Five Years After the Political Crisis in Nicaragua

Cartoon by PxMolina / Confidencial

Message to heads of state: Let us not forget entire families are waiting for justice. Let us take action to liberate Monsignor Rolando Alvarez.

By Lesther Aleman (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Heads of State and delegations participating in this Summit for Democracy, I join you in the universal longing for a responsible, transparent, rights-respecting and more humane governance in our countries and region.

My name is Lesther Aleman. On February 9th I was released from prison and exiled by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega. Today I stand before you as a young Nicaraguan who dreams of a country in which human rights are guaranteed and in which we are not murdered, nor imprisoned or exiled for thinking differently.

Throughout its history Nicaragua has a lot to teach from its political mistakes, conflicts between brothers and corruption; but very little regarding instances of democracy.

Since 2018 we used to dream and still dream with a country of social, political, and economic opportunities, where we young people could develop without fear, without reprisals, without risking our freedom and even our lives.

We are struggling for justice and for the decisions of Nicaraguans to be respected.

The non-existence of democracy in Nicaragua and the increasingly accentuated authoritarian radicalization of Daniel Ortega’s regime have ruined our generation, which has had to pay the highest costs.

Today families are divided by the persecution and siege of the dictatorship that has forced thousands of Nicaraguans to flee their country. There are prisons with revolving doors for all those who question power. And the cemetery for those who yearn for freedom.

Five years after the political crisis in Nicaragua, prolonged by the Ortega and Murillo family’s ambition for power, the results cry out urgently for a solution. More than 355 people murdered, 37 political prisoners in inhumane conditions, forced exiled for thousands and more than six million Nicaraguans living in a prison with open skies in what remains of the country.

Despite this brutal repression by the Sandinista dictatorship and the high risks that resistance implies, young Nicaraguan have decided to defend the dignity of our country and build a present and future in democracy.

In 2021 the dictatorship carried out a wave of imprisonments of part of the opposition, but it was not able to prevent that the voices of those who remained continue to resonate in the world. Obtaining condemnation from many countries of the regime’s brutality and further isolation of its control. This behavior of Daniel Ortega reaffirms that crimes against humanity have been and are being committed in the country. Crimes for which Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are mainly responsible.

Crimes that to this day remain in impunity. This motivates the dictatorship to continue committing them.

Do you think that this is governing based on the rule of law, respecting the Constitution, international law, substantiated on the most minimum standards of decency and humanism? Of course not! All of Nicaragua is a crime scene: of crimes against humanity.

Therefore, the problem and instability caused by Daniel Ortega and his totalitarianism in our country is also an evil that afflicts and should concern the region. I ask you, as member states in this Summit that defends and prioritize democracy, freedom, justice, and human rights, to echo our denunciations: to exhaust all measures to isolate the Ortega regime, to prevent the regime from having access to sources of financing that sustain its repressive arm, and to join in the worldwide condemnation. To be indolent when we are dealing with a human rights crisis also implies responsibility.

It is necessary that you as world leaders accompany us Nicaraguans in restoring respect and guarantees for fundamental freedoms and rights, in finding justice for the victims and in promoting the participation of young people in political activism.

Please help us not to forget that entire families are waiting for justice, to take action for the release of our Monsignor Rolando Alvarez and the other political prisoners, and to ensure that Nicaragua is not a horror to live in.

Daniel Ortega got control, but lost power after the 2021 electoral farce. He holds on to fleeting strategies to impose fear. But, in Nicaragua dictatorships end up melting in the face of a people who have a calling for freedom, democracy and justice. In the same way as the Somoza dynasty, the Sandinista dynasty of Daniel Ortega and his family will go down in history, in the darkest pages of our tragic but also glorious history.

Democracy is possible for Nicaragua and us young people are willing to work until it is achieved. As a fundamental stone in the construction of a new, free, and democratic Nicaragua.

*Words of former political prisoner Lesther Aleman, on March 23, 2023, before the II Summit for Democracy, organized by the United States, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Zambia and South Korea.

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