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Looking at a portrait of Dora María

The future in her mind does not give up, no one gives up here, and it is her defiant eyes in her gaunt face that tell me that.

The future in her mind does not give up

Sergio Ramírez Mercado

19 de julio 2022


In the solitude of her cell, Dora María has a lot to remember, so her endless hours of isolation, silence and darkness are not in vain. Or instead of darkness, it is the light bulb that burns all night long on the ceiling above her head so that she cannot sleep on the cement slab that she has for a bed. With no paper to write on, no books to read, no one to talk to, her memory becomes an infinite path to travel back and forth. And there are so many bends in that road, so many steps taken, so much life lived. The teenager who dropped out of medical school in León because malnourished children would always come back sick since hunger was the cause of their illness, and it was better to find a way to nip it in the bud by removing the cause, the regime of oppression and opprobrium of the Somoza family. A guerrilla girl with black curls under a black beret, that they cut to look like an EEBI soldier when she was number two in the commando that stormed the National Palace, the girl who seemed not to give orders nor did she want to give them when she led the guerrilla forces that took the city of León, but everyone obeyed her, hardened, spoiled men, without fear of death, who stood at attention as she passed, the fatigue suit that fit her like a schoolgirl uniform because she never stopped having the face of a girl except when I see that digital image that portrays her as she looks now, subjected to the rigors of poor eating and poor sleep in her isolation cell, taken out for interrogation at the least expected hour, midnight or early in the morning. But I see her eyes are alive and alert and I know that her mind continues to work inside, looking to the past and imagining the future. It is not true that tyrannies repeat themselves forever, and in her mind she looks for an adversary who affirms such nonsense in order to refute it, Dora always dialectic, one word after another opening up to analysis, a thought from which reflection starts and will never stop. And we will sit face to face one day sooner rather than later in the internal patio at her house in Ticuantepe, she will welcome me with a laugh at one of my jokes and we will laugh together at another joke of hers. This scene is in my head as I write these lines from my solitude in Madrid and she in hers in her cell in Managua while she keeps thinking and keeps remembering that it was all worth it, in spite of everything, it was worth it, life, the youth, the struggle, the endless marches in the mountains, clandestinity, the risk, the prison, were worth it because the future that is in her mind does not give up, no one gives up here, and it is her defiant eyes in her gaunt face that tell me that.

Madrid, July 19, 2022


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*This article was originally published in Confidencial and traslated by Havana Times


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Sergio Ramírez Mercado

Sergio Ramírez Mercado

Escritor, periodista, político y abogado nicaragüense, exiliado en España. Premio Alfaguara de Novela (1998). Presidente fundador del encuentro literario Centroamérica Cuenta (2012). Primer centroamericano en ganar el Premio Cervantes (2017). Medalla de Oro del Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid (2021). Fue vicepresidente de Nicaragua de 1985 a 1990.