University Rector: “Nicaragua’s Insurrection Becoming Irreversible”

Masaya residents carry the coffin of Jorge Zepeda, killed in a confrontation with the National Police, during day number 51 of the protests against the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Photo: Jorge Torres EFE


“I believe that [Ortega] still has an opportunity to redeem himself and also to redeem the Sandinista movement,” stated Ernesto Medina, rector of the American University (UAM).

By EFE news agency / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Although Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega “is smothering in blood” the civic protests that have engulfed the country for weeks, the “insurrection” is “ever more irreversible,” stated Ernesto Medina, rector of the Americana University (UAM), in an interview with Efe.

Medina, one of the visible faces of civil society, believes that Nicaraguans are no longer willing to return to the situation they were in before April 18 when the demonstrations began.

“The panorama continues to be very unclear, but as the government goes on trying to resolve the crisis through repression, I believe that this process of popular civic insurrection becomes ever more irreversible, leaving as the only way out the one thing that the majority of the population have been demanding for awhile now: a change of government,” Medina expressed.

Medina was one of the people proposed by the Episcopal Conference to form part of the dialogue table with Daniel Ortega. However, he was vetoed by the government, who didn’t want him to participate in the conversations.

A priest kisses the coffin with the body of the youth Jorge Zepeda during his burial service. Photo: Jorge Torres, EFE


The UAM rector travelled to Washington during the past week with a group of students. He continues to believe that the dialogue is “the only possible solution” to the crisis that has enveloped the country, with at least 127 confirmed dead and over 1,200 wounded, according to data from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.

“Nicaragua isn’t going to accept any solution that smells of under the table agreements leading to the regime’s remaining for a lot longer,” the rector assured. He insisted that it’s necessary to continue working on “mechanisms” to allow for a change of government within a constitutional framework.

A former Sandinista and a believer in the construction of a system for social justice in Nicaragua, Medina feels that Ortega still has “the opportunity” to avoid going down in history as an “horrendous leader,” if he agrees to establish a path for the country’s democratic reconstruction.

“If you read the historic program of the Sandinista Front, the program that the Government Junta presented after the 1979 revolution, they’re exactly the same points that we’re now demanding: a functional democracy, a regime of social justice and of greater equity,” Medina noted.

Photo: Bienvenido Velasco. EFE

In the same way, “if Ortega leaves now over a pile of cadavers and a sea of blood in a country that’s been a caricature of democracy, he’s going down in history as a disastrous leader. I believe that he still has an opportunity to redeem himself and also to redeem the Sandinista movement.”

In terms of comparing the events in Nicaragua with the crisis taking place in Venezuela, Medina sees fundamental differences playing out in his country’s favor.

“Our great strength and the difference with Venezuela is that in Venezuela the situation has been complicated in part by the political party interests in play: the divisions, the errors committed on an international level,” he pointed out.

In his judgement, Nicaragua’s “great advantage” is “that there’s not one clear leader, but a group of men and women citizens” who’ve been called on to dialogue, and now some who “people see as possible leaders of a transition process.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to continue that way, but right now no one can accuse this group and its members of having hidden interests, or an agenda,” he stated. “That differentiates us greatly from Venezuela.”