Doña Coquito, Famous from the Nicaragua Protests, in Poor Health

Doña Coquito giving out her bags of water to the protesting young people.  Eighty-two-year-old Miriam Aleman is currently bedridden with complications of chronic illnesses. 

By 100% Noticias

HAVANA TIMES – The health of Miriam Socorro Aleman, 82, has deteriorated in the last few days, due to her diabetes and high blood pressure. The elderly woman earned the nickname “the vandalic grandmother” for her participation in the 2018 protests, when she donated to the demonstrating students the entire stock of bagged cold water she’d been selling.

The formerly active woman is currently bedridden, Dr. Alejandro Lagos Espinoza told the La Prensa newspaper online. He noted that Doña Coquito needs assistance with her food and medicine. The doctor has been seeing her at his private clinic without charge.

“She’s always had problems with diabetes and high blood pressure, but now she’s also undernourished and dehydrated. Her condition has complicated to the point of having moments of suffocation (…) Her system was all out of balance, with very high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, intense headaches and a feeling of burning within,” Dr. Lagos informed.

Doña Coquito’s condition was so serious that the doctor recommended transferring her to the hospital to receive intravenous treatment, but she begged him to treat her there in the clinic. She feared reprisals for the outspoken critical stance she maintained against the current government.

The “vandalic grandmother” lives at the back of a narrow alley in a Managua neighborhood, in conditions the doctor says are poorly adapted for her recovery. Several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren live there with her, making the small space even smaller. There’s little ventilation. Dr. Lagos has supplied her with medication to control the diabetes and hypertension, and plans to bring her some food.

Still, the doctor assured that Doña Coquito needs further help. He urged anyone who would like to aid her to contact telephone #8866-7038 to arrange a donation.

Famous for giving water to the protestors

“Doña Coquito, 78, became famous in Nicaragua, when she was selling cold water in little plastic bags from a small stand, on the second day of the May 2018 national dialogue. Even though the old lady makes a living from selling water in little plastic bags in the streets, she ended up donating her entire stock of water to the students protesting in front of the hall [where the dialogue was taking place]. Such an act of solidarity (…) did not go unnoticed in Nicaragua. Doña Coquito herself ended up at the receiving end of a fundraiser to upgrade her humble home. Among other things, she was blessed with 2 new beds, a TV, and a kitchen with a brand-new gas burner.

Doña Coquito’s kind-hearted act also inspired the national troubadour of Nicaragua, Carlos Mejía Godoy to write a song in her honor:

Carlos Mejia Godoy with Doña Coquito

Since that day, Doña Coquito hasn’t missed a single demonstration. However, she is not able to run that fast from the police. Last Saturday, she was imprisoned by the riot police, but she has been released.

Doña Coquito says she’s not that good with words and that she doesn’t know anything about politics, but her heart beats for the students and their cause. She has seen with her own eyes how they’re being treated and gunned down.”

Excerpted from “Nicaragua Watch”, October 6, 2018


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