Political Strongmen and “Vanguards” Aren’t the Same as Leaders

In the post entitled: “The struggle that lies before us in Nicaragua”, Gioconda Belli sums up what many of us wanted to say.

By Nadine Lacayo (Confidencial)

Relatives denounce the mistreatment of the female political prisoners at the La Esperanza penitenciary. Photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – I’m writing in the name of many people who are grateful for Gioconda Belli’s article “The struggle that lies before us” that was published in Confidencial on November 5th: It’s a courageous post that touches a sore point in this issue of unity that concerns many of us.

However, I’d be even more grateful if the organizations that make up the “Blue and White National Unity” movement (UNAB) would read it and reflect on it in good conscience. With all due respect, I’m a lot less concerned with what Mr. Barcenas wrote, because his inaccuracies are obvious and I don’t believe that many will take him seriously.

However, what Gioconda Belli proposes sums up what many Nicaraguans have wanted to say or hear for some time now. I won’t repeat her analysis and proposals, since the post is complete and accurate, but only add some timely thoughts. I implore the men and women from the organizations that comprise the UNAB to take these into consideration in some way.

  1. The ideas that Gioconda proposes should pave the way for a much-needed campaign to achieve practical results from that unity, something that at least translates into an effective “executive committee” or however they want to call it. We have a right as citizens to pressure for results of this kind, to demand them, and to be informed about what they do, the state of the accords they’ve announced, and the reason for so much silence. By this time, the organizations that have been brought together in the UNAB should understand that the people have the right to pound on the table around which they gather.


  1. Those of us – like GB – “on the far reaches” are clear about the need to have coherent national voices to count on. As such, we should seize this spot-on proposal. For better or worse – and more better than worse – this need was in some ways formerly resolved by the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy. Now something broader is needed, I agree, but we need it right now. This national vacuum needed to be filled yesterday; a vacuum that – at this point in the civic resistance – would seem to be a huge folly.


  1. I note the above for the following reason: hundreds have been massacred here; there are hundreds of prisoners here living through horrors; there are tens of thousands of people exiled and suffering greatly; there are hundreds of thousands of people unemployed due to the economic crisis the regime has brought us to. We need the UNAB and the organizations that make it up to be serious and responsible about their commitments. I believe that the person who feels like a hindrance should please step out of the way and not boycott the consensus. Do it in the name of this people who have put everything on the table: their lives and their future.


  1. Although it may seem incredible, these organizations need to take into consideration the fact that the people continue to mobilize however they can, and that they’ve gone beyond them. The people continue, despite their pain, marching ahead of all the leaders of these organizations – leaders that have fallen silent after coming out to announce the Unity movement with a great document in hand. We’ve seen on television, the regrettable sight of those leaders jockeying for space in a disjointed mass, saved only by the solemnity and trust that Dr. Tunnerman, who read the proclamation, inspires.


  1. I accept the possibility that I’m speaking without real knowledge of events; I have no idea what goes on in the assemblies or meetings of the UNAB. However, that’s not my issue, nor do I plan to horn in there, because I don’t represent anybody. However, let’s be careful that the political culture that we want to eradicate doesn’t infiltrate the group. That culture of: “I have the truth, I’ve been struggling since before April, I have the moral authority, that’s bourgeois, this man or woman is old or comes from the past, or I’m a whiz and this one doesn’t have any experience, and therefore I belong here and this one doesn’t,” etc. In other words: intolerance, disguised fanaticism, and sectarianism carrying the banner of dim “truths” and ideologies in crisis. What’s at stake here is the struggle for life and liberty, and we’re all victims of the same oppressor.


  1. I don’t expect a sentimental, romantic and perfect ironclad unity, or one that revolves around profound and strategic foundations carved in stone. I expect a unity where the real forces are represented, the key figures of society, the new agents of change and those that are necessary. And if some gadfly wants to be there, don’t pay attention to them, just let them fight for their ten minutes of fame.


  1. Help by acting pragmatically, like the people who are doing simple things. A National Plan for the next 30 or 50 years will come in time. Today, these organizations should make repairs, arrive at agreements with good will, leave their egos small and large behind, consider this blood that’s been spilled. When I say this, it’s not just to provoke an emotional reaction, it’s because there’s a need for justice so that this people can be saved. PLEASE!


  1. Lastly, let’s not be afraid of the “leaders”, a concept that’s not the same thing as “strongmen”, and let’s forget the roles of “the vanguard”. But, please, be sensible, read Gioconda’s article, respond to it and don’t say, “She’s right, but we already knew that, and you should see how hard forging this unity is!”