“Be like Ortega,” referring to Nicaraguans president Daniel Ortega who hasn’t shown his face in public since the coronavirus went from an epidemic to a pandemic, is the viral message in Nicaragua telling everyone to not leave their homes.
“Ortega doesn’t go to marches or meetings. Ortega doesn’t send his grandchildren to school. Nothing makes Ortega leave his house. Ortega wants to live. Be smart, be like Ortega,” is the ironic message that has become popular on Nicaragua’s social media, but that also serves as a model to follow when battling coronavirus.
The leader, seventy-five years old, together with his wife the vice president, Rosario Murillo who will be sixty-nine in June, haven’t participated in a public activity since February 21 when General Julio Cesar Aviles took possession of his third consecutive term for another five years as commander in chief of the Nicaraguan army.
Ortega and Murillo were also absent in a march/rally organized by the government March 14th and called, “Love in the Time of Covid-19”, in which thousands of Sandinista sympathizers and public employees marched in Managua, but without the presence of the organizers and leaders, or their children who had participated in previous marches.
The opposition called him “inept,” “coward”
“Do they know why Ortega doesn’t show his face during Nicaragua’s coronavirus crisis? Because he’s an inept coward and doesn’t know what to say in a crisis like this, and hides, but for his followers he’s a god who speaks through his priest [Murillo],” wrote the opposition politician Eliseo Nuñez in a tweet.
The person who has been in charge of the coronavirus situation in Nicaragua has been Murillo, Ortega’s wife, even though she hasn’t shown up for ministerial meetings, but communicates by telephone calls to television stations where she confirmed the two cases of covid-19 detected in the country.
Critics of the presidential couple believe they haven’t shown themselves in public for fear of catching the virus, and because they are among the population most vulnerable to this virus.
Ex-guerilla: Negligent and Irresponsible
Their defenders justify the absence of the leader by arguing that he has delegated the duty of informing to his wife, and that of prevention to the Health authorities.
“And Ortega? Why doesn’t he show up at all? He hides his face, his government is negligent and irresponsible, putting the life of the people of Nicaragua in danger,” said Dora Maria Tellez the former Minister of Health during the first Sandinista government in the 1980s.
Tellez, presently a dissident, characterized Murillo’s behavior as “criminal conduct to convene people through a microphone to expose themselves to coronavirus” by promoting a day of house-to-house visits to combat coronavirus.
The government promotes a campaign carried out by small sanitation brigades, accompanied by police, with the objective of distributing information about how to take care of health in the face of Covid-19, which has been rejected by thousands of families that did not open their doors.
The Government has not declared an alert nor restrictions
Nicaragua has confirmed two cases of corona virus, no deaths, and one suspected, says the government.
Until now, Nicaragua, unlike the rest of Central American countries, has not declared any type of alert or emergency for the pandemic, nor have classes been ordered suspended.
There are no restrictions on entry and travel in the territory, and it has been stated that no quarantine will be established for those who are sick.
Since the government hasn’t adopted any preventative measures other than vigilance, the Nicaraguan people have acted on their own, based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).