What Have Commander Ortega and Comrade Murillo Given You?

Armed paramilitary in Masaya, at the service of Daniel Ortega. Photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

Let’s begin now to assemble the evidence of this whole nightmare, knowing that the dawn will soon come.

By Natalia Cuadra Dumke (Confidencial)

A propaganda poster from Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship in Germany, promoting the April 10, 1934 referendum to annex Austria. The poster was created by the Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda and Public Illustration (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda) led by Joseph Goebbels.

The following is a Spanish translation of the contents of the image, which is on permanent display in the “Topography of Terror” Museum in Berlin. The museum is dedicated to portraying life in the Third Reich under the 12-year dictatorship of Adolf Hitler (1933-1945).

The Fuhrer gave you work:

Number of employed workers:

1932 – 11.5 million

1933 – Over 19 million (The year the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, better known as the Nazi Pary, came to power in Germany.)

The Fuhrer gave you bread:

Income of workers and civil servants:

1932: 26 billion imperial marks

1937: 39.5 billion imperial marks

The Fuhrer gave you housing:

New home construction:

1932: 159,000 new homes

1937: 340,000 new homes

The Fuhrer gave you marriage loans

From August 1933 until the end of 1937, 878,000 marriage loans were issued, a total of over 500 billion imperial marks. Because of that, the number of marriages has risen from 1932 – 1937:

1932: 500,000 marriages

1937: 620,000 marriages

The Fuhrer give you economic aid for your children:

In 1938,  2 million children received subsidies. Because of that, the number of births increased.

In 1932: there were 970,000 births

In 1937: the number of births rose to: 1,270,000

The Fuhrer gave you freedom and time to rest:

The force we’ve drawn from all this happiness since 1934 has brought us 22.5 million workers.

All of Germany’s workers are with him, and are going to go out and vote “yes” on April 10.

One of the panels in the “Topography of Terror” Museum, with samples of different posters illustrating the German population’s daily lives under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. The poster in the upper left reads: “Be careful of spies when you talk.”

Chilling parallels

For those who still don’t know how that movie ended, I’ll explain it to you: seeing his dictatorship collapsing like a house of cards (because, as they say, bad times never last for a hundred years), the Fuhrer – plus Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Public Illustration, and other high functionaries of the Nazi dictatorship – abandoned ship by killing themselves, leaving the rest of the repressive apparatus out in the storm.

They fled en masse, as when people flee an earthquake or impending volcano eruption. Fleeing to the interior of the country, or assuming new identities and fleeing to other countries, only to have their neighbors inform on them, or to be discovered by the intelligence services of the countries where they went to hide. All that is waiting in the wings for the nearly 400 ministers, deputies, front people, army heads, police chiefs, and the rest of the repressive machinery of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorial duo, if they don’t get off the boat in time!

It won’t do them any good to tell the same tales we’ve heard from the mouths of their predecessors in international tribunals: “I had nothing to do with that;” “I was only following orders from above;” “If I didn’t follow orders, they’d kill me;” or this, that or the other excuse. It’s not 1945 anymore. All the evidence is there in the daylight, courtesy of the digital world.

They need to see and understand that Ortega and Murillo are going down a blind alley. They’re now holding onto power more tightly than ever, in order to avoid being sent before an international court to be tried for the crimes against humanity that – according to the UN Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua – they’ve committed. They know perfectly well that once a transition government arrives, one of the first things they’ll do (because the clamor of the Nicaraguan people demands it) is to sign the “Rome Statute” of the international Criminal Court, which Nicaragua hasn’t endorsed yet.

My Nicaraguan brothers and sisters: no one has any reason to thank any ruler for a piece of bread. The money for it comes from the taxes paid by the people themselves, and it’s therefore the leaders’ duty to watch over their citizens’ welfare. No one has any reason to write a letter to any little dictator begging for a scholarship to study in the university. The public universities are operating thanks to the national budget, which in turn comes from people’s taxes. No one should have to appear in any propaganda apparatus, giving thanks to the “Comandante and the Compañera” for a sheet of zinc roofing, because it’s all the people’s money, derived from the people’s sweat!

One day, when this disastrous dictatorship has fallen in Nicaragua, we too will have to construct (as our duty to the next generations) a “Museum of Terror” to remember and never again forget all the horrors this deranged couple has subjected us to, because it’s clear that the human mind is forgetful. We forgot all the suffering we endured during the Somoza dictatorship.

I hope we’ve learned from this new dictatorship that we have to change our political culture, our cult of strongman caudillo figures, that was inherited in part from the disorder left after our independence from the Spanish Crown – a very necessary independence to be sure.

The road we’ll have to follow will involve exchanging the strongman cult for a political culture where the primary thing is the independence of the state institutions.

That’s how a government of social welfare is built, without needing to lose our dignity by having to give thanks to the dictatorship of the day for two pounds of rice and one of beans to feed our children. For this new museum, Nicaragua will need the economic, technical and logistical aid of sympathetic countries. Let’s begin now to assemble the evidence of this long nightmare, knowing that the dawn will soon come.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times