Impunity Won’t Work This Time for Nicaragua

“This time it has to be different. They do not have the excuse of a civil war to justify the massacre, nor have they been able to commit their crimes in the dark.”

Alvaro Gomez de Monimbo, Masaya, fought in the Sandinista Popular Army in the 1980s and lost a leg. Now they killed his 23 year old son. Photo: W. Miranda / Confidenncial

“I just want to know the truth of what happened; I want to know what happened to my boy” –Don Alvaro Gomez

By Silvio Prado  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Don Alvaro has the dark skin of people from Masaya, a thin beard of several days, graying, and a sad look, desolate look, like the one that have those who have lost the most precious thing in their lives. He survives in exile; he is a casualty of impunity.

If any factor could be attributed to all the evils that have plagued Nicaraguans throughout our history, it is impunity: crimes without punishment, crimes committed by the powerful or those protected by them, which are free from condemnation for economic reasons, of ancestry, of politics or simply by force. Our history is a link of impunities that have been engraved with fire in our political culture —the subjective dimension of politics—, the aphorism that “whoever does it, does not pay for it.”

If we scratch a little in the authoritarian regimes that we have suffered, we will find impunity in their origins. Authoritarianism is a political system that overlaps the constitutional institutions, and for this it needs impunity, to have the guarantees that the growing abuses of the law will not have any consequences.

On top of the impunity, the group of faithful that will be the power’s base of support, disperse in the body of society to dominate, control or coopt those that do not agree with their ideas.

Thus impunity stands on the reverse side of equality before the law, the principle on which rights and citizen guarantees rest. Call it a double standard, discretion or whatever you want: impunity is the consecration of inequality, the return to the law of the jungle, where the strongest oppress the weakest. According to this inhuman logic, the murders of the autocrat remain without punishment, but the actions of those who oppose him (from the mildest to the most serious) deserve exorbitant penalties.

Impunity is fed by the policeman who arrests those who carry a blue and white flag, steals their telephones, loots their homes, harasses ex-prisoners and verbally assaults them. Likewise, it feeds off he who tortures with precision in the prisons with the most sadistic practices, the El Chipote doctor that abuses prisoners and the torturer who has no problem about appearing as a witness against the defendants.

Also fed by impunity is the one who fires indiscriminately against unarmed people. Impunity hides in impunity the criminal who with telescopic sight aimed at the head of teenager Alvarito Conrado; those who set fire to the house in the Carlos Marx neighborhood where six persons were burned alive, and those who shot at the March of Mothers, against Marcelo Mayorga and then refused to provide assistance. Those who riddled with bullets the Divine Mercy Church and killed Gerald Vazquez enjoy impunity.

Impunity is embodied by the agent who tolerates the aggression of the government assassins and who, moreover, shows it off by covering up and participating in the selective assassination of peasants since the crisis erupted in April 2018.

The paramilitaries who roam freely throughout the country are the living image of impunity. No matter what disguise they wear: “historical combatants,” former soldiers, ex-policemen, paid gang members or defense battalion of the “revolution;” all of them, rancid, amoral and drunk with fanaticism, sharpen their hatred in impunity, in the certainty that the mantle of the leader protects them, that it is a carte blanche to continue murdering, torturing and oppressing.

The leaders of Orteguism, the iron circle, the psychopath who will not hesitate a second to eat the heart not beating in favor of his masters, drink of impunity; those who have amassed enormous fortunes and thrive shamefully in the shadow of the strongman. The fateful couple and their long bloody lineage splash in impunity, believing themselves safe from the rule of law.

They intend to repeat the fatal path: crimes, amnesties and impunity. Once again they roll the wheels of infamy, so that criminals will not only be free from paying for their faults, but furthermore be recycled into public employment to further affront the victims and their families. Experts affirm that up to 52 times amnesty laws have been approved in Nicaragua to seal the impunity of the murderers.

But this time it has to be different. They do not have the excuse of a civil war to justify the massacre, nor have they been able to commit their crimes in the dark.

Silvio Prado

Little by little it has been known that the former revolutionary party planned the killings. It provided the men and the means to assassinate unarmed people or, at best, equipped with rudimentary weapons. Today it is known that it was a ruthless attack of professionals against amateurs, of active or retired military personnel who knew war tactics, against the courage of people convinced that it was enough to occupy the streets, raise barricades and wave the flag to overthrow the tyrant.

However, such a display of force has been widely recorded by thousands of cameras, that have prevented the powerful propaganda media of the dictatorship from imposing their own version. It is, by far, the best documented Nicaraguan conflict in history. The repercussions are clear: until the first half of July there have been more than 30 reports from national and international organizations about the suppression of human rights in our country. In other words, there has not been a single month that you have not known at least one report. In addition, it can be affirmed without exaggeration that in these 15 months there is no international forum of prestige that has not given a sound beating to the dictatorship.

This time it cannot be like the previous ones. We must be able to break the wheel of impunity, even if more than one —above or below the negotiation table—, would think of signing it disguised as national reconciliation. No, the only way out to brake with the past begins with the truth and its Siamese sister, justice. Impunity, this goddam impunity, has to end, and those guilty must pay for their crimes to eradicate once and for all the belief or the temptation that killing, raping and torturing comes cheap.