This week, renowned Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Chamorro gave a detailed, honest, and eye-opening interview. Considering President Danny Ortega’s consistently authoritarian and often violent treatment of the press, Mr. Chamorro’s decision to deliver this interview is an incredibly brave feat. Surely Mr. Chamorro, the Director of the Nicaraguan newspaper known as Confidencial, understands the role of the media as a check on the power of government and its administrators.
Here’s an excerpt from this interview below:
“On April 18 I was in the newsroom and saw that several reporters were going to cover a protest against the INSS decree where there were students and seniors. I thought that what happened to previous protests would happen: that they would be beaten, taken out of the public space, and the protest ended. But in this case, the level of impediment to go to the public space was such that the protest was in a shopping center. Where in the world are people going to protest at a shopping center? There some 200 people there who were beaten and wounded and had their cameras were stolen, but they resisted. That lasted four hours; people started to show solidarity. These young people ignited the spark of rebellion, along with other events that happened that same day at the University of León. The next day public universities exploded.
What surprises us is the size of the explosion. Before there was much analysis, mine and others, in which we warned that this is not a sustainable regime in the medium term. There were sectoral problems, but nobody expected an explosion of national dimension. What spreads and popularizes it is a too brutal repression.
“That strong repression seems to corner President Ortega himself, both in the media and at the negotiating table and in front of international organizations …”
On April 18, there were no deaths. The next day there were three, including one policeman. The next day, nine. On the fourth, there were eight others. By the fifth day, it was almost twenty. Defiance to power is popularized and people begin to attack the centers of power, to tear down the signs that worshiped the image of Ortega and the metal trees that the government had put out to decorate the streets.
Many people hated him. But here a propaganda machine of true mimicry was made. People in official channels always ended with the phrase: “Thank God, the commander, and partner.” Did they really believe it? More likely, people hoped that they would be given something. The government’s social programs did not have an impact on reducing poverty or improving social conditions, but they generated formidable expectations and generated support as well as an image of a government was concerned about people. But this gives a prospect of cancellation of rights, clientelism, and very large political costs for the same people…
…Today Ortega bets that by means of repression and recovery of order in the territory, he will arrive to more favorable conditions in the negotiation, in which he would try to even the crisis and say that what there is is a civil war and not a State aggression against an unarmed people. The Orteguista sector has already been instructed to document the “terrorism” of which it claims to be a victim. Ortega’s only objective is to recover with repression to get to a better negotiating position.”
This interview and the corresponding article were uploaded to Medium by Casey Orozco Ponce