Exiled writer points out that “the regime’s only weapon is repression, and that obviously wears out in the long run”
By EFE / Confidencial
HAVANA TIMES – Sergio Ramírez, the acclaimed Nicaraguan author persecuted by Daniel Ortega’s regime, said on Tuesday that one of the consequences that literature has had in his life is “I now live in exile, because there are no harmless books when written without hedging from within.”
That has always happened “throughout the entire history of humanity,” especially “when words challenge arbitrary power,” the Cervantes Prize winner said in 2017.
Ramírez made this reflection at a press conference given in Alicante, Spain hours before speaking at the conference “The Nicaragua that I Write,” presenting the latest novel of his dark humor trilogy entitled “Tongolele Did Not Know How to Dance,” outlawed in his country because it takes place during the popular revolt against the government of Daniel Ortega.
Regarding the political situation in his country, Ramírez, who was a Sandinista revolutionary against the dictator Anastasio Somoza, defended the “trial” effort for “peaceful change” and explained that the current regime in Nicaragua is always “on the defensive” because it is structured on “ever increasing repressive measures.”
The sustainability of “a regime of any sort, in the medium or long term, is based on a minimum of social or political consensus, and in Nicaragua there is none. The regime’s only weapon is repression, and that obviously wears out in the long run,” he said.
The justice of the regime
“Yesterday they sentenced a farmer from the depths of northern Nicaragua’s mountains to fourteen years in prison for cybercrimes. He does not know what WhatsApp is, he does not know what the internet is. He only has a simple phone that barely serves to communicate. He has never joined a social network, yet he was condemned (…),” Ramírez explained.
He continued “this is the kind of justice that prevails in Nicaragua” and to which he would also be subjected if he was still there. “Between prison and exile, I chose exile (…),” he added.
He said that Daniel Ortega, who is serving his fourth consecutive term, has been in power longer than any of the Somozas, and that “the revolution has ceased to be of the left or the right.” Instead, he said, Nicaragua is “the only esoteric regime in the world.”
“Rulers who believe in [metal] trees of life, in the five-pointed star, in the eye of Fatima and use them as a symbol of power.” However, he noted, this is still “a seduction for someone who writes novels.”
“History Teaches Us”
In his opinion, a kind of “vicious circle, which has to be broken once and for all,” persists both in his country and in others in Latin America, where “tyrants establish themselves [in power] in modern times, while being antiquated figures.”
“I think the remedy will come when the changes we make are truly democratic … history teaches us that an armed revolution triumphs, it produces a tyrant, then another armed revolution comes and it produces another tyrant and the blood that is shed is wasted,” he said.
Ramirez notes, “perhaps the next test of Nicaragua’s history is to achieve a peaceful change, where solid institutions are favored for the first time.”
He expressed that he does not lose hope of returning to Nicaragua one day and expressed his conviction that Daniel Ortega’s regime will end without having to resort to arms.
“What remains of the revolution? Nothing. A tyranny. It’s difficult to accept,” said Ramirez, who alluded to the 40,000 Nicaraguans who left the country in one year to seek asylum in the United States.
On the other hand, he revealed that the dark novel gives him the possibility of putting distance from the course of events, as in his trilogy that culminates with “Tongolele Did Not Know How to Dance” and what occurred in 2018, when people took to the streets of Nicaragua peacefully to demand a change of regime.