Elizabeth Velasquez: Two years waking up with the memory of her murdered son

The Mothers of April Association at a sit-in of silence commemorating its second year of foundation. Nayira Valenzuela / Confidencial

They demand and end to the ‘good-old-boy’ politics and called to redouble peaceful resistance and guarantee true unity

Por Nayira Valenzuela  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Elizabeth Velasquez wakes up daily with the same thought: the image of her son atrociously murdered by paramilitaries. It happened during the bloody “Operatioin Clean Up” in Diriamba, Carazo, in June 2018. Over two years have passed, and this mother still suffers from a deep depression that even prevents her from working. She only “lives” to demand justice for the murder of her son Josue Mojica.

“Right now, I see a psychiatrist and am taking antidepressant medications and sleeping pills, she said. “He told me that this pain will never go away, but that I will learn to live with the pain.”

Velasquez is a member of the Mothers of April Association (AMA in Spanish), an organization with which she shares the outcry of mothers and relatives of more than 325 killed during the civic protests of the 2018 April Rebellion: “justice without impunity,” truth and reparation. Until this year, Elizabeth Velasquez found the courage to file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office for the assassination of her son. However, the regime’s response was besiegement and harassment by “paramilitaries” and “Ortega fanatics.”

The mother is aware that filling the complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office “will have no validity in Nicaragua.” However, she emphasized that it is a requirement that must be met so that “Ortega may be brought to trial at the international level.”

Among the demands of the Mothers of April Association are “justice without impunity,” truth and reparation.   Photo: Nayira Valenzuela / Confidencial

Step up civil disobedience and peaceful resistance

Velasquez and 30 members of AMA met to read a statement commemorating the second year of its formation. They called on the Nicaraguan people to redouble efforts of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance.

Tamara Morazan, AMA’s logistics and communication officer, called on the families of those killed and disappeared in the context of the protests who have not presented their cases to the Prosecutor´s Office, to do so.

“We have to exhaust all the avenues in Nicaragua. Obviously we know we won’t receive an answer, but it is a protocol that we must follow. We are working so that they file their complaints,” she added.

The Mothers of April also demand that the opposition political organizations eradicate practices of ‘good-old-boy’ politics. Moreover, they seek a unity that guarantees the true spirit of the April rebellion. Likewise, they urge the international community to pressure the regime to allow the entry of human rights organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, expelled by Ortega in 2018.

Two years after being organized, the Mothers of April remain firm, “fighting for the truth, for justice without impunity, showing solidarity with all the victims, released prisoners, exiles, wounded and political prisoners.”

Members of AMA turn their backs on a contingent of riot police, raising the images of their murdered children and relatives.   Photo: Nayira Valenzuela / Confidencial.

Activities commemorating the second anniversary

To commemorate its two years of foundation, the mothers said that due to the political siege and the current pandemic, virtual activities will be held. These include the presentation of the English version of the Museum of Memory. Likewise, virtual meetings with members from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which confirmed the crimes against humanity of the Ortega regime, panelists from the Truth Commission of Peru, the Matagalpa Women’s Collective, journalists and writers.

They also noted that the Museum of Memory against Impunity “AMA  y no olvida” (Love and do not forget), reaches its first anniversary this month. Until October 15 they will keep open a call for people to send essays, articles, illustrations or poems explaining their experience when visiting the Museum of Memory. These materials will be published in a printed version by “Cultura Libre” magazine.  

Every Saturday in October there will also be virtual talks on human rights and the launch of the second season of the podcast “Barricades of Memory:” a compilation of testimonies from families who lost loved ones in Ortega’s “Operation Clean Up.”

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