The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, presided over the 42nd anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista revolution on July 19 in a political act held in the old plaza where guerrillas entered gloriously after overthrowing the dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. Far from that stamp guerrilla, the colorful political rally served as a reaffirmation of the figure of the president, who seeks to perpetuate himself in power with the elimination of electoral competition, materialized with the imprisonment of six opposition candidates.
For the third time in a row (2019, 2020, 2021), Ortega did not have his traditional mass bath in Plaza la Fe this July 19, a key date for Sandinismo. The stage was set up again in the Plaza de la Revolución. In a controlled environment, the president was accompanied by Vice President Rosario Murillo, his children, the heads of state institutions, the police headquarters and the Army that he controls. “The people” who accompanied him were members of the Sandinista Youth, seated in a circle that surrounded a huge eclectic star that was also used the previous year. However, what most attracted attention was the absence of international personalities -even authorities from the unconditional Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia-, something that clearly demonstrated the isolation of the regime, a product of the repressive escalation.
Ortega’s only international guest was a man dressed as a Cossack, who, in a language unknown to Nicaraguans, greeted the anniversary of the revolution on behalf of his country: Abkhazia. He was the chancellor of the microstate, recognized only by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other small island nations in Oceania.
Ortega made clear his alignment with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In parallel to his act in Managua, he reported that a state visit, led by the Minister of Finance, Iván Acosta, and two of his sons, was in Moscow. “The empire wants to subdue the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China. They are crazy! The powers want to subdue nations like Nicaragua, ”he said in clear reference to Washington and the European Union, which have imposed sanctions on the Sandinista regime for political repression and the closure of the electoral space.
Ties between Nicaragua and Russia have become more visible in recent weeks, as repression against opponents intensifies. On June 30, Managua signed a commercial and economic agreement with the Republic of Crimea, a peninsula disputed by Russia and Ukraine. More recent were the statements of the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, María Zajárova, on July 9, in which she supports Ortega’s narrative, which affirms that in Nicaragua “another coup d’état” similar to the outbreak is in the making. social event that occurred in April 2018.
Threats to opponents
Beyond the political paraphernalia, which included a long concert with songs that extolled nationalism, anti-imperialism and even violence to “defend sovereignty,” Ortega took advantage of the act to rant against businessmen and threaten opponents.
“The people united will never be defeated. The armed people will never be crushed! Here we have an Army to protect national sovereignty and contribute to security … and a police force fully committed to citizen security, ”said the Sandinista leader. Ortega took the opportunity to insist that his government overcame “an attempted coup,” financed by the “millions and millions of dollars” from the “empire.” “In Nicaragua they have put terrorism into practice,” he insisted.
“Ortega looked isolated, in need of resorting to his songs and symbolisms of the Sandinista revolution. He also looked like someone who pretends to be threatening to his own people by saying that the armed people will not be crushed. But the main thing is his manufacture of an enemy to be able to maintain his authoritarianism. That was seen in fascism and totalitarian models. It needs the United States as the great enemy in order to justify the repression, ”Eliseo Núñez, a former opposition deputy, told EL PAÍS.
The also former deputy Edipcia Dubón said that the act of July 19 was intended to embolden her increasingly diminished bases with revolutionary slogans, according to the latest polls. “The Ortega regime has an overwhelming loneliness, as demonstrated by the last vote in the Organization of American States,” said Dubón, exiled in Costa Rica.
After announcing that he approved a 5% salary increase in Nicaragua, Ortega charged against the businessmen, with whom he maintained a relationship of “dialogue and consensus” that was fractured as a result of the violent repression in 2018.
“This puts in evidence (salary increase) those who have been calling not to work, to close companies: the businessmen who curse the cow and drink the milk. They have no other way than to keep working, because they are winning. Although they are complaining, they are winning. What happens is that they are miserable. He has no sensitivity to the people, ”said Ortega.
For the former deputy Núñez, the “economy is the best asset” of Ortega. “It is an economy that has not had changes in more than twenty years. He has continued to do what the other governments did in this matter. So we have an increasingly lonely and stubborn regime that, as Ortega clearly said, believes that it is the weapons that are going to sustain it, ”said the opponent.
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