“We Won’t Support a Candidate who Embraces Impunity”

Francys Valdivia, sister of the murdered young man, Franco Valdivia, and member of AMA, comments on this year’s electoral scenario. File photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Three years after more than 300 murders were committed by the State of Nicaragua, documented by national and international organizations, the April Mothers Association (AMA), integrated by mothers and relatives of the victims, maintains intact its clamor for justice. Its demands are steadfast no matter the result in the presidential elections on November 7.

“We as an association have a proposal for a potential transitional Government, and we also have a proposal if we continue in the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. Francys Valdivia, president of AMA, spoke with the Esta Semana program of April 11th.

She notes that AMA has worked on a proposal for change that goes beyond slogans. This is “a proposal with content that, so far, no one has presented,” reiterates Valdivia. She further emphasized that the families of the victims are not going to negotiate or support any candidate who endorses impunity.

“We have had no contact with precandidates”

Although there are already eight precandidates for the upcoming presidential elections, the April Mothers have not had any contact with them.

“The April Mothers maintain our demands of truth, justice and remembrance. Thus far we have given no support to any of the precandidates,” explains Valdivia, sister of the young man Franco Valdivia, murdered in Estelí.

Likewise, she assesses as positive the role of the Catholic Church through the Episcopal Conference, since they were the first to highlight the urgency of democracy and justice for the victims.

“Through the Justice Commission of the Episcopal Conference they have been very forceful on the issue of justice. There cannot be a democratization process without justice.” We support their statements “because they have been blunt in mentioning it clearly and placing it before public opinion,” said Valdivia.

Documents for lawsuits are being updated

After the illegal confiscation that the Ortega regime carried out in 2018 on nine organizations and media outlets, including the Nicaraguan Center on Human Rights (CENIDH), which had documented the complaints of the victims murdered that year, the April Mothers have worked on a process to update the documents of the cases, to be ready in case of having access to justice, at the national or international level.

“We are in communication with both national organizations such as CENIDH and international organizations (such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts). There has been progress in conjunction with the April Mothers Association,” she says.

Valdivia stresses that during the last three years, in Nicaragua there has been a superficial imposition of peace. However she notes that the pain and wounds caused in the repression, which continues in different ways in these years, maintain the cry for justice at the national level.

“People support our demands for justice, and they will act when it is time to act. That demand and that painful wound remains in the people who suffered the killings and the torture and that continues. Remembrance is alive in each one of those people who fight and who resist,” she said.

Relatives of the victims have not been able to process their grief

In three years, the relatives of the victims have not been able to access justice. Such a right was denied to them from the beginning by the Public Ministry. Since then, they have suffered different phases of repression, ranging from persecution, imprisonment, siege, desecration of graves and the obstruction of commemorative activities. “There is a dispute between remembrance and trying to erase what happened in April,” she says.

However, AMA has successfully worked to build a living memory and shun the idea of forgetting. Such is usually a process that takes place post-conflicts, but the families of the victims decided to start even in dictatorship.

“The AMA museum is one of our achievements in these three years because normally a memorial is built after these conflicts and we decided to build it even in times of dictatorship. That determines our convictions and our actions. We are not going to allow silence and forgetting,” she emphasized.

However, carrying out this process, in the midst of the Police State and the violence that continues in Nicaragua, has prevented many of the relatives of those murdered from continuing their mourning process.

“The process has been difficult for the families. (In our family’s case) we went into exile. My father is in exile, I was in exile. It has been a family separation in many ways. But little by little we have tried to find a middle ground to continue resisting because we have to do it. Because we have to continue,” concluded Francys Valdivia.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.