Nicaragua: July 6-8, the International Commission for the Freedom of Political Prisoners will travel

In the coming month of July, an International Commission made up of parliamentarians from different countries, social and human rights leaders, will be traveling to Costa Rica and from there to the border with Nicaragua to demand access to that country to check the conditions of confinement of the political prisoners of the capitalist-Stalinist dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. An initiative that has the International Socialist League as promoter of a broad political convergence.

By Mariano Rosa

It was in April 2018. The government headed by Daniel Ortega and his eccentric wife, Rosario Murillo, attempted then to impose a drastic and reactionary pension reform dictated by the IMF. The wave of protests was immediate and the government’s repression left more than 30 students dead, hundreds injured and opened a new situation in the country. The IMF measures fell because the FSLN government had to withdraw them, but the repression provoked a true rebellion of national scope. For days, Ortega was cornered and the whole government was  paralyzed. However, the massive force of the revolt had two structural weaknesses:

On the one hand, the working class did not participate actively and organically, since the Sandinista union bureaucracy restricted that possibility.

The movement was not centralized to concentrate the energy developed to strike directly at the power of the FSLN and, at the same time, an alternative program for the subsequent reorganization of the country.

Those weak links were key for the Sandinista power to buy time and, with the complicity of the big business group grouped in the COSEP industrial chamber and the leadership of the church, set up the farce of the “national dialogue” to demobilize the young vanguard, defeat the “tranques” (pickets and blockades of roads and streets), and impose a brutal offensive on the demobilization. Thus, during 2018 and 2019, the FSLN government that became a capitalist dictatorship in its class content and Stalinist in its authoritarian methods, managed to dismantle the movement through today. The pandemic, on the one hand, the forced confinement at the national level, and the retreat due to the blow received, did the rest. The arrests, the persecutions, the farce trials, the harassment of family members and the exile of tens of thousands of activists, completed a difficult situation to retake the initiative in that country. However, no dictatorship lasts forever, and the resistance movement in exile, nurtured by new groups of young activists, is not defeated.

International Commission to Nicaragua

With this scenario in Nicaragua, with more than 180 political prisoners, the immediate task to strengthen the struggle against the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship involves the unconditional release of the detained and the annulment of all their sentences. Along this path, at the initiative of Central American organizations such as the PRT of Costa Rica and other socialist militants in the region, the idea arose that the ISL take into its hands the promotion and formation of an International Commission made up of parliamentarians, social leaders and human rights organizations to travel to Nicaragua to demand access to verify the confinement conditions of the prisoners. This powerful idea, which began to gather support from left-wing organizations in Argentina (in addition to the MST, obviously), such as the PTS and IS, and human rights organizations such as CORREPI, SERPAJ and others, as well as the support of Nora Cortiñas, Mother of Plaza de Mayo (Founding Line), is now beginning to grow in Central America, Mexico and even other countries in the region. We have the challenge of expanding its composition on an international scale with more parliamentarians and public figures, in order to generate a powerful political event that will strike the sinister regime of the false leftist Ortega, and encourage the permanent development of an International Movement for the freedom of the political prisoners. In the immediate term, the ISL through its sections in the area surrounding Central America, together with its Nicaraguan section Alternativa Anticapitalista and the PRT of Costa Rica, with whom it maintains fraternal relations, promotes this internationalist and revolutionary orientation in support of the Nicaraguan people in their present struggle. In the month of July, from the 6th to the 8th of that month, when the Commission arrives in Costa Rica, it will carry out press activities, public events and a historic caravan to the border with Nicaragua in the Peñas Blancas region, to achieve its objective: demand entry into Nicaraguan territory.

Regrouping in exile and internationalist confluence

A significant part of the young Nicaraguan activists and social and human rights organizations in political exile, have settled in Costa Rica. Thousands of the best fighters crossed the border to take refuge in the neighboring country. That exile, of groups, leaders, intellectuals, communicators, and militants of the Nicaraguan youth in resistance, is receiving the proposal for the formation of the International Commission with great joy and predisposition to come together in support of the initiative, and to support the activity of the contingent when it arrives in Costa Rica, winning over sectors of exiled activists to the initiative and strengthening the political scope of the internationalist action. This unity of purpose and militant action strengthens the proposal of the Commission and contributes towards an International Movement for the Freedom of political prisoners. This is how the Articulation of Social Movements, the GREX collective of political prisoners released from the regime, the Nicaraguan organization “Never Again”, the Unity Congress of Free Nicaraguans, the emblematic Mothers of April Association, the Fundación del Río linked to peasant and native communities and other groups are approaching us. The initiative of the International Commission, on the one hand, the ISL call to the whole of the Latin American and world left, as well as human rights organizations and leaders of the broad field of struggle for democratic freedoms, and the predisposition of the most active and consistent of the Nicaraguan exiled activists, in fact began to materialize an internationalist confluence of enormous potential.

Strengthen the Commission initiative at all levels

With the Commission launched with a precise travel date, the main task is now to strengthen it in different ways:

On the one hand, in each country, trying to add new parliamentarians and public figures to the contingent that travels. The terms of the basic political agreement on which the Commission is founded are essentially democratic and have the purpose of adding to the path of freedom for prisoners in Nicaragua, starting by certifying their confinement conditions.

On the other hand, strengthening the internationalist orientation, adding declarations of political support from the broadest social, trade union, cultural and human rights spectrum. We are going to propose that the Commission prepare and publish a document with its objectives and even a call to action to disseminate in all countries.

Finally, along with the trip and the arrival of the Commission to Central American territory, we have the challenge of building international actions of dissemination and support for the initiative. Thus, in the immediate term, the next station will be May 30, an emblematic date for the struggle of the Nicaraguan people for their freedom and real emancipation, known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre”, which recalls the brutal repression of the dictatorship in 2018 and that this year, towards the arrival and installation of the Commission, we take as a proposal for the organization of exiles to carry out an international day of action with messages from all over the world referring to the demand for justice for those murdered and for the freedom of political prisoners.

In short: Nicaragua, its brave and struggling people, calls us to action. It is a Latin American and global cause of the democratic, revolutionary and internationalist fighters of all latitudes.

Voices of support for the International Commission for Political Prisoners

The campaign for the freedom of the prisoners in Nicaragua, now centered on the impetus and support of the International Commission that will arrive in Central America on July 6, is beginning to gather significant support from all over the world. We begin to reflect some, below.

Pablo Bres, member of SERPAJ (Peace and Justice Service, led by Nobel laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel):

“From SERPAJ, we see with great concern the situation in Nicaragua, the restriction and persecution of critical social organizations, political parties and human rights organizations. For this reason, an International Solidarity Commission is being organized to be able to visit the political prisoners, stand in solidarity, account for their integrity and ask for their release. We hope that this commission can enter that country without problems. Although in Latin America there are also other concerns, such as militarization under the tutelage and political-economic extortion of the US, we cannot look the other way in the face of the enormous number of demands of human rights violations in Nicaragua. The solidarity of the peoples is an act of empathy and should also be a political tool to transcend the conjunctural limitations in the region”.

Diana Carballo, member of the Articulation of Social Movements:

“We are sure that this is an initiative that is going to generate something important in Nicaragua and although it is a risky action, we consider that it is worth taking that risk for the release of the prisoners in Nicaragua. We are 100% convinced that this initiative will collaborate in the fight for the freedom of young people, women and even older people who are imprisoned in our country. This commission can contribute to putting the situation in Nicaragua back on the world stage because we need to talk about the situation in our country and not forget it. We pursue two objectives, on the one hand, to defeat the dictatorship and on the other, that prisoners know that there continues to be solidarity in the world in the fight for their freedom.”

David Morera Herrera, leader of the PRT-Costa Rica:

“We are working hard with the comrades of the MST Argentina and the ISL in Central America and with our comrades from this region, Mexico and even other countries. We carry Nicaragua in our hearts and we have always considered the cause of the Nicaraguan people as part of the struggle for the Central American revolution, which in reality is a nation artificially divided into countries by the imperialist powers and the local bourgeoisie. We support with all our conscience and commitment the claim of our Nicaraguan brothers in their current struggle against the tyranny of Ortega-Murillo and all their lackeys. We have the expectation that the international commission will be part of a policy that prevents a pro-Yankee right wing from raising its head, which falsely intends to hold the flag of democracy in Nicaragua. For us, it is a true international brigade for the defense of the integrity of all prisoners, who we consider our comrades in the struggle for the liberated Central American homeland.”

María del Carmen Verdú, leading lawyer of CORREPI (Coordination against police and institutional repression):

“The struggle for the freedom of people imprisoned for defending popular interests is a matter of principle, against which any occasional difference is irrelevant. CORREPI intends to be part of the delegation of organizations that will soon travel to Costa Rica and try to reach the Nicaraguan border, to denounce the very serious situation of more than 180 political prisoners in that country with the same unitary criteria that the missions to Chile, Bolivia and Colombia had in recent years. Internationalist solidarity will make the repressive situation in Nicaragua visible and, we hope, contribute to the struggle for the freedom of our comrades.”

Elmer Rosales, member of Alternativa Anticapitalista (Nicaraguan section of the ISL):

“Our expectation in the commission is that it will materialize a powerful unity of internationalist action between organizations of diverse origins to demonstrate that the freedom of prisoners, like the emancipation of our people, will be a result of solidarity without borders and of the struggle of our own people in the country. This action will again expose the crimes against humanity of the capitalist and Stalinist dictatorship of Ortega-Murillo and will galvanize the entire resistance, which despite the blows received, continues to stand in exile as well as underground in Nicaragua itself.”

Roger Martínez, member of the Unity Congress of Free Nicaraguans:

“I am fully convinced that this international initiative is going to collaborate in the fundamental task that we have set as resistance to the dictatorship, which is the freedom of all the people illegally imprisoned by the dictatorship that my country suffers. I believe that more than ever, the broad and democratic unity in the diversity of different sectors of Central America and the world is key to continuing the struggle against the sinister regime that our people suffer. Our recognition goes out to all the effort that is being made.”

Roger Espinoza, member of the GREX Collective (Group for Reflection of Released Political Prisoners):

“Daniel Ortega has practically abolished all human rights in our country and they don’t want organizations that defend our freedoms acting independently of the regime. There are human rights defenders in Nicaragua but the action of the dictatorship prevents us from fulfilling our basic tasks, such as visiting prisoners, especially those locked up in the “El Chipote” prison. We expect that the commission will adopt a belligerent and decisive position against the regime, and achieve the purpose of being able to contribute to the freedom of our brothers imprisoned in the prisons of the dictatorship. Hopefully the commission has more support from brothers throughout the continent.”

First adhesions of parliamentarians, public figures and human rights organizations

  • Nora de Cortiñas, Madre de Plaza de Mayo – Línea Fundadora
  • Alejandro Bodart, CABA legislator (mc) and International Socialist League (ISL) coordinator
  • Myriam Bregman, PTS – FIT Unidad national legislator
  • Nicolás del Caño, PTS – FIT Unidad national legislator
  • Cele Fierro, MST – FIT Unidad national leadership
  • Luciana Echevarría, MST – FIT Unidad Cordoba legislator
  • Romina del Plá, Partido Obrero – FIT Unidad national legislator
  • Juan Carlos Giordano, Izquierda Socialista – FIT Unidad national legislator (mc)
  • Guillermo Kane, Partido Obrero – FIT Unidad Buenos Aires Province legislator
  • Laura Marrone, CABA legislator (mc) Izquierda Socialista – FIT Unidad
  • Vilma Ripoll, MST – Frente de Izquierda Unidad national legislator elect
  • Mónica Schlottauer, Izquierda Socialista – FIT Unidad national legislator (mc)
  • Gabriel Solano, CABA legislator Partido Obrero – FIT Unidad
  • Alejandro Vilca, PTS – FIT Unidad national legislator
  • Association of Ex Detained-Disappeared (AEDD)
  • Association of Professionals in Struggle (APEL)
  • Center of Human Rights Lawyers (CADHU)
  • Center of Human Rights Professionals (CEPRODH)
  • Militant Memory Collective (CMM)
  • Legal Action Committee (CAJ)
  • Anti-Repression Coordination for the People’s Rights (CADEP)
  • Coordination Against Police and Institutional Repression (CORREPI)
  • Organization of Professionals Against Torture (EPCT)
  • Cachito Fukman Militant Organization (EMCF)
  • Brothers and Sisters of the Disappeared for Truth and Justice
  • Children for Identity and Justice Against Oblivion and Silence (HIJOS Zona Oeste)
  • Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ)