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Four years after the April 2018 rebellion in Nicaragua

Recollections of Nicaragua before April 2018 are fresh in our memories

At the recent July 19th celebration

Raúl Valdivia

10 de abril 2022


On the surface everything appeared to be “smooth sailing” and although the list of grievances was piling up, by way of “write offs” (mitigating factors), the economy did not seem to be going badly (or in fact was not going so badly), so that democratic shortcomings could be “excused” if at least the “numbers” did not look bad.

But the accumulation of grievances had already reached an unacceptable level even for those who had participated in the design of the “corporate government” that resulted in the constitutional “reform” of 2014, which practically declared the existence of political parties unnecessary, and in its absence, the private-public “agreements” of the Government and the business elite took the place of the legislative body.

Everything seemed to be going “smoothly” for the old political partners (the Arnoldista Liberals) and the new business partners (the COSEP leadership).

Nothing seemed to be missing in the equation to exercise and usufruct power, surpassing Dario himself when in his Ode to Roosevelt he exclaimed: “And, well, you have everything, but there one thing missing: God! Nor was God missing in the equation, since in his representation was the figure of Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, convincing the unbelievers of the opposite that he had preached years before in the “parable of the snake,” according to the “renewed Obando y Bravo,” the snake had voluntarily renounced its venom.

In retrospect April 2018 seems to have taken us all by surprise. However, four years later it seems that in reality not everyone, or rather, everyone except those who call (and continue calling) “the shots.” They seem to have made “provisions” for these “eventualities.” After all, by mid-2022 they will have reached 43 years of being in power, literally. The “pause” from 1990 to 2006 was a re-edition of the “tactical retreat to Masaya.” In the new conditions of “electoral democracy” that emerged in 1990, where, also more in retrospect, it seems that “he who lost won more than the winner.”

An abundant bibliography has been accumulating in these years trying to “interpret” contemporary Nicaragua. Both, by the protagonists of the time as by scholars who made of Nicaragua their main subject of study. Standing out among them is the Canadian David Close (May 15, 1945- September 15, 2019) who in his last book “Nicaragua: navigating the politics of democracy,” in a journey from 1979 to 2016, makes an extraordinary work of synthesis and interpretation of contemporary Nicaragua.

Like him, or in addition to him, others, Nicaraguans and foreigners have been trying to identify the “common thread” of our history, in an effort to better understand our present and anticipate our future. Or better said, our unique “Manifest Destiny” that, like a pendulum that swings between authoritarianism and democracy, with a greater or more pronounced inclination to the former.

On the fourth anniversary of what some call the “civic insurrection of April” and others “the failed attempt at a coup d’état,” the need to “rethink” Nicaragua imposes itself, transcending its singularity, and instead thinking of it as “part of a regional whole” in a globalized world subject to transcendental challenges that manifest themselves in global problems, or in local problems (Ukraine) with global implications.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times


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Raúl Valdivia

Raúl Valdivia

Economista nicaragüense, residente en California, Estados Unidos.