Coronavirus In Times Of Dictatorship In Nicaragua


Last Thursday Confidencial revealed a Coronavirus response protocol prepared by the Ministry of Health (Minsa), which describes some of the internal measures that the Government has taken to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

In the official protocol of the Minsa, which until then was kept secret, the Government projects that in six months the coronavirus will infect 32,500 people in Nicaragua and will cause 813 deaths. However, despite the seriousness of this warning, the Ministry of Health has not designed a true prevention strategy based on information campaigns towards the population and basic measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as the establishment of quarantines or restrictions on travelers from countries where the epidemic has broken out.


On the contrary, what prevails in our highest authorities is a secretive and denialist attitude, which puts before the delirium of power of the rulers and their collection economic urgency, against the right to health and life of citizens. This is the only way to explain that despite the recommendations of the World Health Organization to avoid crowds, Vice President Rosario Murillo called a mass demonstration of the FSLN party and public servants on Saturday in Managua, financed with state resources. It was a kind of walk and carnival, with music and dance included, under the euphemistic title of “Love in times of covid-19” in which tens of thousands of people participated: men and women, older adults, and children, to render I worship the personality of the caudillo, before the eloquent silence of the special PAHO envoy who 24 hours earlier praised the preparation of our health system.

After the repression that killed more than 300 people who protested in 2018 and after the imposition of a police state, which has violated the right of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of the press and of expression, we believed that we had already seen all in the matter of the contempt for citizen rights and the clinging to power of Ortega and Murillo, in the face of the emergence of a new Blue and White political majority that demands a democratic political change. But now the regime is putting everyone’s health at risk, especially the poorest, including its very supporters. We are facing an act of extreme irresponsibility, which some attribute to the state of mental health of the presidential couple, although insanity can never be a mitigating factor for the commission of state crimes.

In reality, Nicaragua is experiencing the unpredictable effects of the terminal political crisis of a dictatorship: misrule and the absence of the ruler are only the symptom of the disease. As in 1979, during the Somocismo crisis 41 years ago, we are governed by an absentee, who is not only responsible for crimes against humanity, but with his indolence he is conspiring with advantage and treachery against the health of the entire population.

The irrationality of the regime that refuses to declare an emergency to prevent the coronavirus, has generated all kinds of conjectures about what its subsequent objectives are. One of the most plausible is that Ortega wants at all costs to avoid affecting the aggregate level of consumption and the supposed economic normality in the country. The priority of this regime that proclaims itself “Christian, socialist and solidary” is not human beings, not even the economy, but only collecting taxes and feeding the extortion scheme that keeps public finances afloat to pay the payroll of repression. . But the truth is that under the Ortega dictatorship, long before the imminent arrival of the coronavirus, Nicaragua has already experienced three consecutive years of economic recession caused by the political crisis. The reactivation of the economy, therefore, does not happen by opening the country’s doors to the pandemic that could rather seal the collapse of the State, but by evicting the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship from power. The solution lies in exerting more civic pressure, along with international pressure and sanctions, until the police state is lifted. That is the first step to call for political reform and free elections, to end the dictatorship, and to remove the country from the state of prostration and economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the alternative left to Nicaraguans is to summon a great citizen crusade with the support of doctors and epidemiologists, independent media, business associations, schools and universities, families and communities, the Catholic and Evangelical Church, to defeat secrecy and hateful official information manipulation. It is imperative to organize, from civil society, a national prevention strategy to face the coronavirus pandemic, despite Ortega and Murillo.

This article was originally published in Confidential.

You can read the original here.