Julio López Campos: “Daniel Ortega is in his puddle”


Julio López Campos was recruited to the Sandinista Front by Carlos Fonseca Amador in 1966. From a young age he was a friend of Daniel Ortega Saavedra and even supported him in the nineties when the caudillo “governed from below”. His political paths were separated at the turn of the millennium, but López Campos says that even before April 18, 2018, if he looked at an event, he greeted him calmly.
The government massacre that has submerged Nicaragua in a crisis since last April has been a watershed for many, and hundreds of thousands of protesters claim that it is for the history and future of the country. Julio Lopez affirms before beginning the interview that his is an opinion from Sandinismo, and that he does not like to give it frequently to the media, but he says at the same time that the current situation “deserves it”.
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The political analyst, communicator and graduate in Europe in Political Science, analyzes the current situation in Nicaragua and warns of an upsurge in violence by Daniel Ortega. “He is in his puddle,” he warns, and urges the business sector to “get involved with conviction in this fight,” calling for a national strike.
Four years ago you said in LA PRENSA that the government-private business alliance was the “best tied nacatamal in history”, but with the current crisis those two sectors are publicly divided. What happened to that nacatamal?
Carlos Pellas said publicly that the model had been exhausted. That model that they, Arturito Cruz, the Incae, signed with the name of “responsible populism”. This is what they called this model of alliance. And they managed to sell it to many people outside, including the United States. Obviously that model collapsed. Not only was it exhausted but it has collapsed in the holy blood of fallen Nicaraguans. And with that he has prinked that blood to the business sector that for 11 years lived in cohabitation with Daniel. And this is very important to point out for the following reason: the Nicaraguan business community has to recognize that it has a political and moral debt with the people of Nicaragua in struggle. And it is more: they have the historic opportunity now, today, to vindicate themselves together with the people.
Read the report: Radiography of the Orteguista massacre in Nicaragua
Are not they doing it, in their opinion?
No no. They have not wanted. I’m going to that. In a crisis of this magnitude it is absolutely crucial to have a correct reading of the correlation of forces. And of the main subjects of conflict. And I believe that the private company is making a serious mistake in the interpretation of the role and role of Daniel (Ortega) in this crisis. They believe that they can lead Daniel to an effective negotiation. They surely know better than I do Daniel of conciliation and consensus of shared interests with the private sector that produced so much wealth and so many good things, it is said, during the last 11 years. But there is something that they do not interpret or read correctly. It is a Daniel Ortega in times of crisis. The Daniel Ortega on the edge of the precipice. And in that they are totally wrong. In this situation of chaos that we have in the country, growing chaos, Daniel Ortega is not stifled. Daniel Ortega is in his puddle. Facing this type of circumstance, which by the way are somewhat similar to those circumstances when he said “govern from below,” is where Daniel believes he can impose his purpose on the other subjects of national political life. It is undermining the resilience of people, the middle sectors and entrepreneurs.
Julio López Campos. THE PRESS / Óscar Navarrete.
As it does?
Imposing panic, fear, terror. One of the characteristics of this extraordinary uprising of the Nicaraguan people is how the middle sectors have marched and are together with the people. But in Daniel’s assessment these middle sectors are fearful. And the more he squeezes them with panic, with terror, he thinks to diminish the capacity of resistance of these people. And to the private sector, to the big businessmen, it begins to take the land, to create instability on the property, it begins to introduce instability on their security. Already the majority of the rich sent their families out of Nicaragua, on temporary vacations. Daniel with chaos is telling the private sector: “Do you see how they lost everything they had with me? And this is just the beginning. Things are going to be worse since they left me. ”
Does Daniel Ortega handle this crisis better than anyone else?
If the private sector believes that Daniel is going to be exhausted by the current course of his conduct, what is going to happen is a bigger tragedy for Nicaragua.
What do you think the private sector has to do?
I told you that it is important to see the correlation well. Or to use the language of the business sector, the costs-benefits of the action you are going to take. The Cosep calculates very well the economic costs of the permanence of the situation and what may happen later in terms of your pocket. But in these cost-benefits there are two things that are not taking into account and that are decisive. The first is that we are already entering a process of dissolution of the Nicaraguan State. The institutions of the State begin to collapse and to be diluted in the crisis. The most notorious example is the National Police. The National Police collapsed. It’s in ruins. Rebuilding the Police is going to be an extremely complex task and one that will need time and a lot of talent. But at the same time, the other institutions of the State are collapsing. The mayoralties are no longer functional. The entities of the public administration that have to attend to the needs of the people are entering a process of growing weakening. What will happen when the State is already collapsed and the institutions totally failed? That cost is not being measured well from the private sector. In the Nicaragua in which we live, we have depended on the consensus that we Nicaraguans have decided. We decided at one point to end the war. And everyone had to put their part. A contribution If here the State continues to collapse, not only will we have an economic chaos from which it will be difficult to get up, but society will have lost consensus. What justice is there in Nicaragua at this time? Absolutely none! It’s the law of the jungle.
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But what can the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) do then?
What the Cosep has to do is to understand that a strike does not actually break governments. But a strike with a national strike in conjunction with the multitudinous participation of the Nicaraguan people that shouts: “Let it go!”, There is no way to contain it. In the melee Daniel thinks he can resist for a very long time.
Killing people?
Killing people! And using a range of measures of pressure, blackmail and death. He can do it with a small contingent of loyal people. But he knows very well that if the masses move, they are unstoppable.
The last time a mass of Nicaraguans marched peacefully Ortega sent to kill. How do you analyze the massacre of Mother’s Day?
There are two incredible things in that march. There is no other march in Nicaragua equal to that in number of people. In that journey, which was not a journey because there were so many people, did not break a plate. There was not a robbery. Absolutely nothing happened. Until they believed that a group was going towards the stadium, where they already have their security perimeter. And they started firing. We must remember that the explosion in Nicaragua occurred, the real trigger of the explosion was repression. And all the accumulation of resentments of an authoritarian regime.
Julio López Campos. THE PRESS / Óscar Navarrete.
Is this social outburst comparable to the Sandinista insurrection?
What I can say is that the people of Nicaragua are the architects of two absolutely extraordinary events. The Sandinista popular revolution was really the first armed revolution in the Latin American continent. And this peaceful revolution is the other great event of political history in Latin America. Everything will depend on what the outcome will be.
You were a friend of Daniel Ortega and lived the armed revolution from the Sandinista Front. How can this peaceful revolution have a positive outcome for the country?
We have to assume and we have to explain to the people that we can all achieve together. And especially to explain to the people that it is necessary to consider a real negotiation with Daniel Ortega. The wound wound cornered, you need to open a space for it to get out. Otherwise, the wounded and cornered beast can be much more dangerous. You have to make Daniel Ortega see that he has no choice but to leave. And that the people of Nicaragua are willing to negotiate a way out with guarantees for him and his people. But that exit with guarantees has to happen now. Not in two years.
Should we resign ourselves to Ortega and his family leaving and that there is no justice for them, then?
I will quickly try to give an idea of ​​the scheme: Sir, you are leaving. You have, to say something, three months to go. In those three months we will determine the conditions of your departure. Why? Because we need in Nicaragua to do a lot of things. Decide already the early elections. We need to reform the Electoral Law. We need to change the entire Supreme Electoral Council from above to the municipal level. We need to restore normal conditions in the application of justice in Nicaragua, which is totally collapsed. We need to take measures that guarantee us a temporary rehabilitation of at least instruments like the National Police. All that requires a negotiation process. We need Ortega to order his subordinates in the National Assembly to approve a set of immediate measures. That’s why we need to negotiate these conditions seriously with him. The other variants are much more dangerous.
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The other variant is war?
Exact. The other variant is that we continue to undermine the capacities of resistance of the country and of the people, and that we fall into anarchy and total chaos. And the people, I believe, find in the neighborhoods what the potential for violence that can be unleashed in Nicaragua means. And Daniel also plays with that fear. But I think the doors here are closed. What we need is to open the space for a truly serious and truly responsible negotiation.
In the massacre of Mother’s Day and other events since April 18, snipers, Dragunov rifles, the participation of the National Army at least opening the Military Hospital to mobs parapolice. How involved is the National Army?
Here it is important that we are all very clear that the Army represents the limit point after which what would come, if it gets involved, is the total chaos in the country. If the Army intervenes, it will be to kill. And that would unleash a chaotic situation that we could hardly get out of. That is the reason why we have to give a vote of confidence to the Army. And like the previous leaders of the Army, they have told this Comandancia not to get involved. That its role is to preserve the institution. If things become more ant colored and the Army is ordered to act against the people, between the dilemma of being next to the town or next to President Ortega, the Army must necessarily take the path of being next to the town.
Do you see that possible?
We have to trust in his high command and in the Military Council. Be fully persuaded that they can not and must not shoot at the people. That would be the end of the armed National Army.
In Masaya they said they captured an Army sergeant and showed her ID. We have the videos of the Military Hospital of Mother’s Day … Do you assure us that the Army has not intervened in this humanitarian crisis?
Such is the multiplicity of circumstances and facts that anything could introduce a noise to us. I am totally persuaded that to this day the Army complies with the decision not to fire on the people. And I trust that the Military Council and the General Command are complying with the advice of all the previous leaders of the Army. They should not get involved in these circumstances.
There are already more than 130 dead. We overtake the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 and the massacre in Venezuela in 2017. Why has the army not intervened to support the people?
I believe that the main support they can give us now is not to get involved. If the critical moment arrives where they are ordered to shoot at the people, they know that that order can not be fulfilled. They are in the obligation to rebel. And this is an issue that we have to say very clearly. And the people of Nicaragua must support the current attitude of the Army. And persuade him that they only have one alternative: to support the people.
How does Daniel Ortega take all these deaths?
(Silence) … Honestly there are things that escape my understanding. Send to kill those boys, students, young people, children. It is a level of perversity that I can not understand from the perspective of sound judgment. Not even from the obsession to remain in power. Here we are facing an even greater danger than we Nicaraguans believe. That is why it is necessary that we all unite against the dictatorship. It is of the first importance that the private sector resolves to get involved with conviction in this fight. They are greatly mistaken if they think that they are going to return to a stability regime like the one they had before with Daniel Ortega. That situation broke. But the key, the essence, the vital thing of this matter, is that we all go against the dictatorship. If we all go against the dictatorship, no one from El Carmen can stop the people. That is the crossroads we are in.
What is that, go to El Carmen?
Daniel does not fear these things. What he does have doubts is that an unleashed crowd marches on El Carmen. And I tell you, some wanted on Mother’s Day. They were with that idea. El Carmen could not stop a massive wave of the people who go multitudinously in search of justice and democracy. It could not be stopped by any measure of El Carmen.
But that would generate a lake of blood …
Yes. He can only govern by violence. And in the end it would end up being a victim of that violence. When you lost legitimacy, which was what he lost with these crimes, there is only one way you can continue to govern. It is with force. He can stand a lot. He knows. He has little respect for the counterparts in the concrete terrain of the struggle. He does not believe that the Pellas, the Sacasa, these, the others, are interlocutors of him at the time of the conflict. He knows that the popular sectors can stop him. If Managua wakes up I do not know if they will be able to distribute the newspaper.
Daniel Ortega met with the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua last Thursday and before the democratic outcry requested 48 hours of reflection, according to Monsignor Baez.
It is undeniable that Daniel Ortega seeks to get rid of the Episcopal Conference. The ideal ideal for him as a mediator in this negotiation process is the Secretary General of the OAS (Organization of American States) Luis Almagro. I think we have to support the efforts of the Episcopal Conference and aspire to a combination of international support that is made up of the United Nations, the European Union and the OAS. There is no longer an extension for Daniel.
You met Carlos Fonseca Amador. What would Carlos Fonseca think of knowing that in 2018 Daniel Ortega is causing a massacre against the people?
(Keep silent) Notice that I have not asked myself that question … I do not want to imagine what I would say … I owe that to you.
Julio López Campos. THE PRESS / Óscar Navarrete.
Personal plane
Julio López Campos, 72 years old, he is originally from Managua. He is married to the commander Mónica Baltodano and is the father of the activist Mónica López Baltodano. He was recruited for the Sandinista Front of the Sandinista Revolution (FLSN) in 1966. He was imprisoned for a while and he was sent to Switzerland at the end of the sixties, where he graduated in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations. During the insurrection The Sandinista Popular Party was a leader of the United People’s Movement, where he “prepared the masses for the final insurrection,” he says. He was also part of the Political Committee of the Internal Front. In the first year of the Revolution Sandinista was National Secretary of Propaganda and Political Education of the FSLN. And the second year until they handed over power in 1990, he was head of International Relations.


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