A dozen people were beaten and wounded on Saturday, June 15th in the cathedral of Leon, after a mob of fanatics of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo attacked with stones, glass bottles and sticks during a mass for the first anniversary of the murder of Sandor Dolmus, an altar boy of that Catholic temple.
I still remember that morning of the first day of the school year, in September 1986. I felt good, waiting for the bus that would take me to the junior high boarding school (7th-9th grade) in the Sandino municipality, over 80 kms from my home, in Pinar del Rio province as well.
“God helps those who help themselves”, is the title of a collection of proverbs that Carlos Monsivais published as a book. The Ortega government has brought to light their own version of helping yourself, passed on Saturday, June 8th, in the form of a new parliamentary initiative: the amnesty law.
I write this as a loser in the Great Cruise Ship Wars in my hometown Key West, Florida— Havana’s sister city to the north. I have witnessed first-hand the virtual destruction of this once-peaceful (if somewhat quirky) island paradise in the turbulent wake of cruise ships.
With his self-amnesty, Ortega admits the dictatorship’s responsibility for the massacre. In doing so, he can’t erase his own responsibility as Supreme Police Chief, nor that of the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity, because according to international law justice for such crimes cannot be proscribed.
Merchant Irlanda Jerez spent 329 days as a prisoner of the Ortega-Murillo regime. During that time, she was interrogated nude, beaten, tortured and groped by an official of the La Esperanza prison. She was released on Tuesday, June 11, but she was unable to return to her home in Managua because hours previously it had been sacked and occupied by the Ortega-allied paramilitary.
In 1979, a young Carlos Mejia Godoy sang for a people’s armed revolution that was trying to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship. After a 50-year artistic career and 40 years of a revolutionary epic, the singer and composer is in exile for the second time. Now he is singing for a civic rebellion led by students and mothers seeking justice.
Talking about racism here is like opening Pandora’s box. Antonio Morales (45 years old), economist at a budget office, believes that in Cuba there are many racist displays, like in any other country, some of which are covered up in subtlety while others are completely stark.
The self-amnesty decreed by the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, with the rubber stamp of the National Assembly, cannot be a “clean slate and a fresh start”, says the President of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), Vilma Nunez de Escorcia.
Rural leader Medardo Mairena, released on June 11, along with 55 other political prisoners, denounced the torture he lived in custody in the first press conference he gave after being released. He also said he will continue in the struggle until there is democracy and the rule of law in Nicaragua.
While greater Internet access has encouraged the creation of solidarity groups which share information about how to deal with food shortages, SNET, Havana’s street network, is fighting to survive in the face of Cuba’s new internet regulations.
If it weren’t for the weight they’ve both lost it would be difficult to believe that Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda Ubau have spent 172 days of solitary confinement in the maximum security cells of the Ortega-Murillo regime. The journalists are physically marked, but their spirits remain intact.
Training mental health and law professionals, the Cuban non-profit “The Oscar Arnulfo Romero Center” (OAR), is paving the way to extend counseling services that victims of domestic violence receive in different Cuban provinces, especially in Las Tunas.