By Leonor Alvarez (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – A group of supporters of Daniel Ortega were seen this past Friday in the center of Managua displaying brand new black T-shirts with the word “PLOMO” (lead) on the back.
”Plomo” is an expression that since last year has a death threat connotation against opponents of Daniel Ortega’s regime.
The word is currently used by Ortega’s followers, but the original expression was “volar plomo” (shoot lead), used in the context of the civil war between the Sandinistas and the Contras, in the 1980s.
PLOMO is related to armed repression
The word “PLOMO” became more popular between May and June of last year, when armed attacks against civic protests were carried out and particularly during the so-called “Operation Clean Up,” which meant death at the roadblocks that citizens raised throughout the country to contain the repression of Ortega’s Police.
The armed attacks were executed by civilian paramlitary groups that support Ortega, who stood out during the repression against the protests. These people hid their identity with hoods or motorcycle helmets and clearly coordinated with the Police.
Last year, during the height of repression, the paramilitary attacked the marches and civic protests; the barricades of the students in the universities: the citizen’s roadblocks and even the temples of the Catholic Church, where protestors took refuge.
The version of the Ortega dictatorship about armed civilians is that they are “voluntary police.”
The word “PLOMO” does not only materialize in bullets but is part of the psychological war to frighten Ortega’s adversaries. The houses of opposition citizens, of the former political prisoners and journalists are marked with that expression, to threaten them for their criticism of the regime.
Ortega’s followers say that PLOMO means “Free Country or Death,” but in Nicaraguan popular jargon it is a message that indicates “bullet” or “death.”
Veterans are organized
With the bloody repression against the civic protests, which began on April 18, 2018, some veterans of the Sandinista Popular Army (EPS), who fought in the Contra war of the eighties, began to organize themselves under the name “Peace Battalion” at the national level.
These groups have stated that they will defend the Sandinista Revolution and the Ortega regime at all costs.
Since the repression of dictator Daniel Ortega began against the protests, at least 328 people have died.