far-off lands stand in solidarity with the group of murderers, they justify them and slander the grieving family at the same time, accusing them of being the stranger’s instrument to punish the criminals.
Let’s get back to reality now, shall we? The guys standing in solidarity with Daniel Ortega abroad are forgetting that the Sandinista Revolution ended 28 years ago, since which no more revolutionary advances have been made, in fact, there have only been steps back. And these guys, bureaucrats of Leftist parties, nurture this solidarity with their nostalgia from when they could enjoy the elixir of power or because our revolution morally supported their own struggle.
We also received visits from internationalists who worked, suffered and died alongside our youth in mountains, regions and towns defending the revolution. However, none of these real friends were the ones who attended reception parties at mansions “recovered” by the Revolution’s leaders. And the majority of those internationalists are now the people who are really standing in solidarity with our people and condemning the Government.
Sadness is the least thing you feel when government bureaucrats, movements and parties perceived to be the Left sign messages of support to Daniel Ortega, now that the Nicaraguan people are bleeding because of his State terrorism, which includes burning down the homes of unarmed young people who rose up against his dictatorship. They express this solidarity going against the Nicaraguan people’s struggle against the dictatorship of the betrayed revolution’s last and greatest beneficiary.
They also pretend to ignore Nicaragua’s reality today and preceding events, over the past 11 years that Ortega has been in office and how he has managed to do this. If they are aware of what’s gone on and don’t criticize it, that’s because they are acting according to the saying: “every revolution has its particularities”… Well, what a murderous particularity Ortega’s has!
They will never recognize our reality after 11 years of Ortega in power or the political movement in Nicaragua which means unity between opposition groups against his government, where class, ideology, age, profession or religious beliefs have no place. I admit that this unity might be inconceivable in other countries, other societies and cultures, but in our country we are experiencing a very exceptional political movement.
Although I’m not letting myself fall into the easy thought that such a unity is going to eliminate our social, political, ideological and religious contradictions between groups of Nicaraguans (not organically yet at least), they are driven by a common patriotic feeling that comes from fighting against Ortega’s bloody dictatorship, as members of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy. Another feature of this movement is that nobody represents any traditional or new political party in this unity and so everyone can participate.
All of its members are fighting for justice for the mothers and families of over 300 young people who were murdered (most of whom were aged between 1-30), thousands of seriously and slightly injured people, dozens of people kidnapped and tortured by the Police and pro-government paramilitary groups. They are also fighting for the end to Ortega’s killing spree and for their democratic rights to be respected.
It’s the least they can demand in a country where Ortega has been in power for 40 years (all in all) as a result of trickery, politicking and corruption; violating the Constitution to impose his indefinite reelection; controlling all of the State’s powers; bribing politicians to make them accomplices, as well as three rigged elections in his favor.
If these were the only reasons for their struggle, they are enough for them to stand together and fight for their country, but because there have been so many other damages, this unity was born without much effort. However, as it was spontaneous, without agreements or political pacts, it’s only natural that its political objective is to bring an end to the dictatorship and pave a path towards a democracy.
Their weakness lies in them not having an agenda, but that’s nothing serious. Why? Because, in spite of the short time it’s been around, and as a result of its class diversity, the Civic Alliance has managed to involve most of the population, who seemed to be removed from political problems and indifferent to institutional problems in the past, into taking political action. This was so surprising, that very few people have noticed this political movement. Their struggle on the streets is developing a collective consciousness which fosters the possibility of resolving political and social conflicts (post-Ortega, of course) by democratic means, which haven’t been working here in Nicaragua for many years now.
I also think that the masks will come off hiding the fake second phase of the Sandinista Revolution. It will become clear that demagogic discourse is the only thing left of that revolution, which a group of unprincipled people in power are hiding behind, who became wealthy by illegal means; who have weakened unionism; with a Labor Ministry that sabotages unions and allows repression (even the imprisonment) of workers in free trade zones, the apple of the Ortega government’s eye.
If sectarians abroad (or in Nicaragua) see this as a CIA-backed “soft coup d’etat”, that’s because they don’t want to see how young people are being shot down by Ortega’s hitmen. And because they believe Ortega still belongs to the Left, they should ask the mothers of those who have been murdered, if their pain would have been any greater… if their children’s murderers had been right-wing!