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The tyrant is a sore loser

The tyrant now has a serious problem with the priest locked up in jail. Does he think that captivity will reduce the bishop’s fortitude?

Daniel Ortega assured that the list of released political prisoners was 228 citizens. Photo: Presidency.

Silvio Prado

18 de febrero 2023


Based on Daniel Ortega’s speech last February 9, full of gall and resentment, the release of the political prisoners did not have the expected results for his despotic regime. Instead, it was a political setback that has been widening its dimensions as the days go by. None of the effects that he was looking for have been produced.

If he sought to get rid of international pressure, it has now multiplied by 222. If he sought to leave those exiled in statelessness, the decision by the Spanish government has given them a new shelter. If he pretended to convey an image of strength before his people, it remains what it is: a family enterprise that moves with the blows of improvisation. The dictator’s anger that oozed that day is comprehensible: the tyrant does not like to lose his capacity for cruelty.

The tormenter resents admitting that he is not immune to international pressure. According to his confessions, so many demands for the liberation of his hostages have ended up making a dent in his rigidness. They rained on him from all sides and all political persuasions until it became a global outcry.

Sometimes accused of being weak and indolent, the international community has ended up cornering him, rejecting him, expelling him from democratic spaces and forums to turn him into a pariah.

It was a lie that he did not care about condemnations against him because he had found other alliances with other authoritarian regimes, or that the global south does not care that the people trapped in his prisons would rot. The penultimate smack in the face occurred in the recent CELAC summit, where a shrunken representative of his government had to endure the reprimand thrown by the Chilean president.

The tyrant must be angry to confirm that exile will not mean the extension of his punitive power beyond the country’s borders. The fact that the Spanish Government granted citizenship to the 222 people released implied, furthermore, that it is opening innumerable borders and opportunities for them to live, study or work in the countries of their choice. That is, neither stateless nor abandoned.

The backfiring could not have been worse, but what happens is that the tyrant, carried away by his bile, intended to impose his abuse so that other countries would deny refuge to those banished from Nicaragua, not only by reviving forced exile, a medieval figure contrary to humanitarian international law, but also drafting laws a posteriori to justify his barbarity. Such measures, by their form and content, could only rouse worldwide repulsion, so he lost this game as well.

But if there is something to note the tyrant as a sore loser is in his aversion to bishop Rolando Alvarez. The tirade against the priest distilling anger and bitterness reveals all the frustration that can fit in the poisonous soul of whom, considering himself to be the master of the life and destiny of the inhabitants of his fiefdom, has seen his plans upset. Despite the consistent denials that the priest had already expressed, he believed that by placing him before the fait accompli of his forced exile, he would end up accepting it. But once again, the bet backfired, and reality gave him a kick in the teeth.

The 26-year prison sentence only shows the impotence of the tyrant in the face of Monsignor Alvarez’s attitude.

The accusations against him are so absurd as they are deranged. They accuse him of terrorism, although he has never wielded a weapon or organized peasant communities to go out in guerrilla groups. In a country like Nicaragua, where social commitment has led many priests like Gaspar Garcia Laviana to armed struggle or to participate openly in popular struggles, like Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal, such accusations seem to be a bad joke or a monstrosity.

The tyrant now has a serious problem with the priest locked up in the largest penal center in the country. Does he think that captivity will reduce the priest’s fortitude by being surrounded by other prisoners in worse conditions? Only arrogance and scarce contact with reality could obviate the fact that if clerics are prepared for anything, it is for sacrifice and martyrdom. The day they put him in prison, they laid one more brick in the construction of another icon of the struggle against the dictatorship, in spite of the timid stance of the Episcopal Conference. By trying to get rid of the annoying preaching of Monsignor Alvarez, the tyrant got himself into a dead-end alley from which he will only be able to get out with another defeat on his back.

There is another setback that the tyrant’s speech implies: the unrelenting every day pressure exerted by thousands of Nicaraguans and people from other nationalities who demanded the release of the prisoners of conscience. It is impossible to quantify how many groups were organized, how many activities were put together and how many initiatives, such as public letters, hearings, appearances in parliaments and forums, and awards and recognitions achieved.

The cause for the liberation of the prisoners of conscience has been during all these years a mobilizing force that has crossed the continents from north to south, even in competition with other humanitarian crisis or with the consent of the worst epidemic that humanity has suffered in a century.

Thanks to this effort in which political and social forces of all colors have converged, today we can say that we have rescued most of the prisoners of conscience from the clutches of one of the cruelest dictatorships in the American continent. It was not a generous concession from the dictatorship, we wrested them from it. If it were for the will of the tyrant, the prisoners of conscience would continue to suffer the greatest possible hardships until their minds and bodies were finally broken. But it has not been so.

If international pressure has suffocated the dictatorship and the tyrant has hurled his moans to the wind, it is because we never let the hostages be forgotten. Because on any date of the calendar the banner of freedom has been held high, as we will continue to hold it until we rescue the last prisoner and with it the freedom of Nicaragua as a whole, to the greater bitterness of the tyrant and his cohorts.

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



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Silvio Prado

Silvio Prado

Politólogo y sociólogo nicaragüense, viviendo en España. Es municipalista e investigador en temas relacionados con participación ciudadana y sociedad civil.