Que se rinda tu madre



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’…

ln the struggle against Somoza’s forces the young poet Leonel Rugama Rugama found himself on the front line.Summoned to surrender he replied

‘Que se rinda tu madre’

Or, colloquially, get stuffed.

Needless to say, he was shot.


39 thoughts on “Que se rinda tu madre”

  1. I suppose I should not be at all surprised that “foreign” news here just now seems centred on a silly wedding. ‘Even my Times newsfeed has not mentioned Nicaragua in headlines.
    Thank you for being at least one covering this.

    1. I e mailed The Guardian to ask why there was no coverage……some time later they put up an article giving a brief outline.
      As for That Wedding…remember your Kipling? The Sergeant’s wedding?

  2. Thanks for this Helen. It’s not even being reported in The Conversation, and it would be just the sort of topic they normally handle, so it’s really under the radar.

  3. “Power to the people!”
    Except when the ‘people’ take power the ‘people’ who exercise that power on behalf of the ‘people’ tend to want to keep exercising that power ‘for the people.’ Very ex-colonial indeed.
    The US will now step in to support the er, ‘communists’ against the er, ‘revolutionaries.’
    Just to keep the country er, ‘stable…’

    1. Honestly, I don’t know that the US will step in. I’m there now. I don’t see a word about this. It’s not really the US any more. It’s Trumpland. He’s too busy picking people’s pockets while getting them to chant “Build the Wall!” to pay much attention to anything else. And if there is anything he loves, it’s chaos.

      To me, the sad thing is that Ortega himself is the problem. Back in the day, I believed Ortega and the Sandinistas would transform Nicaragua, make it safe for, you know, democracy. These days, I don’t know that anywhere in the world is safe for democracy.

      1. Sorry, I am muddling up these replies…this to Bizzy.
        For me too it is a tragedy that Ortega has turned into a villain…like so many other ‘freedom fighters’…the spoils of office turn their heads.
        I do hope that the U.S. keeps its hands to itself….

    2. That’s what worries me…..let’s hope they have their hands full ruining lives elsewhere in the world.
      Ortega threw away the soul of the Sandinista movement in order to regain power, and is reaping the consequences. It looks as if he is making every effort to quell the protests by brutality….so far the army have not intervened on either side…

    1. With all the lies and rubbish that is spouted it is no wonder that people don’t have a clue what is going on around them, let alone in the wider world.

    1. When you look back on he achievements of the Sandinistas when first in power…students going out to the backwoods to set up schools and make people literate, land redistribution…and then see the degradation once Ortega entered into alliance with big business and the church in order to regain power, it makes you sick.
      Once you saw the old red and black being replaced by the sickly pink and blue of the New Sandinistas you knew it to be unhealthy.
      And now we have students shot down, the funeral of one of them marred by the thugs of the Juventad Sandanista and Ortega denying that the police had orders to shoot, dragging out the negotiation process to make time for the police to regain control of the streets….
      I have recognised people from videos of the scenes in Matagalpa…they are neither thugs nor delinquents, but ordinary people whose hopes have been betrayed.

      1. those it can’t corrupt it will murder – Omar Torrijos in Panama – met his son when president and he should be ashamed to carry the Torrijos name!

  4. I had no idea. And it seems reading the commentary that this is not, as I imagined, because I have been in chaos recently but rather that no bugger is covering this dreadful situation. The tears that are coursing down my cheeks as a result of your excellent prose are entirely worthless. Will the US intervene? Given that there is no coverage at all here it seems doubtful. Thank you for writing this. There is no God.

    1. The situation is hellish beyond belief….not just the deaths, terrible though they are, but the destruction of peoples’ livelihoods and the intimidation by a police force that people had assumed to be for them, not an instrument of tyranny.
      The U.S. certainly won;t intervene openly…but there will be plenty of pickings to be had now that there is blood on the streets, and plenty of NGOs willing to take American money to aid ‘reconstruction’.
      Utterly sickening.

      1. Tyrannical is the word. And we sit by and spout and pontificate about progress. The world is a brutal place in many pockets and those that could help simply aid and abet. I will go to my grave with shrouded in the same creeping veil of depression at this human race that I am part of and my inability to feel that we have moved on at all in my life time.

          1. Being back in the US has me itching to revolt it won’t surprise you to learn. Another blogger (and now friend) remarked when he read my news that I now have the opportunity to make a difference. I can only try and refuse to be cowed. Naïve probably but I prefer to think of it as optimistic and hopeful. Meanwhile, though people are brutally slain, lose their livelihoods and their homes and live in terror. There is nothing fair.

    1. No, nor any of those who seem to run the country nomatter who is president…
      I hope the Nicaraguans will be allowed to sort this in their own way…preferably by negotiation, but what I have seen of the meeting with Ortega and his harpy doesn;t give much hope of that…

  5. That sounds like a horrifying stand-off. As you say, censorship means very few details are reaching the mass media. And as you also say, how predictable that what seemed like a revolution was followed by corruption and repression. All praise to those brave souls who are treating the injured despite being ordered not to.

    1. Getting worse. The government has refused to continue with talks, save on its own terms and police and thugs are attacking peaceful protesters. SOSNicaragua on FB has information.

  6. Very deeply depressing. I had not heard of this at all, although I must say that I’m finding world news that I can’t do anything about so depressing that I hardly watch, read or listen any more.

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