Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli stated on Wednesday that she, like a portion of Guatemalan society, fears “they won’t let” Bernardo Arevalo assume his elected role as president of that country next January 14th.
“I too am afraid they won’t let him assume power. The right has many roots in Guatemala; it’s very strong,” she commented in Salamanca, Spain.
“Guatemala is a country that’s been hit hard by repression. But the people are supporting Arevalo, and I hope he can manage to get inaugurated and reach the presidency,” Belli said in response to journalists’ question. She spoke in the northern Spanish city of Salamanca, where she had come to receive the XXXII Queen Sofia prize for Ibero-American Poetry.
Bernardo Arevalo, who surprised Guatemalans with his landslide victory in the August 20 runoff election there, has denounced the country’s attorney general, Consuelo Porras, for utilizing that institution to effect a “Coup d’etat,” aimed at keeping him from taking office. Widespread fear of this has prompted historic demonstrations and mobilizations in the Central American country.
Belli expresses her pain for Nicaragua
Gioconda Belli (born 1948, in Managua, Nicaragua) is currently exiled for the second time in her life. She now lives in Spain, due to the repressive measures taken against herself and her family by the regime of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Belli accuses the dictator and his wife of “trying to squash all thinking.”
“I’m the third person from Nicaragua to be honored with this Queen Sofia Prize. Nicaragua is a country of poets and one of my greatest sorrows is seeing how this regime tries to crush that spirit, and all thinking,” she denounced.
“Not even [former dictator Anastasio] Somoza did that,” explained the poet, who was also presenting her new poetry anthology Parir el Alba [“Giving birth to the Dawn”]
“The word is very dangerous to those in power. Here we are, Sergio Ramirez [writer and journalist] and myself. They took away our nationality, they confiscated our belongings, it’s a punishment we didn’t deserve, nor did my son or my brother,” Belli lamented.
“I’ll continue in this position of opposition until the dictatorship comes to an end,” she affirmed.
Gioconda Belli was visiting Salamanca, Spain for the first time, to present her new anthology and receive her prize from the hands of Queen Emeritus Sofia.
The prize is awarded by the National Patrimony of Spain in conjunction with the University of Salamanca to outstanding writers of poetry in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, in recognition of their contributions to the common culture of Spain and Latin America.
This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.