Nicaragua Left Without Witnesses

The intention is clear to allow the repression to continue without witnesses and build a hegemonic story, in which the blame falls on civil society

The intention is clear to allow the repression to continue without witnesses and

11 de enero 2019


Gabriela Selser has told the Mexican newspaper La Jornada about the latest abuses by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua. After ransacking the headquarters of Confidencial, a media critical of the Government led by Carlos Fernando Chamorro, the regime intervened the 100% Noticias television channel and arrested its director Miguel Mora and journalists Verónica Chavez and Lucía Pineda.

Ortega and Murillo are literally following a script that we have seen staged before in Havana and Caracas. Opponents and critics of authoritarianism, according to them, “conspire in favor of terrorism.”

To publicly question the actions of the Government is to ally with “Yankee imperialism” and the internal enemies of something that the Government continues calling, undauntedly, the “Sandinista Revolution”.

The onslaught of the Nicaraguan Government against the few independent media that remain in the country seeks to leave without witnesses the advance towards despotism. Ortega and Murillo have also ordered the outlawing of a dozen non-governmental organizations that denounce the violation of human rights and demand legal action for more than 300 deaths and hundreds of imprisonments in recent months.

The Chamorro surname automatically recalls the assassination of Pedro Joaquín, father of Carlos Fernando, assassinated by the Somoza dictatorship in 1978. The repression by the former revolutionary commanders is reaching levels similar to under Somoza. Likewise, the justification couldn’t be more similar: the opponents are “subversive agents”. In the times of Anastacio Somoza, of “international communism”. In the current ones, of “neoliberal globalization.”

The attack against critical media has been followed by an informational laundering operation in which Ortega and Murillo grant Christmas pardons to common prisoners and give gifts to poor families, as Santa Clauses in Central America. The intention is clear to allow the repression to continue without witnesses and, at the same time, build a hegemonic story, in which the blame falls on civil society.

The discrediting of Ortega and Murillo among the Latin American left is quite widespread, as the coverage of La Jornada proves, but these new despots in Nicaragua have enough backing to remain in power. There are Cuba and Venezuela to serve as unconditional support and there are also the Venezuelan Bolivarian geopolitical networks, which reach Russia and China, to counteract any denunciation from abroad.

However, the real resistance against this type of regime never comes from outside. It is the internal civil societies that can put an end to the abuses of power. That is why Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo choose the independent press and human rights organizations as targets. This is where despotism finds its greatest obstacles.

*The author is a historian and internationalist. This article was originally published in the newspaper La Razón, of Mexico.


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Rafael Rojas

Historiador y ensayista cubano, residente en México. Es licenciado en Filosofía y doctor en Historia. Profesor e investigador del Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) de la Ciudad de México y profesor visitante en las universidades de Princeton, Yale, Columbia y Austin. Es autor de más de veinte libros sobre América Latina, México y Cuba.