Gioconda Belli Writes to Luis Almagro of the OAS


How can you ask us to “strengthen the democratic institutions” of the Ortega dictatorship if there is no democracy?

Open letter to the OAS Secretary General

Dear Luis Almagro,

Luis Almagro.  Foto: EFE /confidencial

I understand that it’s difficult for you to assimilate the fact that Daniel Ortega, one of the nine leaders of the Sandinista Revolution, has become a dictator.

The beautiful feat of our Nicaraguan revolution obscures the eyes of those who still think that the FSLN that assumed power anew in 2007 is the same party they supported in the seventies and eighties.

Unfortunately, this illusion confounds all those who imagine that in Nicaragua there’s a leftist group that deserves their support. The partition of our symbols has caused you to ignore in the name of ideology the indicators that reveal Daniel Ortega’s true nature. This is a man who has abandoned his principles in his burning desire to hold onto the absolute power he enjoys.

Without a doubt, his government has been very skillful about disguising the maneuvering that has allowed him to totally dominate the Nicaraguan state and its institutions. So much so, that even you seem to refuse to believe the evidence of his misrule. I believe, Secretary Luis, that your calls for the democratic legitimacy of elections shouldn’t be disparaged.  As OAS secretary general, you’re right to defend those civilized mechanisms and to desire that this crisis be resolved through elections. But you must also stretch your understanding a little to see who you’re dealing with.

I want to draw your attention, Mr. Almagro, to some facts that reveal Daniel Ortega’s nature, a leader who has been capable, from April 18th forward, of ordering live fire against unarmed demonstrators, causing the death of over 120 people in more than 48 days of peaceful protests in our country.

Ortega and Murillo have unleashed a hate campaign: paramilitaries, police forces and riot squads are sent out every night with a license to kill, to seed chaos. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Since 2008, many of us Nicaraguans have seen with our own eyes this tactic of sending out gang members to confront demonstrations of citizen discontent. We’ve been beaten up while the police observed and guaranteed the impunity of these violent attacks. In this way, through fear, our government leaders exerted control of the streets of the country for eleven years.

Now they want to take them back by doing the same. Except that this time the people have lost their fear. The protracted and constant presence of the people in the streets despite these punishments and daily killings, have brought Ortega and his followers to lose all measure of control and resort to falsehoods to cover up their responsibility. In a country that’s been at peace, the safest in Central America, the euphemism of calling those who protest “delinquent gangs” is his way of awarding himself license to attack them and treat them as criminals. People are defending themselves with rocks and homemade mortars. Meanwhile they are under attack from paid hit men and skilled personnel carrying military weapons, including the Dragonov rifles of the snipers who kill in cold blood.

Could you perhaps see in this a replay of the Venezuelan script, where they send groups of hit men to loot and commit outrages in order to later accuse those who demand democracy? That same thing is occurring in Nicaragua. It’s not for nothing that Daniel Ortega is an unconditional ally of Venezuela and also of Cuba, two countries that you classify as dictatorships.

Daniel Ortega and his wife are fans of the doctrine that “the end justifies the means”. We Nicaraguans have learned this the hard way. He and his wife have distorted and manipulated our history and our values.

Daniel Ortega is a man whose stepdaughter accused him of sexually abusing her from the age of eleven; a married man with a woman who made a pact with him and took action against her daughter in exchange for a quota of power. Daniel Ortega is a man who was capable of accusing his own companions of treason and then inciting hatred of them among the Sandinista grassroots. Honest people, revolutionary heroes, have been slandered and persecuted.  Whoever opposes Ortega is reviled and accused of all kinds of lies. I myself appear as a terrorist in a video they’ve recently distributed.

Daniel Ortega is a man who made a pact with former President Arnoldo Aleman, imprisoned for corruption and looting of the State, in order to win the elections in the first round with 35% of the vote, instead of the 45% that had been established. To win over the Catholic Church, he went from being an atheist to a fervent Christian and wooed his nemesis, Monsignor Obando y Bravo, by promising the absolute prohibition of therapeutic abortions in our country, a right that had existed since the nineteenth century for women whose pregnancies represented a risk to their lives. The law was then reformed and passed in the National Assembly, with the votes of the FSLN deputies.

Senor Almagro, how can you term a democracy a system where there’s no separation between state and party, where an FSLN deputy, elected by popular vote, is removed for abstaining from a vote in favor of conceding to a Chinese businessman the right to construct an inter-oceanic canal across our territory – a surrender of the national sovereignty with multiple repercussions that the Ortega-controlled National Assembly approved in five days?

And what can be said about the electoral frauds in the 2008 municipal elections and in the 2011 unconstitutional reelection, the result of a corrupt process as confirmed by international organizations? This maneuver allowed Ortega to obtain a sufficient majority in the National Assembly to change the Constitution and be reelected indefinitely.  Behind this is the fact that the Assembly, the Supreme Court and the Electoral Council function as party instruments and do as they’re ordered. They completely lack independence, as do the Police, whose statues – like those of the army – were changed so that those unconditionally loyal to Ortega could be reelected as chiefs time and time again.

It would take a long time, Mr. Almagro, to name the many stunts and maneuvers with which the Ortega-Murillo couple have exercised in an ever more absolute and concentrated power. The unconstitutional naming of Rosario Murillo as vice president is yet another instance of this couple’s disrespect for legality and intention to establish a dynasty in power.

True – I can say this and publish this letter in the few independent media outlets; but neither this letter nor the report from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights will come to be known by the majority of Nicaraguans, since the presidential couple and his children control most of the television and radio stations with national coverage. It’s true that they received the IACHR, but ask them to publish the report with its conclusions and recommendations and you’ll see how little attention they give your request.

Gioconda Belli

Somoza also received the IACHR after the genocide perpetrated in 1978.  Yesterday, like today, popular pressure and the wish to have you believe in them obliged them to do so.  You know first-hand that in 2015 Ortega announced that he wouldn’t allow international observation of the elections. The accompaniment that he did allow the OAS didn’t hinder the scheme that annulled the only opposing party coalition that was in fact competitive. In 2016, during the second consecutive reelection of Ortega, you were present at an election where only Ortega could win, since he had no competition; the electorate responded with massive abstention. They did their trickery, and you merely witnessed a process that had been previously emptied of all content.

Under these circumstances, how can you ask us, Mr. Almagro, to accept the accord that you’ve signed with the government, behind the backs of Nicaraguan society, to “strengthen the democratic institutions” of the Ortega dictatorship?

How can you ask us not to demand a freedom that was won in a long and painful war that cost more than 50,000 deaths in the 70s and 80s? A demand for freedom backed up by the heroism of all those who’ve died during our new, non-violent revolution.

I don’t doubt, Senor Almagro, that you love democracy and that your position is guided by good intentions.  But, in this case, you’ve made a mistake. What Nicaragua demands is that the OAS condemn the killings Ortega is carrying out and support the majority of the Nicaraguan people in their demand to bring about the resignation of Ortega and Murillo in order to facilitate, through a Constitutional transition, a government that – with your help – can organize a trustworthy and transparent electoral process to elect new authorities as soon as possible.

As a woman, as a Nicaraguan mother, united with the grief of so many mothers who have lost their children in this wave of repression that hasn’t ended, I write you this open letter. I beg you to stop giving oxygen to this government which, encircled by its own people, is utilizing your recommendation to continue with its outrages and cause the death of more Nicaraguans.

I hope that you reflect, that you remove the blindfold from your eyes and allow the Nicaraguan people to fulfill their commitment with the future and with the thousands of dead that urge us not to let another dictatorship enthrone itself in our country.

Yours truly,

Gioconda Belli

(from Confidencial)

4 thoughts on “Gioconda Belli Writes to Luis Almagro of the OAS

  • Dear Luis Almagro,

    Today is June 11, 2018

    Have you seen the actions of your friend Commandant Daniel Ortega on the citizens of Nicaragua?.
    You should look at the videos of his forces today, his national police , special forces in black and the thugs that he released from prison that he armed with weapons , the kind that shoot bullets, not smoke mortars , like the ones the protesters have . I personally watched these soulless humans walk and drive through the neighborhoods shooting like they were fighting ISIS FIGHTERS. The problem is that the citizens they were shooting at had no weapons shooting bullets.
    I would love to show you the videos I have
    on the morning raids against the citizens in Managua to remove the roadblocks in the neighborhoods . If you do your research you can compare the videos of Somoza in his last days of power killing unarmed citizens and videos posted today of what Daniel Ortega, your friend , perpetrated. They look the same. And people thought Somoza was a animal , they were right , but look at your friend today . What would you call him ????. Possibly I am confused , does the head of the OAS condone the killing of the citizens?How many people have to die before you do what you were elected to do ?.
    The country is in shut down with road blocks , the biggest blockage is the Pan American highway that has thousands of trucks stuck in Nicaragua passing from other countries in Central America as well as trucks moving goods like food , fuel and gas inside Nicaragua.
    You would think this would be the first area of concern to get the estimated 4000 trucks stuck inside Nicaragua moving through the country and to get the much needed food , fuel and gas to the people that have had over 50 days living without these supplies , but NO, they start in the neighborhoods to instill as much fear into the people and deaths to again try to get the unarmed citizens to step down from their peaceful attempt to oust a murdering dictator that has stolen hundreds of millions dollars from the country . You know he or his killers fired the first shots and killed innocent unarmed protesters marching in Managua, unless your are blind . I know you have seen the videos . Oh , did I forget the fact that your friend , the dictator, also has millions of dollars and ownership of many companies in the country?. The biggest holding I would think is part ownership in the power company for the whole country , worth hundreds of millions of dollars . Where did he obtain the millions of dollars to become a partner in this holding ?. Or is his biggest holding in the ALBA business group?. The 2009 earnings were 280 million dollars profit ???????.
    It’s amazing how these presidents of poor countries get in office with no major assets and build hundreds of millions of dollars in personal holdings and let’s not forget, a lot of new friends . I would like to know what business course he studied in high school . Oh, I forgot you do not have to study if you are a thief .
    Daniel was far from a rich man when he first went into office .

    Are there special benefits being in your position and having a friend like Ortega ??????????????????????????????????????.

    I hope you wake up and realize your friend has stepped over the line .
    I will be looking to see what actions you take now , keep in mind the world has seen the REAL DANIEL ORTEGA. And the world is watching what actions you take . And as they say , be careful of who you pick as friends . Sometimes having the wrong friends can come back to bite you . The world is watching .
    Keep in mind the world has changed. There are ways to investigate personal holdings and sometimes these investigations yield information that can come back to haunt us.
    Your actions from this point forward will be watched very carefully , again, the world is watching you , be careful not to get sucked into the hole he has dug for himself . It’s amazing, after amasing many millions of dollars , look at his actions over the last 51 days . His actions have left him with very few options to enjoy his stolen treasure . He states he wants to stay in Nicaragua, well , at this stage he will be living like a rat or prisoner in his compound. He has lost the majority of his supporters .The people he had killed today were his former supporters. I can not understand how you could walk through life after having innocent unarmed people killed .
    I hope you have seen over the past 50 days the true colors of Ortega. At this point you need to overlook the benefits of your friendship because his darkness has been exposed to the whole world.
    In the following days think very hard about the decisions you make . The conditions on the ground are more serious than you think , I say that because you have not made the right decision up to this point .
    One more point, if your president Tabare Vazquez had his police murder about 15 unarmed citizens per week , most shot in the head … what would the people of Uruguay do ???????????????

    Possibly you could invite your friend, Daniel and his wife, to live in Uruguay as your next door neighbors.
    I wonder how your countrymen would feel about that.
    You are more popular than ever in the eyes of the world. Think very carefully about the decisions you make.
    The whole world is watching you .

    Paul Banks


    From what you have written I assume you are not in Nicaragua , I am not a Nicaraguan, but have been on the ground in Nicaragua for 28 years.
    If you think the increase tax on the employee pay and the decrease on pensions by 5 % is the REAL cause of this you need to do your home work. Do you know that when you retire in Nicaragua you receive 100 % of your salary ?. The model is flawed . Be informed the pension fund is in trouble ,not only that the model does not work ,but “The fund” has been funding unsecured loans to people that have defaulted , can you guess who got those loans?. Americans do no receive any where near 100 % of their salary with social security. This was the spark that ignited the powder keg that has been building for years . I can assure you the masses of people protesting are not the rich , being paid by the rich or guided by the rich . I am one of the rich and we did not want this.
    Let me guess , you think the last presidential election was real and fair . Do your homework.
    The poor people of Nicaragua are tired of the power grab by the current administration .
    You made the comment that Somoza left filthy rich , yes , you are right , it is very apparent you have not studied facts and history if you believe that Somoza made his fortune solely in coffee . Do you have any idea of what Ortega is worth? , keep in mind when he came to power he was not rich and now worth hundreds on millions of dollars .
    If you had done a little research you would have learned that HAVANA TIMES gets no funding from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) .
    Let’s be clear I was not in favor of the protest in Nicaragua, we were happy with the “status quo”, but keep in mind I am not one of the 6 million poor that don’t have proper housing, and there are hundreds of thousands that do not even have running water or a proper toilette. If you are lucky you make about $50.00 dollars per week , if you have a job … Keep in mind a person working in the agricultural sector makes about $4 per day, could you even eat on that?. This is what happens when the poor feel they have no voice and your president eliminates term limits , makes his wife the Vice President and becomes owner or partner in many major companies .
    The president and his wife ,the Vice President, are now partners in the electric company that provides power to over 6 million people , where did he obtain the tens of millions to become a partner?. Do you think he made it in the U.S stock market or Las Vegas?.
    What do think the monthly earnings are for the electric company for over 6 million people ?. Do your home work .
    It is 2018 , it is much harder to last as a dictator when you start educating the people of the country as well as having exposure to the outside world . Under the Somoza rule the poor people had no TV’s and no radios to listen to international news and know what is going on in the world.
    I have to give Ortega credit , he has provided a better opportunity for education for the poor than SOMOZA , but with better educated people the human mind thinks and sees things differently.
    You make the comment :”it is the business places who are demanding the ouster of President Ortega “, you are completely wrong , the business owners have flourished under the Ortega leadership and are not happy with the current state of affairs. As an investor in Nicaragua I would have liked this chapter of history to have never been written . But this is what happens when a country of very poor people have their eyes opened.

    There are some things that are better now than with Somoza , but a dictator can only go so far .
    I am curious, from your post you seem to think you know so much about Nicaragua. Have you ever been to Nicaragua?.
    You should make a trip and see the real story before you make your next post, I think your prospective will be different.

  • You, Kennedy Earle Clarke, are an absolute ignorant and have no idea of what you are talking about. It’s amazing to see how people that live in a country where freedom is respected can be so opinionated about a dictatorship regime where people are being murdered everyday. What is going on in Nicaragua right now is not about a failed legislation, it’s about freedom and the right every human being has to live and prosper without having to sell their souls to the devils that inconstitutionally glue themselves to government.

  • Dear Havana Times, it is quite eveident that you are a part ofthe destabilising efforts of regime change in Nicaragua? Why do you keep labelling Leaders who have lifted the veil of ignorance from the eyes of their people through educating them are dictators but gleefully support those who keep them in the darkness of ignorance? Ortega has since withdrawn the piece of legislation which offended the rioters, yet the protests still continues. It seems as if the oligarchs of the land, knowing that they will be supported by Domald Trump are now pushing for regime change! Who was Samoza, wasn’t he a puppet of the USA and a dictator whom the Sandinitas overthrew in 1979. The Samoza family which was filthy rich from their coffee estates, ruled Nicaragua for 44 years. It is the rich in Nicaragua who like in Venezuela are calling for the ousting of President Ortega. It is the business places who are demanding the ouster of President Ortega and, the Havana Timw=es which is financed by them singing their tune! How much of the 4.2 million dollars donated by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) did H.T receive? You can only FOOL some of the people some of the TIME but you CANNOT FOOL all of the PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME!

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