Daniel Ortega dismissed on Tuesday, July 19, in Managua, any dialogue with the US government, which has imposed a series of international sanctions against more than 40 high-ranking officials of the regime, including his wife Vice President Rosario Murillo, for their involvement in repression, corruption and serious human rights violations.
In a ceremony for the 43rd anniversary of the Nicaraguan Revolution, broadcast on national radio and television, with a Sandinista youth choreography and in the absence of international political leaders, Ortega compared his regime with General Augusto Sandino, murdered by the National Guard with the connivance of the United States in 1934 and said that dialogues with the US are like “putting a noose around your neck.”
“What dialogue can there be with the devil? As Che used to say: “to the Yankees, to imperialism you cannot trust them even a little because they’ll finish you off.” We would like to have good relations with the United States, but it is impossible and from here there has never been aggression against the United States,” the ruler said.
In a 40-minutes speech dedicated to the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, nicknamed “Uncle Ralph” by Murillo, he reiterated that “dialogues are like putting a noose around your own neck, to put a noose around one’s own neck.”
Besides Gonsalves, the only international guests attending the event were the ALBA representatives: Manuel Marrero, Prime Minister of Cuba; Carlos Farias, Foreign Minister of Venezuela; and Gerardo Torres, deputy foreign minister of Honduras; and the representatives of China, Ambassador Chen Xi, and Putin’s delegate and Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Serguei Riabkov.
Despite his rejection of dialogue with the United States, earlier this year the Ortega regime sought a rapprochement with the Biden Administration. The New York Times revealed that last March, the presidential couple’s son, Laureano Ortega, “discretely approached Washington to resume dialogue.”
From this effort, a meeting was arranged in Managua between the Ortega government and a senior State Department official, but “the meeting did not take place after the Ortegas apparently changed their mind,” the newspaper says.
The US government continues to impose sanctions against officials who respond to the interests of the Ortega regime. On July 15, 2022, a total of 23 judges and prosecutors who have accused and convicted political prisoners were sanctioned.
“Uncle Ralph” advocates dialogue with the US
Ortega dedicated the event to Prime Minister Gonsalves, who received the “Augusto Sandino Order”. Gonsalves gave a thank you speech that lasted 30 minutes, in which he took the opportunity to advocate for dialogue between the US and Nicaragua. “I call on the United States of America, a country of great achievements, to approach in friendship the people and government of Nicaragua. Is that so difficult? Gonsalves himself has accumulated five consecutive terms—20 years in power—as prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Gonsalves regretted the exclusion of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela from the Summit of the Americas, held in June in Los Angeles, California, for not respecting democracy and the denunciations of human rights violations.
“What is it that we have been seeing? The so-called Summit of the Americas in the United States, unilaterally and mistakenly, seized the right to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from that Summit. (That is why) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines based on principles refused to attend,” said the Prime Minister.
Ortega, who spoke after Gonsalves, devoted his entire speech to give him a personal lesson in Nicaraguan history. The Sandinista leader took the microphone, addressed his guest and began his traditional anti-imperialist speech, ignoring the others present and the audience watching on television.
Ortega was accompanied by the Army and the Police chiefs, the president of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras; the president of the Supreme Court, Alba Luz Ramos; the president of the Supreme Electoral Council, Brenda Rocha and the entire government cabinet.
Ortega did not finish his “history lesson”
The celebration was held in the Plaza of the Revolution, attended by guests and selected members of the Sandinista Youth who applauded and shouted slogans in favor of the regime. It was scheduled for 4:30 in the afternoon, but it began at about 6:00 p.m. with a concert of protest music that lasted until 7:10 p.m.
The first to give the opening remarks was the vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, who spoke for 40 minutes, shouted slogans, accused the United States of wanting to subjugate them. “We want to live without subjugation because we are not slaves. Here we won 43 years ago, due to the heroism and sacrifices of our heroes and martyrs who passed on to us the duty to fight,” she said.
After Murillo’s speech, 20 minutes more of music and folkloric dances followed. Until at about 8:20 p.m., Ortega handed the award to Gonsalves and without saying a word, he gave him the microphone.
The Nicaraguan ruler, eventually, gave his speech at 8:47 p.m. and ended abruptly 40 minutes later, without finishing his history lesson, because he did not refer to the revolutionary triumph against Somoza, 43 years ago, nor to the imposition of a new family dictatorship.
Ortega said nothing about the national crisis and the police state imposed four years ago, the massive migration of Nicaraguans, the torture conditions of political prisoners, the persecution of the Catholic Church, and the massive annulment of more than 1,000 civil society organizations.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times