Nicaragua’s “Vandalic Woman” Talks about Her Ailments

Dona Coquito, symbol of civic protests in Nicaragua. Photo: La Prensa

Dona Coquito is 83 years old, suffers from hypertension, diabetes and other ailments typical of her age.

HAVANA TIMES – Since a couple of years ago, the health of Dona Coquito, the lady who gave away water to Nicaraguans during the civic protests of April 2018, has been deteriorating. However, she refuses to go to a public hospital for fear of reprisals from the Ortega dictatorship.

Dona Coquito, whose full name is Miriam del Socorro Matus Aleman, is 83 years old, suffers from hypertension, diabetes, and other ailments typical of her age.

“I am very sick, I can’t walk, I fall down, I get dizzy, I can’t walk alone, I walk with a crutch to barely support myself. My life is horrible right now, only God can cure me. Coquito is coming to an end,” she told La Prensa.

Managua, May 18, 2018. The day Dona Coquito gave away the bags of cold-water she was selling and became known as the “abuela vandalica” (vandalic grandmother).  Photo: La Prensa.

Dona Coquito has been treated in public medical centers only in extreme cases. “I don’t like to go to hospitals, it scares me,” she stated. However, a private specialist, on a voluntarily basis, attends her regularly.

“This week I had high blood sugar, the doctor said I have malnutrition, that I must eat healthier, drink a special milk. I am drinking serum. I take the medication that the doctor gives me, but I fade again, get dizzy,” she added.

Her son, Roberto Vargas Aleman, is the one who helps her move around, although most of the time she is bedridden.

Vargas explained that they don’t have the resources to buy the medication and diet that Dona Coquito needs, so the doctor helps to get them, to somehow alleviate the lack of hospitalization.

Ortega’s hateful speech affected her

Dona Coquito is recognized by many, she sees herself as “an icon” of the struggle of Nicaraguans who in 2018 self-convoked against the Ortega-Murillo regime.

On the morning of May 18, 2018, Coquito became famous for giving away the cold-water she had for sale—more than one hundred little bags—to the people who were demonstrating outside the Our Lady of Fatima Seminary, where the National Dialogue Table was taking place.

Since then, Dona Coquita has won the affection of thousands of Nicaraguans, who call her the “abuela vandalica” of the blue and white opposition, and from that moment on she participated in marches, has been imprisoned and released, has given many interviews, went into exile and has returned.

On April 19, Dona Coquito says she listened to the speech given by Ortega, in which he once again ranted against the Catholic Church and called “bishops as demons, bishops of Satan,” during an event in which they celebrated the so-called “Day of Peace,” in an attempt to minimize the commemoration of citizens protests that began five years ago.

“That man (Daniel Ortega) celebrated the death of the young people who fell in April 2018, it touched my heart to know that he was mocking the suffering of the mothers. But what are we going to do,” commented Dona Coquito.

If you would like to help Dona Coquito to treat her ailments, you can contact her son at the phone number: +505 78225391.

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