Nicaragua is in chaos.
Roads are blocked, fuel and food shortages are making themselves felt, while in the towns the police are shooting those who demonstrate their opposition to the regime of President Commandante Daniel Ortega and his wife – and Vice President – Rosaria Murillo.
The thugs of Murillo’s private army, the Juventad Sandanista, have burned and sacked Monimbo, the indigenous quarter of Masaya, famed for its revolt against the dictatorship of Somoza. The old fort, turned into a tourist attraction as a centre for the sale of local crafts, has gone up in flames with the loss, not only of stock, but of the jobs of those who worked there.
There have been similar incidents on other towns, but the attack on Monimbo, that icon of the revolution, strikes at the heart of what the original Sandinistas fought for…an end to corruption, proper education, a chance to make better lives for themselves and their children…self respect.
A revolution which brought so much of good in its wake has been betrayed by Ortega and his wife…a tale too often repeated in the post colonial world….and now the people have had enough.
Given the censorship it is hard to follow what has been happening…Nicaraguan friends, in contact with and worried about their families, give snapshot pictures of the violence… social media sites give other glimpses…
Let me just say that I will not put up videos of a young man shot by police whose body is then kicked around by his killers..another, dying in the street despite his friends giving him the kiss of life…badly wounded young men evacuated on the back of motorbikes to be treated – not in the public hospitals and clinics, whose staff have been ordered not to treat the ‘delinquents’ – but in churches and presbyteries where the same staff do what they can with the resources at their disposal.
I have walked those streets…I recognise some of the faces…
The black and red flags of the Sandanistas are now countered by the blue and white of the national flag as the protesters march forward, only to be beaten back by live rounds and tear gas.
Priests and monks march in the front, arms raised in sign of peace…but the shots continue.
The women who set up the museums of Heroes and Martyrs to record the horrors of the Somoza regime and the incursions of the Contras march in revolt against the movement for which they fought…but the shots continue.
Today there was a meeting arranged by the Catholic Church, one of the members of the troika which includes the government and big business, to hear the protests of the farmers and the students..the most visible of those rising in revolt.
Ortega described the protesters as delinquents…the student representative called for the resignation of Ortega and Murillo..the church moderator closed the meeting.
Where are we now? The Ortega regime is fighting for its life…the protesters are not organised…who knows if the U.S.A. will be sticking its finger in the pie…
But the people are in the streets despite all…and the cry is
‘Que se rinda tu madre…’
Nicaraguan friends explain…
Literally…let your mother surrender…
But in Spanish usage mention of the mother is for emphasis…so, if a person you dislike asks you for help you tell him to ask his mother…in other words, you need help, ask your mother…I’m buggered if I am going to help you.
And so with ‘que se rinda tu madre’…
‘Que se rinda tu madre’
Or, colloquially, get stuffed.
Needless to say, he was shot.