Josefa Meza: “It’s Like His Murder Happened Yesterday”

Josefa Meza

The dictatorship’s forces killed her son on Mother’s Day. “I carry him in my heart … We won’t be at peace until there’s justice,” she asserts.

By La Lupa / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – In 2018, Josefa Meza’s life was divided between her work as an accountant and the work of caring for her sons: two university students, who she dreamed would one day become professionals, while she retired and could spend her last days at rest. But the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo ended that dream for one of them, Jonathan Morazan, who was killed in Managua on May 30, 2018.

The youth was participating in the “Mother of all Marches” that day, in solidarity with the mothers whose children had been killed during the first days of the mass protests that began on April 18.

“Before the April Rebellion, my life was that of any working person. It was a normal life: I earned money, I worked, I was financing my sons’ university educations so they could become professionals. The three of us were a group: we conversed and talked about our future, our future projects, always thinking about education and how each one could professionalize,” Meza recalls.

That May 30th, Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, was different. There wasn’t a party or flowers or presents. The country was in mourning, grieving the loss of over 90 young people who had been assassinated during the past month and a half of protests. That day would bring 16 more victims, killed at the hands of the Sandinista police and paramilitary groups organized by the dictatorship.

“I remember my son as a young man with aspirations for a full life. He was a kid with an easy smile, who liked to study. He was very disciplined, very humanitarian. He would help people when they needed it. He was an excellent son. To me, he was a kid who was never angry, always smiling; but, yes, he had his ideas and he expressed himself freely,” his mother describes. She herself has never stopped demanding justice for his murder.

Jonathan Morazan, a university student who was killed in Managua during the massacre perpetrated by the Ortega forces during the May 30, 2018, march organized in solidarity with the April Mothers. Photo from archives.

Mothers transformed into human rights defenders

“Five years later, I still carry my son in my heart. To me, it’s like they committed his assassination yesterday. In my case, my other son and I aren’t going to be happy and at peace until there’s justice,” says Meza. She’s now exiled in Switzerland, from where she’s traveled through several European countries, denouncing the human rights violations in Nicaragua and demanding justice for the 355 people whose murders have been documented by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.

This mother, who the repression has transformed into a human rights defender, notes the impunity the Nicaraguan government has enjoyed, in the face of the assassinations and all the violations of Nicaraguan citizens’ freedoms. There’s never been any investigation of the facts, and there’s been a total blackout of all information.

“Instead, there’s been five years in which we’ve been persecuted for denouncing their crimes against humanity. They’ve persecuted us, they’ve detained us, and that’s why we’re in exile – not only myself, but also many of the mothers who were active in the Mothers of April Association. We’re exiled for that – for demanding justice against the dictatorship,” asserts Meza.

Josefa Meza, mother of Jonathan Morazan, in a demonstration demanding justice for those assassinated during the Ortega government’s violent crackdown against the April Rebellion. Courtesy photo from archives.

The evidence supports her claims. In March 2023, the UN Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN) presented a report that confirms that Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, working through seven government institutions in Nicaragua, committed crimes against humanity in 2018, when the social protests were squelched by police and paramilitary groups, both using high-caliber bullets.

“We have hope that we’re going to see justice done for our children. My plans are to continue existing, working, living like people everywhere, except in exile, and always fighting so that the crimes committed don’t remain unpunished,” Meza emphasizes, after witnessing the reading of the report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. She asked them tor “help seeking justice for these assassinations sponsored by the Nicaraguan government against citizens and peaceful activists.”

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times