A Frivolous and Unfounded Accusation

I can only describe as disconcerting the statement recently emitted by Nicaragua’s Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP).

By Gioconda Belli  (laprensa.com.ni)

Daniel Ortega with COSEP business leaders including its president Jose Adan Aguirre (c).

HAVANA TIMES – As a Nicaraguan citizen, I absolutely can’t understand why private enterprise, a sector that occupies a privileged position within society, should feel the need to issue a belligerent communique through their associations denouncing the very scarce independent press for a supposed campaign against them.

This accusation from the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) appears to be the product of a paranoia that has been very well aimed towards co-opting them into squelching the small measure of free expression that still exists.

I’m a novelist, and I have a good imagination. So, behind this inexplicable attack on the only media outlets in this country that still preserve between their legs the courage to criticize this government, I envision a high level meeting, very secret and solemn, where some authority informs and warns the highest echelons of COSEP about a “plot” to divide them and influence them ideologically.  I can easily imagine the seriousness of the person delivering the warning; the studied restraint, and the case so delicately put together with dubious “proof” that the business leaders who feel supported by this so permeable and collaborative government ingenuously believe what is being “demonstrated” to them.

But maybe I’m mistaken – although I doubt it.  Maybe it’s just the thin skin of some COSEP Board members or business figures that have become irritated at being urged to use their power not only for their own benefit, but also to intercede and help straighten out the country’s trajectory towards strong-man rule.

In my view, we need to be clear that the private business sector isn’t motivated by short, medium or long-term political interests.  As long as they can function and continue investing and reaping profits, they’ll continue doing so, because that’s the ethic of capital; a very different ethic than one that would take risks to denounce democratic weaknesses.

Gioconda Belli

It’s useless in this day and age to wait for them to oppose Ortega, or for them to pressure him into restoring the rule of law in the country along with all the other rights that his regime has violated.  Private enterprise isn’t going to risk itself, because it’s not in their nature.  It’s not worth it, I feel, to criticize them for fighting for their own survival, although many of us believe that their situation has caused them to enter into commitments that will eventually make them very vulnerable.  What they choose to do in that sense – now or in the future – is their decision, and it will be they who pay the price that has to be paid.

It is, however, unacceptable that they should go so far beyond fighting for their own interests as to become an echo of the government, and to oppose the independent media, publishing an accusation so frivolous and unfounded.

The power that lies behind this accusation is truly macabre; it seems they want the same business figures whose pronouncements defend free enterprise and public freedoms to be the ones who strangle the independent journalism of the country.

It’s time for COSEP and their associations to heed the oracle’s warning and not turn their pleasant and beneficial relations with the Government into complicity, as is implied by an attack based on “anonymous” arguments on the freedom of expression that’s already under siege in our country.

Free expression and criticism of government activity, is a right of national journalism.  Don’t become it executioner.