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The madness of tyrants and the consequences

Ortega and Murillo must leave power. They are destroying themselves and want to take us with them to hell. Let us not accept that fate

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. Photo: Government

Gioconda Belli

12 de marzo 2023


I remember reading in the 1970s about the deranged president of Uganda, Idi Amin. This man, criminal and irrational, ruled until he had to leave for Saudi Arabia where he lived, confined with his four wives and more than thirty children, until his death on August 16, 2003.

Idi Amin killed, stole, and did whatever he wanted in Uganda. He declared himself anti-colonialist and under a professed “sovereignty” destroyed his nation. Humiliation and crime were his instruments to hold on to power: his rude remarks and insults to the international community, the indifference with which he had his own people killed, his autocratic rule and his irrational persecutions, made world news.

He expelled Israelis from the country, and 40,000 citizens holding a British passport. After failed attempts to invade Tanzania, he was forced by Ugandan exiles and Tanzanian forces to flee. Imprisoned in Zaire, no country except Saudi Arabia received him. There he lived in exile until his death.

Insane personalities with enormous power have existed in the world. Their deaths and damages have caused incalculable sufferings: Stalin, Hitler, Batista, Trujillo, have been some of the most notorious. They went down the dark history of humanity for their irrational acts and their psychotic arrogance. In Nicaragua we have had our share of them. Manuel Antonio de la Cerda, our first president, supreme head of the State of Nicaragua in the Federal Republic of Central America for two periods 1825 (elected) and 1827-1828 (in rebellion), is described as follows by historian Jose Dolores Gamez:

The type of person of the first head of state of Nicaragua was very similar to that of some feudal lords of the Middle Ages. Cerda was incapable of stealing a penny; but he smiled delightfully when he was presented with the ears of his enemies, strung in a sword.

He observed chastity all his life and knew no other woman that the one the Church gave him; and that man who trembled at the mere idea of an act of impurity, would calmly watch the blood of his brothers flow in torrents, and his own soil reduced to rubble, rather than yield a bit of his pretentions.

Cerda fasted, wore sackcloth and did penance; but his eminently pious heart would have witnessed unmoved the destruction of the human race, if it dissented in religious or political opinions.


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In these times that we live under the Ortega-Murillo regime, these characteristics of De la Cerda, as well as the outrages and abuses of other infamous rulers in history, are not unfamiliar to us. There are few days in which we do not have to contain the astonishment caused by the erratic and irrational actions of this ruling couple that, shamelessly, has been destroying institutions, laws, our Constitution, and every citizen’s right that hinders their actions.

The most upsetting is that, with their own hands, they have gradually undermined and ruined all possibilities of peaceful coexistence in the country, declaring themselves the enemies and tormentors of Moors and Christians. Under their authoritarian outbursts, neither opponents nor supporters are safe. Nicaragua under their rule has become a land of quicksand, a lethal mud that can swallow anyone at any time.

One would like to understand the lurches they make, the cruel and unjust sentences like the one condemning Monsignor Rolando Alvarez to prison for 26 years, or the expropriations without reason or the elimination of pension payments to elderly people, the imprisonments, persecutions, kidnappings, prohibition of Holy Week processions, the immense hatred against the Catholic Church, against the media, against women, a colossal hatred that recalls scenes from mythology when Cyclops, Medusas and Saturn cursed, killed and ate their children.

It is deeply shameful and painful to sense and hear the fear that hovers over the country, which makes citizens fall silent and subject them to the cruelest of helplessness.

Nicaragua is sinking into the darkest mud. People flee in droves. Shame and silence prevail. Six million inhabitants are managed like puppets and grabbed by the neck and suffocated by a couple and their group of henchmen.

Ortega and Murillo must leave power. They are destroying themselves and want to take us with them to hell. Let us not accept that fate.

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


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Gioconda Belli

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.