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What Happened in Nicaragua on February 16?

“Dissenting voices, it seems, become hurtful noises when they reach their eardrums.”

Francisco Larios

18 de febrero 2019


A meeting without previously warning the public, of the dictator Daniel Ortega with “representative” businessmen of the sector (I cannot even imagine the names!) and a Cardinal who constantly falters before the couple in El Carmen. For him, for example, the repression of January 1 was not such, but only policemen “guarding” the cathedral of Managua.

A meeting whose evident purpose was to formalize the negotiations with Ortega and Rosario Murillo. These types of encounters do not “initiate” a negotiation, but rather happen and are disseminated when, in doing so, they are thought to give momentum, when the parties believe to have found a possible path, a viable route.

A meeting that the democratic citizens suspected could occur, and that the UNAB (Blue and White National Alliance), presumed representative of the Nicaraguan people, did not see fit to announce, and at the time of writing these notes had not the gracefulness to comment. Do not tell us that you didn’t know, do us at least that favor. Rather, it seems that in these matters, which are of life and death, public opinion is a hindrance, the opinion of the people. What an authoritarian knack all Nicaraguan politicians have, that once they find themselves in a position of influence, they become arrogant, surly, allergic.

A meeting to pact, which hopes to go further, to fix things with Ortega and Murillo—the defenders of this initiative say that is “for the good of the country.”

The beginning of a pact without conditions, with all the prisoners, in prison, and all the dead, dead, the exiles, exiled, the censored journalists, censored, the confiscated media, confiscated, the confiscated citizen’s rights, confiscated; whoever dares to march, can lose his freedom and their life, whoever shows a national flag, can lose freedom and life. Even so, “our negotiators” are happy, because “a door has been opened.”


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The opposition gives in, and the trickster’s game of double discourse; on the one hand, silence before and during the meeting, on the other, recitation of “conditions” that must occur “before” the dialogue, as if they knew nothing and as if the “dialogue” had not begun. They want to leave their recorded words and let us forget their silence. Their words say what the democratic citizens want, what the people demand. Their silence says what they really do.

The culmination, for now, of a process to silence the new, emergent, young forces that ignited the April rebellion. The brutal repression by all known, jail, death, hiding and exile that have hit the internal public presence of the self-convoked. They are there, working with heroism, they will return to the surface, but the moment favors the most untouchables of the traditional political castes, who are free and lend themselves to be interlocutors of the regime.

It caught my attention—and I have to say that in some cases with sadness, young and naïve I have never ceased to be—how well-known representatives of the MRS and other respectable ones close to the proposal of “dialogue” increased the tone of their attacks, their disqualifications, against the critics of said proposal in the days preceding February 16: the dissenting voices, it seems, become hurtful noises when they reach their eardrums.

This is what—I believe, and I hope I am wrong—occurred on February 16. What will happen next? Will the negotiation with the tyrant be consolidated? Will they provide impunity for his crimes, to keep control over his immense wealth in the country, for him to “govern from below” again? That is another issue, another moment, in this painful road of Nicaraguans that want to build a better future. For the moment we have to do everything so that a minority will not make fun of the pure and dignified sacrifice of so many of our countrymen.

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Francisco Larios

Francisco Larios