Santos Bellorin longs for his “peaceful” life in the rural community of Santa Teresa de Guasuyuca, in the municipality of Pueblo Nuevo, in Estelí, more than 230 kilometers from Managua. The dictatorship imprisoned and convicted him for fabricated crimes and without the right to defense in November 2021 and in February 2023 released him and expelled him from the country along with 221 other political prisoners. Now he “survives” in New Jersey, United States, a city that makes him feel “dead” in life.
No matter how many questions he asks, Santos Bellorin cannot find the answer: why did the dictatorship imprison and banish him?
The peasant recognizes that he has always been an opponent of Sandinismo, but he assures that he never participated in any protests during the civic rebellion of April 2018, nor in the years that followed. He always dedicated himself to his agricultural activities and business, along with the family grocery store.
He was arrested “under false pretenses” on November 6, 2021, and sentenced to eleven years in prison: six for alleged conspiracy and five for allegedly spreading false news on social media.
“I don't know a word in English,” Santos Bellorin says
“I never had social media (accounts). It was something strange, unexpected. My community was also surprised because they knew the type of cell phone I had, which was a chiclerito,” he says, referring to old-generation cell phones.
To grant the interview to CONFIDENCIAL, Bellorin required technical assistance to answer our video call in his small apartment in the city of Neptune, New Jersey. “I don't know this technology,” he says. Technology is a new language for him, as well as English, which makes his stay in the United States so uncomfortable and difficult.
“I'm a farmer. I never learned a word of English. Someone talks to you and you just ignore them because you don't understand them,” he says, describing what he has to deal with every day at his job in a syringe factory.
He can barely fit a few belongings in his small apartment, and can only afford the bare necessities with the money he earns. He lives alone and is sick from the after-effects of prison, while his medical bills keep coming in.
“My little job is just to pay the rent for the room. I can't afford to send money to my family. Sometimes I eat two meals, sometimes I eat one,” he laments.
In this interview, we talk in detail about the arbitrary conviction of the peasant Santos Bellorin, and his life in exile in the USA.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff.