We Can’t Be Silent in the Name of Unity

Come closer to the people and try to show a little more empathy, and less hunger for power. The statistics aren’t statistics, they’re people.

Amaya Coppens (r) and the “water carriers” in January 2020, together with relatives of political prisoners. They’re demanding freedom for those who remain in the dictatorship’s jails. Photo: Carlos Herrera

By Amaya Coppens (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – I wrote in order to vent my frustrations at last, and express what I think and feel. There are too many things that we continue hushing up in the name of unity. I expected the attacks, and in truth, I’m not here seeking popularity. I never did that. I don’t want to be compared with any of the candidates, because I’m not one.

Deciding to cast our lives aside was a lot easier when we thought we were all in the same boat. However, we never were. We’ve held meetings with you, the anointed. Those who have a voice; those whose voice we supposed would echo ours. We trusted you, we supported you. From the streets, we thought that we were doing our part, and you, yours. We slept in the street, we ate in the street, we dug holes in the street with our own hands. We ran for our lives; we lost sisters and brothers.

I learned that we weren’t all in the same boatwhen, in the middle of our tears, seeing that they were hunting us down little by little, we asked you for a strike. We asked you to react, and you responded: “We don’t have time for this.” That insensitively, that dry and clipped – that’s how you disposed of the topic. And they kept hunting us down, it did no good to run. And they continue hunting us down, while the reaction has been the same. The lack of reaction has been the same. We were collateral damage, chips to cash in, names for your advertising posters. 

Meanwhile, we continue baring our chests, sacrificing ourselves, because in Nicaragua, martyrs are exalted. “Here, take your bouquets; take your messages of repudiation,” so no one thinks about complaining. But freedom, justice, no. Not while it’s still inconvenient, unless you’re one of the “important” ones. We’re going to talk about you, but not with you. Better not to. You make us uncomfortable. You make noise, you question. What you’re doing is promoting division.

Almost three years have now gone by. There’ve been over 800 prisoners, over 500 dead, over 100,000 exiles, and there’s still no reaction. In the meantime, we still have nightmares. We live with our scars and our crumbled lives. Meanwhile, Crisitana [Chamorro] complains of the “ruckus”, that doesn’t allow her to drink her coffee in peace. Despite her long aristocratic legs, she doesn’t manage to touch the ground. And a group of conservative machos meet to compare their diplomas.

Someday in Nicaragua we’ll really be able to decide, instead of resigning ourselves to the lesser of two evils. Someday we’ll be able to live in a free country. But in the meantime, we don’t forget or hush up. Because we’ve paid an immense price for our voices. Because there are those who can no longer speak. We’ll never again accept things without questioning, without demanding answers.

Instead of asking to debate with the dictatorship – something we know they won’t concede – instead of seeking publicity for yourselves, demand liberty. If your priorities don’t coincide with ours, let us remind you: above and beyond your personal campaigns are life, liberty and justice.

Freedom for the political prisoners! Justice for the murdered!

I want to emphasize that my principal criticism is a general one, towards the large private business sector. Especially towards the disconnect several key figures have shown, not only Cristiana. This criticism isn’t personal. It’s not because of her family history, or her last name. It’s for the insensitivity with which she buried a topic that carries enormous suffering.

She hasn’t been the only one, nor is she the only one I mention. I’m pointing a finger at all those who are candidates at this moment. I’m asking them to reflect on their approach. And to maintain present the empathy that’s needed, before a people so badly wounded.

It saddens me to see how my words have been distorted in a mean-spirited way. My objective isn’t to disparage some, nor to campaign for others.

What I want, is to remind all of them of the situation we’re still living with. And to remind them, too – as we remind ourselves – that they are still humans. That they make mistakes, and we have the right to tell them so, especially if they’re aspiring to become President.

The moment when we can no longer criticize them, would be the moment we begin repeating anew our history of caudillo figures. We’d only be switching out whatever untouchable figure was on top.

Come closer to the people. Try to show a little more empathy, and less hunger for power. The statistics aren’t statistics, they’re people.

With a strong hug,

Long live a free Nicaragua!

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