“Living in Nicaragua Is an Act of Daily Resistance”

SOS for Nicaragua

“Stateless exiles” maintain that it is necessary to “continue pressuring” to force positive change in Nicaragua.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua was present on the first day of the biannual meeting of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), in which a group of banished Nicaraguans pointed out the need to “continue pressuring” the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and reorganize the opposition in exile to reach a peaceful solution to the sociopolitical crisis in the country.

The general manager of the newspaper La Prensa, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, journalist Miguel Mendoza, and activists Tamara Davila and Lesther Aleman, all of them part of the group of 222 political prisoners sent to the United States by the Ortega regime, expressed that despite the dictatorship´s blows “there is hope” and that Nicaraguan citizens remain firm in their demand for justice and freedom.

“I am clear that we are going to demand our rights more forcefully. Prison taught us the value of freedom. They took away our freedom, but never could take our dignity,” said Holmann.

Davila, for her part, said that “living inside Nicaragua is an act of daily resistance” and pointed out that “those who are still inside the country are having a hard time, but the solution is not to leave the country.”

“A strong and organized society, with critical thinking” entails the greatest fear of Daniel Ortega, said Davila. She sees the dictatorship weaker than in 2018, when in Nicaragua massive protests broke out demanding the resignation of the ruler.

Aleman also expressed his conviction that the “end of the Ortega-Murillo duo at the helm of the country is near.”

“We keep our hopes high because of the need to create in Nicaragua the conditions to have a chance in life and overcome the tragic comedy that we have had to live in recent years,” added the young activist.

They ask to maintain international pressure

The group also emphasized the need for the international community to maintain pressure against the Ortega regime and to keep the crisis in Nicaragua on the agenda of the international media.

“We must do a huge job to break with the perception of some intellectuals and international politicians that if the regime is not pressured it may possibly yield. I believe that that is a great illusion, because Ortega has demonstrated that he does not want to negotiate or hold free and transparent elections and the only way is to pressure him,” warned Davila.

She commented that every time the international community applies sanctions to the regime officials, Ortega responds with more repression. However, she emphasized that even if there are no sanctions, Ortega will continue repressing.

In the same vein, Aleman said that the opposition has the challenge of creating a political alternative. “Ortega doesn’t want to leave. It falls on me as a citizen, as an individual, as an opponent, to do what is possible so that there is a real alternative and that because of international insistence, of the sanctions and pressures from the international community, the correlation of forces is overcome,” he stressed.

Holmann, who is regional vice president of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, called for “concrete proposals” and warned about the increasing exodus of Nicaraguans.

“Practically all independent journalists are out of the country…but we have digital media at our disposal, otherwise we would be silent, as happened with other dictatorships,” he added.

Mendoza recalled there are more than 200 journalists in exile for criticizing the Nicaraguan regime, which for him it meant spending 598 days in prison for the crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity, in detriment of the State of Nicaragua.” However, he assessed that it is possible to defeat censorship.

“People continue to be informed through media outlets that are scratching for a living. They make a lot of efforts to continue reaching the citizens. To be part of that group of journalists makes me feel very proud,” expressed Mendoza.

Freedom “decapitated”

In this meeting, IAPA will approve reports on the state of freedom of expression and the press in 24 countries of the region.

The organization highlights the cases of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, countries where freedoms “are decapitated,” as pointed out in the inauguration ceremony by Michael Greenspon, IAPA president and executive of The New York Times, who pointed out that these three countries are the ones that “have most expelled, persecuted and imprisoned journalists and critical citizens.”

The report devoted to Venezuela, still pending approval, underscores that the government has “systematically” reduced the media spectrum in the country. “There are no independent newspapers, there are no magazines with political content, television and radio are silenced and news webpages platforms are blocked,” the document highlights.

In the case of Cuba, “the crisis of independent journalism is approaching a depth never seen in the last 30 years,” states the report, which highlights the departure from the country of “dozens” of independent professionals due to harassment and the severe economic crisis.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, noted that in the last six months the number of journalists killed has decreased with respect to the previous one, with a total of nine: four of them in Haiti, and the others in Colombia, the United States, Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala.

In the biannual meeting, which will run until Thursday, issues such as “China and Russia’s Propaganda and Disinformation in Latin America” and “Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the service of journalism” will be addressed.

The program also includes the meeting “Inclusion, leadership and women in journalism,” in a sector where only 22% of leadership positions in the media are held by women, according to a Reuters Institute study.

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