It’s not the United States’ job to light the candles for the funeral procession. It’s our job.
By Gioconda Belli (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – I don’t agree with the Nica Act. Watching an extremely conservative senator such as Ted Cruz, radically opposed to freedoms that I consider sacred, convert himself into a supposed “ally” of the Nicaraguan people brings me back in time to that disastrous era when the United States dictated our destiny as a nation. I think about the consequences of the proposed US sanction on our economy, and the price we’ll pay, especially the neediest.
If I were to support the Nica Act, I’d also have to conclude in retrospect that the Contra war benefited Nicaragua because it concluded with the advent of a democratic government. That’s a conclusion I can’t accept.
But – What actually happened with our democratic governments? The US intervention didn’t give birth to the political forces necessary for the country to progress. The UNO coalition didn’t even last through Doña Violeta Chamorro’s term as president.
Later, there was Aleman, who ended up in jail for corruption, followed by the Bolaños government that did, in fact, advance democracy by structuring and implementing municipal autonomy. However, the Bolaños coalition was weak politically and he ended up like Doña Violeta, left governing amid a panorama of party decomposition and fragmentation.
The point I want to make with all this is that it hasn’t been enough – nor was it ever enough – to oppose the unquestionable authoritarianism and general lack of democracy during the eighties by advocating for United States intervention. While not downplaying the impact of the FSLN’s sabotage of the Chamorro government, we also need to hold the Nicaraguan political class responsible for their inability to construct, much less consolidate, a solid alternative capable of changing the correlation of internal forces.
Despite obvious popular distrust of a Sandinista return in 2006, Daniel Ortega won the battle using a mixture of political astuteness, the loyalty of a sufficient portion of the population and – once again – the lack of consistency and unity of the opposition.
The very “opportune” death of Herty Lewites on the other hand, dealt a setback to the possibility for a critical Sandinista movement that could alter the percentages. It also shattered the unity Herty had achieved within the ranks of the MRS. Without Herty, the party fragmented, and it’s taken an enormous effort to bring it together once more. Currently though, it’s the party that the Ortega forces are most afraid of. Their manipulation managed to isolate the MRS from the coalitions built in 2008 and 2010, leading to the formation of a new group in 2016: Citizens for Liberty. However, it’s clear that currently not even the left is united in Nicaragua.
So what is the Nica Act going to accomplish? Returning to the eighties, it can be deduced that no measure of that kind will ever change the situation for the opposition within the country.
It’s predictable that the repression we’re already seeing will worsen, as was evident in the last march organized by the rural anti-canal movement. As in the eighties, the Ortega apparatus and their well-tuned propaganda machine will appeal to the Nicaraguan people’s true and historic anti-imperialism, using it like a machete to cut down and vilify anyone opposed to sovereignty: not the sovereignty of the country – in any case, that’s already been sold to Wang Jing – but that of the pseudo-monarchy that rules us.
With no media access in this principality; without unified objectives; with politicians given to selling out, and others incapable of subordinating their vague ideological objections or their personal leadership to the need to forge minimum accords and consolidate an alternative – What can the Nica Act bring? What could such measures accomplish if we ourselves seem incapable of reaching a consensus and giving in enough to mount a consistent and united internal battle to recover the democratic rights that have been violated?
Certainly, Ortega and his allies have behaved destructively, abusing their power in order to dismantle the attempts at unity on the part of the opposition. Beheading the leadership of the PLI Alliance in the last elections was a low blow, and I believe that the governing pair lost more than they admit by acting in that manner. The resounding and unquestionable abstention in the 2016 elections was a measure of the popular disapproval.
But what happened to the Alianza? How is it possible that those who were ready to face the national elections only a few months earlier decided that ideological differences prevented them from uniting with the MRS as a way of continuing? What exchange took place, or promises of legal status that perhaps aren’t even being kept, to make those who were annulled behave that way?
As the saying goes: “It takes two to tango.” In other words, once more we fell into the underlying trap: a lack of consistency and of integrity when faced with offers from the powers-that-be who exploit the weaknesses of the political class. Power can only fail when confronted by righteousness, and such righteousness is a virtue too many people in national politics seem to lack.
As a Nicaraguan woman it hurts me to put forth these considerations, but in my opinion it would be more constructive if – instead of calling for the Nica Act – we confront this regime with true patriotic attitudes that would keep them from dividing and conquering. A plan for consensus is needed, a proposal for a social pact and for the Nicaragua that we want: a proposal that could win the population’s enthusiasm, and also elevate and support the leaders that have arisen in these years who are disposed not to sell out or surrender.
There’s a lot of disperse energy in our country. We have the force, but lack the consistency, the maturity and the righteousness. It’s not the United States’ job to light the candles for the funeral procession. It’s our job.