A group of young Nicaraguans in exile have decided to launch a communications project to take on the topic of transitional justice in the current Nicaraguan socio-political context.
The objective of the youthful group behind the new “Zero Hour” informational platform is: “to introduce the importance of “clarifying the truth” of the crimes that have occurred in the last year of civic protests, where the government’s aggressive repression has left 325 dead, nearly 800 political prisoners and over 40,000 exiles.
“It’s important to speak about transitional justice in Nicaragua, because over the last century, the country has gone from war to war, interspersed by amnesty laws and pacts between the inner circles,” notes Ludwing Moncada, one of the project’s collaborators.
The Zero Hour team plans to take on this topic via a series of videos, infographics and interviews with family members of the repression’s victims. In fact, in one of their next editions they’ll be publishing an interview with Alvaro Gomez, a teacher and father of a 23-year-old who was killed by the paramilitary in Monimbo.
“We not only want to inform, but also to lay on the table the relevance of the topic, so that those people who make the decisions listen to the victims and take them into consideration in the negotiations. We don’t want a repeat of the historic mistakes of the past,” the series presenter adds.
That “other truth” – the one that’s been documented in the social networks, confirmed by different human rights organizations and denied by Daniel Ortega’s government – is what the Zero Hour team is trying to bring to the forefront. The team is currently made up of nine university graduates from different fields who were obligated by the repression to go into exile.
“It’s been a fairly difficult process, because we’re not lawyers. We’re a group of kids who have formed an interdisciplinary group and the topic of transitional justice is very dense. We try to present it in the best way possible and to adapt it for everyday society, people who aren’t necessarily immersed in the social sciences,” he adds.
On March fourth, Zero Hour launched the first video of the campaign, where they reflect on the lack of justice in Nicaragua’s recent history and introduce the “uncomfortable questions” that define the contents. The campaign will last three months and has coincided with the beginning of negotiations between the regime and the Civic Alliance, whose representatives have affirmed that one of the main pillars of their roadmap is the topic of justice.
“We have to demand and propose everything that transitional justice means. It’s our duty to not only question, but also to stress the need for the victims to be at the forefront of this negotiation process. The victims should be guaranteed compensation and their right to the truth,” Ludwing asserts.
In the last decades, this mechanism has been carried out in different places where there’ve been crimes against humanity. The International Nuremberg Tribunal is one of the most emblematic cases in the world. It was established with the goal of judging the crimes committed by the Nazis during the Second World War. In Chile and Argentina as well there have been processes of justice and of compensation for the victims of dictatorships and military regimes.
A platform for debate
The Zero Hour project was first thought of near the end of 2017, but became a concrete plan in July 2018, amid the protests demanding an end to the repression and the departure of Ortega and Murillo. The group has currently dedicated themselves to deep examinations of their chosen topics via their YouTube channel and their social networks.
“If we’ve been able to do something it’s because there’ve been people who’ve lent us space to record, or certain pieces of equipment. We don’t have sufficient resources, and we’re working through our force of will,” the producers explain.