In this Edition
- OrMu’s Negotiators get Stood Up “Like the Bride from Tola” at the INCAE;
- On Political Prisoners, Organizations Demand Government Action;
- Yubrank Suazo Punished, After Defiant Act of Protest;
OrMu Chides Alianza in Statement
The Alianza Civica stuck to its guns on Monday morning, when its delegates left OrMu’s negotiators alone at the INCAE, much like the Bride from Tola was left at the altar. When no one showed up, OrMu’s team read a statement to the press, but answered no questions.
OrMu’s negotiators already knew the Alianza was NOT coming. However, true to diplomatic practice, the delegation was ready with a six-page prepared statement. The document, printed on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs stationary, indicated that the administration’s delegates had shown up “responsibly” and promptly at 10 am, as agreed and established in the “roadmap”.
The statement is more of less a mashup of two documents, the roadmap, which is used to remind the Alianza of the rules all agreed to follow, and the administration’s proposed agenda, which is used as a sign of OrMu’s earnestness.
Today’s statement argues that the administration’s agenda includes “all the important topics […] so that we can assume the responsibility to continue talking, achieving consensus, and establishing time tables.” The statement then concludes with assurances of good faith.
The Delegation from the Government of Nicaragua reiterates to the Nicaraguan people that this Negotiation for the Encounters towards [Mutual] Understanding and Negotiation for Peace was established on the basis of trust, respect, and good will, which we consider must prevail. Otherwise, Nicaraguan’s hopes and the Rights that the Families of our Country have to strengthen Security, Stability, Peace and Prosperity would be damaged.
The Alianza announced on Sunday night that it would withdraw from the negotiations, unless the OrMu administration (1) released political prisoners, (2) put a stop to repression and kidnappings, (3) observed and respected international standards for the treatment of political prisoners, including the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and provided prompt medical attention to inmates, and (4) put a stop to the harassment against the families of political prisoners.
This morning, Alianza member Juan Sebastian Chamorro reiterated the negotiating block’s position in stronger terms, via Twitter. “Human Rights are inalienable and non-negotiable — he wrote –, “We have shown good will; now, we demand concrete signs of a commitment [from the government], in order to continue”
Los Derechos Humanos son inalienables y no se negocian: Liberación de presos, cese a la represión y al hostigamiento y trato con estándares internacionales en su salida de la cárcel. Hemos mostrado voluntad, ahora demandamos muestras contundentes de compromiso para continuar. pic.twitter.com/RGmbnIAcOm
— Juan Sebastián Chamorro (@Jschamorrog) March 11, 2019
The Alianza’s current position is a departure from where the block stood at the beginning of the process, when they were willing to negotiate without pre-conditions, a move that was heavily criticized, particularly by the families of political prisoners and of victims. Two organizations, Madres de Abril (AMA) and the Comite Pro Liberacion de Presos Politicos (CPLPP), demanded the immediate release of political prisoners as a key precondition for negotiations, through statements issued prior to the first meeting at the INCAE.
El @CPLPP_Nicaragua se pronuncia enérgicamente para demandar la liberación de todos los presos y presas políticas, la restauración de la libertad de expresión, movilización y organización, entre otras demandas, como una garantía para el desarrollo de un diálogo fructífero. pic.twitter.com/rlLdM6ZPUM
— Comité Pro Liberación de Presos Políticos (@CPLPP_Nicaragua) February 17, 2019
💙🖤 Madres de Abril tenemos DERECHO a participar en cualquier negociación 🖤💙
AMA se mantiene firme en su posición de ejercer sus derechos como familiares de víctimas asesinadas y exigimos que se abra la participación para ser interlocutoras directas y que seamos escuchadas. pic.twitter.com/cWYbRwQKLs
— MadresDeAbril (@MadresDeAbril) February 19, 2019
At the time, the Alianza did not appear receptive to these demands. Instead, the negotiating block incorporated the release of political prisoners into their official negotiation agenda, rather than addressing it as a condition for the sit down. Now, the Alianza is singing a different tune, and the CPLPP is supporting them. In a statement, released via social media, the CPLPP supported the Alianza’s decision to withdraw “until the Government of Nicaragua guarantees the restitution of citizen rights, starting with freedom for political prisoners and the nullification of their judicial proceedings”
El @CPLPP_Nicaragua apoya a la @AlianzaCivicaNi en la suspensión de su asistencia al Diálogo Nacional hasta que el Gobierno de Nicaragua dé garantías de restitución de derechos ciudadanos, comenzando con #LibertadParaPresosPoliticos y la anulación de sus procesos judiciales. pic.twitter.com/ZTXqsQIY7g
— Comité Pro Liberación de Presos Políticos (@CPLPP_Nicaragua) March 11, 2019
Organizations Demand Actions on Political Prisoners
The Comite Pro Liberacion de Presos Politicos (CPLPP) and the Articulation de Movimientos Sociales y Organizations de la Sociedad Civil, held a press conference this morning, to demand concrete actions from the OrMu government, and express their support for the Alianza’s decision to withdraw from the negotiating table.
The CPLPP demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners and nullification of legal proceedings against them; respect for prisoners’ human rights; verification of prisoners’ physical condition and overall health and medical attention for them; direct participation in any negotiations about political prisoners, justice, reparations, and guarantees for non-repetition; international and national guarantors for the negotiation process.
The CPLPP stated that political prisoners in the Modelo and Esperanza penitentiaries have been engaged in acts of resistance, “in spite of constant beatings and violations of their human rights, they have taught the entire country a moral lesson. Their conviction motivates us to keep fighting.”
The Articulacion echoed the CPLPP’s demands for immediate release of prisoners and direct participation. “We support the position of the organizations representing the victims,” read the Articulation’s statement. The Articulacion also called upon Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to continue the activation the Democratic Charter against Nicaragua, a process that officially began in January, but has since stalled.
The Articulacion and the CPLPP also called for an international day of protest, on March 23. The protest’s motto will be Freedom Now!
Yubrank Suazo Punished After Defiant Act of Protest.
Political prisoner Yubrank Suazo, who recorded and posted a video from inside the Modelo Prison, has been severely punished for his actions, according to his father, Wilfredo Suazo, who says that his son was beaten and transferred to the cell block commonly known as “El Infiernillo”.
Mr. Suazo said he was proud of what Yubrank had done over the weekend, when he recorded a video in which he defiantly told the Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, “you could not and will not shut down the voices of the people who rise up demanding freedom and democracy.”
Yubrank said “I am here, to denounce what the young people are suffering.” I, as Yubrank’s father, I feel as the father of all those young men who are in there, because I feel their pain. I tell Nicaraguans; I say to this government that the young men and women who have been kidnapped are not vandals. They are not criminals. They are not coup mongers. In the real Nicaragua, where we live, they are heroes, patriots. They are the hope for a free Nicaragua. They are our sun of freedom.
Padre de Yubrank Suazo confirma golpiza de su hijo y el traslado al infiernillo tras el video que grabo reportando la protesta de los presos políticos #TodosSomosNicaraguaActual#SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/E3BVq1mqAu
— Hector Rosales (@Hector_RosalesA) March 11, 2019
¹The Bride from Tola refers to the story Hilaria Ruiz, who was left at the altar by her intended, Salvador Cruz. The idiom “te quedaste como la nova de Tola” — “you’ve been left like the bride from Tola — means you’ve been stood up or left.