Nicaraguans Suffering for Their Country from Afar

By Karen Cruz

Photo: Democracy Now

HAVANA TIMES — My first instinct when I saw what was happening in Nicaragua was to buy a plane ticket and go. It was difficult to keep a rational head upon seeing so much injustice and my people in pain. I logged out of Facebook for a few hours and sat down to think about what I could do.

Later I began searching to see if I could find any group on social media which would be organizing a protest. I managed to see a call for people to go to the Nicaraguan consulate here in Los Angeles, California, and take a stance. However, when I arrived nobody was there so I waited for a couple of hours and three more people showed up and we began to shout “Viva Nicaragua Libre” in unison. That was our first protest and we haven’t stopped since then.

Every week, we stand outside the consulate with our placards and Nicaraguan flags. One time, we went up to the consulate’s offices and we laid out our demands but we weren’t in there for a full 5 minutes because a security guard came and told us to leave. I remember that being a beautiful day when we shouted out the injustices they had committed and let off some steam.

More and more people are joining us every day and we have managed to get quite a big crowd together at our protests, to inform others about what is really happening in Nicaragua.

People walking down the street ask us why we are protesting and we have had the chance to tell them about the crimes that the government is committing against our people.

Nicaraguans in Washington D.C.

Once, a couple of Argentinians came up to me and offered their moral support and keep us company for a while. At another protest, an Armenian man and I were telling each other stories about our countries, “he told me that you will be successful, the same thing happened to us and we were successful, you’ll surely get it.”  Listening to those words filled me with hope.

We hold protests, vigils and we have supported other groups and individuals who have come together so as to send financial aid. I finally understand what it means when we Nicaraguans say we have a finger in every pie, because I feel like I can’t stop.

My thinking is that if there are tireless young people fighting the struggle for us, then why are we going to get tired. We have made kermes to collect money, we have organized afternoons, backyard sales. This past weekend, my friend Angela and I made nacatamales to sell and they were a great success because we ran out. We laughed at each other because they were the most popular vandalic* nacatamales I had ever seen and I have also set up a gofundme campaign to collect money.

I believe that the most beautiful thing amidst so much pain and tragedy is seeing a group of Nicaraguans with so much love for their homeland, come together, which is something I haven’t seen in my 13 years living in Los Angeles. A strong bond of unity and an incredible hunger to help has been created. We have made direct contact with Monimbo, Matagalpa and other places, as well as other places where basic needs have yet to be met, so they have been receiving some aid.

We held a vigil on Mothers’ Day and it was very sad to look into each others’ faces and not be able to smile, some people cried, others shouted slogans out, with sad, annoyed faces. All of these collective emotions in the face of so much pain and suffering.

Today, Sunday, I tried to buy a plane ticket to travel to Washington and attend the protest on Monday, joining other Nicaraguans who will be protesting. However, I wasn’t successful but I’m going to keep on trying.

*Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo call the student protesters, vandals, the devel and the miniscules.