Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 406 | Mayo 2015



Nicaragua in Eduardo Galeano’s words

Some of the stories, places and names that have been important in Nicaragua’s history are immortalized in Eduardo Galeano’s books. It’s impossible to reproduce everything he has written about us with his impassioned pen, but we offer you a selection that highlights his unflaggingly fresh critical thinking, always from the left, always coherent, always honest and ever evolving.

María López Vigil

The book that first made Galeano famous was The Open Veins of Latin America, his 1971 essay on the history of Latin America’s economic pillage and political miseries, which taught generations to think about our continent from other angles. When Hugo Chávez gave it to Barack Obama as a present in the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago, sales shot up again, putting the book on the best seller list overnight. But by that time Galeano had distanced himself from his work. He said he wasn’t sorry he had written it but couldn’t read it again because it was “boring left prose”; he modestly acknowledged that he had lacked sufficient economic and political preparation when he wrote it.

Sandino stirred the world

It was in that book that Galeano wrote his first words about Augusto César Sandino. He would write about Sandino’s deeds again and again, always admiringly.
…For about twenty years—for some more, for some less—power would remain in the hands of Guatemala’s Jorge Ubico Castañeda, Salvador’s Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, Honduras’ Tiburcio Carias Andino and Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza.
The epic of Augusto César Sandino stirred the world. The long struggle of Nicaragua’s guerrilla leader was rooted in the angry peasants’ demand for land. His small ragged army fought for some years against twelve thousand US invaders and the National Guard. Sardine tins filled with stones served as grenades, Springfield rifles were stolen from the enemy, and there were plenty of machetes; the flag flew from any handy stick, and the peasants moved through mountain thickets wearing strips of hide called huarachas instead of boots. The guerrillas sang, to the tune of Adelita:
‘In Nicaragua, gentlemen,
the mouse kills the cat.’

Pedrarias and El Güegüense…

Several books and many articles after Open Veins came the three-volume Memory of Fire, published between 1982 and 1986. By then Galeano had abandoned the concept of a running thread of analysis, instead experimenting with a new emotive snapshot vision of being Latin American, interweaving anecdotal snippets with evocative mini-analyses of the long night of the generals in so many countries, including his own, Uruguay. The first result was published in Spanish in 1978 as Días y noches de amor y de guerra (and not until 2000 in English as Days and Nights of Love and War).

By Memory of Fire he had mastered the use of the poignant image, in which the only clue to location and time we’re offered is a place name (no country) and a year (no date). It’s like a 10,000-piece puzzle in motion, much like those books of drawings that show a couple dancing or a horse running when the pages are fanned past the thumb. In this case, we’re shown over five centuries of a continent peopled with history-making names and anonymous ordinary folk struggling to survive and make their own history. Galeano defines it “not as an anthology but a literary creation, based on solid documentation but moving with complete freedom.” Little Nicaragua appears in numerous pages among the seeds of passion sown there to awaken the collective memory.
The first volume, titled “Genesis,” opens with pre-Colombian indigenous creation myths, then moves to 1492 and comes up to the beginning of the 18th century. It includes a profile of the tyrannical first governor of Nicaragua, Pedrarias Arias de Avila:
“When Pedrarias wakes up shaking his white mane because he lost a hundred Indians at dice the night before, his glance is better avoided.”

It also tells of the expedition to explore the Masaya volcano, because while “Many Christians think the Masaya is a mouth of hell… others assert that its incandescent smoke cloud, visible for fifty leagues, is produced by gold and silver being melted and purified seething in the belly of the mountain…. They submerge the iron cauldron. From the depths come neither gold nor silver, nothing but sulphur slag. When they dip the cauldron in deeper the volcano eats it up.”

And of course it couldn’t leave the 17th century without tipping its hat to that scallywag, El Güegüense, protagonist of Latin America’s first theatrical work by the same name:

1670: Masaya
‘The Idiot’
The characters, wearing masks, speak a language of their own, neither Náhuatl nor Spanish, a mestizo language that has grown up in Nicaragua. It has been fed by the thousand idioms that the people have developed for talking defiantly and inventing as they talk, fiery chili from the imaginations of a people making fun of its masters.
An ancient Indian, a coarse fast talker, occupies the center of the stage. It is ‘the Idiot,’ otherwise known as Macho Mouse, mocker of prohibitions, who never says what he says or listens to what he hears, and so manages to avoid being crushed by the powerful: when the rogue cannot win the game, he draws; when he can’t achieve a draw, he confuses.

…William Walker and Sandino

In the second volume, which Galeano titled “Faces and Masks,” he reconstructs the mosaic of the 18th- and 19th-century independence struggles. In these pages Nicaragua is present in a portrait of filibusterer William Walker and of anti-imperialist César Augusto Sandino, two men from separate centuries who could not be more unalike in every way.

1856: Granada.
The son of Tennessee shoots from the hip and buries without epitaph. He has eyes of cinders. He neither laughs nor drinks. He eats as a duty. No woman has been seen with him since his deaf and dumb fiancée died; and God is his only friend worthy of trust. He calls himself the Predestined. He dresses in black. He hates anyone touching him.
“William Walker, Southern gentleman, proclaims himself President of Nicaragua… restores slavery, abolished in Central America over thirty years ago, and re-implants the slave trade, serfdom and forced labor. He decrees that English is Nicaragua’s official language and offers land and hands to any white North Americans who care to come….


1895: Niquinohomo.
His Name Will Be Sandino
At the doors of this adobe house people gather, drawn by the cry. Like an upside-down spider the newborn baby moves his arms and legs. No Magi Kings come from afar to welcome him, but a farm laborer, a carpenter and a passing market woman leave gifts.

The godmother offers lavender water to the mother and to the child a pinch of honey, which is his first taste of the world.

Later the godmother buries the placenta, which looks so like a root, in a corner of the garden. She buries it in a good spot where there is plenty of sun, so that it will become soil here in Niquinohomo. Within a few years, the child that just came from that placenta will become soil too, the rebellious soil of all Nicaragua.”

Darío, Sandino, Somoza and the revolution

In the third volume, titled “Century of the Wind,” which begins with the 20th century, Galeano pins down bits of 20th-century history caught up and polished by the wind. We are offered details of Sandino’s life before he took up arms against the occupying US Marines, anecdotes of that war, profiles of some of Sandino’s men—and women—and the story of his assassination… Also in these pages we find renowned Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, the Somozas, Managua’s devastating earthquake, the FSLN’s successful 1978 assault on the National Palace, Solentiname… Finally, with words of surprise and enthusiasm Galeano paints for us the first moments of the Sandinista revolution, with which he, like so many others of us in Latin America and the world, fell in love.

1916: León

In Nicaragua, occupied land, humiliated land, Rubén Darío dies.
The doctor kills him, fatally puncturing his liver. The embalmer, the hairdresser, the makeup man, and the tailor torment his remains.
A sumptuous funeral is inflicted upon him…. Surrounded by candles and admirers, the corpse of Darío wears a Greek tunic and laurel crown by day, by night a formal black frock coat and gloves to match. For a whole week, day and night, night and day, he is scourged with never-ending recitals of shoddy verses and regaled with speeches proclaiming him Immortal Swan, Messiah of the Spanish Lyre and Samson of the Metaphor.
Guns roar. The government contributes to the martyrdom by piling War Ministry honors on the poet who preached peace. Bishops brandish crosses; steeple bells ring out. In the culminating moment of this flagellation, the poet who believed in divorce and lay education is dropped into the hole converted, a prince of the Church.

1926: Puerto Cabezas
The Most Admirable Women on Earth
are the whores of Puerto Cabezas. From pillow talk they know the exact spot under water where US Marines have buried forty rifles and seven thousand cartridges. Thanks to these women, who risk their lives in defiance of the foreign occupation troops, Sandino and his men rescue from the waters by torchlight their first weapons and first ammunition.
1933: Managua
The First US Military Defeat in Latin America
On the first day of the year the Marines leave Nicaragua with all their ships and planes. The scraggy general, the little man who looks like a capital T with his wide-brimmed sombrero, has humbled an empire….
As soon as he reaches Managua, the triumphant Sandino says: ‘Now we’re free. I won’t fire another shot.’
The President of Nicaragua, Juan Bautista Sacasa, greets him with an embrace. General Somoza embraces him too.

1934: Managua
Horror Film: Scenario for Two Actors and a Few Extras
Somoza leaves the house of Arthur Bliss Lane, ambassador of the United States.
Sandino arrives at the house of Sacasa, President of Nicaragua.
While Somoza sits down to work with his officers, Sandino sits down to supper with the President.

Somoza tells his officers that the ambassador has just given his unconditional support to the killing of Sandino.

Sandino tells the President about the problems of the Wiwilí cooperative, where he and his soldiers have been working the land for over a year.
Somoza explains to his officers that Sandino is a communistic enemy of order, who has many more weapons concealed than those he has turned in.
Sandino explains to the President that Somoza won’t let him work in peace.
Somoza discusses with his officers whether Sandino should die by poison, shooting, airplane accident, or ambush in the mountains.

Sandino discusses with the President the growing power of the Guardia Nacional, led by Somoza, and warns that Somoza will soon blow him away to sit in the presidential chair himself.

Somoza finishes settling some practical details and leaves his officers.
Sandino finishes his coffee and takes leave of the President.
Somoza goes off to a poetry reading and Sandino goes off to his death.
While Somoza listens to the sonnets of Zoila Rosa Cárdenas, young luminary of Peruvian letters who honors this country by her visit, Sandino is shot in a place called The Skull, on Lonesome Road.
1934: Managua
The Government Decides that Crime Does Not Exist
The next day…, a wholesale massacre takes place in the mountains. Somoza orders the Wiwilí cooperative destroyed, and the new Guardia Nacional strikes with total surprise, wiping out Sandino’s former soldiers, who were sowing tobacco and bananas and had a hospital half built. The mules are saved, but not the children.
Soon after, banquets in homage to Somoza are given by the United States embassy in Managua and by the most exclusive clubs of León and Granada….
1972: Managua
Somoza’s Other Son
The cathedral clock stops forever at the hour the earthquake lifts the city into the air. The quake shakes Managua and destroys it.
In the face of this catastrophe Tachito Somoza proves his virtues both as statesman and as businessman. He decrees that bricklayers shall work sixty hours a week without a centavo more in pay and declares: ‘This is the revolution of opportunities.’

Tachito, son of Tacho Somoza, has displaced his brother Luis from the throne of Nicaragua. A graduate of West Point, he has sharper claws. At the head of a voracious band of second cousins and third uncles, he swoops down on the ruins. He didn’t invent the earthquake, but he gets his out of it.
The tragedy of half a million homeless people is a splendid gift for this Somoza, who traffics outrageously in debris and lands; and, as if that weren’t enough, he sells in the United States the blood donated to victims of the quake by the International Red Cross.
1979: In All Nicaragua
Get It Together, Everyone,
don’t lose it, the big one is here, the shit has hit the fan, hell has broken loose, we’re at fever heat, fighting with nothing but a homemade arsenal against tanks, armored cars and planes, so everyone get into it, from here on no one ducks out, it’s our war, the real thing, if you don’t die killing you’ll die dying, shoulder to shoulder makes us bolder, all together now, the people is us.
1979: Granada
The Comandantes
…When the colonel in command hears of Somoza’s flight, he orders the machine guns silenced. The Sandinistas also stop firing….
1979: In All Nicaragua
The Nicaragua newly born in the rubble is only a few hours old, fresh new greenery among the looted ruins of war; and the singing light of the first day of Creation fills the air that smells of fire.

1990: The child lost in the elements

The Spanish news daily El País published an extensive text on March 28, 1990, titled “El niño perdido en la intemperie” (The child lost in the elements), in which Galeano reflects on that “end of history” with which the collapse of European socialism was labeled. He included a long section on Nicaragua’s revolutionary project and its electoral defeat among the tumult of events that pained and perplexed him that year.

In Bucarest, a crane removes the statue of Lenin. In Moscow, an avid crowd lines up at McDonald’s doors. The abominable Berlin wall is sold off in pieces and East Berlin confirms that it’s located to the right of West Berlin. In Warsaw and in Budapest, the ministers of economy talk just like Margaret Thatcher. While combat vehicles also crush the students in Peking, the Italian Communist Party, the largest in the West, announces its next suicide. Soviet aid to Ethiopia is cut and Colonel Mengistu suddenly discovers that capitalism is good. The Sandinistas, protagonists of the best revolution in the world, lose the elections: ‘The Revolution in Nicaragua falls!’ newspaper headlines blast. It seems there’s no longer any place for revolutions except in the display windows of the Archeological Museum, just as there’s no place for the Left, save for that repentant Left that agrees to sit to the right of the bankers. We’re all invited to the world burial of socialism. The funeral procession, they say, encompasses all of humanity.

I confess I don’t believe it. These funerals have got the wrong corpse.
Perestroika and the passion for freedom it unleashed have ripped all the seams of an asphyxiating straight jacket. Everything is exploding. The changes are multiplying vertiginously, based on the certainty that social justice has no reason to be an enemy of freedom or of efficiency. An urgency, a collective need: people had no more patience; they were sick of a bureaucracy, as powerful as it is useless, that in Marx’s name prohibited them from saying what they were thinking and living what they were feeling. All spontaneity was guilty of treason or madness.

Socialism, communism? Or was all this just a historical scam? I write from a Latin American point of view, and find myself wondering: if so, if that’s all it was, why are we the ones who are going to pay the price of that swindle? Our face was never in that mirror.

In Nicaragua’s recent elections, national dignity has lost the battle. It was beaten by hunger and war; but it was also beaten by the international winds, which are blowing against the Left with more force than ever. The just unjustly paid for the sinners. The Sandinistas aren’t responsible for either the war or the hunger, nor can the slightest quota of blame be attributed to them for everything happening in the East. Paradox of paradoxes: this democratic, pluralist, independent revolution that didn’t copy the Soviets or the Chinese or the Cubans or anyone else has paid for the damage others did, while the local Communist Party voted for Violeta Chamorro.

The authors of war and hunger are now celebrating the result of the elections, which punish the victims. The next day, the US government announced the end of the economic embargo against Nicaragua. The same thing had occurred years earlier, at the time of the military coup in Chile. The day after the death of President Allende, the international price of copper went up as if by the art of magic.

In reality, the revolution that brought down the dictatorship of the Somoza family didn’t have a minute of truce in these 10 long years. It was invaded every day by a foreign power and its rented criminals and was subjected to an incessant state of siege by the bankers and merchants who own the world. Even so, it still managed to be a more civilized revolution than France’s, because no one was guillotined or shot, and more tolerant than the North American one, because in the middle of war it permitted, with some restrictions, the free expression of the colonial master’s local spokespeople.
The Sandinistas taught Nicaragua to read and write, considerably lowered infant mortality and gave land to the peasants. But the war bled the country out. The damages of that war were equal to one-and-a-half times the gross domestic product, which means that Nicaragua was destroyed one and a half times. The justices of the International Court at The Hague handed down a sentence against the US aggression, but that was useless. So were the congratulations of the United Nations organizations specializing in education, food and health. You can’t eat applause.

The invaders rarely attacked military objectives. Their preferred targets were the agrarian cooperatives. How many thousand Nicaraguans were killed or wounded in that decade by order of the US government? Proportionately it would be equivalent to three million gringos. Nonetheless, in those same years many thousands of US citizens visited Nicaragua and were always well received. Nothing ever happened to them. Only one died. And he was killed by the contra. (He was a very young engineer and a clown. Everywhere he went he was pursued by a swarm of children. He organized the first clown school in Nicaragua. The contra killed him while he was measuring the water of a lake to make a dam. His name was Ben Linder.)

…Nicaragua’s elections were a very hard blow. A blow like God’s hatred, as the poet said. When I learned the result, I was, and still am, a child lost in the elements. A child lost, I admit, but not alone. There are many of us. All over the world there are many of us….

Now we have to start again. Step by tiny step, with no more shields than those born of our own bodies. We have to discover, create, imagine. In a speech by Jesse Jackson soon after his defeat [for the presidential candidacy] in the United States, he argued for the right to dream. ‘We’re going to defend that right,’ he said, ‘we’re not going to let anyone take that right away from us.’ And today, more than ever, we need to dream. Dream dreams together that are undreamed and incarnated in mortal matter, as another poet said, and wanted. My best friends live fighting for that right and some have even given their life for it.

This is my testimony. Confession of a dinosaur? Perhaps. In any event it’s the testimony of someone who believes that the human condition isn’t condemned to selfishness and the obscene chase after money, and that socialism didn’t die because it hasn’t existed yet: that today is the first day of the long life that’s still there to be lived.

1992: Despite some leaders…

A couple of years later, on March 31, 1992, El País published another text by Galeano, this one titled “A pesar de los pesares” (Despite the regrets). This free thinker, spirit of critical truth, continued thinking freely. The text centered on Cuba, which was still blockaded. Galeano wrote: “I have never confused Cuba with paradise. So why would I now confuse it with hell? I’m one of those who believe that one can love it without either lying or keeping quiet.” In the context of that time of unbridled success by capitalism, Galeano also referred to Nicaragua, but his words already hinted of disappointment and also of the drawing of lines: Sandinismo isn’t the greed of some of its leaders.

Time of collapse and perplexity; time of great doubts and tiny certainties. But perhaps this certainty isn’t so tiny: when they are born from within, when they grow from below, the great processes of change don’t end up on their fucking side. Could Nicaragua, let’s just use it as a case, which comes from a decade of staggering greatness, forget what it learned about dignity and justice and democracy? Does Sandinismo end with some leaders who haven’t known how to rise to the height of their own deeds and have ended up with cars and houses and other public goods? Surely Sandinismo is significantly more than those Sandinistas who have been capable of losing life in war but not of losing things in peace.

Galeano visited Nicaragua many times during the revolutionary years, awed by everything he saw going forward. But after 1990, knowing what “some leaders” were doing and saying, he never again returned.

An amazing somersault

Eight years after being “lost in the elements,” Galeano began in his new books to analyze the human injustices, paradoxes, barbarities and achievements in a world wider than our continent but never alien to him because it was human; but for all that he always saw it through Latin American eyes. He organized it in a brilliant patchwork, sewing bits together, mixing sizes and colors. By this time he was already very disappointed about what was happening in Nicaragua. In those confusing years, and in fact until the end of his life, envío kept him in touch with our country and the other Central American countries. We are proud to have had such a man as a loyal reader.

In Patas arriba: Escuela del mundo al revés, published in Spanish in 1998 and in English two years later as Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World, Galeano offers three scenes that exemplify the drastic changes that had taken place in the Nicaragua of that decade: Cardinal Obando inaugurating a new gas station, the poor of Managua running their cart horses in the “Ben Hur chariot races” invented by Conservative politician Pedro Solórzano, and a few words by Humberto Ortega which, with characteristic irony, Galeano considered useful “for a History of Ideas course.”

The Stadium and the Boxes
In the eighties, the Nicaraguan people were sentenced to war for believing that national dignity and social justice were luxuries to which a poor little country could aspire.
In 1996, Félix Zurita interviewed General Humberto Ortega, who had been a revolutionary. How quickly times have changed. Humiliation? Injustice? That’s human nature, said the general. No one is ever satisfied with what he gets.
’There’s a hierarchy,’ he said. And he explained that society is like a soccer stadium: ‘A hundred thousand people can squeeze into the stadium, but only five hundred can sit in the boxes. No matter how much you love the people you can’t fit them all in the boxes.’

Reagan, Sandino always,
and El Güegüense again

In his three books written in the new millennium—Voices of Time: A Life in Stories (2004), Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (2009) and Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History (2012), Galeano continued the anecdotal snapshot style initiated with Days and Nights of Love and War and given chronology in Memory of Fire. Now, however, it elasticized time and space, contemplating nothing short of the origin of life in Voices of Time, and a day-by-day reflection on the history of the world in Children of the Days. Their pages are collections of long and short stories “woven by the threads of time,” with more thoroughness in the anecdotes and more irony and humor in the style, but the same passion of purpose: to draw back the veil in order to trigger reflection and emotion, smiles and tears, now not just about his own continent, but about the entire world… from day one.

Even though he infinitely widened the angle of his lens in these books, he didn’t forget Nicaragua. In Voices of Time he waxes sarcastic about Reagan.

The country no one invades, and has the habit of invading others, is terrified of being invaded.
In the eighties, the threat was called Nicaragua. President Ronald Reagan fumigated public opinion with toxic clouds of fear. When he went on TV to decry the danger, a red tide flowed across the map projected behind him. A torrent of blood and communism spread from Central America, washed over Mexico and penetrated the United States through Texas.
The TV audience hadn’t a clue where Nicaragua was. Nor did they know it was a barefoot country flattened by half a century of dictatorship manufactured in Washington, and by an earthquake that erased much of the city of Managua from the map.
The fount of fear had a total of five elevators, plus an escalator that wasn’t working. (“Red Alert” from Voices of Time).

In Mirrors he again turns his admiring eyes on Sandino, while not leaving out the story of a radio station in Paiwas that defends women.

In 1933, the Marines, humiliated, left Nicaragua.
They left, but they remained. They had trained Anastasio Somoza and his troops to be their replacement.

And Sandino, victorious in war, was defeated in an act of treason.
He was killed in an ambush in 1934. From behind it must have been.
‘You shouldn’t take death seriously, he liked to say. ‘It is but a moment’s discomfort.’ (“Resurrection of Sandino” from Mirrors).

In Children of the Days, a sort of almanac with reflections for each day of the year, he again praises the cunning of El Güegüense on January 25 and on April 27 ridicules the FSLN’s participation in the criminalization of therapeutic abortion.

The people of Nicaragua celebrate the Güegüense and laugh right along with him.
During these days, the days of his fiesta, the streets become stages where this rogue spins yarns, sings ditties and reels off dance-steps, and by labor and grace of his mummery everyone becomes a storyteller, a singer, a dancer.
The Güegüense is the daddy of Latin American street theater.
Since the beginning of colonial times, he has been teaching the arts of the master trickster. ‘When you can’t beat ’em, tie ’em. When you can’t tie ’em, tie ’em up.
Century after century the Güegüense has never stopped playing the fool. He’s the font of fatuous gibberish, the master of devilries envied by the Devil himself, the de-humbler of the humble, a fucking fucked fucker. (“The Right to Roguery” from Children of the Days)
The Conservative Party was in power in Nicaragua on this day in 1837 when women won the right to abortion if their lives were in danger.
One hundred seventy years later, in the very same country, legislators who claimed to be Sandinista revolutionaries outlawed abortion “in any circumstance,” and thus condemned poor women to prison or the cemetery. (“Life’s Twists and Turns” from Children of the Days)

The criminalization of abortion

The issue of the criminalization of therapeutic abortion also served as the basis for reflections on the many facets of Left and Right in a lengthy interview with Telesur and with Chile’s semi-monthly magazine Punto Final.

“Of course I’m a man of the left, unquestionably. If tomorrow it crosses my mind to say I’ve gone over to the right no one will believe me. I’m of the left, but that doesn’t mean I confuse religion with politics, as do many compañeros, dear friends of mine, by the way…. In 1830-plus, Nicaragua was one of the first countries to legalize abortion in cases where the woman’s health and life were at risk. At that moment the Conservative Party, a rightwing party, was governing in Nicaragua. Roughly a century and a half later a leftist, Sandinista government, annulled the law…. Under these parameters I’d like them to clarify for me what’s left and what’s right, because if abortion legalized by a rightwing government was illegalized by a leftwing government, then we’re all screwed up. The meaning of words would have to be recovered, which is a writer’s primordial function, to help clean up the dictionary. (Punto Final, Santiago de Chile, February 2013)

Dora María deserves to be heard

In June 2008, Galeano, together with Noam Chomsky, Susan Meiselas, Ariel Dorfman, Salman Rushdie, Hermann Schulz, Juan Gelman, Brian Willson, Tom Hayden, Bianca Jagger and Mario Benedetti, signed an open letter they titled “Dora María deserves to be listened to.” At that time Dora María Téllez, a revolutionary comandante who had co-led the 1978 attack on the National Palace, had just concluded a hunger strike in a tent in public view on the edge of a major traffic circle in Managua. Her main but not only demand was that the Ortega government reinstate the political party she had helped found, the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), arbitrarily stripped of its legal status so it wouldn’t pull Managua votes away from the FSLN in that year’s municipal elections. Galeano and the other signers saw it as an indicator of the regression of democracy in Nicaragua.

The signatories of this pronouncement have, one way or another, shared Nicaragua’s history. During the Sandinista struggle against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza and afterwards during the years in which Nicaragua suffered the aggression produced by the interventionist policy of the Reagan Administration, we accompanied revolutionary Nicaragua with our positions and our actions. Many of us formed part of a broad solidarity movement.
From that time on we have gotten to know and admire the valour and commitment of Dora María Téllez. Her integrity, prestige, dedication and the risk caused to her life by staying on a hunger strike for 13 days prompts us to make a pronouncement asking the Nicaraguan government to meditate well on the consequences of not paying attention to the demands she represents.
What led Dora María to once more put her life and health on the line is a clear demand: that political spaces not be closed and that a national dialogue take place to resolve the food crisis and the high cost of living which, like many countries, Nicaragua faces.

None of these demands is irrational and a government that wants popular support ought to respond to them.

We want to support this demand and this protest. Political representation is a right. It is a right to protest against mechanisms that shut down this space. Dora María is exercising her right. She represents a broad sector of Nicaraguan society that ought to be listened to. We ask for her right, for that of her comrades and that of all Nicaraguans.

Just a few little questions about the canal

Galeano was already very ill when in November 2014 we asked him to say something about the project to build an interoceanic canal through Nicaragua, about which he was up to speed. And he did, leaving us in the last words he directed to Nicaragua a few little questions full of his elegant and daring irony.

What Chinese tale is the reigning family in Nicaraguan buying?
How much is that heroic people paying in exchange for a ghost canal?
Don’t those who have put a for sale sign on the memory of the dignity of people who knew how to stand up to the most powerful empire of the contemporary era feel even a little bit of shame? 
Please forgive my insolence.

Goodbye friend, teacher, word magician.

María López Vigil is envío’s editor-in-chief.

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