The political exile met in La Merced, the park that for decades has been a meeting place for Nicaraguans in Costa Rica. A cloudy morning, rainy at times, calm as every Sunday in San José, was disturbed by peasants, political prisoners, human rights defenders, teachers, doctors, women, members of sexual diversity, opponents, students and relatives of victims of the April protests that thundered against the elections that Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo held this November 7 north of the San Juan River. The exile has cataloged the day as an “electoral farce” in which the presidential couple seals their perpetuation in power.
It is the first time, after the scourge of the pandemic, that so many exiles gather in the capital of Josefina. The march started at ten o’clock in the morning amid slogans and songs that revived the sentiment of the citizen protests of three years ago, which meant a watershed for Nicaraguans: thousands – many of those who are in this march today – had to go into exile because of police and paramilitary repression. It was also the first time that the exiles living in Costa Rica since 2018 met, in the heat of a popular march, with the opponents who fled as of last June, when the Sandinista regime liquidated the electoral process by arresting all the opposition candidates. .
“Ortega and Murillo are screwed to power. We reject it. We reject this election by false choice, ”said Marvin Fornos, an exile draped in a blue and white flag. “That they remain in power means more poverty, misery, more repression, more chaos for Nicaragua.”
Costa Rica is the epicenter of Nicaraguan exile, although there are other refugees in the United States, Spain, Panama and Mexico. The march in San José sparked a series of demonstrations that thousands of Nicaraguans around the world organized, from one in the United Kingdom led by human rights defender Bianca Jagger, in Mexico City, to Washington and Canada. The main demand was the same, and it was directed at the international community: to ignore the results of the elections.
In San José, disguised as a clown because she assures that this Sunday’s elections are “an electoral circus,” Apolonia Rivas called for more sanctions for the Sandinista government. “It is that they have caused too much pain, especially to mothers like me. Hundreds of people have been killed by Ortega and the witch (Rosario Murillo). We want to recover our country, ”said the exile.
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The march went on avenue 2, one of the most important in San José. The destination was the Plaza de la Democracia, a public square whose name embodies the clamor of exiled Nicaraguans.
“In Nicaragua today the population stays at home, showing its rejection of the electoral fraud organized by the dictatorship and its complicit parties, as a demonstration of civic and peaceful resistance, of love for Nicaragua, and in solidarity with all the victims of the dictatorship. ”Reads a statement released by the exiles. “We demand the immediate release of the more than 150 political hostages. We will continue to support their families and maintain the permanent denunciation of all arbitrariness and violations of the rights and freedoms of the Nicaraguan people. Likewise, we demand the clarification of the forced disappearances of relatives of opponents, and the safe return of those who have been forced into exile to safeguard their life and freedom.
As the march advances along Avenida 2, in Managua, it is announced that Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo will go out to vote. The presidential couple does it quickly and immediately returns to their home, in the El Carmen district. The Sandinista leader violates the electoral silence and rants against opponents who denounce his election without competition. Ortega said that the more than 150 political prisoners that he still keeps in jail are “terrorists who continue to conspire” because “they do not want peace and are sowers of death, hatred, terror.” The president said that political prisoners, including the 39 detainees in this electoral period, “did not want these elections to take place today.” He assured that these detainees are “demons who opt for war, for disqualification so that Nicaragua is involved in violent confrontations.”
Marta María Rojas, another exile, insisted that the international community must be more forceful with the Ortega-Murillos, although she recognizes that the responsibility lies with the Nicaraguans. However, “at this moment we don’t know what to do with so much repression in Nicaragua. If with these elections we thought to return, with this circus there is no future ”, the woman complained.
The former president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, expressed support for Nicaraguans this Sunday. “Today, the whole world will witness the coronation of the dictatorship in Nicaragua. The electoral farce is underway: an “election” with no candidates other than those of the regime; some ‘elections’ with all the opposition in jail and with the soldiers in the street; a process that makes fun of the methods and instruments of democracy, manipulating them. And, of course, all this while the regime slyly defies the International Community, feeling protected by (few) nations that share its contempt for freedom and Human Rights ”.
A friend sent Marvin Fornos the message of former President Solís on WhatsApp. It took him a long time to read it, while other exiles advanced and dodged it. When he finished, he was pleased to say to his companions who took a few steps forward: “In Costa Rica they are listening to us.”
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