Yesterday he was arrested and jailed. They were clearing vines and shrubs from the coffee bushes when the former owner showed up with a policeman. They had an impressive looking document, a “letter of assignation” without much legal validity, but in the pastel colors of the government and signed by a commandant. The owner had a court order ruling that the estate not be touched before ownership was established. He was in jail four hours, then another judge was found who could be persuaded to release him.
-Papa, I want to go home.
It´s Roberto. He is standing there, crying. He isn’t drunk, but he has been drinking.
It’s 10 o’clock. He already came by once before this morning. Then, he didn’t want to go home. He wanted to work all day so that he could go home with his pockets full of money. In order to save just a little face with his family back home in Esteli. But now here he is, back already, without a single coin in his pocket. Another day that started out full of determination and detoured to drink the moment he earned his first peso. Continue reading
The Danish solidarity brigade has finished their village stay and their Easter vacation, and arrived to a barrio in Ciudad Sandino. They live with the local CPC (the citizen’s power committee) and work at a local kindergarden, improving a playground for the kindergarden and a little park for the barrio.
The experience has given them new insight into how Nicaraguan local politics work…
“Good morning, little dad,” he calls from the gate with his hoarse voice.
Roberto is here again. He is sitting on the sidewalk, an empty look in his eyes, resting his battered face against the wall, smelling of cheap booze. He was beaten up a couple of weeks ago, his cheek is still swollen, full of sore crusts. He has a sandal on one foot. He has a brand new backpack in his lap, the price tag still on it.
“Political Messianism and church rhetoric about obligatory motherhood, that is what the red-black heaven offers the poor.” That is how a Nicaraguan women’s organization judges the Sandinista government.
In an advertisement placed in the major Nicaraguan newspapers on March 8, 2008, the Nicaraguan Autonomous Women’s Movement lashes out at Daniel Ortega and his government.
They describe Nicaragua as a country where women’s right to participation in politics is a “grim joke”, and where the government pursues an “anti-women” policy which reduces women to “day laborers” and “breeding machines” without any rights, and with a “death sentence for complications during pregnancy”.
The movement describes the president personally as the symbol of “masculine impunity” for crimes of violence against women, and compares his gender politics to German Fascism, which viewed women with an optics of “Kinder, Kirche, Küche” (children, church, kitchen).
The Sandinista government has become part of daily life in Nicaragua.
A year has passed since the old hero from the revolution, Daniel Ortega, after 16 years out in the cold, regained the presidency with 38% of the votes, with promises of everything to everybody: to the Americans, confirming the CAFTA free trade agreement; to the farmers, promising to renegotiate the same. To the trade unions, confirming the right to collective bargaining; to the Korean and Taiwanese factory owners, understanding their continuing need for a a low paid, obedient, and disciplined workforce.
How are things in this, the newest Boliviarian Republic?
There is no railroad and no station anymore, but the railroad station in Leon is a fascinating spot anyhow. A building from a time when it was English industrialism that was being globalized. Today, it is part of Leon´s chaotic street market, taken over by bicycle repair shops filled with spare parts from China.