You’ve been a journalist for twenty-five years. What has your experience been questioning the powerful?
The strongest experience I’ve had has been right now. I never thought that Daniel Ortega would take me or Miguel Mora, or any journalist, prisoner, only for reporting. Precisely because he was imprisoned in a dictatorship fighting for liberties. Rather, I thought that one day Arnoldo Alemán (President of Nicaragua in period 1997-2002) would take me prisoner, because there was a lot of questioning of Dr. Alemán, and he was very temperamental, he fought a lot with us journalists, he used to exploit anger and mistreat us. But he did not order to take us prisoners, he did not censure us, he did not go beyond the anger or to call me “la chilindrina” (as a nickname).
Daniel Ortega exceeded all levels, we went back in time. It is unfortunate that we have regressed to live those chapters that were lived in the time of Somocismo. Daniel Ortega does not like criticism, he does not like to be told the truth, that people express themselves with the truth in different independent media.
Was that what bothered Daniel Ortega so much?
That’s why they closed our media and imprisoned us. We always informed with the truth, with the same videos that the population filmed, because this has been the most documented repression. Precisely the people, the victims, filmed it. There is nowhere to get lost, the victims shared us their stories. The truth was told by the people, the truth was documented. The world already knows what happened in Nicaragua, that there was no attempted coup, that there was a social explosion and that the Government reacted brutally with a lot of repression that left more than 325 people dead and more than 2 thousand injured.
You spent six months in prison, how do you see that time in retrospect?
They stole six months of our lives there. I did not deny to God why I was there, but I asked him what my purpose was. God sets goals for you and in these events he gave us the mission of informing. And so we did, (God wanted us) to be brave, to be firm and committed to the people of Nicaragua. And so we acted, with obedience to that mission to inform. I began to reflect, to think there in prison and said: well yes it was worth it. It is worth saying the truth, it is worth doing journalism committed to the needs of the people of Nicaragua, a journalism that goes in favor of guaranteeing the Nicaraguan people needs, democracy, life, above all. When you report you save lives, and that’s what the independent press in Nicaragua did.
One feels satisfaction that you inform until the last moment. When I was taken to the preventive cell, I told Miguel: at least we closed with a flourish, I had time to launch the “last minute”. They wanted to silence us, but rather they raised our profile.
You said there was psychological rather than physical abuse …
The psychological thing is from the fact that they kept me isolated, without socializing. Human beings are social beings, and they locked me up for six months, they only opened the door three times a day to give me food and they took me out once a week to take one hour of sun, as if I were an animal. That’s psychological damage, it’s psychological torture. I tried to mitigate the impact of that torture, but I have known stories of other women who were alone for just 12 days and the idea of wanting to kill themselves came to mind. That never crossed my mind. My routine was of prayer, of praise, of biblical reading. I also exercised, 1500 jogs per day inside the cell, for the blood circulation. That’s what kept me standing: my faith, I never lost it. In my prayers I prayed for them and even forgave them, because I wanted to take care of my heart, I did not want to leave resentful or with hatred. But you do not forget everything they have done to you.
Do you have specific plans for the future?
We are seeing how to restructure, how to re-establish the newsroom, whether to do it in Nicaragua or in Costa Rica or to make a combination. The Facebook Live was a test, to warm up engines, but to retake the Channel during 24 hours, we’ll be working on it after we give ourselves a little time for us.