Álvaro Conrado, 15, Córdoba Cordoba, also 15, Ezequiel Mendoza, 22, and Erick Jiménez, 30, were brutally murdered in 2018, at the hands of state repression against the April Rebellion in Nicaragua. Five years after the civic outbreak, their mothers remain steadfast in their demand for truth, justice, and non-repetition. Their struggle against impunity has cost them threats, persecution, and exile. This is the story of the resilience of four Mothers of April.
Yadira Córdoba, mother of Orlando Córdoba: “It hasn't been easy, but not impossible either”
“On May 30, 2018, Orlandito went out to support the mothers of April. He told me: ‘Mom, let's support those mothers. Those poor mothers who today have nothing to celebrate because their children were murdered,’” Yadira recalls as a profound pain invades her at the memory of her last moments with the youngest of her four children. “I told him yes, that we were going to support the mothers, because ‘I don't know what I would do if they had murdered one of my children.’ Without knowing that they were going to kill him that day,” she continues.
Orlando was shot in the thorax at around four o'clock in the afternoon, while he was participating in the “Mother of all Marches”.
Every May 30, Yadira is overcome with pain and sadness. “For me, May 30 is not just any day. It is the day my son was murdered. It is the day my life changed,” she says.
For demanding justice for her son, Yadira has suffered exile twice. In 2019, she went into exile in Costa Rica because of police harassment. However, she also received threats from Sandinista sympathizers in Costa Rica, so she had to take refuge in the United States.
“These five years have been filled with mixed feelings, because for a long time, I have been exiled alone, demanding truth, justice, and memory for my son. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I was reunited with two of my children here,” she says. “I have had to work very hard to get ahead,” she adds.
For her, exile has meant nostalgia and a great deal of pain. But despite the adversities, she continues to demand justice.
“Here I am demanding justice without impunity for my son because that is what we mothers want,” she expresses with determination.
Lizeth Davila, mother of Alvaro Conrado: “Five years of mourning, five years of demanding justice”
Five years ago, the Nicaraguan dictatorship took her son from her with a shot to the neck. “It still hurts and will continue to hurt. It is a wound that I believe will never heal,” expresses Lizeth Dávila, mother of Alvarito Conrado, murdered on April 20, 2018, by the Ortega police.
For Lizeth, May 30 is no longer a day to celebrate. “Now it means sadness, mourning, and a day to commemorate all the victims of the dictatorship,” she says.
She still vividly remembers the massacre committed by the dictatorship that Nicaraguan Mother's Day in 2018. “The dictatorship turned the solidarity of the people with the mothers who had already lost their children into tears. We never thought they were going to kill that day.”
19 dead and hundreds wounded, in Managua, Estelí, Chinandega, and Masaya was the total toll of state repression that day.
For the past three years, she has been in exile due to the persecution she has suffered for denouncing the crimes committed by the Ortega government. “I am in exile in Switzerland. I made the decision because of the multiple death threats I was receiving. I knew that sooner or later everything was going to get worse,” she says.
Exile has not been easy. Lizeth has had to adapt to a new culture and a new language, while she copes with the sadness of not being close to her loved ones.
“It has been very hard, but I continue in the struggle for justice without impunity for the murder of my son and all the young people whose lives were taken just for thinking differently,” she says.
For Lizeth, May 30 is also a date to keep the struggle for truth and justice of the Mothers of April in mind. “We fight against the regime we have in Nicaragua, we fight against the barbarities they commit, we fight against impunity, we fight against exile,” she adds.
Azucena Lopez, mother of Erick Jimenez: “We mothers continue in resilience”
On July 17, 2018, Azucena was in Costa Rica when a family member called her to tell her that her son had been seriously injured. Erick Jiménez died of a gunshot wound to the chest. “It's the saddest day for me,” she recounts with tears in her eyes. She arrived in Masaya at 8:00 p.m. that day.
Erick joined the civic demonstrations in Masaya in solidarity with the young people and the Mothers of April. “My son was at the May 30 march. I didn't know that I was going to face the same thing,” she says. “For me, May 30 is a day of national mourning, I have nothing to celebrate,” she adds.
Three days after her son's murder, Azucena returned to Costa Rica for fear of reprisals. “I was afraid they would come to my house, search it or kill us,” she says.
Since then, she has not returned to Nicaragua. “It has been hard not being with my family. We, mothers, are resilient because day by day we look for our food and work, but I will continue to demand justice because my son was not a criminal,” she says.
Martha Lira, mother of Ezequiel Mendoza: “The regime wants to erase everything he did”
Every year on this date, the regime's propaganda ignores the claim for justice as if the Mother's Day massacre never existed. “They have wanted to manipulate the murders so that they remain in impunity,” denounces Martha Lira, mother of Ezequiel Mendoza, murdered in Tipitapa, Managua, on June 14, 2018.
For Lira, May 30 is a day of mourning for all mothers who have lost their children since the beginning of the April Civic Rebellion. “All mothers feel the same pain, we are all united by the same mourning for our children,” expresses Martha, who has been in exile in Costa Rica since the murder of her son.
“Since 2018 I have lived a forced exile. I cannot go to Nicaragua for fear that they are going to do something to me, because, from the moment we continue in the struggle to seek justice, we are no longer well regarded by the government,” says Martha.
“These five years of struggle have been very frustrating and tiring because we mothers have always hoped for justice, but it has taken a long time,” continues Martha, who, despite the difficulties, also highlights the unity and resilience of the Mothers of April.
“We mothers are united in one voice. We will continue until we achieve our goal, which is to achieve justice for our children,” she concludes.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff.