The silence and total absence of Daniel Ortega during coronavirus pandemic and government action to promote open borders and tourism, and the limited information provided by the authorities, is questioned by many Nicaraguans.
Without voicing too publicly, many are surprised by Ortega’s lack of efforts to confront the pandemic.
While the covid-19 is spreading across Central America, from Guatemala to Panama, and confirmed cases increasing daily, Nicaragua sits at only two cases, announced last week by Ortega’s wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo.
The first case, according to Murillo, was of a soldier who returned from Panama and who, according to the Minister of Health, Carolina Davila, is recovering; the second is a Nicaraguan who returned from Colombia and suffers from chronic diseases.
While the official line holds, people in supermarkets, work, bus stops, in small towns as in the capital city, criticize the government’s inaction.
Many question the absence of Daniel, but few are willing to publicly speak out like Fabiola Tercero, a writer, told Confidencial, “It’s a lack of respect, of ethics because we see that we are in the absence of a leader who can’t lead. It’s disrespectful to those who voted for him.”
“Raquel”, not her real name, said that she is not surprised at President Ortega’s “not very human” attitude. She recalled that what had been happening since 2018, with the crackdown on the April Rebellion, to date “is a reluctant attitude to prevent loss of life and is ultimately an irresponsible action”.
Nelson Navarrete, in charge of a bus cooperative in the Roberto Huembes market, believes that “every president has his way of governing”, so it’s not a surprise that Ortega doesn’t give press conferences, as he is a man who “gives very few interviews”.
To date, the Government of Ortega and Murillo has made short press releases informing generally what has happened with the positive cases of COVID19 and the “strategies” they are carrying out to curb the spread of the virus.
However, the weak effort is causing a lot of speculation.
Michelle Polanco, a journalist of the News Action 10, believes that this lack of information is generating a lot of speculation among the population to the point of creating rumors that do not make sense and in the worst case leave more doubt than certainty.
“In this sense, the Government should be transparent and tell the truth that this is a global pandemic that affects us. They should be clear so that everyone is more aware of this virus,” said Trinidad Hernandez, a checker at a bus cooperative.
Psychologist Willhem Hernandez noted that this misinformation can be interpreted as an attempt to spread covid-19. “Prevention measures have not been taken, not a single one, and contrary to what the World Health Organization (WHO) is saying, they send crowds of people to march,” he said.
Polanco, the action 10 journalist, added that while some believe that quarantine is a good option, in the country this will have a serious economic impact. However, she said it is a measure that needs to be applied.
“And along with quarantine the Government will have to take other economic measures to support those who live day-to-day, that is another dilemma that many have,” she concluded.