In the midst of grief and mourning over the massacre that has taken place in Nicaragua since the 18th of April, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo celebrated the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. The celebration came a day after that the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution entitled “The Situation in Nicaragua,” in which 21 states condemned the humanitarian crisis and demanded that the national government end the violence and return to dialogue.
Despite the violence that has taken the lives of more than three hundred people, injured more than fifteen hundred, and resulted in hundreds of illegal detentions, President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo spoke to their supporters gathered in Juan Pablo II Square to tell their particular version of what has occurred in the last 90 days in Nicaragua, after comments were made by the chancellors of Cuba and Venezuela.
In his speech, the head of state mentioned that this has been a period where the people of Nicaragua have been forced to defend peace and take part in a painful battle to confront an armed conspiracy financed by internal and external forces. Additionally, he pointed out that the opposition is seeking to put an end to twelve years of good governance by blaming the State for the fire in the Indio-Maíz Reservation, for starting a revolution against the social security reform, and for occupying universities to install new centers of torture against the population. The President questioned the impartiality of the Catholic Church and accused the Church of being influenced by the “disgusted” to promote confrontation instead of mediation. He also accused Nicaraguans that are still protesting of being part of satanic forces and of practicing “satanic rituals.” In his comments against the bishops, he indicated that they are upset because of his decision to reestablish order. He also accused them of allowing their churches to be used as death centers. Finally, he invited the attendees to “fight for peace,” to strengthen “self-defense” mechanisms, and to erase all publications made by the opposition on the internet. This will likely lead to an increase in surveillance and future restrictions on the use of the Internet.
There is no doubt that for President Ortega, the only wounded and dead persons that matter are those who supported him, a total of 52 police officers killed and 342 wounded. He listed the names of the murdered on his side but made no mention of the hundreds of others on the other side of the political debate who have been killed during the conflict. Those present at Ortega´s speech called for justice in one united voice. Civil society must demand accountability for the other hundreds who have died and who are not included in the figures of the highest authority of the Nicaraguan State.
The national government’s denial of the accusations made by the Nicaraguan people, national organizations, and the international community in relation to the wave of violence that the people of Nicaragua are suffering puts in doubt the political will of President Ortega and Vice President Murillo to resume the national dialogue and to find a peaceful exit to the conflict. On the contrary, the speech given by the president gives an account of a single intention: to “retake the national order,” despite the voice of a people that demands peace, justice, and democracy.