Yoani Sanchez, The Voice of Your Rights, Havana, 14 June 2018 — With the roads cut off, the universities turned into barricades or makeshift infirmaries, and a figure of 146 people who have lost their lives in the protests that broke out last April, Nicaragua today is a nation awaiting a decision that must be taken by a single man. Daniel Ortega has in his hands the ability to allow the country to resume the democratic path or to sink into a spiral of violence and death.
The Nicaraguan Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, which brings together broad sectors, has called a national strike for next Thursday with the aim of demanding an end to the “repression.” Another of the objectives of this call is to demand the resumption of a dialogue that would allow ending the socio-political crisis in the country.
The strike is one more among the many signs Ortega has received in recent weeks of Nicaraguans’ rejection of the government formed by him and his wife, vice president Rosario Murillo. However, the former Sandinista guerrilla believes he is the only man capable of leading the Central American country towards a bright future that only exists in his delusions. He considers himself a kind of irreplaceable anointed.
From his Latin American allies and mentors, in the style of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, Ortega learned to hold on to power no matter at what cost. The presidential chair for him is not only a post from which he controls every detail of national life, but also a fortress that protects him from the law. As long as he stays inside the palace he will be safe, he thinks. A mistake made by many of the operetta caudillos who have ruled in Latin America.
Retaining the highest office in the country and not agreeing in time to resign may be the worst of the decisions that Daniel Ortega has made throughout his long political life. The protests have touched an emotional fiber in millions of Nicaraguans, especially among the youngest. Many of them, turned into improvised street fighters, intuit that there is no turning back and that allowing the continuity of ‘Orteguismo’ will result in a prison sentence or death.
That revolutionary fervor Sandinismo once counted on and the social mysticism that elevated it to power is now in the hands of its adversaries. Ortega does not have the support born of ideological passion nor does the enthusiasm of yesteryear animate the people. That connection was broken irremediably and the repression that he has unleashed against the demonstrators has ended by crumbling the little ascendency that was left to Nicaraguans.
Every hour that passes, every second that the caudillo does not negotiate his exit from the presidency, brings him closer to a more violent end.
In Managua, a man addicted to power takes refuge in his stubbornness without being willing to recognize that if he chooses to give up power and retire, when it is still possible, he would save countless lives, including his own.
Originally published in Deutsche Welle