Not Even God Could Stop Them

This attack, like the deaths, is the direct responsibility of Ortega and Murillo

By Gioconda Belli (Confidencial)

The moment of the attack on the bishops and priests at the San Sebastian Church in Diriamba, Nicaragua. Photo: Carlos Herrera, Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Over this past horrific weekend, first the God of Wrath that our disoriented leaders pray to had them proclaim peace while causing nine deaths in Carazo alone. 

Then, to top things off, on Monday July 9th, we witnessed the abuse against the apostolic nuncio, Waldemar Sommertag, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Bishops Silvio Baez and Monsignor Miguel Mantica, plus Father Edwin Roman, in their mission to stop the repression and the death of more Nicaraguan citizens in Diriamba.

We know that no member of the governing FSLN party moves in this country without receiving orders “from above”.  So, this attack, like the deaths, is the direct responsibility of Ortega and Murillo. The church and its priests have been vilified and accused for having put themselves on the side of the people, because they’ve gone to the barricades and defended the poor, who are the ones who have died in this unequal struggle.

From their offices and platforms, the President and his wife have taken it upon themselves to incite the mobs against these religious leaders, to the point where they threaten and strike God’s representatives on earth, something that not even Somoza did. As Nicaraguans, we can’t feel anything but shame and pain, but also our profound admiration for the risks that these religious figures have run in carrying out their mission to make peace and end the repression and abuses of power that we’re suffering.  We thank them for this with our full hearts.

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo are instigating a fratricidal conflict through their unscrupulous manipulation of the reality that we’ve been living with during these last months. In a statement published on July 9*, the same day that the priests were attacked, they attempted to assume a statesman-like tone, arguing that they acted in defense of the people’s security and to preserve the Constitution (which they’ve altered at their whim). They dare to claim that since April 18, Nicaraguan families “have suffered violence from terrorists who have killed, tortured and kidnapped hundreds of citizens.”

It’s useless to wonder what moves them to deny so clumsily their responsibilities and attribute to the people the criminal actions that they themselves have carried out since that day. Had they had the minimal decency to recognize their early errors – the savage aggression of their Sandinista Youth, armed and on motorcycles, against demonstrators in the Camino de Oriente area of Managua and their posterior assault on the students, causing 21 deaths in the first three days of protests – none of what we’ve lived through would have happened.

Just the opposite, they’ve taken it upon themselves to invent a narrative as criminal as their actions, presenting to their supporters a scenario of a coup d’etat plot, of vandals, placing the responsibility on a supposed right wing, on the MRS opposition party, on the United States (with whom they’ve been negotiating) for the social explosion that they themselves provoked. They’ve launched lie after lie to spark the emotions of those who still believe in their words and in their authority. I don’t doubt that, now, they’ll claim that the people “resent” the priests helping the “coup plotters” and hence acted on their own.

In the same way, with the argument that they must recover the “right” to mobilization, they’ve turned their fury against the roadblocks, transforming the right to free circulation of vehicles into a value above that of human life.  And why are they worried about the roadblocks? Because of commerce. These, our supposed revolutionaries, don’t want to hold up the trucks with merchandise, and they didn’t hesitate, and aren’t hesitating to make use of gang members and hit-men in their paramilitary forces, and to give them a license to kill with the goal of allowing the free flow of commerce.

Communities of time-worn resistance, such as Monimbo (in Masaya) and Subtiaba (Leon), bastions of the Sandinista struggle of the past, have been attacked with guns in order to remove the roadblocks. The photo of Marcelo, dead with his slingshot by his side, will remain in our memory as an image that represents this unequal struggle and the cruelty of two people who, in their lust for power, have lost all traces of compassion and humanity.

It’s true that these days have been laced with terror. It’s nothing less than that, given the firepower which their forces have turned on those who protest at the barricades. It’s nothing less than that, when in this little country over 300 people have lost their lives in three months, and the best of our youth have been jailed and falsely accused.

But they should know from their own experience that firepower isn’t everything; they should know that their deceitful narrative has only had an effect on a small part of the population; they should know that the vast majority will never again believe them, nor will they docilely accept their orders. They should know that their onslaught may cause a retreat, but they should also remember while they commemorate the retreat of 1979, that it’s the retreat that heralded the final victory.