By Ramon E. Matus
Radio La Primerisima, 01 April 2019
In one year Nicaragua has become unrecognizable. The reality and the dreams of a country have been seriously damaged, precisely when its economic and social indicators took flight towards sustained growth, that is to say, when we were progressing after 50 years of being at the bottom of the pot.
Horrible things happened, typical of wars or those situations where people are confronted by matters of creed, race or hunger. Here it was only hatred, manipulation and political interests. “Nothing more.”
But among so many horrible things, three things were indelibly engraved in my mind: an inconsolable child crying over the coffin of his policeman father who was ambushed and murdered; a humble man from the village killed by gunmen from the roadblocks because the man dared to ask them why they had previously murdered his son. His body was thrown into a garbage dump. And what impacted the whole country was the brutality with which a young policeman was tortured, murdered and burned in Masaya.
But as the rain begins with a drop, these atrocities then began with “simple things” such as vandalism or tagging young people believing them to be members of the Sandinista Youth, as if that were a crime. Then came the beatings, the public scorn, stripping and shaming, lynching people of all ages and sexes, always for the same reason: intolerance and hatred.
So last Saturday, at an accomplice mall in Managua, the movie was filmed again.
They don’t learn because they don’t want to learn. They are motivated by a plan or a salary, but above all they have plenty of hatred. They hate Sandinismo; they hate the country; they hate peace.
Those who from their comfortable exile or their cowardly lairs directed and financed the riots and destruction, those who manipulated hundreds of unthinking young people who today are asking for a piece of bread in Costa Rica or who suffer their wrongdoing in other ways, they have returned to their ways. They have started again.
They don’t care about Nicaragua or its people or the progress or the laws, or their own followers, because there is no reasonable motivation in their actions even though they clothe themselves with our flag and shout our slogans.
Let us hope that our authorities will stop them in their tracks lawfully or everything will get out of control again. That is what these senseless ones want.
But we must warn them that it is impossible to think of a Nicaragua without Sandinistas, even if the gringos want it, because we are part of this people and of this nation. We must be accounted for. They should not underestimate us, nor ignore us, much less want to disappear or kill us. We are millions.
We Sandinistas are good at Peace; we reach out; we forget offenses. But we are great warriors when we are provoked and forced to fight.
For the good of all: let us continue negotiating, seeking peace by conversing.
Don’t provoke us again!
By Nan McCurdy
Violence and Instability Battered the 2018 GDP
In 2018 the Nicaraguan economy was affected by the attempted coup and subsequent violence with a decrease in the yearly growth recorded in recent years. The results of the preliminary estimate of 2018 GDP indicate that economic activity decreased by 3.8 percent, the Central Bank of Nicaragua said on April 1. In 2018 there was positive growth in fishing and aquaculture (14.7%), electricity (4.3%), water (3.6%), agriculture (3.3%), education (2.9%), health (2.7%), mining (1.7%), and manufacturing (1.1%). This attenuated the negative impact of lower tax collection and of the decline in activities such as hotels and restaurants (-20.2%), construction (-15.7%), commerce (-11.4%), livestock (-5.4%) among others. Production was good in coffee, rice, soybean, sesame and tobacco. This partially offset the decline in the cultivation of corn, beans, peanuts and sugar cane, among others. Fisheries and aquaculture experienced growth but beef and cattle exports declined. The manufacturing industry saw higher production in the processing of sugar, other foods, beverages, tobacco, and textiles.
The report of the Nicaraguan Central Bank indicates that total consumption decreased 4.5 percent. The government’s collective consumption decreased (-8.5%) as did the consumption of households and non-profit institutions (-4.8%).The evolution of private consumption was associated with a decrease in credit provided for personal loans and credit cards; and a less dynamic flow of remittances that entered the country. (Informe Pastran, 4/1/19)
International Red Cross Comparing Lists of Detained
Over the weekend of March 30-31, the government and the opposition delegations to the Negotiation Table delivered lists of those arrested during and after the attempted coup to the International Red Cross. The international organization will compare the very different lists to begin the process of release. There is a period of 90 days for this process. In this context, the government, as a sign of good will, has released more than 100 prisoners, who now enjoy house arrest. (Radio La Primerisima, 4/1/19)
Protesters Create Chaos at Shopping Mall
Three wounded and a brutally beaten citizen is the toll of the small sit-in held the afternoon of March 30 at the Metrocentro mall. Another small group tried to do the same at the Galeria Mall but they were rejected by the shoppers. Nothing similar took place anywhere else in the country. In fact, the beaches were full of people enjoying themselves. The National Police reported that the group brutally beat Germán Félix Dávila Blanco, 70 years old, who was on the outskirts of that shopping center. In a communiqué issued by Commissioner General Jaime Antonio Vanegas, the authorities said that Dávila is hospitalized in a delicate state as a result of the beating. In another video at the mall the protesters verbally abused women and children. The abused, rather than the abusers, were escorted out by mall security. In the images broadcast by the media those who punched and kicked Davila wore hoods. But one of them is seen in another video receiving orientations from Zayda Hernandez, one of the youth leaders with the opposition in the May 2018 dialogue. A small group of opposition members has staged violent protests the last three Saturdays apparently to try to undermine the negotiations between the opposition and the government. See videos in these links: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/261029/vandalos-golpean-brutalmente-a-un-ciudadano-en-las-afueras-de-metrocentro/, https://www.tn8.tv/nacionales/472079-denuncian-grupos-derecha-agredir-y-provocar-caos-tarde-sabado/ (La Primerisima, Canal 8, 3-31-19)
Government Delegation at Negotiations Condemns Violence
The government delegation to the negotiations roundtable issued a statement on March 31 which said, “We declare our condemnation of the violence and delinquency carried out the last three Saturdays…. In a private mall in Managua a group of violent hooded people…and their media apparatus forcibly occupied a shopping mall, frightening, insulting, assaulting those who visited to shop and enjoy themselves with their families. …. [A]mong the violent individuals were members of the self-proclaimed Civic Alliance who are also part of the Negotiations Roundtable.” The statement went on to say: “The government delegation demands coherence and consistency of the Civic Alliance in the interest of the Nicaraguan families who want and deserve peace. We call on you to leave behind the times of terrorism, destruction of lives and homes, of our economy, of the right to work and to a dignified life for all our people. The Government Delegation reiterates to our families and communities that peace is the way; it is the supreme mandate, and with the greatest sense of common good, we continue to be totally dedicated to fulfill our obligation to our people. Managua, March 31, 2019. (http://barricada.com.ni/comunicado-delegacion-gobierno-mesa-de-negociacion-el-entendimiento-y-la-paz/)
Recent Agreements at the Negotiation Round Table
On March 28, the Negotiations Round Table announced that the negotiations will finish on April 3. The Nicaraguan government and the opposition leaders agreed on March 27 on the procedure to follow up on the process of releasing some of those detained accused of crimes between April and July of last year. Communiqué number 9 issued by both parties after a month of negotiations, explains that after reaching agreements, negotiators held a meeting in Managua with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which issued recommendations that have already been incorporated into the preliminary agreement. The Red Cross sent the agreement between the three parties to its world headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where the ICRC will give the final go-ahead to implement it. In addition, the communiqué No. 9 records that in this week’s sessions the government and the opposition advanced in the content of an eventual agreement “to strengthen the rights and guarantees of citizens established in the Constitution that include individual and social freedoms, and respect for human rights of Nicaraguans. The Papal Nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag and the OAS Representative Luis Ángel Rosadilla continue to participate in the meetings as international witnesses and accompaniers. (Radio La Primerisima 3/28/19)
Caribbean Nations Express Their Solidarity with Nicaragua
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on March 29 at the 8th meeting of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), in Managua that “the member states of the ACS share the responsibility of defending the consensus that we have built together and of continuing to promote solidarity as a necessary premise for action on all the issues that involve us”. He added “the ACS must continue to be a cornerstone in the unity of the Greater Caribbean, the only alternative in the face of the enormous challenges we face.
The Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Third Cooperation Conference is meeting starting March 28 on topics such as tourism, risk reduction, disasters, trade, transportation, and protection of the Caribbean Sea. In this VIII Summit, members celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the organization whose main objective is to serve as a mechanism for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in the areas of trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Caribbean area. Its member states are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Aruba, Curaçao (France, on behalf of French Guiana, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin), Guadeloupe, Netherlands, on behalf of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, Martinique, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands. (Radio La Primerisima, 3/29/19)
Truth, Justice and Peace Commission Clarify Numbers of Detained
On March 26, the Truth, Justice and Peace Commission (CVJP) challenged the data on detainees issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and a committee of people involved in the 2018 coup attempt. During a press conference, Jaime López Lowery stated that the commission verified that 261 people are currently being detained, contrary to the IACHR’s list of 647 inmates handed over to the Nicaraguan government. Lowery explained that of the 386 prisoners remaining from IACHR data, CVJP members stated that 152 have been released, 61 are not linked to the conflict, 54 do not have complete personal information, “which makes it impossible to verify their real state”; 112 are not in any penitentiary or police establishment and seven names are duplicated. (Radio La Primerisima, 3/27/19)
New Hospital in San Juan del Sur
The Nicaragua Ministry of Health announced that a new primary hospital will be inaugurated in San Juan del Sur Municipality, Rivas Department, on April 3. “The new US$5.4 million hospital has 45 beds and will offer services in general medicine, orthopedics, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, dentistry, laboratory and X-rays,” the MINSA report stated. (Nicaragua News, 3/27/19)
More New Homes in Matagalpa
The government announced a new phase of the Bismarck Martinez housing program where two thousand families in Matagalpa will benefit. The first phase will launch with 429 homes. (19Digital 4/2/19)