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Pablo Cuevas: “The message of the government is get infected, die”

The human rights defender explains that people are afraid to go to hospitals, that there are no longer any oxygen tanks on sale, and the Costa Ricans are right to be concerned about how the virus spreads in Nicaragua.

Pablo Cuevas, 50 years old, was an accounting teacher, but 17 years ago he joined as a volunteer in the defense of human rights in Nicaragua from the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH).

Later, he began to study Law and is now one of the most recognized legal advisers of that human rights organization, dedicated mainly to the situation of prisons in Nicaragua.

Pablo Cuevas, human rights defender at the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH). . LA PRENSA/Óscar Navarete

With a serene way of speaking, Cuevas spoke to La Prensa about the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and criticizes that the authorities, called to protect citizens, are rather pushing them to death because the Government is doing the opposite of what global health experts recommend.

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According to Cuevas, the government authorities, by the actions on the pandemic, are violating various the rights of citizens and border on the commission of crimes.

Cuevas assures that people are afraid to go to hospitals, that there are no longer oxygen tanks in distribution centers and that Costa Ricans are right when they say that the new coronavirus is circulating a lot in Nicaragua.

The human rights defender says he believes authorities are committing a crime. “We have identified at least three human rights violations, that we are in the process of analysis. We are talking about the violation of the right to life, the right to health, the right to state protection. Now we add violation of labor rights. For example, that the State is not protecting its workers, especially those in the area of health care, let alone with an alleged circular that it is sending from the INSS, where it is practically reducing considerably the subsidies resulting from the pandemic.”

Cuevas considers that the Ortega Murillo government should have decreed a quarantine in Nicaragua.

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“Since the quarantine was not decreed, at least they should be promoting or favoring social distancing, that is, that the people do not crowd unnecessarily. And if there is a need for a number of people to be in one place, at least keep the meter and a half away.

“It is not imperative to do a carnival, those are situations that are done in a normal situation but not in a time of pandemic. Everything leads us to conclude that the Government is encouraging the greatest number of citizens to die or become ill here,” said Cuevas.

On the concern of Costa Rican authorities over the free circulation of the virus in Nicaragua, Cuevas said, “There is no need for so many studies. We are talking about the fact that the countries where the virus has been successfully contained is where the authorities have fostered social separation.

“Here (in Nicaragua) our authorities have brought about the agglomeration of citizens unnecessarily. What can we think is happening and what will come if the opposite has been done of what the experts say should be done so that there are not so many infected citizens and so many dead citizens?

“It is reasonable to think that the situation is getting out of hand or is out of control. Our neighbors are paying a very high economic price to fight the pandemic, to protect their citizens. Common sense tells us that the concern of our neighbors is pertinent and prudent. If I were an ethical citizen I would be concerned to see how the Nicaraguan authorities are promoting the agglomeration and sponsoring the contagion,” concluded Cuevas on the issue.

Another concern in Nicaragua is that is seems people are not worried about the Covid-19, the bars are full, for example.

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“It is incredible. I live in the eastern part of the city and I cross the uneven bridge, there is a gas station and a small shopping center that is in the eastern part of that gas station, there is a bar and it is always full. Unprotected people, close together, drinking. What is going to happen?

“Or buses full and many people go without protection. But this is happening because there is no official effort to convince people to take care of themselves, there is no effort, there is no official message.

“There is an official message that says that everything is normal and that we have fun and that we gather together and that we enjoy and that we celebrate. That is the official message.

“So he (Daniel Ortega) is telling us to go, catch it, get sick and die,” stated Cuevas.

The hospitals in Nicaragua are overwhelmed. People are being treated at home, they call some doctor friend or practice self-treatment, scared to go to hospitals, where people go and die.

“Nicaragua has always given something to talk about in the international community and, unfortunately, due to the bad actions of our authorities, the comments have had to be negative towards these same authorities. We are talking about officials who are sanctioned for human rights violations. The governments of the world that have a good opinion of our authorities are counted on the fingers of the hands.

“And now, in addition to this international perception, the terrible handling, the perverse handling I would say, of the arrival of the pandemic in our country. Here national specialists, very prestigious people, have said what has been happening in this country and what is going to happen,” said Cuevas.

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