Francisca Ramirez: “I Won’t Talk with Ortega Behind Closed Doors”

The rural leader criticizes the neglect and harassment of the farmers who are left to repair their own roads.

By Arlen Cerda  (Confidencial)

Francisca Ramirez confirms that a FSLN political operator invited her to meet privately with Ortega, but responds that the rural residents will only attend a public meeting. Photo: Carlos Herrera/confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – March number 86 which the farmers of the anti-canal movement held on Thursday morning in the community of El Tule, in the department of Nueva Guinea included a celebration of the twenty-so kilometers of road that the rural residents decided to repair with their own resources.  They had grown tired of waiting for any response from the government, while every week brought a new vehicle accident.

Francisca Ramírez, the movement’s rural leader, denounced the fact that Daniel Ortega’s government is denying residents their rights, even those of having functional roads, and insisted that this was part of the political persecution leveled against them.  Adding to this feeling is the expressed offer of a meeting with Ortega behind closed doors.  She assured that they aren’t willing to accept this.

According to Francisca Ramírez, the messenger who offered the gathering is the same political operator that appeared in Nueva Guinea in mid-December of last year, ordering the Police to return her pick-up truck and truck that had been confiscated when the farmers tried to mobilize to Managua to participate in a civic day of protest on the eve of the arrival of Luis Almagro, the OAS secretary general.

“This guy first appeared here like he was a vender selling salt, but lately he’s been harassing me and various other rural residents, saying that we should go talk to Daniel Ortega,” affirms Ramírez.  The individual referred to is Alcides Altamirano, formerly the FSLN political secretary in Nueva Guinea.

They’ll talk to Ortega only as part of a public meeting

Francisca Ramírez asserts that the farmers are in agreement with conversing with Ortega, under the condition that the meeting be public, with the presence of the media. “But he (Altamirano) says no, that it must be behind closed doors first, with the presence of only five or six people,” Ramírez stated.

“We don’t like that condition, because we have nothing to hide.  We maintain our demand…there’s no need to offer a political post or money to get things to change in this country,” she sustained.

In addition, the rural leader stated that the anti-canal movement preferred a formal invitation, not one extended via messengers.

“Our struggle is the demand for the repeal of Law #840 (the concession for the canal project granted to Chinese magnate Wang Jing).  To do this doesn’t involve a great effort, merely for Daniel Ortega to order that repeal, because the government has run right over the rights of the rural residents and the Constitution,” she emphasized.

Francisca Ramírez also denounced the fact that the government has continued to “watch and harass them,” because they’ve identified a number of plain-clothes military and police officials riding their motorcycles around the zone. “They’re trying to pass as traveling salesmen, but they’re really spying.”

“We’re very concerned about this, because we feel it’s a kind of harassment and a danger. If something should happen to us, there’s no justice in this country,” she added regretfully.

To repair the twenty kilometer road in the communities of El Dorado 1 and 2 and a nearby sector, the farmers pulled together more than half a million Córdoba’s, with which they hired machinery and did the work with volunteer labor.

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