Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Nicaragua. Betrayal between silence and exile

Butembo 14.02.2023 Jpic-jp.org Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

After the Angelus on Sunday 12th February, Pope Francis said: "The news coming from Nicaragua has grieved me not a little and I cannot but recall with concern the Bishop of Matagalpa, Bishop Rolando Alvarez, whom I love so much, sentenced to 26 years in prison, and also the people who have been deported to the United States. I pray for them and for all those who suffer in that dear nation."

The Pope then went on asking God 'to open the hearts of political leaders and all citizens to the sincere search for peace, which is born of truth, justice, freedom and love and is achieved through the patient exercise of dialogue'.

What is happening in this Latin American country?

Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa and Apostolic Administrator of Estelí, in the north of Nicaragua, was sentenced on the evening of 10th February to 26 years and 4 months in prison and deprived of his civil rights in perpetuity, for refusing to leave the country together with the 222 expelled political prisoners. The bishop is accused of undermining the national integrity of the State and Nicaraguan society, of spreading false news and of contempt for the authorities. Monsignor Alvarez, aged 56, had been under house arrest since last August.

For a long time now, Daniel Ortega's regime has taken repressive measures against the Church in Nicaragua, which is considered non-aligned with power. The television channel of the Bishops' Conference and two other Catholic channels, as well as several Catholic radio stations, have been closed; the diplomatic agreement of Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, Apostolic Nuncio in Managua since 2018, has been withdrawn, forcing him to leave the country; processions and pilgrimages were prevented; several priests were arrested on trumped-up charges; the legal personality of more than 100 NGOs was cancelled, including the 'Missionaries of Charity' association; and Mother Teresa's nuns had to leave the country.

Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country in recent years, particularly after the great popular protests of 2018, due to the repression of a regime often compared to the Samosata dictatorship against which the 1979 revolution was born, under the banner of Sandino (Fides).

At the origin, the great changes in the Sandinista Front that has become 'private property', in the hands of the presidential couple, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, who hold absolute control of state institutions, in symbiosis with the Nicaraguan economic oligarchy.

Exile the only possibility of resistance

Nicaragua, like many Central American countries, has a cyclical history of oppression, living in a spiral of authoritarian regimes, social resistance, struggle for democracy and painful situations.

After the fall of the Samosata regime in 1979, nobody would have imagined that, 40 years later, the government of the same party that had led the revolution against that dictatorship would turn into a new dictatorship. Daniel Ortega, who returned to power in the 2006 elections, established a terror regime, triggered by the repressive reaction in 2018 against the peaceful protests that had arisen as a reaction to the unilateral social security reforms. Those protests were an outburst of a social discontent that had been building up since Ortega's return to power seeing a sharp deterioration in civil liberties; the separation of powers suppression by making all state institutions subject to the presidency; the electoral fraud becoming increasingly evident; the sale of part of the national territory to a Chinese company for the construction of an interoceanic canal; the indoctrination in the education system; and the use of the state for party purposes.

To the protests, the Ortega regime responded with repression causing civilian casualties, general indignation and generalised demonstrations, roadblocks, strikes. The population demanded an end to the violence and the resignation of President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, Vice-President.

The exact number of people killed and disappeared is unknown. According to an update by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, there are 355 documented murders committed by the regime.

Having suppressed protests, dismantled blockades and prosecuted local and national leaders, repression has intensified with kidnappings and imprisonments, establishing a police state throughout the country. To date, there are at least 190 political prisoners in jail, not counting those released who live under continuous persecution. There are more than 600 civil society organisations of feminists, human rights defenders, and educational institutions that have become targets of the regime and have been 'legally' cancelled. These authoritarian measures and dictatorial control mean that the whole of Nicaragua now finds itself under seizure by the presidency followed with a large-scale of migration. Since the beginning of the protests, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Costa Rica, over 100,000 people have left the country (Nicaragua. Tra silenzio ed esilio).

The case of Dora Maria Téllez

Particularly significant is the Dora Maria Téllez’s case. She is an historic commander of the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution, imprisoned for more than 500 days in the dreadful El Chipote prison to whom the University Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle awarded an honorary doctorate at the end of November last year, to pay tribute to "her exceptional political and scientific career and her commitment to democracy and social justice".

Accepting the doctorate on the prisoner’s behalf, journalist Chamorro called on left-wing movements and governments in Latin America to raise their voices against the Nicaraguan regime: 'A dictatorship cannot be justified under the pretext of the left'. (Nicaragua, l’audacia e la risata invincibile di Dora María Téllez).

One wonders why today we are not seeing a broad campaign for her freedom and for denouncing Ortega-Murillo's regime of terror. The desolating answer, with very few exceptions, writes Raúl Zibechi (Las izquierdas ante Dora María Téllez), is that the left and progressive political forces, and not only in Latin America, are not interested in civil rights, but only look for power; they bet everything on power and for the sake of power they sacrifice ethics and dignity. This has its own logic: if power is everything, the rest is of little importance, since it is subordinate to the main objective.

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The comments from our readers (2)

Paul Attard 30.04.2023 Comment les idéaux sont détournés par la soif de pouvoir ! Unfortunately, a typical case of abuse of power. Ortega started off as a ‘liberator’, but has slowly descended into corruption to power. Why does power make people act like that? A mystery.
Dario P 06.05.2023 E si! come tutti del resto..shamefully L uomo vive di gioia quando ha il potere nella mani vive di odio quando il potere le sfugge dalle mani....its shame especially when those revolutionaryies use power against their owns..in my view there is no mystery but human greed..or the devil if you may!!