Released Nicaraguan Political Prisoner Gets by Selling Tortillas

Former political prisoner Tania Muñoz at her home in Niquinohomo, Nicaragua

Tania Muñoz spent nearly a year in the “La Esperanza” women’s prison, together with her sister. Released in 2019, she’s had to find a way to get ahead, despite difficulties, police harassment and being labeled “a terrorist”.

By Republica 18

HAVANA TIMES – In mid-January of this year, released political prisoner Tania Muñoz decided to set up a small tortilla-making workshop in her house. She saw this as a way to get some income and help pay the expenses of the household where she lives with her four children.

Before April of 2018, Tania had worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, in various homes in Managua, the capital city. However, this year, her decision to conduct a permanent campaign on social media in support of freeing the political prisoners cost her a job. Her boss feared that the National Police would come to the home and surround it, putting the occupants under siege.

“At the beginning of 2022, I posted a video on my Facebook page demanding freedom for my fellow political prisoners. The people in the home where I was working were afraid the Police would come to look for me. To spare them any problems, I opted to quit and to come back to Niquinohomo to set up this little business,” Muñoz explained.

Tania Muñoz / Foto: VEL

Tania spent nearly a year in the women’s prison known as “La Esperanza”, together with her sister Olesia Muñoz. Both were accused of committing “acts of terrorism” as the result of their participation in the April 2018 civic protests in the town of Niquinohomo.

“I decided to remain in my town of Niquinohomo, although I understand the [decision to] exile made by many fellow political prisoners in the face of the constant police harassment. I hope to continue struggling and to remain united with my family. I have faith that someday this situation in Nicaragua has to change,” Muñoz stated.

Since she was released from jail in May 2019, she maintains a Nicaraguan flag in the entrance to her home, and an altar to the Virgin Mary, where she says she prays for the freedom of the over 170 political prisoners.

Hoping to open a small diner in March

It hasn’t been at all easy for Tania to return to normal, everyday life. Nothing is like it was before, and many point fingers at her for having protested against the Ortega-Murillo regime.

The tortilla business is her best strategy to get ahead. She also sells cooked beans, and she noted gratefully that many Niquinohomo residents come to buy from her. Her profits are slim, but at least they guarantee food for her family. Her children are up early to help her prepare the dough and distribute the tortillas.

Tania makes a great effort to save some part of the small income she gets from the sale of tortillas and cooked beans. Before Easter Week, she hopes to reopen the diner she used to operate, and offer the clientele a menu of fried fish, mondongo soup, beef soup and the traditional cheese soup with the corn biscuits called rosquillas. She hopes to begin offering the latter beginning on Ash Wednesday.

“I installed my eatery in mid-2019. Some people even came from Managua to taste my soups, as a way of collaborating with me. But once they left the place, a patrol car would follow them and demand to see the vehicle’s registration papers. Then they’d ask them what they were doing in my house. So, out of fear clients stayed away and I was forced to close the business,” Muñoz recalled.

This hard-working woman also used to sell fruit and bread in the Granada market. Unfortunately, she was harassed by some other merchants for her struggle in favor of democracy. To avoid problems, she decided not to continue visiting that site.

“I hope my fellow citizens will support me by coming to buy the food that I’m going to prepare, with help from the children. All those who have tasted my seasonings know the quality of my soups. We know that the economic situation in the country is hard, but with God’s help we have to continue fighting,” Tania Muñoz concluded with hope.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.