Family members of the victims lament the “forgive and forget” that they plan to apply.
Deputies from the authorized opposition parties affirm that the regime is ignoring the victims of the massacre and seeking impunity.
HAVANA TIMES – The “Reconciliation Law” devised by Vice President Rosario Murillo was approved this past Wednesday, January 23, in the Nicaraguan National Assembly. While Daniel Ortega’s regime claims that the law will help resolve the crisis that the country is experiencing, the opposition and the family members of the massacred victims see it as an attempt to leave unpunished the crimes against humanity committed by the dictatorship.
The so-called “Law for a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, security, work and peace” was approved by the docile, party-controlled Ortega majority in the Assembly with 70 votes in favor. It was rejected by 16 deputies from the three minor opposition parties, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), the Conservative Party and Yatama, the indigenous party, because they say it only promotes impunity for the massacre perpetrated since the protests began in April of last year.
Brooklyn Rivera, head of the Yatama party, called the new law “a disgrace”, because it doesn’t recognize those killed by the police and the paramilitary forces.
“They want us Nicaraguans to dialogue by force with a Police who have murdered our people” declared the deputy from the Liberal party, Maximino Rodriguez.
The deputies approved the law after the Executive Power declared their own consultation process complete. They had consulted with groups allied with the government, a process that the government has classified as a “dialogue”.
According to the Executive Power’s explanation, the initiative is aimed at establishing a general legal framework to guarantee state policy around issues of dialogue, reconciliation, security, work and peace.
In November, family members of those killed by the official repression – which has left 325 dead since April, plus an estimate of more than 600 political prisoners to date – complained that the initiative promoted by the vice president is intended to be the precursor of a law that would impose “reconciliation” by decree within a Nicaragua disrupted by the violence unleashed by the Ortega-Murillo regime, amid a climate of total impunity and the lack of any political will to clarify the crimes of the massacre.
“As family members, we feel indignant, outraged, because in this country no one can reconcile without first knowing the truth,” criticized Francis Valdivia, a member of the Mothers of April, an organization demanding justice for the murder of more than 325 people. “We have a real need to know the truth, to know who killed Franco and dragged him for over a block. We’re not going to allow a clean slate and a new start; nor forgiveness nor forgetting,” assured the sister of Franco Valdivia, a young man assassinated in Esteli, and the current president of the Mothers of April Association.
A “truth-gathering process” is necessary
Also in November, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) demanded of the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo that before proposing any state policy to seek “reconciliation”, a truth-gathering process should be implemented. The GIEI, which was expelled from the Nicaragua weeks later, had stated that there needed to be a “recognition of responsibilities, penal sanctions for those responsible, reparations to the victims and the institutional reforms necessary to restore citizens’ trust in the state institutions.”
Through a communique sent to the Nicaraguan foreign minister, Denis Moncada, the GIEI indicated that in their opinion the so-called “Proposal for a State Policy for a Culture of Peace and Reconciliation” that was presented last November 6th “should heed the moment that Nicaraguan society was going through”, and that such processes couldn’t be imposed by law.