“Disobedience is the true foundation of freedom. The obedient must be slaves.”– Henry David Thoreau
Hundreds of people had joined nearby the Jean Paul Genie roundabout on the afternoon of April 21st; they felt the anger and direct rejection of the violent repression shown by the police forces led by President Daniel Ortega.
It gave me the chills to hear in unison the chants and slogans of the crowd of people…
“They were students, they were not criminals”
“I don’t carry weapons, I just have my Flag”
“Sir, lady, don’t be indifferent, they’re killing our students in the face of the people”
… and their faces, which I will never erase from my memory, combined rage, pain, sadness, discontent, and a myriad of conflicting emotions that were summed up in one sentence: “Ortega must go now!”
That same afternoon, at the same time, the young people who were protesting at the National University of Engineering were suffering from the consequences of one of the most cowardly and shameful acts in the history of the country.
They defend themselves with stones and sticks against the monstrous armament of the national police. This fact did nothing more than expose the authoritarianism of the Ortega regime. – The university students became a strong threat for the regime of Daniel Ortega.
The march began its journey in support of the university students. The goal was clear; getting to the university areas so that the police forces would withdraw, and so the youth would stop being the direct target of the police weapons.
The atmosphere on the road to Masaya was suffocating; the voices of hundreds of people were not going to go unnoticed. In the “Plaza de las Victorias” a group of Sandinista sympathizers were waiting, singing, dancing and provoking. But nobody fell into the trap.
However, a strong barricade of armed anti-riot was awaiting a few meters away. The march didn’t advance. In a matter of seconds screams were heard, people ran to take refuge, to look for water to calm the suffocation caused by the tear gas bombs.
And while we hid, the members of the national police shouted and laughed:
“One more word and you get shot”
Nicaraguans did what nobody expected
Violent acts only generate more violence. Or at least that was part of the rule that reigned in a Nicaragua that has been bathed in blood throughout its entire history. But, since the socio-political crisis began, the Nicaraguans managed to do something that was not expected. – A civic protest began, and with it, also, one of the most spectacular lessons that people that are accustomed to war has shown to the world.
A resistance without weapons is not something easy to accept, do, coordinate and above all, carry to the ultimate consequences. However, Nicaragua decided not to be the same as the monster it faced – and this is a clear message that Nicaragua wants to be reborn as a free and just nation where peace reigns.
It’s called peaceful resistance to any protest that seeks to generate a social, political and economic change without exercising violence. To this end, the Nicaraguan people have put into practice different forms of symbolic protests and acts of non-cooperation in the political and economic areas promoted by the regime.
The surprise has been key in this method of struggle where each member who supports President Daniel Ortega has been in trouble.
The bravery of the Nicaraguan people to decide not to take up arms to fight repression has been the biggest surprise of all. Especially because for a person accustomed to war (Ortega), the fact that people would rise up in arms would have been the simplest way to eradicate the popular claim.
The violence apparently has a great effectiveness in the levels of instrumental, communicative or negotiation action. But, the results of all the violent actions are only apparent because their consequences are usually catastrophic – And Nicaragua has a lot of experience in this subject.
The lesson of Fight taught by the Nicaraguan People
The reason for the struggle is more than fair, and that has been evidenced nationally and internationally. Therefore, the greatest merit of Nicaraguans is resisting the temptation to respond to violent repression using the same means. It’s hard to accept that you belong to a side where, by opting for peaceful means of protest, you only have to resist the violent attacks of the enemy.
Many authors claim that a violent revolution will engender a violent society. The war wounds remain and then sprout with intensity; perhaps, that is why Nicaragua has always relapsed into the cycle of hatred and violence throughout history.
But, What if the revolution is a non-violent movement? – The goal is to create a more stable society. Therefore, the hope of living in a more united, respectful and peaceful Nicaragua does nothing but to grow.
While a society is more educated, healthy and mature, its demands and protests are better argued. Therefore, this struggle has also become a way to rehearse the new kind of social relationships we want to create. The fundamental work of women, old people, students, professionals, and other people from each social sector has been demonstrated in the country, proving that it’s worth fighting for a new Nicaragua.
The peaceful resistance of Nicaraguans has its undeniable merits of heroism and courage. Undoubtedly, the evil leadership will abandon power by the righteous fury of our people.
Consequences of the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua
The still president of the republic, Daniel Ortega, has given a series of interviews to different international news channels. The curious fact is that the versions he is trying to sell is that Nicaragua is returning to normal activities.
The president was nervous and upset when the interviewers questioned him about the murders, political prisoners, the presence of paramilitaries, and the excessive force of the repression, but, until now, his answers leave much to be desired:
“Everyone lies, they lie; it’s all part of a plan”
“This is a putsch”
“Paramilitary forces are just volunteer policemen”
Selling him as a victim may have been the solution to try to weaken the humanitarian support shown by the international community towards the Nicaraguan people.
However, in an increasingly globalized world, thousands of videos, photos and testimonies of people have touched the heart of the whole world. There is nothing to hide; there are no arguments to affirm that Nicaragua is back to normality.
The crisis in Nicaragua has hurt us all. The country does not stop showing its deterioration, very contrary to the image that the government tries to sell.
Among the many facts that refute President Ortega’s statements are:
- There are no longer tourists in the most popular areas of the country, many airlines have closed their flights, the hotel industry is on the verge of collapse, among others.
- More than 200,000 people have lost their jobs,
- An exorbitant number of companies have closed its doors indefinitely.
- People leave the streets after 6 o’clock in the afternoon as a result of a kind of curfew
- Human rights defenders have had to leave the country due to strong threats
- Catholic priests have been insulted and beaten
- Catholic churches have been looted
- The Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN) lowered its economic growth projection from 4.9% to 1% for this year
- Thousands of young people have had to leave the country resulting in a flight of talent that would have catastrophic consequences in the short, medium and long term period.
- Hundreds of people have been arrested and accused of terrorism, for carrying a poster or the national flag, or by protesting in social media.
- Official channels have to resort to images of political activities of past years because the political party in power has lost the support of the vast majority.
Rowing against the tide and with all type of disadvantage has been the great victory of every Nicaraguan who has manifested his/her desire of freedom through social media networks, in the streets, through art, or with other symbols of peaceful protest.
Defending the indefensible has become the mission of a few who, perhaps for their own convenience or through indoctrination, support one of the bloodiest dictatorships that the Latin American region has ever seen.
But, in spite of everything, Nicaragua will see the sun shine again
A new Nicaragua will be born
At this precise moment, perhaps, many people may feel that the flames of Nicaragua’s peaceful social revolution have gone extinct. However, the Nicaraguan resistance has not become a passive struggle. Day by day, the world can hear the cries of justice of hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans and people internationally that have been moved by the war spirit of our people.
A new Nicaragua will be born. But, for this to happen, the support of every individual in our society will be needed. Respect, inclusion and equality must be part of a new society that looks out on the horizon. That horizon Nicaraguan people are about to touch with their fingers.