In an article published on September 22 by La Nación, of Argentina, Sergio Ramírez quotes the reply of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to a Russian interviewer who asked him if he hoped to establish a relationship of mutual respect with the United States. Ortega’s verbatim reply in Spanish, translated here, was as follows: “What has changed is the method, for the time being; I say for the time being because they [the United States government] do not have the capability to provoke a coup d’état in Nicaragua. If conditions were present in Nicaragua, they would have tried it already, but they can’t because they cannot rely on the army, or the police; they do not have any military instrument to provoke a coup d’état. Otherwise, they would have done so already. Of this I am certain.”
This is an odd statement, writes Ramírez, because in recent years, and particularly since Barack Obama’s election, U.S. policy on Nicaragua has “moved between lethargy and forgetfulness.” He adds that all the anomalous things happening in Nicaragua do not seem to spark the slightest interest in the State Department, much less in the White House. Ortega, he points out, has been systematically destroying the rule of law, and is now using any and all means to remain in power, despite the fact that the Nicaraguan Constitution bars him from reelection. He is emboldened by the apparent indifference of the U.S. government, too busy dealing with much more serious problems to pay attention to little Nicaragua.
Sergio Ramírez knows the Sandinistas from within. In 1977, he headed the Group of Twelve, made up of intellectuals, businessmen, priests, and civilian leaders who supported the Sandinistas in their fight against the Somoza regime. When they assumed power in 1979, he became a member of the Junta of National Reconstruction, and in 1984 was elected Vice President of the country. He later resigned from this position, moving away from the increasing radicalization of the movement in which he had played a prominent role.
His novels and stories have won many prestigious international awards, and his works have been translated into 15 languages. As a writer and thinker, he is highly regarded in Latin America and Europe, and particularly in Spain, France, and Germany. Adiós muchachos (1999), his personal memoir of the Sandinista revolution, was a literary farewell to his former comrades. They are not likely to forgive him for his candor, or for his courage, or for his success in the world of letters.
Sergio Ramírez closes his article stating that the coup d’état in Nicaragua has taken place already. It has been carried out by Ortega, who has destroyed or corrupted the country’s civil institutions: the courts, the legislative branch, the electoral tribunal.
To which one may add that the U.S. coup-in-waiting of Daniel Ortega’s imagination is a smokescreen, yet another attempt by this discredited politician to divert the attention of the disillusioned, suffering people of Nicaragua whose trust he has once again betrayed.