Photo: Reuters retrieved

Rhetoric is a common weapon for Daniel Ortega, and in these last three months, with over 350 people dead and thousands wounded due to the protests seeking to topple his government, the “President – Commander” has given no quarter in his discourse blaming the United States, the Catholic church and the Civic Alliance as the only culprits of the crisis sweeping over Nicaragua. On July 19, the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the sandinista revolution triumph, Ortega and his wife (the Vice-President – Companion) surrounded by supporters in Managua, continued sowing the path of confrontation by claiming that: “the revolution will win, no one will stop us.

Ortega and his wife (…) continued sowing the path of confrontation by claiming that: “the revolution will win, no one will stop us.”

While Ortega took “a shower of masses,” Masaya inhabitants keep pleading for help after hordes made up of paramilitaries and members of Sandinista Youths violently took over the city on July 18. Yet another goal of the “Operación Limpieza”, aimed at anyone who opposes the government party, the Sandinista Front of National Liberation, at all costs. Since the protests started, Masaya has become Nicaragua’s dissident bastion. Its inhabitants ousted the mayor, an Ortega ally, and installed a self-government demanding central authorities to hold new presidential elections and to arrest president Ortega along with his followers. Entrenched in the streets and armed with molotov bombs and slings, Masaya citizens don’t allow the national police and the military to enter the city.

On social networks and through text messages, we saw how Masaya turned into a battlefield, where its inhabitants, scared of paramilitary groups, recorded videos from inside their homes evidencing the city’s hostile takeover. Dozens of 4×4 trucks drove through the streets trampling on the barricades that fill Masaya; aboard them were hooded men, armed with long weapons, attacking those brave enough to face them. “Look! Look what they’re using to kill us!”, yelled a hooded youngster at the cameras of an international TV team, his hands holding ammunition shells from assault rifles used by the Nicaraguan army. “Please! We need you to come. To help us. Masaya is free, and we’ll defend it!”, said the youngster before running off before the paramilitaries show up.

“It’s the bishops, the Catholic church, complicit with dissidents trained from Washington, the ones responsible for the violence in our country. We’re peaceful people, we’re a peaceful revolution, but we are ready to defend our ideals with whatever it takes,” said Ortega during a speech in Managua on July 19. By his side, Rosario Murillo cheered for him and hugged him.

“It’s the bishops, the Catholic church, complicit with dissidents trained from Washington, the ones responsible for the violence in our country”.

The Catholic church has taken serious hits during Nicaragua’s crisis. It was precisely in the Church of the Divine Mercy, within the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), where one of the worst incidents took place: on July 14, paramilitary groups tried to take over the university facing students who protested against Ortega’s regime. Many of these students, including a journalist from The Washington Post who was covering the assault on the university, had to take shelter within the church and they had to endure a brutal attack that lasted over 20 hours, resulting in two dead students and dozens of wounded. The students managed to escape the church thanks to the actions of the Civic Alliance and the church.

“As the moral powerhouse we are, we want to create peace everyday,” yelled Rosario Murillo during the celebration of the Sandinista victory. Up until April 28, when the dialogue between the government, the Catholic church and the Civic Alliance started, this woman boasted her catholic beliefs and her devotion for bishops. Now, at the turn of the tide, she’s veered her discourse toward the country’s evangelicals, who have expressed their support for Ortega. Meanwhile, institutions such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU), far from rosaries and prayers, have issued statements supporting dialogue in Nicaragua and demanding an end to violence.

And thus, with the kickback of what’s been a day-by-day fight for survival, many Nicaraguans remember that 39 years ago, Somoza fled Managua, fled to avoid falling in the hands of thousands of people who demanded his head. A flight that Ortega recalled on July 19 and arrogantly used to give a strong and clear message to his detractors: “I won’t run away, I’m staying here, fighting in my country.”

Will his words prove to be true?

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. Look…

    I understand the parallels, the connections, the similarities between VZ and Nicaragua.

    But I just don’t think it means anything, and I’ll go to for info on THAT shithole.

    I know…I know…I’m wrong. It’s just my gut reaction.

    But, like, do I really want to read about the further shithole Mexico will soon become with their new Communist bastard president?

    Fuck them. I’m only interested in VZ.

    • @Ira If you don’t think it means anything, you need to bone up on your history. BIG TIME. If anything, Sandinismo in Nicaragua was the predecessor to Chavismo. What we see in Venezuela is “Nicaraguan-style tyranny”, not the other way around.

      And since they’re allies, they strengthen each other as they continue to exist. And will destabilize each other when we take them out.

      I often agree with you, but this comment was wrong and tasteless to boot. I disagree with Kepler from time to time, but he sums it up beautifully here.

      You don’t kill a hydra by chopping off individual heads. You kill it by crushing the body entirely.

      That’s what we need to focus on. Better comprehension of the body, so that when we take down individual heads like Maduro, Ortega, Putin, or Morales we don’t just stop there.

      • It’s still irrelevant:

        Look what happened to Nicaragua. Or Cuba. Did Venezuelans learn any lessons from that? Seems not.

        I just think the time is better spent on focusing on the main issue at hand, VZ.

  2. Fuck them. I’m only interested in VZ.
    That is your point of view. Not mine. Back in the day, I took a flight from Maracaibo to Cartagena. My seat mates were a Nicaraguan woman and her nephew. The point of the anecdote is that while you may want to separate Venezuela from other countries, such separation isn’t realistic. CAP considered Nicaragua to be of interest to Venezuela. As did El Finado.

    Though the following headline suggests to some it might have been better that CAP had NOT taken an interest in Nicaragua.Sergio Ramírez: Sin Carlos Andrés Pérez la revolución nunca hubiera sido posible, su apoyo fue decisivo. Tr.: “Sandinista VP Sergio Ramirez: without CAP the revolution would never have been possible. His support was decisive.”

    Anecdote time. On my weeks off from Argentina, I visited family friends in Asuncion, Paraguay. The head of the family had known Somoza when he worked in Nicaragua for the World Bank. At the time- spring 1980- Somoza was living in Asuncion. Paterfamilias told me that he could visit Somoza if he wanted, but didn’t want to. Somoza got greedy, he said. (Stealing relief funds from the 1972 earthquake.) Around the same time I was in Asuncion, I later found out, the hit squad for Somoza reconnoitered Asuncion in preparation later killing Somoza in September 1980.

    • @Boludo Tejano Well said indeed. And it’s also worth noting that the Sandinistas and Castro considered Venezuela to be in their interest. Like Kepler said.

      As for Somozoa….meh, he was much better than what came after him but that really isn’t saying much. And I view the assassination he suffered as one of the very few good things the Sandinistas have ever done. It is still an act of terrorism that the perpetrators should have hung for, but that goes with the territory.

      Point is like you say. This is a problem that goes WAY beyond Venezuela.

      • So far beyond that the hit squad was smuggled in from Uruguay, and was part of the real Tupamaros. We’re talking international Communist terrorism with an epicenter in the Caribbean, and its future spread in the L.A. region MUST be stopped at all costs–to not do so will be very costly for the U.S., not just economically, but geo-politically internationally vs. hard-noses like Russia/China, who will see non-action as weakness.

  3. While Ortega took “a shower of masses,” Masaya inhabitants keep pleading for help after hordes made up of paramilitaries and members of Sandinista Youths violently took over the city on July 18.

    Recall the update on your previous article: Nicaragua’s Vicious Road to Venezuelan-Style Tyranny.
    UPDATE: A previous version of this article mentioned the “Sandinista Youths” groups, when the author was actually referring to “Juventud Presidente” groups. The terms were corrected and the article has been updated.

    The NYT/Reuters article has no mention of “Sandinista Youths.”

  4. El día en que nosotros, los venezolanos, veamos el panorama general, tendremos una oportunidad más sólida de acabar con la pesadilla que es el chavismo.

    Ver el panorama general implica hablar y organizarse con grupos socioeconómicos diferentes: si se es médico, aliarse con los maestros, si se es maestro, aliarse con los obreros.

    Pero la cosa va más allá. Si conocemos a cubanos o nicaragüenses que no apoyan sus dictaduras, mostrar nuestro apoyo.
    Quien quiera ser dirigente debe pronunciarse a favor de ls movimientos democráticos en los países actualmente bajo la misma peste.

    Yo conozco muchos rusoparlantes en Europa. Cuando me preguntan y cuando no me preguntan les digo de maner clara
    que Venezuela vive bajo una dictadura miserable y que si bien Rusia no es mi problema, el gobierno de Rusia está apoyando criminales en mi país.
    Creo que debemos protestar de maner conjunta en todo el mundo.
    No podemos seguir viendo solo nuestros asuntos.
    Una de las razones por las que en Europa oriental cayeron las dictaduras fue porque muchos se dieron cuenta de que no estaban solos.

    • @Kepler !Muchas Gracias!

      We have our disagreements. And we will continue to have them. But this is the best overall summary of why understanding the big picture is important. After all, these scumbags are openly allied with each other.

      Mata a una hidra por completo.

    • If Europeans are so worried about Russian criminals in their countries, why do they have open borders, not support NATO, and buy gas from them?

      • Ira
        The simple answer is that Europe knows that the US will bail them out when push comes to shove. The US LNG export facilities are a good example of the US acting to counter the European dependence on Russian gas. In the meantime the liberal activists are keeping their own countries from hydraulic fracturing and producing enough energy to meet their own needs.
        When President Reagan wanted to put Pershing missiles in West Germany thousands of German men in the 18 -25 year range were out on the street protesting while US servicemen in the same age group were stationed in West Germany to defend them. I was a junior US Naval officer at the time and I found that situation ridiculous.
        President Trump needs to take a page from President Reagan’s playbook. He needs to hire a good speechwriter, ask for airtime from the major networks and explain to the American people the reasons for his actions. He can not lead the free world by issuing 140 character insults on Twitter.
        President Trump is correct that the countries that belong to NATO and the EU are taking advantage of the US with unfair trade policies while the US is shouldering the responsibility of defending the same countries.
        Proper communication and explaining his actions would benefit the President enormously. The US has been getting picked apart from all sides for decades. President Trump is trying to undo the damage in a few short months. A lot of people have become very comfortable with the US taxpayer, consumer and workers contributing to their standard of living and personal wealth.
        I support many of President Trump’s actions. I believe in the long run our country will be more secure and more prosperous if he is successful. The short term disruptions need to be addressed and companies and workers that are negatively impacted need to be compensated and supported through this turbulence.
        If he would just close his Twitter account……

      • You are really hillarious! You ask me that and you are a fan of Putin’s tool in the USA, a guy who admires Putin, a guy who increased his dad’s wealth by laundering Russian mafia money!

        I actually am very critical of the EU stand towards Russia but then who are you to criticize the EU when the US gives a lot of money to the main guys who promote Islamic fundamentalism across the world?

        Besides: this is off topic.

  5. I agree with Kepler. And, in any case, whether it is in Caracas, Managua, or La Habana, it’s the same fight. They know it too. That is why they pledge unconditional support to each other and share resources. As each of them falls, the others’ positions become less tenable.

  6. Another good article from Sr. Diaz.

    That said, I do get the feeling that it can be summed up as “Ortega being Ortega” or more broadly “Sandino’s heirs taking after the original article.”

    This has always been what Sandinismo has been at its core. Totalitarian violence and terror. It’s just that now without the Cold War to color things and without the US mining ports, Somozoa to be Somozoa, or the worst elements of the Contras to distract it people now see what it is clearly.

    I do think the original article was misnamed. This isn’t Nicaragua sliding into “Venezuelan-style” tyranny. This is Nicaragua and Venezuela both returning to Castro-style despotism, with Ortega trying to make up for lost time.

    But that is a relatively academic issue.

  7. Although they are two different countries the similarities are there. Venezuela just had oil money and Cuban assistance all those years to export his mischief. Interesting thing is how Ortega struck a bargain with the business community to keep his hands off private property for the most part. This sort of thinking would never occur to the clowns running Venezuela. Of course Cuba, Vzla, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and China will offer “moral” support to each other. But with the exception of China and to a certain extent Russia there is not much to offer. That is why the US needs to be vigilant in cutting them off with tough with punitive OFAC action on these governments. If the brave folks protesting in Nicaragua are successful and Ortega goes down it will not sit well in Havana or Caracas.

  8. We are paying with blood the fact we looked to the other way when Daniel Ortega ruined our fragile democracy in complicit with the liberal party . That made possible his return to power.

    I know a lot of things can be said about socialism (which is a truly cancer in the region). I know we are guilty too for allowing this authoritarian government remain in power. However, I’m a Nicaraguan who is living this tragedy 24/7 and I tell you we are a brave people , we are still fighting ,protesting and I want the world to know what’s going on.

    That’s why if you are a little bit interested in learning more , first hand , of what’s happening I invite you to check this blog . It’s a journal of Nicaraguas crisis. Please pray for us

    Viva Nicaragua libre
    Viva Venezuela libre


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here