The Asociación Madres de Abril (AMA) held a press conference on Tuesday morning, to reject plans for an amnesty law. The organization demanded justice for their children, killed by the Ortega-Murillo police and/or paramilitary sympathizers in the past year.
AMA also announced a memorial church service to honor the victims of the May 30 government attack on the Mothers’ Day March, also known as the “Mother of all Marches”.
According to the Group of Interdisciplinary Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym), police and paramilitary combined forces killed nineteen Nicaraguan during the attack on the Mothers’ Day March. All victims were male. The youngest, Orlando Aguirre, was 15 years old.
AMA represents mothers and relatives of people “assassinated through state repression in Nicaragua.” Along with the Comité Pro Liberación de Presos Políticos, it is one of the leading victims’ rights organizations to emerge in the wake of the 2018 violent, state-ordered, suppression of dissent in Nicaragua.
The five women who led the panel could not have been any more carefully chosen for the task. Four of them had lost their children on May 30, 2018. The fifth woman, AMA’s Vice President Lissette Dávila, is the mother of Alvaro Conrado.
“We denounce that there has been no investigation of the massacre of May 30, or of the prior massacres” — reads AMA’s prepared statement — “On May 30, 2019, there is nothing to celebrate […]. Nicaragua is in mourning.”
🖤💙LAS MADRES DE ABRIL HONRAMOS A NUESTROS HIJOS VÍCTIMAS DE LA MASACRE DEL ESTADO ESTE 30 de MAYO 🖤💙
— Asociación Madres De Abril (AMA) (@MadresDeAbril) May 28, 2019
AMA then invited Nicaraguans to join them at the Cathedral of Managua and at other Catholic churches throughout the country, on May 30th, for a memorial mass honoring their sons and daughters.
“We demand that [the government] respects our rights and our pain,” by keeping the police in their quarters.
AMA’s Guillermina Zapata then asked the Ortega-Murillo government to stay away. “Don’t park your patrol cars at the Cathedral; respect the pain; keep your paramilitaries home.”
Zapata’s son, Francisco Reyes, died of a gunshot to the head on May 30. According to the GIEI report, Reyes was at the UNI — National Engineering University — when police and paramilitaries attacked the Mothers’ Day March. He died en route to the hospital. Reyes was 34 years old.
AMA Rejects Ortega-Murillo “Victims’ Law”
AMA’s President, Francys Valdivia, expressed AMA’s rejection of the Ortega-Murillo proposal to elevate its current “Victims’ Support Plan” to law. On Monday, Valdivia told Lucía Navas, of La Prensa, “We’re not interested. [The government] can continue [living] in their imaginary and unrealistic world; we will keep demanding truth and justice, and we won’t grant them any forgiveness, any forgetting, or any amnesty.”
This morning, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada announced that the government’s proposal, now called the “Ley del Plan Integral de Atención a Víctimas del Terrorismo Golpista de Abril, Mayo, Junio y Julio del 2018” — the Law to Provide Support to Victims of Coup-Related Terrorism of April, May, June, and July of 2018 — is headed to the Assembly this week.
AMA anticipates that the proposal will include an amnesty clause.
“Así es que no nos interesa que continúen en su mundo imaginario, irrealista, nosotras seguiremos exigiendo verdad y justicia y no les otorgaremos ningún perdón, ningún olvido y ninguna amnistía”, aseveró Valdivia.
— Asociación Madres De Abril (AMA) (@MadresDeAbril) May 28, 2019
“We say no to the amnesty law as a legal solution to the crisis”, indicated Josefa Meza, “we reject amnesty, not just because it would release the parties responsible for crimes against humanity from judgement, but also because it seeks to impose forgetting and erase Nicaragua’s collective memory.”
Meza added that they would never accept any amnesty that allowed “the killers to remain in impunity.”
“They have committed hundreds of crimes”, said Meza.
Meza’s son, Jonathan Morazán Meza, was a twenty-one year old graphic design student. According to the GIEI report, unidentified police and armed civilians are responsible for Morazán’s death. He was shot in the head at the UNI, during the Mothers’ Day March. Morazán succumbed to his injuries on June 1.
Calls for Consumer Strike Circulate on Social Media
Calls for for a consumer strike on May 30 have been circulating via social media, shared by individuals and by Nicaragua’s decentralized network of activist collectives. Groups like REACNIC, Presos Políticos Nic, and others are all in support of a citizen and consumer strike.
⚫ Este 30 de mayo no hay nada que celebrar. Nicaragua sigue de luto ⚫
👉Unite al #ParoDeConsumo 30/5, en solidaridad a todas esa madres que aún están sufriendo por sus hijos asesinados, desaparecidos, presos políticos, exiliados y por Nicaragua.#30Mayo#SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/PZO1aeg8Yg
— REACNIC ® 🇳🇮 (@reacnic) May 27, 2019
— [Presos Políticos Nic] (@PresoPoliticoNi) May 28, 2019
Por las #MadresDeAbril nos unimos al #ParoCiudadano, de igual forma sumarse al #ParoDeConsumo.
No puede haber paz sin Justicia.#30DeMayo2018 en luto nacional.@RConvocados @TeamADNIC_ @AUNNicaragua @UnidadNic @AlianzaCivicaNi #SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/6bucVx5k26
— Mov. Nac. AutoConvocado León (@Convocadoleon) May 28, 2019
As of this writing, though, neither UNAB nor the Alianza Cívica have express support for a consumer strike on Mothers’ Day. UNAB echoed AMA’s invitation to memorial services at the Cathedral of Managua and other churches around the country.
Honremos a las víctimas de la masacre del 30 de mayo, 2018
— Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco (@UnidadNic) May 28, 2019
However, Violeta Granera of UNAB’s political council, said she personally supports a consumer strike. She wrote via Twitter that, “The only thing in our minds on this Mothers’ Day is the massacre that the dictatorship perpetrated against our young people, and the pain of their mothers who still demand justice.”
Respaldo propuesta de Paro de Consumo el 30 de Mayo! Lo único presente este Día de las Madres es la masacre que hizo la dictadura con nuestros jóvenes y el dolor de sus madres que aún claman justicia @MadresDeAbril Debe ser un día de recogimiento para #SosNicaragua @UnidadNic https://t.co/N9ZX1hKrPT
— Violeta Granera (@VioletaG) May 28, 2019
A consumer strike proved a successful strategy last week, when it augmented the impact of the Alianza’s 24-hour general strike. When the government threatened banks and other businesses with retaliation, should they participate in the general strike, consumers simply stayed away from these establishments.
A similar scenario could be in the making on Mothers’ Day, if the decentralized efforts of the Nicaraguan protest networks pick up momentum.
Support from the Alianza and UNAB might not be necessary at all.