Nicaragua: No dialogue, no impunity, freedom for political prisoners

From Alternativa Anticapitalista we raise our voices for the immediate and unrestricted freedom of the political prisoners, we demand a comprehensive evaluation of their health, and we stand in solidarity with them and their families because of the regime of torture, isolation and persecution exercised by the dictatorship in Nicaragua.

By Alternativa Anticapitalista

On January 10, the day Daniel Ortega was sworn in as president for the 4th consecutive time -renewing his mandate for 5 more years-, the International Socialist League accompanied the international media campaign denouncing the situation in Nicaragua, under the slogans “Out with Ortega Murillo ” and “Free Political Prisoners”. We had contributions from different parts of Latin America and Europe.

That day, in his presidential speech, the dictator Daniel Ortega avoided talking about the people kidnapped in the prisons of the regime, and made a call for a “clean slate” as a clear wink towards the business leaders to start a new dialogue; one that would smooth the rough edges in public for a new model of alliance, dialogue and consensus that will sustain the plundering of Nicaragua in this next period and Ortega and the FSLN leadership in his administration. It is no coincidence that the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy ACDJ, representatives of the business power, persuade individual family members, victims of the regime, to accompany them to convene negotiations with the dictatorship, in an attempt to legitimize such blatant opportunism.

So we want to address the issue of freedom for political prisoners from a class perspective, who we are and among whom we can act in an honest and belligerent way to ensure the fulfillment of our demands with the main objective of achieving better conditions for the large popular sectors that are always the most affected.

The use of Ortega’s dialogue discourse

Taking into account  that among the current political prisoners are people from the business chambers (COSEP) and former collaborators of the class that has historically exploited and murdered working sectors in Nicaragua, in order to accumulate more and better profits for their companies; we understand that all parts of the kidnapping process of the Ortega regime violate human rights and has a purely political focus, therefore, we denounce the inhumane conditions of imprisonment of the +170 political prisoners without any political distinction, and the role of the judicial authorities in continuing to perpetuate state terrorism.

On July 19, 2021 Ortega announced in his speech that after the November elections (which were already rigged) he was going to initiate a process of dialogue with different “non-coup” sectors that “wanted the welfare of Nicaragua”. That is to say, with sectors that assure him impunity and that are willing to “wipe the slate clean” about the dead and, furthermore, about his way of governing: with absolute nepotism and authoritarianism. Any attempt at dialogue by COSEP must be unmasked for what it is: an attempt to maintain mutually beneficial economic relations at the expense of justice and the well-being of the majority.

Ortega’s call for dialogue happened because of the need to stabilize his government and “generate an investment climate”. He cannot govern by arms alone, he needs a degree of national and international legitimacy, he needs to present himself as the negotiating and “pragmatic” politician, not as the corrupt murderer with whom his former financiers from the US and the great foreign powers can no longer talk. By sitting down to talk with the businessmen and with a political sector in Nicaragua, the international community could say that it sees “will”, which would relax the pressure on Ortega, who, having contained it by means of torture and terror, would only need to increase his financing. Something that would be relatively simple for the BCIE, WB or the IMF, which have already shown to have no scruples when it comes to lending to genocides, seeing that it reestablishes relations with the other States of the region, increasing the odious debt.

The policy of dialogue and negotiation promoted by the regime, private enterprises and the international community will only guarantee the permanence of a capitalist system and the state of terror with greater impunity, and we know that only the people will know how to give them the judgment they deserve, under a process free of vices and of popular nature.

The policy of impunity for the dictatorship

The only guarantee of real freedom for all political prisoners is the overthrow of the dictatorship. The dictatorship is not only Ortega Murillo or the FSLN; that is why: overthrowing Ortega Murillo means confronting the leaderships that saved his existence since 2018 with their “institutional, civic and peaceful exit”, of “Dialogue and elections” with the genocidal and torturers, and of “unity with all”, with current and former collaborators of the dictatorial couple. And these addresses have a name and surname: It is the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, the vehicle of big capital to bureaucratize and divert the dignified rage of the peoples in struggle in Nicaragua, it is the International Community that with their pantomime of “sanctions” hide their economic interests of their international usury organizations (IMF, WB, CABEI, IDB, OECD, WTO, in which the US is the main shareholder) and of the extractive and polluting transnationals operating in the country under the Ortega administration, is the policy of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference and the Vatican, which in favor of preserving their privileges and the relationship of the Church (as an institution) with the State, have called for conciliation three times before the crowing of a rooster.

We only have to turn to see what happened in the past occasions in which “bridges were built with the rulers and the living forces” in May 2018, and March 2019, While a significant number of the political prisoners of that time were released, at least 47 were kidnapped again and are part of the +170 political prisoners today, and the other people released by the Amnesty Law (Impunity) that Ortega drafted at that time, either went into exile or are under hiding. Under no circumstances can this be considered “real freedom”.

To the list of crimes of the State must be added the murder of Eddy Montes, political prisoner who was murdered by a guard of the “Modelo” prison on May 16, 2019; Santos Flores, political prisoner who was declared as suicidal, when he was “found hanged” in his cell in maximum security on November 9, 2021; and Hugo Torres, political prisoner who died last February 12, 2022, in the midst of deteriorating health due to the torture regime he was suffering. We cannot leave in impunity all the crimes committed by the dictatorship, this would only aggravate even more the situation in Nicaragua.

The way forward is social organization and mobilization, independent of the corrupt and opportunists. No more dialogues, nor anything that attempts against the just demands of no impunity for the crimes of the state, its institutions and the regime that sustains it.

Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy: the great opportunist

The civic alliance, taking advantage of the communiqué of the relatives of political prisoners, has initiated a political field work trying to add families who, out of good will and looking for any possible way for the liberation of prisoners, join the initiative.

We warn of the trap – Why are the calls being made by representatives of the Civic Alliance? Why did the forces of the decadent “Citizens Alliance” (CxL, COSEP and the Civic Alliance) speak out opportunistically after the press conference? – We warn that they want to ride on the just demands of the relatives to negotiate, without guarantees, to maintain a business contubernium as it was before 2018 with the regime and negotiate quotas of political power state or outside the State.

The bilateral approach by the Civic Alliance to relatives of political prisoners and not to the collectivity where they are organized to fight for their liberation, is a strategy that we do not share and we call it a blatant opportunism on the part of this group of people who call themselves “opposition”. To pass over the collectivity and political agreements that each family member has as part of the organizations UPPN, AMA and OVA, etc. is an opportunistic and premeditated conduct to persuade individually from the vulnerability that desperation gives. It is a ruse to divide and bypass the consensual agreements of struggle for truth, justice, reparation, and the much needed guarantees of non-repetition; to make collective support and political debate on what signing a letter of negotiation implies, its pros, cons and possible pitfalls impossible.

Calling “empathy” the capitalization of the anxiety and desperation of the victims’ relatives to instrumentalize this struggle for the benefit of the regime and the business leaders, is a lack of respect for the struggle, the relatives and the political prisoners themselves, whose point of view on the matter has not been shared either. Calling for negotiations for the release of political prisoners using the signatures of family members to legitimize themselves as opposition, is nothing more than a replica of Ortega’s opportunism, who in the name of the people commit abuse of power for their benefit.

“The actors are the issue of the dialogue”

From other sectors of the opposition there has been talk that the problem is not that there is a dialogue with Ortega Murillo but the actors who are in that dialogue. This is an enormous error of political interpretation, because no dialogue with the dictatorship has represented, nor will represent a solution. Even if other national actors of “azulblanquismo” were seated, none has the capacity of popular, economic, organizational or armed backing or influence to exert any kind of pressure on Orteguismo in the current context, worse than in 2018 and 2019. The problem is to continue promoting a dialogue with the dictatorship, which means continuing to repeat the mistakes made, and for the third time. What we need is to change the correlation of forces, and this can only be built with independent organization from all possible popular fronts, executing strategies of internal pressure and militant internationalism for its overthrow.

Ortega cannot be offered anything, what he is interested in obtaining from the people is the letter of impunity that legitimizes him, and the businessmen are easy to buy, guaranteeing their economic interests, as Rosario Murillo said last January 10 in the Plaza de la Revolución:

In the alliance model we all participated, and they won, they gave some jobs and contributed to the growth we had.

The mistake of the dialogue is not only political but also strategic. That is to say, while in May 2018 there was still a correlation of force with blockades throughout the country, the business community gave up the “spirit of April”. Now, the Civic Alliance demobilized because it fears the potential for change that can emerge from the mobilized social majorities. Now, opportunistically, they are looking for the only interest that Ortega could have in this block, to reestablish relations with COSEP and consequently with the Central American business chambers and foreign transnationals.

The ACJD may go with the intention of offering Ortega to lobby to stop the sanctions against him, asking in exchange for some recognition as the “legitimate opposition” at the national level. The problem is that Ortega knows that they can’t do anything, countries like the US or the EU are not puppets of the CA -quite the contrary- and because of the continuous blunders they have even stopped naming it, we see it in the recent OAS resolution where Ortega is called to negotiate with “political parties” not with organizations that emerged in April, from where the Civic Alliance is named. The only thing they can offer him is more time in power and impunity in a possible transition.

NO to instrumentalization and demobilization.

We oppose the instrumentalization of the struggle of the relatives of political prisoners by the CA, because the only real guarantee of their liberation is in the struggle in a permanent campaign, internationally among human rights defenders, the international working class and all those who consider themselves revolutionaries.

When we speak of correlation of forces we refer to real political power, with the capacity for action and intervention so that what is proposed can be accomplished. In politics, this correlation can be given by popular support, but also by economic power and the power of arms. At this moment, although the popular majority is against Ortega, it does not mean that it is with the CA since it has not built popular support and has rather demobilized. And if Ortega calls to negotiate and reestablish alliances, it is because he clearly already has the “striped picture” and does not intend to lose in the negotiation.

Our proposal: Fight, fight with rage until we triumph

We assume ourselves in a permanent campaign for the liberation of all political prisoners, and we support the call of UPPN published on January 25, 2022, joining efforts in the struggle for memory, truth and justice, for reparation and non-repetition of state terrorism and for a united opposition against the dictatorship in Nicaragua.

On February 15, we raised a call to raise an International Movement for the Freedom of All Political Prisoners in Nicaragua. Initiative to which we invite more comrades and organizations inside and outside the country to join, in order to disseminate and mobilize in different parts of the world denouncing the dictatorship, 4 years after the great mobilizations that put in check the regime.

#Freedom Now – Immediate and unrestricted freedom for all political prisoners, for real freedom, with guarantees that allow them to safeguard their physical and psychological integrity, along with that of their families. The demands for JUSTICE WITHOUT IMPUNITY must be a permanent banner in the struggle against the dictatorship, the way out is not by lowering the banners, but by strengthening the unity and organizational strength that will hold them even higher.

#JusticeWithoutImpunity – To lay the organizational foundations to promote a plan of struggle that socially prosecutes all those responsible for crimes against humanity; their political, economic and civilian collaborators. Establish real conditions for the creation of an Independent Investigation Commission and the opening of the dictatorship’s archives; and the dismantling of its entire repressive apparatus. For Truth, Integral Reparation, Non-forgetting and Non-repetition of crimes against humanity and State terrorism in Nicaragua.

#NoDialogue – Any dialogue of the leaders who have coexisted and shared business and political gains with the regime for years, is a trap. The collaborators of the dictatorship and its elites do not represent us because they are enemies of our rights and our demands. The only useful dialogue for the social and working majority is between the oppressed, exploited and repressed sectors historically and since April.

#OrganizationAndMobilization – Build and strengthen networks for the protection of life and integrity, against COVID19, repression and the precarization of the capitalist state. Regain strength in self-organized bases. Articulate the efforts that sustain from the smallest actions of resistance and active disobedience. To build an organization independent of all historical, economic and institutional collaborators of the dictatorship. This logic allowed us to create an important fabric at the beginning of April. We knew that the greater the repression, the greater the social and independent organization.

#OutOrtegaMurillo – Against the dictatorship, its business and clerical accomplices. For a united opposition against those who have precarized, repressed and murdered the working people in Nicaragua. We need to recover the protagonism of the social majority, the working families, the youth, women and dissidents who struggle day by day to get out of the dictatorship and build a new model of country. To accompany the democratic demands of human rights collectives and groups, peasant communities, indigenous and Afro-descendant nations.

Our purpose is to fight with rage, because history has already shown us that, with an organized people, dictatorships cannot continue to govern. For this it is necessary to build an anti-capitalist, feminist and internationalist organization; a political tool without personalism. That is why we call on all youth activism, social movements, groups of family members and survivors of state violence and exile to take up these slogans and raise the banners that we defended in April 2018. We, militants of Alternativa Anticapitalista, Nicaraguan section of the International Socialist League raise this strategy and make ourselves available to build bridges and continue the struggle against the dictatorship and for its overthrow, hand in hand with all workers’ and popular organizations, in Nicaragua and the world. Only the people organized and mobilized independently, save the people, let us unite.