Eden Pastora, the former “Comandante Cero” who participated on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the assault on the National Palace, during the struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, overthrown in July 1979, revealed that it was Ortega who gave the order for the so-called “Operation Cleanup” in which police and paramilitaries dismantled the barricades throughout the country, multiplying the number of deaths and the persecution of the regime.
“We spent 55 days obediently obeying, waiting for the signal from Commandante Daniel Ortega,” said Pastora.
“Do you know when the commander signaled (ordered) us? When he told us that (the protesters) were murderers,” he added.
Pastora also blamed Nicaragua’s three Nicaraguan bishops, the Sandinista dissidents and the private business sector for the crisis Nicaragua is facing.
“The three bishops who led this coup attempt are responsible, the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) are responsible and the private company is responsible,” said Pastora, directly in charge of the dredging on the San Juan river border that resulted in a territorial dispute with Costa Rica.
Pastora did not name the three bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua.
The Episcopal Conference acts as mediator in the national dialogue – which has been suspended since last June – to overcome the crisis between the Ortega government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.
President Ortega has described the bishops as “coup plotters” and accomplices of the internal forces and international groups that, in his opinion, act in Nicaragua to overthrow him.
On June 7, the Bishops’ Conference proposed that Ortega advance to March 2019 the elections set for 2021 and that he resign to stand for re-election, but the president rejected it and said that the proposal showed that the bishops were “committed to the coup, “he said on July 19.
During his speech, “Comandante Cero” said that the old Sandinista militants awaited Ortega’s signal to act against the “terrorist coup”, as the government refers to its detractors.
He said that 55 days after the crisis began, the president gave them the “signal” when he told them “that (his detractors) were murderers and there he started” what the opposition called “Operation Cleaning”.