Mothers’ Day in Nicaragua is now Yearly Reminder of Bloodshed.

On Mothers’ Day 2018, thousands of Nicaraguans flocked to Managua, to participate in the “Madre de Todas las Marchas”, a protest march in solidarity with the Mothers of April.

It is estimated that between 500 and 700 thousand people marched that day, from the Jean Paul Genie Roundabout to Metrocentro.

At approximately 5 pm, as Daniel Ortega was delivering his Mothers’ Day address at a government rally, the first reports of an attack on the Mothers’ Day March started trickling in via social media. La Prensa and other independent media reported live from the scene.

The investigation performed by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) concluded that use of firearms by “security forces and civilians under security force control” was disproportionate, when compared to the threat presented by protesters, “primarily holding homemade mortars.” GIEI also concluded that most victims were “killed by gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

Eight people were killed immediately. By June 1, a total of nineteen had died of gunshot wounds, according to the GIEI report. Two of the deceased were Sandinista sympathizers; the rest were protesters. The youngest victim was 15 years old.

Anniversary Marked through Memorial Church Services.

The Asociación Madres de Abril commemorated the Mothers’ Day Massacre through memorial services, celebrated in Catholic churches in various cities across the country. The main one was held at the Cathedral of Managua, at 11 am local time.

Memorial services were scheduled in León, Masaya, Jinotepe and other cities.

In Masaya, the memorial service was held at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel.

Fr. Edwin Román addressed the flock at St. Michael. He said “Christ calls us to forgive, and we do forgive, but demanding justice is not the same as forgetting. We must ask for justice. No one escapes divine justice.”

Father Román added that Nicaraguans might not receive justice from “this dictatorial regime,” but “sooner or later, there will be justice for so many crimes that have been committed.”

The memorial service in León commemorated the lives of several victims from the city, including Sandor Dolmus, a fifteen-year old altar boy.

In Managua, hundreds came to the Cathedral, carrying flags, crosses, photographs and signs memorializing the victims of the repression.

Mourning mothers dressed in black.

The disappeared were not forgotten. This banner reads “Where are our disappeared?

At the Cathedral of Managua, Sermon Strikes Balance Between Defiance and Hope.

The memorial mass at the Cathedral of Managua was presided by Fr. Silvio Romero, Vicar of the Cathedral. Fr. Romero’s sermon was built around the theme of the “passage from death to life.”

“The Catholic Church celebrates the passage from death to life; therefore, let us not dwell on death, as that is a way in which we lose. It is a way to become demoralized,” said Romero, adding that “death does not have the final word; life does.”

Fr. Romero also examined the notion that there is nothing to celebrate on Mothers’ Day. He then used the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus —  Luke 24:13-35 — to argue that Nicaraguans do, in fact, have something to celebrate.

The disciples, he says, were also discouraged and thought there was nothing to celebrate, but when Jesus appeared to them, they regained hope. “Perhaps we’re experiencing the same thing that Cleopas and his friend experienced. We are walking and lamenting so much injustice and so much impunity. But maybe we’re not seeing the presence of Christ, and the signs of new life.”

There has been a renewal of Nicaraguan culture, according to Fr. Romero. “There are some people who have said that our culture suffered from an incurable disease that doomed us to a history of failure, a culture of failure. These mothers gave birth to a new generation that did not want to carry on with that culture of failure. They said, ‘enough with thinking and analyzing the culture. It is time to transform it’, and that is what they did. Therefore, with the children you gave birth to, we have a hope for a new Nicaragua, and that must be celebrated.”

“Nicaragua is experiencing birth pains, but the pain of birth should not distract us from the joy for the child that is about to be born, of the Nicaragua that is coming,” said Romero, who then added that “these mothers have helped, by giving birth to extraordinary young men and young women.”

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, was not in attendance. He sent condolences via press release to the “mothers” who had lost “a son or daughter” or whose “sons were in exile or deprived of their freedom.”

Nicaraguans in Exile Mark Anniversary

Thousands of Nicaraguans have gone into exile since April of 2018. Costa Rica alone now houses anywhere between 30 thousand and 50 thousand Nicaraguan refugees. The exiled community came together today in San José.

In Madrid, Nicaraguans met at the Plaza Jacinto Benavente. They demanded the release of political prisoners.

In Barcelona, Nicaraguan feminists brought out this banner.


Police Deployment in Managua

AMA requested that police stay in quarters. Their request was not heeded, as another massive police deployment was already underway in Managua before the 11 am service began. Police presence was reported around the Cathedral, on Carretera Masaya, and in the vicinity of La Prensa.

However, in spite of police intimidation, employees of the Pellas Group staged a “Piquete Express” — a flash picket — at company headquarters on Carretera Masaya.

People gathered at the Cathedral of Managua, in spite of police deployment.

At around 11 am, the number of people had grown significantly.

In Matagalpa, Protesters Sorrounded by Riot Police; Harassed by Ortega-Murillo Sympathizers

In the afternoon, riot police surrounded the Cathedral of St. Peter, in Matagalpa, where a group was protesting against the dictatorship. Police arrived at around the five minute mark in the video below.

Ortega-Murillo sympathizers were also at hand, to harass and drown out anti-government protesters. In the video above, you can hear them yelling pro-Ortega slogans and playing the song “Mi Comandante Se Queda”.

Protesters were pushed back into the Cathedral. Police did not intervene

Ortega-Murillo Propaganda Highlights “Celebrations”

In the parallel media universe created by the Ortega-Murillo Propaganda Machine, Mothers’ Day celebrations were ongoing. The contrast could not be starker.

Radio Ya hosted a contest, called “La Madre Panza” (the mother of all bellies). The winner will be the mother-to-be with the largest belly. This woman was one of the leading candidates

There was also a dance contest, for mothers.

Managua Mayor Reyna Rueda brought presents to the mothers at the Velez Paiz maternity ward.

And in San Marcos, Carazo, mothers’ were fitted with a Mariachi band.