This is baffling.
Nicaragua is the only Central American country that has not ordered any social isolation measures or closed borders to prevent entry from abroad. The president of Nicaragua hasn’t even addressed his nation about the virus.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) is operational in Nicaragua and is working hard to inform citizens. However, people are starting to ask where President Daniel Ortega is, as he’s essentially been a hermit to his own home.
The last time the president was publicly seen was on March 12th, when he met with other leaders in the Central American Integration System (SICA), to discuss a potential response to the pandemic.
Citizens of Nicaragua are speculating on two possibilities: Either the President himself is very sick and unable to be seen in public, or that he simply doesn’t care. Either way, President Ortega’s inaction is considered to be highly irresponsible. Most people are assuming that the President doesn’t care. After all, even if he’s sick, the people deserve some form of public statement to be made.
“Love in times of Covid-19” – Amor en tiempos del Covid-19
On March 14, the Nicaraguan government challenged the global Coronavirus pandemic with a massive march called “Love in times of Covid-19”, against the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
I’m perplexed about the President’s decision to hold a public march during a pandemic. And interestingly enough, the President himself didn’t attend the event.
Prohibited To Create A Medical Center
Monseñor Rolando Álvarez, a bishop in Nicaragua has been working towards creating a medical center to offer treatment to patients affected by Coronavirus. However, the Ortega administration or “Dictatorship” as some call it, isn’t permitting any Coronavirus facilities to be created.
The country of Nicaragua is vastly underprepared for an outbreak.
Costa Rica’s Government Is Getting Involved
Considering that Costa Rica is located immediately next to Nicaragua, the threat is high for Covid-19 cases to flow into the neighboring country. To keep a close eye on things, Costa Rican authorities are starting to get involved.
Costa Rica started protecting it’s border long ago. Recently two busses with 70 people on board were captured and returned to Nicaragua. The belief is that Nicaraguans will begin fleeing the country in order to avoid the coming outbreaks.
Ortega doesn’t make many public appearances because he doesn’t like to and never has. The principal spokesperson (portavoz) for the Nicaraguan government is his vice president, Rosario Murillo, who happens to also be his wife. Nicas refer to her as the ‘bruja’ (witch) and mock Daniel as a puppet, as latino machos will, insisting that his wife is the ‘cerebro gris entre bastidores’ (brain behind the scenes). That’s as believable as it’s equally unbelievable that someone as demented and prone to delirium as Rosario might occupy the position she does. Most Nicaraguans weary of her ceaseless and senseless speeches, both on radio and television, including the one where, with respect to COVID-19, she assured her people that God was protecting them –Nicaraguans specifically– so they had nothing to fear from the pandemic. Hence the failure of the clinic suggested by the Catholic bishop, mentioned above, as that would have clearly contradicted Rosario’s assurance of divine protection. In 2018, citizens were ‘disappeared’, hundreds were killed by government forces. I even heard rumors of one defenseless woman shot point-blank in the head with a shotgun by some government thug, just for peaceably protesting recent government policies. The ‘thugs’, just so you know, are in fact the National Police, wearing masks like they do in Mexico, and can get away with anything they want.
Before 2018, when the bloody repression began, Nicaragua was listed as the #2 safest country in Latin America (after Chile). That’s no longer the case. Nicaraguans have been fleeing the country since long before COVID-19, in order to flee the dictatorship of Daniel and Rosario (that is, the Orteguistas, as opposed to the Sandanistas, which entity is currently profoundly fractured). There are some 40,000 Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica already. Their chant in protests has been ¡Ortega, Somoza –son la misma cosa! But there are no protests now, unless you want to find yourself in El Chipote. Ortega has already imprisoned, without trial or access to family, all of his political opponents, including all of the viable opposition presidencial candidates for the upcoming elections in November, 2021.
Funny how most this doesn’t reach US media (not even since before the pandemia) but, hell, it now appears that OliverNorth wasn’t entirely on the wrong side. Anyone remember that scandal? Well, it appears that the Sandanistas weren’t wearing white hats after all and that ours weren’t quite so dark, that their political rhetoric has achieved the same miserable result it has achieved everywhere without exception during the last century.
I wish I were with so many Nica friends right now on Ometepe Island, tossing back a shot of seven-year Flor de Caña, or Ron Plata, if I’m cheap (the rains will have ceased by the end of this month) but that, I’m afraid, would be a MOST imperfect plan, at least until the red dust after the coming elections has settled. God knows what its inevitable result might provoke.
If you do decide to spend some time in Nicaragua in the near future–on Ometepe Island, San Juan del Sur, in Granada, León or Masaya perhaps (all the primary destinations), be sure your laptops, phones and cameras are politically ‘sterile’. Avoid public gatherings or protests at all costs, never criticize the government, observe the traffic laws scrupulously (they are enforced scrupulously in Nicaragua, unlike most Latin countries), and don’t even imagine arguing with the police, unless you have gobs of cash with you and good enough Spanish to convince them that you only want them to slake their thirst with a nice cold beverage (‘gaseosa’ in Nicaragua).