Ortega Uses the Army to Deny the International Commission Entry to Nicaragua
Last July, the dictator Daniel Ortega refused the entry into Nicaragua of the International Solidarity Commission, composed of Argentine parliamentarians and three international organisations (Fourth International, LIS - International Socialist League, and ITU - International Workers' Union).
Dictator Daniel Ortega has rejected the entry into Nicaragua of the International Commission. Despite numerous attempts by the organisations and parties that make up the commission to request entry from Nicaraguan embassies in different parts of the world, the order was “do not let them pass” and it was complied with by a military force unprecedented in the border area. However, those who think it came as a surprise or was a waste of time are wrong. The mission of the international commission, made up of Argentine parliamentarians and representatives of three international organisations:Fourth International, Liga Socialista Internacional (LIS/International Socialist League) and the Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores -CI (UTI-CI/International Workers' Unity-FI), fulfilled its main objective, to demonstrate, once again, the authoritarian character of the regime headed by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, an abominable dictatorship at the service of its own economic interests, the dictates of the IMF and the interests of imperialism.1
Throughout a week of intense political activity, our delegation, made up of Antonio Neto from the MES/ Partido Socialismo e Liberdade PSOL [Socialism and Liberty Party] and Emilio Tellez from the CSR and on behalf of the Bureau of the Fourth International, along with comrades of MAS-Panama (Aurelio Robles and Raúl), was able to verify with the relatives of the victims and those assassinated, the Association of the Mothers of April, the Peasant Movement and the Coordination of Social Movements as well as the former guerrilla, Commander Mónica Baltodano, a series of very serious violations of human rights, arbitrary arrests on charges ranging from crimes of dissent to armed arrests for drug trafficking. Among the 190 people detained since the beginning of the repression are several former guerrillas such as Hugo Torres (murdered in prison), Dora María Tellez (victim of a year in prison in inhuman conditions) as well as hundreds of political exiles such as Mónica Baltodano, along with the other two mentioned, a former leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, to mention only the most notorious cases.
The mobilisation of such a large military contingent to the Nicaraguan border has only one explanation: the overwhelming need to conceal all arbitrary acts committed by Ortega.
At 10 in the morning, when we arrived at the border region, our commission, made up of representatives of relatives, exiles and the Association of the Mothers of April,2 met with a commission of peasants, persecuted by Ortega and Murillo for denouncing the authoritarian manner in which the government has imposed the construction of the interoceanic canal, which will affect more than 3,500 peasants in return for an 100-year concession for the Chinese government.
After a brief demonstration, we headed to the border point where we would officially leave Costa Rica and enter Nicaragua. At first, however, the border guard did not allow the press to accompany us and then in tandem with a strong and ostentatious military presence, they prevented us from going ahead, alleging that they were worried about our physical safety!
The Role of the Latin American left against the Ortega/Murillo dictatorship
It is not simply now that the Latin American left mobilises for the freedom of the Nicaraguan people. In different Latin American countries we have seen years, decades, of atrocious and bloody dictatorships, that kidnapped, tortured and murdered in the name of containing the advance of communism. In all these countries communists together with other democratic and revolutionary forces fought for freedom. But this is the first time on our continent that a dictatorship erects itself in the name of the left.
At the end of the 1970s, Nicaragua was an important reference point for the global left. Young revolutionaries from various parts of the world and from different currents came to support the Sandinista Front, with arms in hand. The Sandinista Revolution of 1979 put an end to the dynastic dictatorship of the Somoza family. After years of civil war against the US State Department funded Contras, who eventually effectively seized power, for a brief period the Nicaraguans had a bit of peace. The dictatorship of the Ortega/Murillo family has committed crimes against humanity, torturing, murdering and forcing thousands of people into exile. It killed Hugo Torres, it will kill other ex-combatants and ex-guerrillas. But doing this in the name of the left is surely one of its most serious crimes: it betrays the legacy of Sandino, it betrays the legacy and the memory of the thousands who died in the name of the freedom of the Nicaraguans against Somoza, of the Cubans against Batista and of the Salvadorans against Noriega. But above all, it stains the flag of socialism and freedom with blood. The Latin American left is called to do something to stop Daniel Ortega's escalation of authoritarianism.
Denounce the Ortega/Murillo dictatorship and strengthen the ties of solidarity with the Nicaraguan people
Another of the tasks that the international commission set itself was to strengthen the ties of solidarity with Nicaraguan exiles around the world. In its first activity, in this sense, the delegation formed on behalf of the Fourth International was able to meet with Mónica Baltodano, from whom we were able to obtain a series of new evidence that prove the atrocities.
A good part of the relatives of the dead and of the political prisoners who live in exile in Costa Rica view with great suspicion a joint effort by the revolutionary left to denounce Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, since Ortega always applies his authoritarian measures in name of the left and of the Sandinista revolution. That is why our meeting with the families and exiles was very important, to be able to explain that a delegation of internationalist militants was supporting the families in their demands, demanding the release of political prisoners, denouncing the Ortega regime and being a point of support for thousands of Nicaraguans who could not find support anywhere. On July 7, the media conference, held in the midst of the Costa Rican parliament, was an important milestone, possible only thanks to the inclusion of parliamentarians from the Costa Rican Broad Front3 in the commission that organised the caravan. Being able to count on deputies from the Costa Rican parliament in a democratic front that denounces the atrocities of the Nicaraguan regime, broadens the scope of the denunciation and provides an important point of support for future solidarity actions, despite the outcome of the events in the border region of Friday, July 7.
The Caravan has been an experience of important internationalist solidarity even though the “in loco” visit to the political prisoners of Nicaragua did not eventuate. This experience has not only been a process of coordination with other socialist movements in Latin America, but above all with the relatives of the victims, the persecuted, the exiled and the imprisoned, who have fully trusted this campaign of international solidarity.
Linking up, in particular with compañera Mónica Baltodano, has been especially important due to the perspective that she raises from within the struggle, emphasising the need to defend democratic freedoms but also highlighting the denunciation of the neoliberal nature of the Ortega-Murillo regime that uses authoritarianism to maintain the policies of subordination to the International Monetary Fund. It is also a genuine recovery of the best traditions of the Sandinista struggle.
This caravan has been only the first step in building the larger movement required to make the release of the prisoners possible.
From the Fourth International organisations (MES/PSOL and CSR) we call for more organisations to join local committees, in for example, Mexico and Brazil, to promote new committees where there are none and to denounce the dictatorial regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
11 July 2022
Emilio Téllez Contreras is a member of the international commission of the CSR [Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria/ Revolutionary Socialist Coordinating Group] member of the Fourth International in Mexico and Antonio Neto is a member of the international commission of the Movimento Esquerda Socialista / Socialist Left Movemen in Brazil.
Translated by David Fagan for fourth.international from Punto de Vista Internacional
- 1The Liga Internacional Socialista (LIS-International Socialist League) is a grouping originating from the break- up of the Nahuel Moreno led Argentine Movimiento Al Socialismo/Movement for Socialism. It’s largest group is the Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores/Socialist Workers Movement, which participates in the electoral coalition Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores-Unidad (FIT-U/ Workers Left Front - Unity). The Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-CI (UIT-CI/ International Workers Unity-FI) another organisation with its origins in the MAS is represented in the FIT-U by Izquierda Socialista (IS/Socialist Left).
- 2The Association of the Mothers of April emerged from the social uprising of April 2018 in Nicaragua, when mothers and family members of people assassinated during protests came together to demand justice for offences committed by forces allied to Ortgea’s government.
- 3The Broad Front (Frente Amplio) is a left-wing political party in Costa Rica