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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 314 | Septiembre 2007



Seven Messages from Power and One from the Left

In July, ALN-PC legislator Alejandro Bolaños Davis’ son-in-law charged publicly that individuals using the FSLN secretariat buildings had extorted a sizable sum from foreign investors to “fix” a land dispute. In apparent reprisal, the FSLN-dominated Supreme Electoral Council stripped Bolaños Davis of his parliamentary seat on the flimsy grounds that he lied when registering to run by not declaring that he held dual nationality; the Supreme Court quickly backed its decision. From the other side of the National Assembly aisle, Mónica Baltodano reponded on August 23 with the following speech.

Mónica Baltodano

Beyond the judicial aberration, the disregard of a branch of state, the abuse committed by the caudillos’s “yes men” on the Supreme Court, the Supreme Electoral Council and this parliament’s directive board in particular, beyond the evident lack of scruples, the most important thing we want to do today is decipher for public opinion, for all citizens, the message they’re sending us, what they’re trying to say and want us all to understand. This is essential if we are to work out what should be done to resist such abuses of power.

The main message is this: “It’s extremely dangerous to denounce or publicly oppose illicit acts of power.” Earning the animosity of the powerful could cost you whatever job you have, regardless of your status, whether you’re a legislative representative, military general, police commissioner, mayor, businessperson, journalist, media owner or, worse yet, a simple citizen. No obstacle of any kind, whether legal, political or ethical, can stop the reprisals or hunger for revenge of those with power. In other words, the mafia never forgives. It will always find something, anything, in your life, the smallest flaw that can be used as a pretext to destroy you.

The second message seems to be: “You need to be afraid of us. If you lose your fear of us, we’re lost.” Fear is a well-known weapon. It has proved efficient for political regimes and leaders of both left and right. Hitler, Stalin, Somoza and Bush have all used it, although it must be added that the results have always been temporary. They want us to be afraid, to be well aware that we are risking the stability of our lives, our families and our children every time we dare criticize them, denounce them or disagree with their decisions. They want us to learn to be afraid of them, to know they have weapons that are more effective than physical repression. They want us to censor ourselves out of fear; to learn to keep quiet about their abuses. They think that exemplary punishments will teach us all we have to learn to remain silent.

The two caudillos are law

A third message appears to be that Daniel and Alemán have filled all the arenas of state power with enough of their unconditional supporters, enough yes men to impose their will regardless of any opposition even from their own ranks. The two of them concentrate all power. The dissident voices inside their parties have little or no relevance and must also learn the discipline of silence. The agreement between the two caudillos is law.

Another message is that it’s pure fiction, a pure lie that we’re all equal before the law. We have two people here with the capacity and power to be above the law. Their political will, their shared decisions know no boundaries; their decisions are the main source of law. Institutions and laws only have a role to play if they don’t clash with their interests or decisions.

A fifth message is that independence and the balance of powers is another fiction. The only balance needed is between the shared interests of the caudillos and their acolytes. Any decision or arbitrary ruling that today favors the interests of one caudillo must later be balanced with a decision favoring the other. This is the destiny of the country’s institutions; this is and will be their vocation.

Our supporters are unconditional
so we can be disproportionate

The next message is that any enemy of one of them is the enemy of both. And that, they tell us, is a dangerous road, a suicidal road. Alemán and Daniel combine their forces to destroy each other’s adversaries. And this, they tell us, must be kept clearly in mind by all those in their respective political forces who think differently. Alemán’s adversary is a potential enemy of Daniel and vice versa. This is the essence of the law of the pact between the caudillos. It is also the guarantee the caudillos’ unconditional yes men count on to execute their arbitrary decisions. That’s why both parties so quickly reach agreement in the different institutions. Each caudillo’s operators enjoy the protection of both.

The seventh and final message is that immoderate punishment is needed to stop any temptation to continue denouncing the injustices and illicit and mafia-like acts committed by the powers that be. In effect, some sectors cynically justify the measure against Bolaños Davis by saying, “The truth is that he lied and hid the fact he had two nationalities,” etc. etc. They don’t seem to consider the disproportion between answering for a possible error or even crime and the application of all force, all power, all repression, above the Constitution, the law and due process, above even the elementary human right to a defense. There is no proportion precisely because what they’re interested in is sending an intimidating, repressive message. It’s like the old mafia film, when the movie director wakes up to find the head of his race horse in bed with him because he refused to include the son of Godfather Don Corleone in the cast of one of his pictures. Do you remember?

We have no doubts or fears

But we want to send them a message as well. We on the left have no doubts, no fear. We have to say “Enough!” to authoritarianism, arbitrariness and the politics of fear. Resisting, opposing is the way to continue fighting for liberty. This is a case of Justice and Liberty. As Ernesto Ché Guevara said, “To feel deeply any injustice committed against anyone in any part of the world is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary.”

And Rosa Luxemburg, that unblemished revolutionary, left no doubts in this regard. “Liberty,” she said, “only for the members of the government and their allies, only for party members, however numerous they may be, is not liberty at all. Liberty is always liberty: even for someone who has a different way of thinking.” This is what it’s about, Mr. Parliamentary President; it’s about ceasing to be a yes man and defending justice and liberty, the democratic victories that have cost the Nicaraguan people so much.

Mónica Baltodano, a long-time militant of the Democratic Left current within the FSLN, split with her party to join the MRS presidential campgin headed by Herty Lewites and won a seat on the MRS bench in the National Assembly.

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