Nicaragua: a year of insurrection, betrayals and challenges

In Nicaragua it has been a year since the popular insurrection led by the youth and other social sectors on April 18 and 19. A year of State terrorism, violence and active resistance of the people. But also a year since business leaders blocked every single mobilization against the dictatorship. In this article we want to make an assessment of this anniversary and propose the tasks for the people that resisted.

It has been one year since the rebellion that began in April 2018 in Nicaragua. At first, it was a popular insurrection that had the possibility of overthrowing the regime in the streets. Different social sectors joined in a single voice demanding the resignation of Ortega and Murillo, real justice for the fatal victims of state terrorism, which today totals more than 500, according to human rights organizations; and the democratization of the country at all levels. The Nicaraguan people, despite their pain and mourning, stayed insurgent against their oppressors, in the most massive forms and the most ingenious.

During the last year, the Sandinista dictatorship showed its true face. The one that is anything but leftist, neither socialist, nor anti-imperialist, where its deals with the International Monetary Fund prevailed; that increased the concessions and privileges to US, Chinese and Russian transnational companies; consolidating a consensus government since 2007 with business leaders and thus crystallized in power a parasitic caste with economic interests privileged by the State.

The population got tired of the austerity measures, a product of the unrestrained corruption of the regime. Austerity measures that starve, limit and deny any possibility of progress to the second poorest society on the American continent: the Nicaraguan people. The youth that was fighting to save an ecological reserve threatened by state depredation, quickly became the vanguard of the protests against the austerity plans of the IMF. This vanguard was followed by the historically oppressed sectors: the peasantry, the feminist movement, and some bastions of Sandinista resistance, such as the public universities, the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, the university city of León, the eastern neighborhoods of Managua, took the first steps to destabilize the bases of this repressive and oppressive system. The government, defending of its own privileges and the plans of the IMF, captured, killed and disappeared people dramatically since April 2018, and continues to do so today.

Functional to the dictatorship: they do not represent us

The Civil Alliance (ACDJ), the self-proclaimed political opposition, is illegitimate and incapable of leading a process of real democratization, which should guarantee the absolute freedom of political prisoners and the resignation of Ortega-Murillo, promote a process of real justice with integral reparation and for non-repetition. The “dialogue” with the regime has been an attempt to negotiate a solution for the criminal government, without causing any change of substance and that, in fact, diverts any mobilized action, and, as in 2018, gives the government time to breathe. The Mothers of April and the Pro-Liberation Committee of political prisoners continue to demand their own voices for the implementation of real justice to ensure the non-repetition of crimes against humanity and state terrorism in Nicaragua.

The student, worker and peasant representation at the table is also not clear; not to mention the essential guarantees demanded by the people in general, the resignation of Ortega-Murillo, and the release of every political prisoner. None of this has happened, but the negotiation table has been reopened with the murderous dictatorship, and the opposition representation with the majority of companies closing deals behind closed doors.

How many more days will pass until they release students, peasants, women, trans women, journalists, mothers and friends, kidnapped by the regime in the sinister prisons of “La Modelo”, “La Esperanza”, “El Chipote” and who knows where else. What the business proposes under the table is an exit deal with the dictatorship through impunity, for the establishment of a new stage of business and to “restore an atmosphere of investment.” They seek to continue exploiting the most vulnerable sectors, those who work, those who live day to day and do not have privileges.

Therefore, on this April 2019, what should have been a day of organized struggle with massive mobilizations a year after the beginning of the Nicaraguan crisis, was transformed into a series of self-convened expressions of the people in resistance in the context of the Easter hollyday. Thus, the religious activities of the anniversary quickly went on to show their profound political component. This shows a central contradiction of the social process and its directions: while the population in resistance looks for spaces to manifest itself, the self-proclaimed “political opposition” to the regime manifests its panic to popular mobilization and its appeal to the good will of the murderous dictatorship. It is their class interests that prevail, not the people, in this orientation. This is the key to the situation in our country.

Return to the streets, building an alternative

The Nicaraguan people have enough strength to overthrow the dictatorship, to overthrow the regime, to take away the privileges of the powerful, and to establish a government of the majority. It is the distrust in those leaderships, in those pro-capitalist leaderships where the problem that impedes the conquest of all the liberties and demands of the population lies.

The real opposition lies in the youth, in the accumulation of blows that the student, worker, peasant, indigenous and Afro-descendant population has received. Therefore, the only solution for the popular sectors is to resume the massive, organized and centralized mobilization to conquer all our rights. So that, really, and for the first time, the sectors of the bottom, the oppressed, the invisible, the majority that never governed, decides a new direction for the country. That is why we propose a free, sovereign and democratic Constituent Assembly, to change all the rules of the economy, social relations and the political system in favor of the 99%. It is essential that we lead this process, since we must assume an urgent task: to build a political alternative willing to brush aside the private companies, repressors, everything old that does not represent us. We need to build it based on the protagonists of the resistance, those who put their bodies on the line, those who have been marginalized and denied opportunities all these years. An alternative that fights against the intermediate, reformist solutions and has a deep anti-capitalist, real democratic and genuinely socialist content. And whose perspective is not limited to national borders, but projected to the entire region of Central America and the world, with a highly internationalist sense. From the Anticapitalist Network and #SOSNicaragua-Argentina, we raise this strategy so that the youth and other sectors in resistance can take it into our hands.

Elmer Rosales, Ariana McGuire 
Exiled Nicaraguan students and activists of Anticapitalist Network