By Carlos Alberto Montaner
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega has been left alone. Alone with his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, “la Chayo”, who is even more disliked by the Nicaraguan people than he is. Why is this extravagant but educated lady so rejected? It is not clear, but that’s the way it is.
It’s a very strange situation for them. They were accustomed to having a favorable sounding board built by the USSR and Havana, like the one that hid and condoned the crimes of Sandinismo in the 1980s in the name of a mythical popular revolution that they were building.
In the first place, the whole Church abandoned them. The times are not suitable for the blunders of Liberation Theology. The bishops were not willing to play with a false dialogue. They set the table to talk, but it had to be in good faith. The pain was unbearable. As I write this chronicle, there are already 93 people killed, almost all of them young people.
The students abandoned them. It is touching to witness Lesther Lenin Alemán on YouTube addressing the presidential couple with harsh words. He speaks, without saying so, on behalf of all the university students, because the universities have also abandoned them. The mobs and policemen of Daniel and la Chayo violently invaded the Central American University (UCA) and the School of Engineering.
All that has had repercussions outside of Nicaragua. From the prestigious Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala, its vice-chancellor, Javier Fernández-Lasquetty, has written a great article for the Spanish press asking for solidarity with Nicaragua, the poorest nation in Central America.
The businessmen grouped in the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada, COSEP) abandoned them. A few hours ago, they asked all their members to dissociate themselves from the government. They were grateful that the Ortega-Murillo couple abandoned the stupid collectivist impulses that had destroyed the economy in that first stage of juvenile fury (the growth rates of 1979, when they overthrew Nicaragua’s President Anastasio Somoza, have not yet been recovered), but that gratitude was not enough to accept in silence the ruthless repression unleashed against a people who exercised their right to protest.
Is it worth to keep mentioning the list of foreign entities and individuals that have condemned the couple’s crimes? The US Embassy, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the 14 countries of the Lima Group, the neighboring and very civilized Costa Rica, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Marco Rubio, Human Rights Foundation of Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Watch of José Miguel Vivanco and a very long etcetera.
Who supports Ortega and Murillo? Just the remains of Socialism of the 21st Century — the Cuba of Raúl Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel, the Venezuela of Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivia of Evo Morales, all in different phases of a serious economic and political crisis. Not even Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, who belongs to the same group, dares to support them. What they do is too repulsive.
It is likely that Daniel Ortega and his wife still have enough ammunition and lack of scruples to continue killing for some time, but if what they want is to recover the legitimacy that is needed to exercise power nowadays, they will not succeed at all.
Investment capital has started to run away. We will see how the country becomes more impoverished each day. There are already reports that 80% of tourism is paralyzed. The same thing will happen in other areas of the productive system. Nobody in its right mind would invest in such a place, where there are no even vestiges of the rule of law.
Even the couple’s daughter, Camila Ortega Murillo, and Shantall Lacayo, founders of “Nicaragua Diseña”, had to withdraw from an innocent Miami Fashion Week event due to the protest of Nicaraguan exiles. That is just a symptom of the incoming wave.
We will observe an accelerated decline of the presidential couple until they are forced to leave the government, perhaps by a violent action of the military, as happened in Ceauçescu’s Romania, or perhaps because of an insurrectional spasm of society, as has happened before in the country.
The terrible thing is that this bitter end could be avoided if Daniel and his wife acted sensibly and withdrew from power before a worse bloodbath occurs. Is that asking the impossible? I don’t know. There is not a hint of greatness in that stubborn resistance. What is happening in Nicaragua is very sad. Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.