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The Hate Rhetoric that Encourages Violence in Nicaragua Must Be Exposed

The escalation of violence in Nicaragua is a more than worrying, a truly alarming phenomenon that transcends the typical low intensity situation of dictatorships.

The ways in which the Government exercises violence, spreads hatred against others, accompanied by disproportionate and unforgivable anger, official silence and partisan harassment, which are signs of a destructive outcome that is dehumanizing its people.

It’s important to expose the violence and protect the efforts for reconciliation and an agreement based on justice and democracy, instead of letting chaos destroy Nicaragua.

The writing on the wall

Experts in studies on structural violence, which often leads to genocide, emphasize that there are at least three factors in the generalization of violence: instability, ideology, and discrimination.

In Nicaragua that is visible in black and white, in the chatrooms or in the official media, in the threats and shouts of hatred from those who take refuge in the circle of power. The worse thing is that now faced with misrule, the prelude to anarchy is violence, the denial of reality and the blame on third parties.

A targeted aggression

For less than a year, acts of aggression have been directed at icons, symbols, from placing graffiti on houses, accusing politicians of being traitors, coup mongers, to the most recent attacks against the icons of the Catholic Church. The signs of this aggression are a clear attack not on a person, but to a collective that wants political reform, who supports something better, not dictatorship.

Uncompromising violence

There is an irregular, disorderly manner within the context of physical aggression that seeks to intimidate middle-level leaders, scare and intimidate peasants, the person working in the street, the woman with children at school, the public sector employee. The violence is verbal and physical. The number of deaths that appear as victims of violence show a heartless intransigence.

The language of hate and contempt

Within the pro-government groups, there are young people with harsh, angry expressions against the opposition, against those who believe there is a dictatorship. They do not tolerate criticism and repress it to death.

It’s true, the annoyance is also mutual, the shouts calling them “sapos” (toads) is not welcome even by the “toad” himself. But on the radio, the aggressive language used by journalists and pro-government activists is not defensible, justifiable or comparable, from “coup-monger,” to “plomo and blood” (bullets and blood).” The problem lies in the explicit contempt for the other.

The denial of reality

Another of the great signs of the arbitrariness of anarchic power is the denial of reality with the manufacturing of false information that seeks to distract and deny. To talk about other things amid chaos.

The official silence

In the face of violence, there is the government silence or the official version that denies the truth. There is silence on the abuses and imprisonment as well as the harassment of the mobs that intimidate.

On the one hand, there is the absence of a president who hides before his anxieties and emotional illnesses. Meanwhile, the official version of the police denies the attacks, with a Vice President who attempts to hide reality, speaks of “careful and responsible” care for Covid-19 patients, that the migrants returned fleeing xenophobia, that the commander’s love is greater than the goodness of God. Everything is silence and denial.

Blaming third parties

There is also putting the blame on third parties, on Yankee imperialism and big capital, on the “puchitos” (a small number of opposition) and on the unknown. There is no accountability for violence, abuse of power and authority, and the use of force. Attacks against feminist movements to distract from where the violence comes from are another manifestation of serious social unrest hungry for cruelty.

All this is accompanied of their ideology, a doctrinal body of messages and beliefs that speaks of the other and oneself. The other is that being who is capitalist, bourgeois, imperialist and opportunist. The Ortega ideology uses the Sandinista emblem to shield the political patronage involved and demand loyalty.

Ideology has no philosophy, but a differentiating foundation that gives life and justifies its modus vivendi. Engin Isin says that the genealogy of citizenship lies in the explicit political act of denying others their right to exist as a political animal.

Daniel Ortega, through Rosario Murillo’s message, gives their followers grass and fodder when it introduces the Manichean language of their ideology. Good Nicaraguans are those faithful Christians, followers of the commander, those who believe in Sandino and reject the evilness of opponents, coup-mongers and minuscules. Others are not citizens. To politically denaturalize the other is useful and necessary to prohibit protest, the right to vote or to live.

What to do? Expose the violence, confront patience

Nicaraguans have a leathery skin of what Galtung refers to as structural violence. We are a people who breathe harassment, abuse, transgression of the body and politics. Our spaces of expression in clean air, in freedom, are limited by the culture of violence. Nicaraguans need to rehumanize, to prevent violence from eating their children and families, their culture and their humor. And it’s not too late.

In the face of continuous violence and physical aggression, it is important to return to political self-esteem, to exercise self-defense of values and the integrity of the body. Nicaragua as a whole is made up of people with a sense of dignity, with humanity in their solidarity, and their vision of the world.

Those who resort to violence are those who live under narcissism and inferiority complexes, and therefore the first step against aggression is to expose its source. Violence has to be exposed by removing the use of force, imposing the integrity and dignity of being someone who believes in his/her vote, in his/her politics and his/her destiny. Nicaraguans must take control of their narrative, show that their language has a human life and not a passive face. The Nicaraguan is patient but not passive.

It is important to close the gap with debate. If you accuse me of being a coup-monger, explain why. If wanting democracy belongs to imperialists, what is Orteguism? If Orteguism is socialism and reconciliation, why deny the deaths and the pandemic? The narrative is controlled face-to-face, with the one-on-one approach between the accusing finger and the accused. The real risk is not to expose life and die, but to defend dignity and integrity.

It is said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, in this case, the dissidents.

Consolidate the strength of the political bloc in a single front.

Confront the problem, not the aggressor.

Migrants Tell Their Stories: Returning to Nicaragua Amid Covid-19

(TODAY NICARAGUA) Reaching the United States from Managua took her six hours in an airplane. One year later, when a strange new virus put the world in check, she decided to return to Nicaragua to be with her family.  That trip took her 32 days, travelling over 3,290 miles of highway plus eleven days stranded at the border.

This was the journey undertaken by Nicaraguan athlete Sayra Laguna. The story of her return to Nicaragua isn’t unique. Since COVID-19 began spreading, nearly all of the countries of the world opted to keep their residents at home, and to close their borders. At the same time, hundreds of citizens caught outside their own country weighed the prospect of returning to their families. Some because they lost their jobs, and others for fear of being far from those they love in this time of calamity.

In July alone, some 1,300 Nicaraguans arrived back in the country from Panama, Guatemala, Spain and Barbados. Some returned in caravans and others on humanitarian flights, according to the reports from the Interior Ministry and the media.

In order to return, the migrants had to overcome fears of being infected with the virus during the trip, or of being assaulted by gangs, especially in the Northern Triangle of Central America. In addition, they had to put up with great adversity – suffering sun, rain and rejection – for a number of days on the border, in the face of the Nicaraguan authorities’ refusal to let them enter the country unless they could show a negative test for COVID-19.  This measure was decreed when many had already begun the journey back home.

The latest migrants to arrive, a group of 148 Nicaraguans, finally entered on August 3rd. They had resisted infrahuman conditions for nearly two weeks at the Penas Blancas post, on the border with Costa Rica.  The group were eventually able to demonstrate their disease-free status and finally return home, thanks to COVID-19 tests donated and carried out by an NGO.  Daniel Ortega’s government never indicated how they could get tested, since the Nicaraguan government has all the tests centralized in Managua, and don’t ever disclose the number realized nor the results.

“It was torture being there”

At approximately four pm on Friday, July 24, Lucia [not her real name] arrived at the Penas Blancas border post, together with her husband and son. They were carrying only a few suitcases, since they had sent all their belongings on to Nicaragua weeks before.  They had initially planned to leave once they received the results of the COVID-19 tests they had taken in San Jose, Costa Rica, but everything changed when they were evicted from the place they were living.  On that Friday, they grabbed their bags and left, thinking that the digital results would be enough to be allowed in. However, when they reached the border, the immigration authorities told them they couldn’t continue, because they needed to show a hard copy of their results. That’s when their torturous ordeal began.

“At that moment, my world crumbled around me. I didn’t want to stay at the border, because I’m a diabetic and I was fearful of getting infected with the virus. I was worried about my fourteen-year-old son; I didn’t know if he would to be able to stand it,” Lucia told us. Now in Nicaragua, she asked to use an assumed name to avoid reprisals.

Despite their fears, the family decided to wait at the border, together with some 500 other migrants. The group was confined to the sides of the highway, and there they awaited some indication of a humane impulse on the part of the Nicaraguan authorities. That never occurred. Instead, for the next eleven days, “Lucia” and her family were the recipients of insults, rejection and threats.

“We were even afraid to speak to the media. We were threatened by those in the riot squad. I cried every night. A lot of people would flee after midnight, and we’d hear shots, we’d hear dogs barking, people yelling. It was torture,” she recalls.

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