Nicaragua Will Not Be another Venezuela

With the rebellion, multiple leaderships flourished, of all ages, all genders and in all places

A young man during a demonstration against the Ortega government on September 15th. Graffiti: People, organize against the dictatorship!

8 de enero 2019


Given the time elapsed and the magnitude of the crimes of the dictatorial regime of Ortega, described in the report of the GIEI, comments are heard in different environments in the sense that we are heading towards the situation of Venezuela, a country in which the protests petered out in spite of the growing crisis, and Maduro is getting ready to “assume” a new 6-year presidential term, in the coming days, after staging an electoral circus. 

Each country faces its own realities, at its own moments. Let us recall, for example, the cases of El Salvador and Nicaragua, in the seventies and in the eighties. In both countries, twin organizations, the Sandinista Front and the Farabundo Marti Front, carried out an armed struggle to make a revolution, with very similar projects. However, the processes and outcomes in both countries were totally different.

Let me note significant differences between Nicaragua and Venezuela that allow me to affirm that our destiny will be different. Let’s start with the economy. The Maduro regime, despite suffering a deep economic crisis and being affected by shortages, has greater capacity for resistance because of oil exports. Tax revenues, economic activity, investment, employment, consumption, depend on the oil revenues. Furthermore, the bulk of the Venezuelan economy depends on the State. The State concentrates the income and, although it distributes shortages, it ensures the minimum.

In Nicaragua, on the other hand, the State does not have any autonomous income. Its’ revenues come from taxes they collect in an economy that relies on the activity of small, micro, large and medium-size companies. The lower the economic activity of the companies, the less income for the State. In addition, another large part of the economy depends on the credits from the multilateral financial institutions.

Hence, the United States sanctions have a devastating potential. To this we have to add that 40% of our exports go to the United States, from where investments, tourists and family remittances come from.

Very few give credence to the story of a United States aggression and the “gallo pinto” (rice and beans) economy that Ortega proclaims, not even his own supporters would be in a position to suffer it again (like in the 1980s).

On the other hand, the historic tradition of the Venezuelan people is different. In Nicaragua, two wars were experienced a few decades ago. There is a tradition of resistance and struggle much closer. One can see it not only at the national level, but also in the behavior of Nicaraguans living abroad, who are fully incorporated into the struggle, with activities in solidarity and developing various protest actions. The same is not observed in the case of Venezuelans. And, I say this with a lot of respect, I are merely stating a reality.

It is also not a minor fact that Nicaragua has a geostrategic significance of lesser importance than Venezuela.

Finally, there is another reality that should also be highlighted. The opposition in Venezuela, because of the institutional framework and the political tradition, rested in the political parties and in their electoral participation, with clearly identified personal leaderships. It is not the same to have charisma to be a presidential candidate, than to confront a dictatorial regime.

The Maduro regime battered the opposition parties’ leadership, jailing some and exiling others, and decapitated the opposition movement to a large extent. In addition, some parties fell into traditional behaviors looking for positions and quotas of power in the elections, allowing personal interests, struggles for leadership and contradictions about strategy and objectives to flourish, which caused confusion in the population, discredited and, finally, broke the unity in the “Mesa de Unidad Democratica” coalition.

In Nicaragua, traditional political parties were nullified. With the rebellion multiple leaderships flourished, of all ages, all genders and in all places. For this reason, there is no way to decapitate the resistance movement.

Another fundamental element is that the resistance of the population has sheltered under the blue and white flag, with a vigorous citizen feeling of being self-convoked. The regime has more than 600 male and female prisoners, thousands of persecuted abroad, more than 300 dead, and yet remains terrified of the possibility of citizen mobilizations.

Under these conditions, there is no way to silence the protest, nor is there a way to domesticate the population. Rather, the indignation and rejection of the regime continues to grow.

There are three actors that should be mentioned that also mark differences. The private sector in Venezuela was demolished. In Nicaragua, businesses of all sizes sustain the economy and most of their leaders have taken clear positions against the regime. The Catholic Church, which is another relevant factor, finds itself identified with the clamor of its parishioners and enjoys, in general terms, the confidence of a large part of the population. As for the Army, although I am not so sure about that, there are those who think that it has differences with the Venezuelan Army because it is more dependent on the United States.

After more than eight months, the Nicaraguan people are still in total rebellion. Perhaps the attitude and disposition of the people is condensed in the statements of “dona Coquito”, popularly known as the vandal grandmother. She declared to 100% Noticias, referring to the threats of which she is a victim: “they want to shut me up, they want to feel as if they are going to “break my balls” but I have more “balls” than Daniel Ortega. Yes a woman. An old lady.

That expression, which comes from the entrails of our people, marks the path of the inevitable recovery of our freedom.


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Enrique Sáenz

Economista y abogado nicaragüense. Aficionado a la historia. Bloguero y conductor de la plataforma de comunicación #VamosAlPunto


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