The Loneliness of Daniel Ortega and ‘La Chayo’ Murillo

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and his wife Rosario Murillo. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos A. Montaner, Miami, 3 June 2018 — Daniel Ortega has been left alone. With only his wife Rosario Murillo, La Chayo*, who is also his vice president and whom the people like even less. Why this rejection of this extravagant but well educated lady? It is not clear, but it happens.

For the couple it is a very strange situation. They were accustomed to having a favorable sounding board built by the USSR and Havana, hiding and condoning the crimes of Sandinismo in the 1980s in the name of a mythical popular revolution that they were building.

First of all, the entire Church abandoned them. Times are not apt for the blunders of liberation theology. The bishops were not willing to play with a false dialogue. They set the table to talk, but always in good faith. It was too painful. 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 on YouTube the harsh words directed to the presidential couple by the university student Lesther Lenin Alemán. He speaks, without saying so, in the name of all the universities, because the universities have also abandoned them. Daniel’s and La Chayo’s mobs and police entered the Central American University in Managua and the School of Engineering with blood and fire.

That has had repercussions outside of Nicaragua. From the prestigious Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala, vice-chancellor Javier Fernández-Lasquetty has written a great article for the Spanish press in which he asks for solidarity with Nicaragua, the poorest nation in Central America.

The businessmen grouped in the Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) have abandoned him. A few hours ago they asked all their members to dissociate themselves from the government. They were grateful that the Ortega-Murillo couple had abandoned the stupid collectivist impulses that had destroyed the economy in that first stage of youthful fury (the country still has not recovered the growth rates of 1979, when they overthrew Somoza), but that gratitude was not enough to accept in silence the barbarous repression unleashed against a people who exercised their right to protest.

Is it worth listing all the foreign entities and people 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, Thor Halvorssen’s Human Rights Foundation, José Miguel Vivanco’s Human Rights Watch, and a very long et cetera.

Who supports Ortega and Murillo? Barely the stubble that remains of 21st Century socialism: 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 serious economic and political crises. Not even Gustavo Petro, the Colombian presidential candidate in that camp, dares to back them. What they do is too repulsive.

It is likely that Daniel Ortega and his wife still have the ammunition and lack of scruples to continue killing for some time, but if what they are trying to do is recover the legitimacy that is needed to exercise power in this era, there is no method that can deliver it.

Capital has begun to flee the country. We are seeing how the country becomes more impoverished every day. There are already reports that tourism has been paralyzed by 80%. The same will happen in other areas of the productive machinery. Nobody in his right mind would invest in such a place, where there are no vestiges of a Rule of Law.

The couple’s own daughter, Camila Ortega Murillo, and Shantall Lacayo, founders of Nicaragua Diseña, have had to withdraw from an innocent Miami Fashion Week event due to the protests of Nicaraguan exiles. That is just a symptom of the wave that is coming.

We will observe an accelerated decline of the presidential couple until they leave the government because of the violence, perhaps removed by the military, as happened in Ceausescu’s Romania, or perhaps because of an insurrectional spasm of society, as has happened in the country in the past.

The terrible thing is that this bitter end could be avoided if Daniel and his wife acted sensibly and withdrew from power before their house of cards totally collapses. Is that asking to squeeze blood from a stone? I do not know. There is not a hint of greatness in their stubborn resistance. It is very sad what happens in Nicaragua.

*Translator’s note: “Chayo” is a common Nicaraguan nickname for Rosario.


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