Nicaragua: The Future of a Generation is at Play

By Dennis Martinez (La Prensa)

Dennis Martinez on the mound.

HAVANA TIMES – I recently read an interview with the valiant young Nahiroby Olivas. In it, he stated: “While Ortega is in power, there’s no future for my generation.” That phrase is a hard blow to all Nicaraguans. It reflects the feelings and the reality of an entire crop of intelligent young people, whose qualities are exceptional. They could change a country through their professions.

Nevertheless, they’ve had to exile themselves, hide or dedicate themselves to something else, because the Government is persecuting and repressing them. They’ve clipped their wings – their education – by expelling them from the universities.

I take this as my reference point, because I was one of the fortunate ones. Although I lived in the era of the Somoza dictatorship, my talent was allowed to stand out. I received an offer to sign on with a Major League team, as did Antonio Chevez.

Later, the eighties arrived, and baseball players of formidable qualities arose. However, their professional hopes were amputated by a system that consumed the country. Another generation was buried. The youth couldn’t choose what they wanted to be.  Their options were to flee or go to war; seek exile or risk their lives. All for an ideology that ended up failing the majority, although it was successful in generating wealth for a few.

Now I’m a father. I watched my children develop, with all the facilities a young person needs in terms of sports and education. They’ve enjoyed these privileges right through the culmination of their university studies. I put myself in the place of every Nicaraguan parent who has worked hard to see his children get ahead.  Now they can’t find work, their rights are crushed underfoot and the only way out they see is leaving Nicaragua. That’s hard.

This may sound a little drastic. However, as young Olivas said, if a young person has the opportunity to take off for another country, they should do it. It’s their future that’s in play. They shouldn’t let their hopes of becoming someone in life, the person they always dreamed of being, just wither away. No one but God knows the future. Maybe sometime later, when Nicaragua is free, they’ll have the chance to implement and share the lessons they’ve learned in countries more developed than ours.

I remember when I was manager of the Nicaraguan All Star team in Panama. I wanted to contribute my knowledge. I formed a well-constructed plan to prepare the pitching and the batting. Nonetheless, they grew unhappy with me. They said I was very demanding and that in Nicaragua things were done differently. I understood that they didn’t want to improve, or even evolve, to take that step forward.

The country will change, It has already awakened, and when young people such as Amaya or Nahiroby express their ideas, they’ll surely be heard. But while our differences continue preventing unity, the future of a generation is in play.

*Dennis Martinez is Nicaragua’s leading sports hero.  The Managua baseball stadium is named after him.  He is currently a member of a Good Faith Committee, trying to help bring about unity among the Nicaragua opposition to the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.