Nicaragua: Temporary retreat, responsibilities and tasks

Three years ago we marched en masse through the streets of Nicaragua. “We are the voice of the political prisoners” was the call that summoned us to the last great march of the “April rebellion.” Three years after that 23S and 45 days after the announced electoral farce: an assessment and some perspectives.

By Alternativa Anticapitalista

On September 23, 2018, 16-year-old Matt Andrés Romero was taken from us. Near Tamarindo Street in the Las Americas 3 neighborhood of the capital, the senior high school student fell on the pavement, with his blue and white scarf around his neck and a bullet in his chest. It was the State, it was Ortega-Murillo, it was the Police and the FSLN paramilitaries. Trial and Punishment for Matt Romero’s material, intellectual and political murderers!

23 S: The mobilization was defeated with State terrorism

If there is something that dictators, capitalists-powers that be and skeptics (sectarians and electoral opportunists) fear, it is popular mobilization, especially when it is massive and none of their leaderships can contain it. On the contrary, they are terrified of it when independent organizational expressions from the heart of “the masses” are gestated that, under the right conditions, manage to mobilize hundreds, thousands or millions of people, as happened in our “April”.

The dictatorship imposed State terror against the legitimate expressions of struggle that emerged from the neighborhoods, the countryside and the classrooms. The daunting balance sheet: Around 500 fatalities, hundreds of thousands of exiles, thousands of political prisoners have passed through its jails and currently more than 140 kidnapped people are still being secluded for dissent under bloody conditions of isolation and torture.

The church and the representatives of the interests of big capital were given the task of containing, of channeling the dignified anger through the institutional, “peaceful” and electoral route. The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy was born in the “dialogue” convened by the episcopate with the genocidal regime. This AyB (the “Blue and White” alliance) apparatus of the powers that be has the purpose of defending the principles of the bourgeois liberal state, especially its material basis: private property – great private property. To that end, they came up with a strategy: to bureaucratize and dynamite any organizational form that would promote the best of “April” activism.

Alliance, dialogues and consensus

The defeat of the AyB alliance was followed by the national consultation with the progressive leaderships: the Blue and White National Unity. It continued its integration to the regime.

By that date we already had several terrible antecedents. Two of them were:

  • The attack on the “mother of all marches.” On May 30, 2018, the largest mobilization on record in Nicaragua was called by the mothers and relatives of the fatal victims of State terrorism. The call was for justice, that day at least 21 protesters were killed.
  • The attacks of “Operation Cleaning,” a (para)military operation to dismantle the main bastions of popular mobilization at the national level: such as the university occupations, roadblocks and barricades that were transformed in the first months of the “April” into the practical manifestation of organization and popular mobilization.

With the “masses” defeated, and the hegemony in dispute, the path of all the leaderships took and reaffirmed a single course: The institutional solution – “peaceful and democratic.” Without the effervescence in the streets, the bourgeois leaderships and the nationalist “this is as far as possible” leaders were naked and called for negotiations. Thus the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB) was born, a space for class conciliation, which reaffirmed the bourgeois Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy as an interlocutor with the dictatorship of the demands of the citizens in any dialogue with the murderers, and elections with the dictators as only way out of the political crisis. The objective: To contain and bureaucratize any expression of struggle that arises from the best of the AyB activism, so that it does not activate “the masses” again. For that, it was necessary to revive the worst of the Nicaraguan bourgeois democratic regime: the traditional parties. Thus, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the National Coalition was born.

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The electoral farce: an preannounced chronicle

On September 18, the Articulation of Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations (AMS-OSC) made a call to the people of Nicaragua, in the form of a petition, proposing an electoral strike, which would consist of not meeting the agenda already proposed for the elections of November 7. This in order to demonstrate to the – always bureaucratic – international community (UN, EU), which monitor the socio-political crisis in the country, that the people have no one to vote for and therefore will not attend the polling stations (JRV) to endorse these elections.

For us, this position comes quite late. The reality that has suddenly stricken these organizations, especially their bureaucratic leaderships, is provided by the arrest and disappearance within the dungeons of the regime, of more than 40 people accused under different figures legal, including: the conspiracy to undermine national integrity, organize to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization. Despite this, the arguments given by the AMS-OSC to take this position, given the electoral route that they themselves promoted, are the consideration of the regime as a dictatorship, therefore, there are no democratic conditions or initiatives within the State and its institutions to free political prisoners, nor were there any to make reforms to the electoral law.

Democratize a dictatorship?

Faced with the dictatorship, the only way to negotiate is under its conditions, and therefore in favor of its interests. And for this it is necessary to put them in check, and make them see that their defeat is palpable, this is what was achieved in the first month of protests, organization and mobilizations of 2018. Today, since the mobilization was defeated, the only card left, and of interest to the dictatorship, is impunity. And the people have made it clear, that they will NEITHER FORGIVE NOR FORGET.

This defeat then translates into a defeat for these organizations and their bureaucratic leaderships that were unable or unwilling to adopt a correct policy to confront the regime and impose the demands of the mobilized people. For the people, it is undoubtedly a transitory defeat, the class struggle being the engine of history, sooner rather than later we will meet again in the streets and this time, we will have the experience, and it is our task to translate it into organization, for this time to make the decisions that support our class character. That is why we built this alternative, independent of all those organizations that with their petty-bourgeois vices provided what was necessary for the continuation of this capitalist dictatorship.

Freedom of Political Prisoners

Faced with the current escalations of repression, as a prelude to the electoral theater, and on the development of the electoral farce in which the organizations around the UNAB, the NATIONAL COALITION and the CIVIC ALLIANCE were submerged, the dictatorship of the Ortega regime has imprisoned those who intended to run as candidates for the elections on the part of both factions of these organizations that had within reach the legal entities of political parties, with which they intended to register to participate in the elections.

In addition, they kidnapped and detained them in the cells of the Nuevo Chipote (Directorate of Judicial Assistance), which according to the Human Rights attorney general and government authorities, during its inauguration “showed total coherence with national and international standards” for the detention of people in processes opened before a judge, but which have been denounced by those who have been imprisoned there as inhumane facilities that immerse people in total isolation, dissociating inmates without being able to distinguish the days that passed in isolated, suffering from acute malnutrition due to lack of adequate food, and without being allowed access to food that their relatives bring them every day, as well as their medicines and other personal hygiene products.

Among the latest people kidnapped and detained by the police as an investigation are former guerrilla commanders Dora María Téllez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco and Hugo Torres. In addition, these were preceded by political prisoners already convicted, who are in the “La Modelo” Penitentiary System, such as John Cerna, a student who was accused of crimes under implanted evidence and is serving a 12-year sentence for the alleged crime of drug trafficking and illegal possession of narcotics.

There are also cases that precede the repression and imprisonments of 2018-2021, such as that of Marvin Vargas, president of a demobilized organization of the Sandinista Popular Army in the late 1980s, former Cachorros de Sandino, as the young members of the Patriotic Military Service (SMP)were called, who has been in prison for more than 10 years, despite the fact that his sentence (dictated under a flawed process) of 5 years for fraud was served in 2016, but the authorities refuse to release him, without giving further explanations. There are a dozen cases like this, people who have been serving sentences in maximum security prisons for years.

To date there are more than 160 people who are in the different prisons, including the 40+ who have been in the new Chipote for more than 100 days under a legal formality that dictates preventive detention of 90 days while an investigation is carried out, which is done at the pleasure of the regime and under purely political interests. This situation has all the affected families in distress, and the general population that sees the security conditions even more diminished in the country, being forced into exile as the president of the Mothers of April Association, Francys Valdivia, or the guerrilla commander Mónica Baltodano, and her family.

Faced with this situation, and the already announced electoral farce, from Alternativa Anticapitalista we recognize this period of temporary retreat of forces, to make the necessary balances and build, in stealth, from below, the necessary political tool to give guidance to the safe irruption of our people sooner rather than later, from all its rich revolutionary history. This is a call to not give up before the capitalist machinery of the police state, and its repressive and oppressive institutions. History has not come to an end, this is the prelude to a new beginning for the class struggle in Nicaragua and the entire world. From our international organization, the International Socialist League, we propose as a task to build ALTERNATIVA ANTICAPITALISTA in the permanent search for our emancipation and self-determination.

Freedom for Political Prisoners

No forgiving, no forgetting