Nicaragua: Medardo Mairena Calls for Unity and an End to the Killings

…in the Nicaraguan Countryside

By Ivan Olivares (Confidencial)

Medardo Mairena. Screenshot

HAVANA TIMES – Throughout his interview with the Esta Noche program, the peasant leader Medardo Mairena insisted on the efforts that must be made to achieve unity among the opposition to the Ortega-Murillo regime, but also to stop the bleeding enforced by the regime to wipe out the peasant leadership.

“We are making great efforts to ensure that all social and political movements, could join in a great coalition. We have called on all social, political and associations movements, to lay down their interests for Nicaragua,” he reiterated.

“We cannot fail our brothers who are still kidnapped by the regime. It must be our priority to achieve their freedom, and that together we can demand, unifying efforts, so that the regime stops the killings, and that our exiled brothers can return home to Nicaragua,” said the former political prisoner.

It is known that the selective assassinations in the country’s rural areas, did not begin with the April 2018 Rebellion, but certainly have been multiplying since that moment, as evidenced by the work of human rights organizations that have documented more than 60 executions or extrajudicial killings for political motivations, against peasants and farmers in the rural areas.

In trying to determine who is behind that violence, Mairena asserts that they know—through contacts with the peasant leadership in the territories—that “those who are selectively killing are obviously the paramilitaries, who are the Sandinista Youth, to whom the regime irresponsibly armed.”

When explaining that “they operate as civilians when they enter the territory to explore the terrain,” he also emphasized that “sometimes the Army has also entered directly,” which led him to recall that “it is not from now that the Army has been killing peasants.”

Mairena recalled that “it is not a secret that after 1990—and before the current political context—as has been documented, all those commanders and commandos of the counterrevolution that were brutally killed.”

His data indicates that since that time “the murder of 672 peasants has been documented…since then, manifesting hatred towards the peasants, killing them selectively, before because it [Ortega’s FSLN] was preparing to reach power, and now continues killing because it pretends to remain in power at all costs,” he said.

The list of recent murders includes peasants who “actively participated in the peaceful and civic protests that we have done as a movement, to defend our lands, natural resources and our families, in the [proposed] canal strip,” he asserted.

Although in September 2019, along with the organization ‘Nicaragua Never More,’ Mairena denounced this situation before the IACHR—OAS, he regrets to verify that nothing has changed since then, and that the list of people murdered increases, including some Nicaraguans who have returned from exile in the hope of being able to live in peace in their own land.

Unity for all

Sitting Daniel Ortega at another dialogue table, and getting him to allow the demanded electoral reforms, will only be possible with the unity of the entire opposition leadership. The same one that now appears fragmented.

Medardo Mairena invites us to identify the common ground for later, “in a democratic process, and through an assembly in which with the presence of all the social, political and organizations movements that are somehow fighting for democracy in this country, make the decision about who will be the people that would be leading the opposition in this country.”

That leadership must seek electoral reforms after the release of political prisoners, the return of confiscated assets—including media outlets—and the return of human rights defenders to be guarantors and witness of the negotiation, “which would be a sign of political will, or minimum conditions so that we can return to that dialogue,” noted Mairena.

The released political prisoner believes that, in order to force the regime to return to the negotiation table—or to begin to show signs of political will— “the priority is to join together in a single opposition block, and that will give us the strength to exert internal pressure.”

He acknowledges that “the international community has been putting external pressure, which is very important, but it is our responsibility as Nicaraguans to exert pressure to achieve the democratization of the country. We have to restart the civic and peaceful struggle, so that the regime will sit down again,” he assured.