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Ariana McGuire: “Ortega hijacked the Sandinista imaginary and values of the 1979 popular revolution.”

Hello, my name is Ariana. I am a representative of the University Coordination for Democracy and Justice, a space for inter-university articulation with presence throughout the national territory. We have participation in 12 public and private university campuses, and we became a national articulation when the young university students who were protesting inside the universities began to assassinate.

I do not intend to make an extensive report of the events of this crisis, because I imagine that you are already sufficiently aware of this. To those who are interested in more dates, I indicate the report of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, available on the Internet. There is also the Amnesty International report. These documents accurately relate the brutal repression and state terrorism of the Ortega government.

To make a brief contextualization, Ortega kidnapped the Sandinista imaginary and values, product of the popular revolution of 1979. Ortega is an imperialist, a child sexual abuse, a rapist and murderer. He cultivates nepotism, since his wife is his vice-president and his children hold advisory positions in the judiciary and the attorney general’s office. He totally controls the police and has a strategic alliance with the Nicaraguan ultra-right, with the Nicaraguan army, with private companies and with transnational companies, mainly those of Chinese and Russian origin, but also of U.S. origin. The jobs that exist in Nicaragua are transnational maquilas companies that employ cheap labor in terrible conditions for union organization.

There is a total lack of institutionality in Nicaragua. They altered the Constitution to allow Daniel Ortega’s indefinite re-election. The appointments of the magistrates all go through Daniel Ortega’s filter. There is firm control over the main media, advertising, gas stations, hotels, transportation, hospitals, banks… Ortega basically has control over most state-owned companies, bought with Venezuelan cooperation, which has always been used discretionally. We were never accountable for that.

“Orteguismo” is not a left-wing current. “Orteguismo” betrayed the values of the popular Sandinista struggle of the 1970s. To continue defending Ortega is to betray the ideology of the left and the ethical sense of moral responsibility that the left presents in the face of human rights.

Well, putting all that in context, we identify a total state of social and political vulnerability. We don’t have institution and the laws are not respected. The authorities do not guarantee the safety and life of their people. 80% of the population has already demonstrated against this regime, demanding a radical change and the exit of the dictator.

We, as a caravan, are each a different movement, however, at the same time, we are part of a great articulation of social movements that is the way in which the Nicaraguan people are getting organized. Never as now have different social sectors united by a single struggle. Women, feminists, LGBT groups, students, peasants, Afro-Caribbean, indigenous groups, union groups, doctors, teachers, the Church, private enterprise… or rather, with certain sectors of the private initiative. We are all together, practicing an improvised form of democracy, where the processes are horizontal, where there is the participation of society, where there is a need to be heard and to propose projects.

With Daniel Ortega’s brutal denial of the massacre and crimes against humanity against an unarmed and peaceful people, a people that is not willing to face war again, we decided to visit the South American region, after a successful caravan in Europe. South America is closer to Nicaragua, we have greater ties of friendship, solidarity, affection and shared history. That is why we decided to come and talk with you, with Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. To remind you of your responsibility to support and act in the face of the massacres that are being committed against Nicaraguans.

In this sense, our agenda established a dynamic meeting with parliamentary groups, foreign relations commissions, chancelleries, state and governmental bodies. At the same time, we are also articulating action meetings with different political parties, mainly those of the left and the progressives of those five countries, as well as meeting with the grassroots movements of those parties, or those that work autonomously and independently.

Obviously, the Nicaraguan community residing in these countries has a fundamental role in the work we are doing. As part of the successes of this caravan, we can say, at the beginning, that we had the opportunity to denounce with our testimonies and our history that unimaginable experience of terror that we live with our families in Nicaragua. At first, the objective was to provide this information first hand. Afterwards, our objective was to sensitize those who do not understand or believe that the events reported in Nicaragua are the responsibility of a supposed revolutionary commander, who in truth distances himself a great deal from this appearance.

Furthermore, I would like to denounce the fact that I have nine colleagues who are currently political prisoners, subjected to torture 12 days ago, without even access to food in prison, as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was able to verify. They try to incriminate them as “terrorists” and “murderers”, as well as other fabricated crimes. These are student leaders, friends of mine who have a solid commitment to a better and fairer Nicaragua. The youngest completed 18 years in prison, under physical and psychological torture. In addition, it must be said that the greatest sieges are against women who are being imprisoned, mainly with trans women, given the level of machismo, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia that characterize Latin American societies and in Nicaraguan society.

We have a state of total vulnerability. The only law that applies in Nicaragua is the Antiterrorist Law, promulgated by presidential decree on July 20 this year, in a record time of 2 hours. This law prescribes that any form of demonstration, protest, dissent, action and mobilization against the Ortega regime is a terrorist act with a prison sentence of 20 years or even more, depending on the accusations. To cite an example: the caravan we are now doing is considered an act of terrorism, for you have an idea of the risk we are running.

Well, so far we have been very well received by the groups that prepared to organize our coming. The proposal is to generate a Latin American network that functions from South America that serves to advise the Nicaraguan people and the organized movements that seek a democratic transition from the exit of Ortega and all his leadership. In the end, it is impossible to advance a centimeter in our situation, while we are being killed. So, starting from the idea that Ortega will not last long, we propose the creation of a network composed of parliamentarians, deputies, cultural personalities, social activists, political parties, leaders like yourselves, who can generate work cells with functioning through commissions (International Law Commission), Commission of Memory, Truth and Justice, Commission of Communication and Dissemination for the permanent denunciation of what happens there, Commission of Gender Affairs, Feminism for accompaniment of the special violence that women live for being women in Nicaragua, Commission of Democracy, Commission of Pacification for the disarmament of the paramilitary groups, etc.

I would like to make it clear that the paramilitary groups in Nicaragua have nothing to do with organized crime or drug trafficking. They are armed groups belonging to the political mafias led by Daniel Ortega.

I would like to know how you can reinforce these solidarity actions on the part of PSOL, what ideas you have, how you see the situation, what joint actions we could coordinate and who would be willing to participate in this South American network. The network aims to form a work cell in each country, in the case of Brazil we visited three cities (Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo). I think that each city could work with a nucleus, such as Santiago, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Lima, in order to form a very large network that includes the entire South American region.

It is important to remember the responsibility of the left not to continue supporting a rapist murderer, because there is no ideological justification that can establish a reason that accepts the systematic violation of rights and crimes against humanity, summary executions, kidnappings, violations, etc.

We thank you for your presence and we indicate, once again, the material available on the Internet that documents this socio-political crisis in Nicaragua and relates chronologically the events and the resistance of the Nicaraguan people.

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