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Amaya, Don’t Let Them Torture You

I always felt close to you, for your humility and personal commitment that led you to take a little time away from your medical studies

I always felt close to you

Sara Henríquez García

16 de septiembre 2018


My dear Amaya Eva Coppens, seeing you snatched up as a supposed criminal by those hooded men hurts me deeply, but your face in the photos is a comfort to those of us who know and love you.

It’s the same Police which Leon’s population has come to fear, because they operate together with the death squads in pick-up trucks. That’s why the barricades were raised up; later giving way to the government’s clean-up campaign, an operation that involved the killing of young people.  We participated in the burials of those kids – the majority of them lived in extreme poverty.

I remember your concern for their mothers, and how we went around with our friends asking for economic assistance to support them. I gave you a little money and told you that since it wasn’t a lot you should give it to one of the mothers instead of flowers. You wanted it all to be absolutely above-board, so you took a picture of yourself handing that little sum of money to the mother and sent me the photo.  I told you: “Amaya, that’s not necessary”, but you answered, “It’s better that way.” You can be certain that this is the money laundering they say they have in a file on me at the Police station.

Amaya, I always felt close to you, for your humility and your personal commitment that led you to take a little time away from your medical studies to participate in the feminist and women’s activities that we’d been organizing since before April. Although you had graduated from United World Colleges (UWC) – from a school program in distant Hong Kong – you then decided to study at the Nicaraguan National Autonomous University (UNAN) in Leon. You chose this school, in what today is “the lion’s den,”  instead of attending a prestigious foreign university. All of this told me clearly what material you were made of.

You asked me on April 18 where the march (the protest against the proposed Social Security reforms) was going to be, and I told you. You came from your classes to join in, as one of the people, like all of us. Along the march, a woman from the [Ortega] mobs struck you hard in the face. She split your lip and she destroyed your cell phone, all in full view of Leon’s police force who responded with inaction and criminal collusion. These same police now shamelessly present you surrounded by hooded men as a highly dangerous criminal. At that first march, though, we grabbed you and we all took refuge in a store.

I hugged you there, I cried, and I felt like you were my daughter.

About ten of us took cover there for hours, because the Ortega mobs and the Police were waiting for us to come out. I asked you to come home with me, while I looked for a vehicle that could come by and pick us up. You, all beaten up but whole, like now in that photo, said to me: “No thanks, Sara. I have a class at 1:00 o´clock.”

“And you’re going to go like that?” I asked you, very surprised.

“Yes, I’m just going home to change.”


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“Are you going to tell them everything that happened today – what they did to you?”

“Yes, I’m going to do that.”

This terrible repression and the aggression we were the object of, led all Nicaragua to rise up.

Those blows we received from the Ortega-Murillo mobs, under the consenting killer eye of the Police who today accuse you of terrorism and I don’t know how many other things, gave a violent shake to the pent-up memories of years of abuses, repression, threats, influence trafficking, electoral frauds, corruption, impunity, and in your case and that of all the young people from the UNAN, the loss of University Autonomy, transforming the university into a vulgar house of the family FSLN party.

Amaya, please don’t let them torture you, don’t let them touch you. As far as I’m concerned, you can be taped in videos saying everything they want you to say about me: that I’m a coup plotter, a terrorist, a money launderer, that I burned everything those toadies said that I burned; and that I’m also a drug dealer, although I don’t smoke or drink and only a short time ago tried marijuana, that’s what kind of an idiot I’ve been in the world of partying.

Really, I mean it. Because the world already knows who you are, aside from your blood that’s Nicaraguan and part Belgian. You’re going to get out, like all of the prisoners, because you’re innocent. Amaya, I love you and I want to see you free and intact. Let these comments serve so that they know who this presumed “terrorist” is, because all of us in the self-organized movement and all the political prisoners wear the same stripes.

Dictatorships have never understood that in the face of repression, every conscientious citizen becomes a leader. They don’t need anyone to push them, to pay them, because we pay each other with our mutual support. And when there are assassinations, that leadership multiplies with the grief; we take on the coffins, the bread and coffee for the wake, and we put our tears together to continue resisting and marching.

Amaya, today they told me that in Leon they fired your professors from the UNAN, the ones who had already been fired as specialists in the teaching hospital. On Tuesday they held a protest, after they abducted you and Sergio Midence, son of a very well-known couple who are both doctors, loved for their work as doctors and as teaching staff.

Nicaragua can’t continue with this misrule – at the mercy of bullets, hooded men and the Chipote jail with invented accusations in a country that’s in fact nearly at a standstill, with an economy in free-fall and amid a full Resistance movement, offering our own bodies and even balloons as the extreme symbol of a peaceful popular insurrection that asks for only one thing: For Them to Go!    


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Sara Henríquez García

Sara Henríquez García