The Big Lie

The April Rebellion was a spontaneous and massive popular repudiation of the violence from Ortega and Murillo that snuffed out 328 lives.

10 de junio 2021


The Ortega-Murillo dictatorship’s response to the origin and scope of the 2018 April Rebellion was to concoct a Big Lie, in order to evade their own responsibility. They surpassed themselves in the use of violence, and their own brutality lit the bonfire of the people’s bottled-up fury.

But they didn’t have the courage to accept their enormous mistake, and in the days that followed, they magnified the repercussions from that error. They had already set up the scaffolding for a dictatorship, and April brought the unveiling of the face behind that mask of love, peace and religion they had so tenaciously constructed.

In the terminology of modern communications, this tactic is known as the Big Lie. For example, witness the lie that Trump spread in the United States, that the election was stolen from him. That lie has been sustained and repeated unashamedly by Republicans, to the point of exhaustion. Now they’re talking about “reinstalling” Trump in the White House in August. Another Big Lie that continues rolling around, that his fanatical supporters have come to believe.

The Ortega-Murillo Big Lie is that the April Rebellion was an attempted Coup d’Etat. Using that lie, they now want to justify the capture and imprisonment or isolation of Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Violeta Granera, Jose Adan Aguerri, and others they’ll continue convicting at their whim.

In the propaganda they’re producing these days, there’s a poster that asks: “Where did the money come from?” It adds: “Every protest is financed. Those that have occurred since April 18 are no exception.”

It later goes on to allege that US institutions including the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID transferred US $500 million dollars to different NGOs: the Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP); Let’s Make Democracy; the Violeta Barrios Foundation; the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides); the Center for Communications Investigations (CINCO); the Movement for Nicaragua; and even the youth movement “Bridge” (Puente).

Let’s suppose it’s true about the 500 million dollars. (That’s certainly the amount the FSLN received each year for nine consecutive years, courtesy of the Venezuelan government. Money they never entered in the national budget.)

The USAID portion of that money – if by chance the number is accurate – was largely directed to the government of Nicaragua itself, in support of the Supreme Electoral Council, the police and other educational projects. The NGOs that signed agreements with these US donors had every right to receive aid for their projects. This was aid that dated back long before Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo came to power.

These foreign aid agencies, like others in the European Union and individual countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, have compensated for the lack of funds for research, discussion forums, democracy and citizenship trainings, cultural programs, etc. in poor countries like ours.

During the years of the Sandinista Revolution (1979-1990), a large number of NGOs operated in the country. They helped set up radio stations, programs for rural residents, rural schools, water systems, etc. The Revolution is in debt to them for a lot of help. The same occurred during the sixteen years of the Chamorro, Aleman and Bolaños governments. And the same has continued in Nicaragua since 2007, approved and blessed by the government. A government that at that time billed themselves as: “Christian, socialist, and supportive”.

None of those organizations worked to “finance” the April Rebellion. That’s the Big Lie. The April Rebellion was a spontaneous and massive popular repudiation in the face of the violence of Ortega and Murillo. A rebellion that they were only able to squash through blood and fire, with 328 dead, 2,000 wounded and 100,000 exiled.

No one risked their life for money in that rebellion. No one was paid by any of those NGOs. The independent media outlets functioning at that time – not even half the platforms that have arisen online since 2018 – were few, compared to the monopoly controlled by Ortega and Murillo’s children.  For example, 100% Noticias defended the government’s policies right up until they tried to censor them.

What are you going to tell me? That all those people in April – those who went out on the street and risked their skins, those who died in the May 30th Mother’s Day March – were paid?? There weren’t even any leaders in that self-organized multitude. Where, exactly, was the CIA giving orders?

That whole fabrication they’ve constructed  now to get the electoral candidates out of the race is a Big Lie.

It’s almost laughable to see a poster in the social media profiles of the Ortega fanatics, attributing Nicaragua’s corruption to the Chamorro presidencies. There were 64 years between Emiliano Chamorro’s presidency in 1926, and that of Violeta Chamorro in 1990. Sixty-four years with no Chamorro’s. Further – What can they say about Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, Cristiana’s father, who was assassinated in 1978? The man who wouldn’t stop denouncing Somoza until he was cut down in a rain of bullets one January 10th.

The Big Lie tactic of the Ortega-Murillo regime has been used by the most despicable figures in history. Blaming the Jews, killing the leaders of the Russian Revolution – thirty thousand people in Stalin’s time – and so many other savage killings provoked by the blindness and cruelty of leaders with unchecked power.

The ridiculous and terrifying actions of the Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua, propped up by a deceitful propaganda and an absolute control over all the levers of the state, is the scandal of our times. It brings us back to the bloodiest regimes on the American continent, to the blackest pages of history.

Cristiana, Arturo, Felix, Juan Sebastian and I don’t know how many more will be the names that break that Big Lie. Because you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.

The public employees, the soldiers, the police, the youth who don’t know how to speak more than slogans; all those who want to continue worshipping an idol with feet of clay, should be keeping their eyes peeled. This regime will lead them to the bottom of the lava-filled volcano that is the tyrannized Nicaragua as managed from El Carmen. It’s the hour to react, and stop being complicit with that Great Lie that exists only to keep us down.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times

Archivado como:


Your contribution allows us to report from exile.

The dictatorship forced us to leave Nicaragua and intends to censor us. Your financial contribution guarantees our coverage on a free, open website, without paywalls.

Gioconda Belli

Poeta y novelista nicaragüense. Ha publicado quince libros de poemas, ocho novelas, dos libros de ensayos, una memoria, y cuatro cuentos para niños. Su primera novela “La mujer habitada” (1988) ha sido traducida a más de catorce idiomas. Ganadora del Premio La Otra Orilla, 2010; Biblioteca Breve, de Seix Barral (España, 2008); Premio Casa de las Américas, en Cuba; Premio Internacional de Poesía Generación del ‘27, en España y Premio Anna Seghers de la Academia de Artes, de Alemania; Premio de Bellas Artes de Francia, 2014. En 2023 obtuvo el premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana, el más prestigioso para la poesía en español. Por sus posiciones críticas al Gobierno de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo, fue despatriada y confiscada. Está exiliada en Madrid.


Con la migración masiva se reduce la demanda en zonas cafetaleras del norte del país

La guerra en Ucrania cumple dos años con Rusia a la ofensiva