Mónica Baltodano has had to go into exile from Nicaragua for a long time because of her confrontation with the regime. In dialogue with Infobae, she analyzes the position of leaders such as Alberto Fernández, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Lula da Silva regarding the Ortega dictatorship
Mónica Baltodano Marcenaro, was one of the leaders of the Sandinista guerrilla that overthrew Anastasio Somoza in 1979. (Photo La Prensa)
Mónica Baltodano, 68 years old, identifies as leftist. Sandinista guerrilla womanSince she was 20 years old, she has been the head of one of the war fronts in the offensive that ended up overthrowing the dictator Anastasio Somoza, in Nicaragua, in July 1979. During the 1980s, she worked alongside Daniel Ortega in the revolutionary government, from whom he distanced himself in 1998 due to the pact that Ortega made with the liberal Arnoldo Alemán. She is currently in exile and is an opponent of the Daniel Ortega regime, which she describes as a “ brutal dictatorship ”.
In this interview, Baltodano divides the left in Latin America between “Jurassic” and “modern” and reviews his behavior in the face of the regime that has been imposed in Nicaragua. “I mainly try to reach this sector (left), because it is the sector to which I have historically belonged. Addressing the Republicans or Bolsonaro does not make sense because there are already many people who address them and even support them. My emphasis is to address that world where I believe there is an important reserve of principles and values that are necessary for humanity.
-Is the Ortega regime a dictatorship of left?
-No way. There is almost a consensus among the different lefts, except for those more Jurassic lefts, that Daniel Ortega's policies do not correspond to any leftist project. The only thing he uses is rhetoric, he manipulates historical memory, the use of some symbols, but his policies are clearly capitalist, neoliberal, extractivist, super conservative on issues of women's rights and now even religious freedom. . Daniel Ortega is more conservative than the conservative governments we have known in Nicaragua.
-What does Mónica Baltodano, a former guerrilla leader, feel when she sees people like Evo Morales support Daniel Ortega in the name of the left and anti-imperialism?
-Evo did not make great transforming policies in Bolivia either. They even accused him of leaning towards extractivism, handing over natural resources, because many of them become voters, because power becomes so attractive to them that they decide to apply handout policies, to maintain a happy social base, and resign. to more complex processes that would actually imply transformations in the economic structure, and follow the same model. So it doesn't surprise me that in that shameful tweet he behaved like a crony of Daniel Ortega and not like a statesman. There are people like that within the left, and not only in Latin America, we find some parties that continue to think that Daniel Ortega is a revolutionary, and that he is the guerrilla who participated in that beautiful feat of overthrowing a dictatorship like Somoza's, and they remain stuck. , or petrified, in history, without the ability to make an in-depth analysis of its policies, interests, and the type of regime it is creating, so brutal for the majority of Nicaraguans.
Allende was overthrown by a bloody coup executed by the #CIA of the #USA. We regret that brother president @gabrielboric agrees with the eternal loser, heir to the dictator and US coup agent, @tutoquiroga to join the #CIA attacks against #Nicaragua
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 10, 2022
The tweet in which Evo Morales criticized Gabriel Boric for having stated that there is no democracy in Nicaragua.
-On the other hand, we have a left that is more critical of Ortega, like that of Gabriel Boric, in Chile.
-Yes. I believe that a more modern left has emerged that does not conceive of a transformative project without respect for democracy and freedoms, especially the most essential freedoms of human beings.
After the triumph of the 1979 insurrection, Mónica Baltodano received the degrees of honor of " Guerrilla Commander " of the Sandinista government. (Courtesy photo)
–Lula's victory in Brazil aroused some fear among the opponents due to the possibility of seeing him agree with Daniel Ortega.
-It's understandable. In the case of Lula, although a year ago, more or less, he questioned very strongly about reelection and that this did not mean democracy, we do have to admit that he has not had a position as clear as the one we have seen in presidents. like Boric's. But, at this point, with all the brutally repressive steps that the Ortega regime has taken, it is very difficult for there to be such a president who would dare to support the Ortega regime. After Maduro and Cuba, which have their own peculiarities, it is very difficult to see a president, even if he claims to be from the left, backing the Ortega regime. What we can see are ambiguous positions.
-Do you consider the progress that the left has made in Latin America dangerous for the fight for democracy in Nicaragua?
I wouldn't see it as dangerous. What is clear is that the international community, through supranational mechanisms such as the OAS, has not been able to achieve a clear majority rejecting Ortega's regime. In the case of the OAS, I think that the clumsiness with which the Secretary General has operated, who raises many antibodies in some governments, has played a bit. But, I do not see a concertation of all of them to defend the regime. The problem is in the capacity that we Nicaraguans have to make the change. Neither international opinions nor international organizations, which have very limited action, are going to solve it.
-If Daniel Ortega is waiting for the international balance of forces to favor him, will welcome that advance of the left.
-He tries to revive with his anti-imperialist rhetoric the old contradiction imperialism – anti-imperialism, socialism versus capitalism, but it already finds very little echo at a global level, even among those who identify themselves as left. There may be an attempt by Daniel Ortega, but the same policies that he has been applying isolate him more and more. To create this new type of correlation, Daniel Ortega would have to enter a field that he claims is like putting a noose around his neck, which is the field of negotiation. Because the message from the foreign minister of Petro (Álvaro Leyva) was clear: he wanted to influence and negotiate in terms of a solution to the conflict, but he has refused. He did it with Argentina, they even had obvious contradictions with the government of (Alberto) Fernández, and also with the government of AMLO (Andrés Manuel López Obrador). Daniel and Rosario's position is to impose themselves by force, fundamentally.
-I am going to give you some names so that you can tell me what your opinion is about the attitude they have had with Nicaragua. Alberto Fernandez, from Argentina.
-You have had a rather ambiguous position because, on the one hand, it is clear that there is a violation of human rights and you have declared it to be so, but you have preferred to remain in some way on the side of those who question to the community headed by the United States, bypassing the issue of human rights. Fernández has not taken a sufficiently solid step, despite the fact that he has recently participated in votes condemning the Nicaraguan government, which are also laudable.
-Manuel López Obrador, from Mexico.
-López is clinging to the Estrada doctrine, which existed long before humanity understood that there had to be norms of an international and supranational nature that covered all of humanity to avoid new conflicts, that regimes were established that, based on the issue of national sovereignty, do and undo against your people. Faced with the brutal violation of human rights that is being committed in Nicaragua, there is no valid argument of respect for sovereignty, independence. Human rights are above those somewhat obsolete concepts.
Mónica Batodano during a protest in front of the hotel where the Sao Paulo Forum met, in 2011, in Managua. (Courtesy photo)
-Gabriel Boric, from Chile.
-He has made a correct interpretation of what it means to be left in moments as complex as those that had to arrive. He represents a new current, respectful of democracy and human rights. We Nicaraguans have to express our gratitude for positions as clear as the one he has had.
-Evo Morales criticized him for teaming up with the CIA. This left tends to disqualify all its critics, alleging that they are agents of the CIA or US imperialism.
-Evo's tweet gave regret because it expresses a backwardness and a binary approach to politics that does not sympathize with the real situation that the people are experiencing. Enough of using the CIA 'monkey' to justify anything. In 2018 there was a popular uprising as a result of the regime's actions. It wasn't any big coup or any big CIA plan and that's fully proven. Managing, four years later, that all the repression that is taking place in Nicaragua is in response to that supposed CIA plan is being short-sighted and can only be explained by a complete ignorance of what is happening, or because they share an approach, one for the other. Nicaragua and the other for Bolivia.
-Will you participate in the next meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum?
-No. The forum is exclusive to political parties and particularly those who are in power participate. The 2018 Sao Paulo Forum played an absolutely regrettable role by not condemning the repression that Nicaraguans were suffering and that left us with more than 350 deaths. Only the Partido Acción Ciudadana, from Costa Rica, had the position to reject. We hope that the same actions of the Daniel Ortega regime have already allowed several of these parties to at least have the decency not to support Ortega.
-Did you participate before in some of these Sao Paulo forums?
-Yes, I participated in some of the first meetings. And I had to go (in protest), already in 2000, at the Las Mercedes hotel, in Nicaragua. There was Lula and she had to hand out flyers to denounce Daniel Ortega's pact and his authoritarian nature within the Sandinista Front itself. Later, in 2009, when Ortega was president, we were once again present at a Sao Pablo Forum that was held at the Holiday Inn. There we already confronted the mobs that attacked us.
-If I could participate in that Forum, what would Mónica Baltodano say to those who meet there?
-I would have to talk about the results of the repression. How a people raised by just demands, like those of 2018, was brutally repressed with so many murders, captures and rapes. The unspeakable atrocities committed by the regime back then are documented. And for that fact alone they should condemn him. A regime that violates human rights only deserves to be condemned, no matter if it is from the left, the right or the center. I would call for decency, and I would obviously take the opportunity to denounce the atrocious way in which political prisoners are found. There is no justification for supporting Ortega.