The Demented Vice President of Nicaragua: Rosario Murillo

The esoteric writings of Rosario Murillo are baffling. There two spoonfuls of Marxism-Leninism, there a hint of social-democracy, there three spoonfuls of Christianity, there a pint of new-age utopia. It is like a bad brew, concocted by someone who is struggling to find the right mix for an audience that should be confused, troubled and rightly alarmed.

She spoke on January 9, 2019, about the Constitution of Nicaragua, and other topics addressing the “Compañeros” (Companions, a phrase that conveys the same meaning as “Comrades” in Cuba). The full speech was posted online by one of the multiple media outlets owned and directed by her children. Murillo and her husband and President, Daniel Ortega, dominate Nicaragua’s Congress, judiciary, electoral congress, the army and the police. The couple’s children, run the family’s business empire through a network of public-relations firms and media outlets that serve as an unofficial government information bureau. In this environment the echo of her words is deafening.

She claimed that yesterday was the 32nd Anniversary of the Constitution of Nicaragua. Not sure how the country survived so long without a constitution since it took a bunch of revolutionaries who were uneducated in governance and policy to produce a real constitution. “A Constitution,” she says, “that has placed us (Nicaragua) in modernity”. For Pete’s sake, the very position she occupies is forbidden by this constitution! As the wife of the president, she cannot occupy any official position in the administration, much less “Vice-President. But she says the values of the Constitution is what she and her husband defend every day. (Yeah, this is why they had to kill more than 500 unarmed people. The constitution required it!) And as far as “modernity” it is the last thing you think of when you visit Nicaragua. The country is suffering from mismanagement, corruption, and an economy only second worse than Haiti in the American Continent. Add to that the effects of the destruction and terror that followed the April 2018 uprising. Tourism, the main contributor to its economy has dwindled to almost nothing. People are scared, in hiding and the economy is on free fall. But you don’t hear any of that when you listen to “La Gran Hermana” (Big Sister).

Reading her speech, I had to fight off my gag reflex. She says the Constitution is for families (who are denied the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression), for children (who are indoctrinated in schools with revolutionary textbooks). She adds something that sounds eerily like the talk of the Communist Utopians “The New Man is in the Future, is the one we want to form in this new Society …”

Then, she goes into her reserve of bad (really bad) poetry. Responding to Where is the “New Man”?

It is on the edge, at the top of the hill that we are climbing …

There it is: grab it, find it, look for it and get it. “

The New Man is beyond where the normal Person is. The Man, the New Woman is beyond fatigue, beyond the fatigue of the legs. The Man, the New Woman is beyond the fatigue of the lungs. The Man, the New Woman is beyond hunger, beyond the rain, beyond the mosquitoes; beyond the loneliness of the mountain, beyond the extraordinary effort, there is the New Man, the New Woman!

In her long speech– which I’m so glad I didn’t have to be like the poor government workers, forced to listen to–she goes back to the tired arguments of Nicaragua’s “Historical Struggle against Imperialism and against all interference, against US interference in particular.”

She shares with us that Commander Daniel is traveling to Venezuela to be present at the inauguration, the “Dear Comrade Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela” yes, the man who has oppressed, killed, exiled and caused Venezuelans to starve is “building the future of Justice, the Future of Development, the Future of Welfare, the Future of Happiness, of the Families of This Great Homeland.” Something I find particularly annoying is her bad use of capitals. She capitalizes every other word in all official communications. It is as if she were saying, “I will not play by the rules, yes, not even grammatical rules!”

Another thing is that the only Sandinistas they applaud are those who died long ago. Those former “Compañeros” who are alive and have criticized her and her husband’s power grab are being as harassed, exiled and imprisoned as if they had never had a part in the so-called “glorious revolution”.

Now, the part that sounds like a fog from the depth of a psychedelic dream: She spoke about the upcoming “Forum of Love, Peace, and Solidarity with Nicaragua.” Seriously!? PEACE AND LOVE, Compañera Rosario. Tell that to your followers who cry for PLOMO (lead, bullets) for dissidents, for people in the prisons against whom you’ve leveled charges of “Terrorism” for singing the National Anthem and have suffered in isolation, threats, and beatings.  

Attending the “Forum of Love” (gag!) is a list of 45 “intellectuals”, others from the far left communist organizations from all over Latin America and Europe and at least one Pentecostal pastor.
Many of the people in the list represent organizations with names including words as “Union”, “Vanguard”, “Popular” and “Communist”. The reverse Midas touch is obvious in every country that has been plagued by the most defeated ideology in the history of humanity but it is hard to abandon the mythology of Socialism/Communism. It is particularly attractive, since they blame others for all the ills of society, never themselves, therefore, from the safe stages of “intellectual superiority” they spew this verbal diarrhea on the U.S. Interventionists, the coup-mongers, and the traitors. If only they wouldn’t exist, then Utopia could be a reality. Really? How does that match the stark results of a century of communist revolutions in the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea? Imposing the “Utopian” dream by force cost the lives of millions. Accept it people of the “Forum of Love”! It’s been tried and failed. Are you listening, representative of Spain who heads the “Solidarity Platforms Against Anti-imperialism and Peace of the Communist Party of Andalusia”? Communism has been found wanting. It crushes the human spirit, it destroys the individual desires of the natural aspirations of men and women to flourish in freedom. It fails at a nuclear level when it subjects masses to suffocating government control, fear, and poverty. Yes, the riches come only to the top communist brass, don’t you know it?

Her vagaries are too extreme to even comment on. She breaks into recitation of a poem by the Nicaraguan Poet Laureate Ruben Dario where he called the United States the “Invading Eagle” and then she concludes with a sermon of sorts, quoting the Bible and touting the achievements of the “Revolutionary Government” and reminding people that there will be city fairs, celebratory occasions for the people of Nicaragua who embrace peace and last but not least, announce the broadcast on January 21 of a very “successful soap opera” from Taiwan, “The New World”. Yes, we’ve heard it all. The Entertainer-in-Chief also wants to reign over your TV viewing habits. And this is just today. She will be back tomorrow with more of the same. Yes, she is insane, but so are the 45 people who will be showing up at Airport Agusto César Sandino soon to attend the Rosario Hosh-Posh show to listen to an aging hippy, turned revolutionary, turned politician, turned priestess.


GIEI/IGIE Report – December 2018

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Painting representing the heartless killing by Nicaraguan Police of a boy named Junior Gaitan in June 2018, in Masaya, Nicaragua.

The Organization of American States Group of Independent Experts Report is clear:


The report could result in an investigation of Daniel Ortega, the Nicaragua Health Minister and other actors in the nine-month drama that has exposed the deep wounds that the autocratic government of Ortega and his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, have inflicted in the psyche and life of Nicaraguans and human rights during the last twelve years of misgovernment.

In an absurd attempt to prevent the GIEI/IGIE from presenting the report, the presidential couple expelled the GIEI/IGIE from the country in a matter of 24 hours. The report was presented nonetheless the next day in Washington, DC at the Organization of American States and it contained damming information that will be utilized for further actions against the regime of Ortega and his wife. The report says that in the months following April 18, 2018, “The State of Nicaragua has carried out the type of conduct that in accordance with international law, should be considered as “crimes against humanity, particularly murder, arbitrary deprivation of liberty and the crime of persecution.” (Following are the highlights of the report prepared by the Nicaraguan-American Center for Democracy, Inc.

Following recommendation number 3 of the Preliminary Observations of its working visit, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called for the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) for Nicaragua. IACHR and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) obtained the consent of the State of Nicaragua to create a mechanism for an international investigation into the acts of violence that have occurred since April 18 through an agreement signed on May 30. The IGIE had, among others duties, to analyze technically the lines of investigation and making recommendations for actions with respect to the different levels of legal responsibility. It was also charged with analyzing whether, in the course of investigations, all lines of inquiry were properly exhausted, and whether the appropriate legal principles were used to review possible illicit acts and the identity of their perpetrators. The IGIE also had the duty to issue recommendations for implementation aimed at guaranteeing that these objectives are achieved. The initial mandate of the IGIE was six months and could be extended by agreement of the Parties. IGIE members arrived in Managua on July 1 to begin their work and remained there through December 3rd. They were selected by the IACHR and appointed by the OAS Secretary General: Amerigo Incalcaterra, Sofía Macher, Claudia Paz y Paz, and Pablo Parenti, all highly qualified and widely recognized for their technical expertise and well-established track record in the protection of human rights. The day before the IGIE was to present its report in Managua, the government of Nicaragua ordered them to leave. The report was presented at IACHR offices in Washington on Friday, December 21st, and to the OAS Permanent Council on December 27th, 2018.

Since the IGIE’s work began, the government of Nicaragua systematically denied information requested by the IGIE and did not facilitate contact, much less allow the development of working relationships, with other State institutions. As a result, the IGIE could not, throughout its mandate, carry out its duty of collaboration in a criminal investigation

required under the Agreement. In addition, violence and state repression continued even after our work commenced, which further limited our ability to complete the task entrusted. Absence such cooperation and collaboration from Nicaraguan authorities, the IGIE implemented a methodology based primarily on gathering information from public sources and analyzing official documentation provided by the State to the IACHR, as well as other classified material. A significant number of documents were examined, including videos, photographs, and newspaper articles, along with other material from the mainstream and social media, much of which was recorded and distributed by citizens participating in the protests. Just in audiovisual material alone, more than 10,000 files were reviewed and analyzed.

Despite the obstacles arising of lack of cooperation from the State authorities and the safety risks confronted by sources consulted, the IGIE was able to gather, analyze, and verify a comprehensive body of information that enables us to reach reasonable conclusions to reconstruct facts as they occurred, as well as contextual circumstances, and to identify possible responsible parties. The IGIE was able to confirm that the State resorted to the abusive and indiscriminate use of force to repress peaceful protest demonstrations. A repressive pattern, which was verified at different times and places of Nicaragua, involved the use of firearms, including weapons of war, directly against demonstrators.
Cartridges armed with lead bullets were used, with calibers matching various types of weapons, including combat assault rifles. These repressive actions occurred in different venues where protest actions were carried out: demonstrations in public spaces, universities, and street blockades. The IGIE was able to determine that the National Police is responsible for most murders and serious bodily injuries, and that police officers acted directly and in coordination with parapolice armed groups. The joint actions of the National Police, an official entity, together with parallel structures was another distinctive feature of the repression of the protests evident in the vast majority of repressive events.

The IGIE also finds that the State resorted to the arrest of hundreds of people in police raids that occurred during the protests. The detainees were only available to the National Police and suffered various forms of physical harm and abuse. Some complaints refer to situations of torture, although the IGIE could not verify that this was a pattern during the months of April and May.
The IGIE also received varied evidence of discrimination to which injured protesters were subjected at public hospitals, ranging from refusal to provide medical care, even in cases of life-threatening injuries, to cases of insufficient or inadequate care, to the mistreatment of patients´ next-of-kin and other family members.

These events occurred in a context in which State authorities at the highest level orchestrated public discourse that stigmatized protests and justified repression on political terms.
The IGIE considers that numerous crimes committed in the context of the repression of demonstrations constitute crimes against humanity. This implies certain consequences, such as imprescriptibility, the non-statutory limitation through amnesty agreements or similar instruments aimed at precluding trials or convictions, the possibility of intervention of courts from other States under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and even the possible intervention of the International Criminal Court, in case the Security Council of the United Nations formally petitions the ICC or that the State of Nicaragua itself accepts ICC jurisdiction under art. 12.3 of the Rome Statute.
The IGIE has also found that, although demonstrations were essentially peaceful, repression by the police and pro-government groups provoked violent responses from some protesters against the government, which resulted in deaths, injuries and attacks on private property. The IGIE did not find evidence that these acts of violence had been coordinated or planned.
The State of Nicaragua has violated its duty of due diligence with respect to the investigation of cases of violent deaths from April 18 to May 30, 2018. Of the 109 cases of violent deaths recorded by the IGIE, only 9 have been prosecuted. At least 100 cases remain in impunity and, in many cases, steps essential for the clarification of the facts have been bypassed altogether, such as the adequate evaluation and preservation of crime scenes and the conduct of autopsies. In the 9 cases that have been prosecuted, 6 involve victims somehow related to the State of Nicaragua or to the governing political party. Furthermore, these investigations show serious weaknesses. The prosecution did not act in an objective or impartial way; it did not exhaust all lines of investigation, and the accused appeared to be presumed guilty even before conviction. That practice is not only unfair for the accused, but also to victims and their families, who are unable to obtain truthful answers. There are no instances whatsoever of any cases brought against State security forces, despite abundant evidence pointing to their responsibility.
The criminal justice system, i.e., the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court of Justice, has acted as an additional piece in the scheme of human rights violations through the criminalization of citizens participating in the protests. Cases brought against students, countryfolks, and social leaders are based on anti-terrorism and anti-organized crime statutes, which is an illegitimate means of sanctioning and punishing political dissent among members of the opposition. All these cases feature very serious violations of the rights to personal liberty; to freedom from arbitrary arrest, and from the widespread use of preventive detention.

Minimum procedural guarantees, such as adherence to statutory and regulatory deadlines for judicial oversight of defendants in custody, are also absent. The right to an impartial trial, absent from media pressure, has also been violated. Finally, it has been established that habeas corpus or motions to produce the accused in person have been ineffective.
The violence unleashed as a result of the social protest that began on April 18, has caused profound damage to families, to communities, and to Nicaraguan society. It has damaged harmonious coexistence; altered daily living and deepened social polarization. The violence exerted has generated deep remnants of pain and indignation, which intertwined with the traces left by previous conflicts, have exacerbated distance and mistrust among large sectors of the population towards State institutions. The wounds will be very difficult to heal if not treated in a holistic way, with truth, justice, and reparations to citizens who have lost loved ones, to the injured left with long-term disabilities; to missing persons, detainees, and the displaced; to all those who have suffered violence and aftereffects; as well as to those who suffer persecution and harassment simply for being family members of protesters .
B. RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations to the State:
Aware that periods of serious human rights violations tend strongly to weaken the quality of public institutions, especially when the political establishment utilizes such institutions to commit or condone their abuses, the IGIE recommends:
— 1. That the government ensures the right to assembly is fully respected and guaranteed through adequate protection of public demonstrations, in accordance with applicable international human rights standards and norms.
— 2. That the government ceases harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, and other social leaders, guaranteeing working conditions so that they can fully carry out their professional activities and exercise their rights of freedom of expression, of assembly, and of association.
— 3. That the Nicaraguan State initiates comprehensive institutional reform aimed at modifying the conditions that generated and deepened repression and political persecution. This reform is necessary to fulfill commitments to change that can guarantee the non-repetition of human rights violations; that can uproot violence as a means of conflict resolution; and which can establish a new, inclusive social contract in which the State is representative of all Nicaraguans.
— 4. That the State implements an Integral Reparations Plan (IRP) that indemnifies and compensates victims for human rights violations, as well as for social, moral and material harm, taking into account the considerations made in Chapter XII of this IGIE report.
Generally, with regards to actions and practices by public officials from different levels of the State apparatus during the violence that ensued from social protests that began on April 18, 2018, and which violated international human rights, the IGIE recommends:
— 5. That the State investigate and eventually dismiss officials who have participated in human rights violations. The State should undertake institutional reform to foster democratic governance in State agencies throughout the country. It should recognize civil organizations and respect local identities and cultural diversity, in order to promote citizen participation from the plurality of political opinion and perspectives.
— 6. The State should immediately dissolve and disarm the parastatal armed groups and protect the population of all illegal and violent acts. The State should determine through exhaustive, impartial, and transparent investigations, whether those groups have committed crimes, especially in acts involving attacks on life and other fundamental rights, and if so determined, prosecute and try them in a court of law.
In relation to actions of the Nicaraguan National Police, displaying a set of institutional practices that violate human rights, the IGIE finds that they spread over time and increased in severity. Taking into consideration examples from other countries, and the urgent need to restore the Police as a state institution that safeguards domestic order based on the principles of democratic control and respect for human rights, the IGIE recommends:
— 7. That the state cleanses the police, removing lieutenants and officers who participated in human rights violations. Such institutional expungement must be made after exhaustive administrative investigations that determine responsibility, watching for arbitrary retaliation, and should be carried out regardless of, and independent from, any ongoing criminal investigation. To ensure transparency, these should involve witnesses from civil society.
— 8. That the state reviews the institutional normative legal framework, simultaneously with other recommendations, in order to ensure non-repetition. Among others, the director of the National Police should be evaluated for non-renewal or reappointment every five years, upon completion of his or her term. External supervision and control mechanisms for civil servants should be adopted. Law 872 [civil service regime for the National Police] should be revised for professional standards and respect for human rights. A police career track should be implemented to ensure entry and promotion based on merit and police professionalism.
The concept of a volunteer police force should be eliminated. Youth recovery programs should be assigned out of the Police and onto other government agencies. Internal rules and administrative procedures that regulate officer conduct should be reviewed.
— 9. Third paragraph of article 231, Code of Criminal Procedure, should be amended so that any arrest be subject to judicial authorization and not leave it to police discretion.
With regards to the system of justice administration, IGIE investigations show that the judicial system did not properly use the law to protect and defend citizens who were victims of human rights violations. On the contrary, the judicial system and the law became tools for the criminalization of the social protest. “The validity of rights and freedoms in a democratic system requires a legal and institutional framework in which laws prevail over the will of its rulers and individuals, and in which there is an effective judicial control of the constitutionality and legality of the acts of the public power “(Statute Rome of the International Criminal Court). The IGIE recommends:
— 10. That the State investigate and eventually cleanse the justice system of those judges and other officials who violated due process or have not complied with their duties of independence from political power. These procedures must be carried out in accordance with international standards.
— 11. That the State establish a career-track for the judicature based on objective criteria and merit for admission, promotion, and removal of judges and magistrates, including those that serve on the Supreme Court of Justice. This judicial career system must include objective criteria, clearly defined and established by law, for the selection and appointment of judges and magistrates. These criteria should require that candidates elevated to the bench be highly qualified, with adequate legal training and educational credentials, and a proven record of independence and personal integrity requisite for the job.
— 12. That the State recruit and appoint judges and magistrates through an open and public selective process, based on merit and subject to public scrutiny and accountability.
— 13. Considering the lack of independence exhibited by the judicial system, the State should establish reforms and mechanisms necessary to guarantee that the acts of violence that have occurred since the April 18 are tried by judicial bodies that can guarantee impartiality, suitability, and have adequate resources. For this purpose, different options should be evaluated, including the participation of international judges and/or advisory and technical support from the international community, particularly from countries that have had to face and judge processes of violent repression.
— 14. Considering the lack of independence exhibited by the judiciary, the State should establish reforms and necessary mechanisms to guarantee the review of the verdicts issued to date as well as those that may be issued in the future, in order to determine whether constitutional guarantees have been upheld or violated, as well as other legal provisions affecting due process. Such process for review must be carried out also for the accused not in custody and must be conducted by judges duly selected for their personal and professional qualifications, and for a proven track of professional autonomy and independence. It is recommended that the State consider the possibility to invite judges from other countries and/or request support of the international community for this endeavor.
— 15. That the State reaffirms as a core policy value that the purpose of the penitentiary system is reeducation, rehabilitation, and reincorporation of the prisoner to society. The State should improve conditions of imprisonment so that inmates have adequate access to basic food and health services, particularly women, as well as access to family members and to civil society organizations specializing in cases of incarceration treatment.
— 16. Urge the Government to ratify the Statute of Rome establishing the International Criminal Court, for the purpose of ensuring that crimes against humanity do not go unpunished and to guarantee non-repetition. The State should accept International Criminal Court jurisdiction over crimes against humanity committed since April 18, 2018, as established in art. 12 inc.
— 17. [SIC, duplicate of recommendation 15 above] That the State reaffirms as a core policy value that the purpose of the penitentiary system is reeducation, rehabilitation, and reincorporation of the prisoner to society. The State should improve conditions of imprisonment so that inmates have adequate access to basic food and health services, particularly women, as well as access to family members and to civil society organizations specializing in cases of incarceration treatment.
The Public Ministry, as an independent institution of the executive branch charged with analysis, research, and prosecution, has failed to fulfill its duty to represent victims regardless of ideology or socio-political characteristics. It has further failed to conduct thorough, independent, and impartial investigations. Accordingly, the IGIE recommends for purposes of reform:
— 18. That the State investigate and eventually remove those prosecutors and officials who failed to exercise their duty of impartiality and who obstructed factual determination. These should be carried out in accordance with international standards.
— 19. That the State establishes a prosecutor’s career-track based on objective criteria and merit-based for admission, promotion, and disciplinary removal of all prosecutors, including the Attorney General. This career system must include objective criteria, clearly defined and
established by law, for the selection and appointment of prosecutors. These criteria should require those chosen candidates have adequate legal training and sufficient educational credentials, as well as a proven record of professional integrity and independence required for the position.
— 20. That the State recruit and appoint prosecutors through an open and public selection process, based on merit and subject to public scrutiny and accountability.
— 21. That the State undertake the necessary measures to achieve recovery of confidence and credibility of the Public Ministry and to guarantee victims, their families, and society as a whole, a prompt, independent, and impartial investigation of the violent acts that occurred in the period between April 18 and 30 May and beyond. Towards that end, it is urgently recommended that a Special Prosecutor’s Office is created, composed of members duly selected for their personal and professional qualifications, and for a proven track of autonomy and independence. Civil society must participate both in the process of developing candidate profiles and in recruitment/selection. Additionally, in order to strengthen its independence and autonomy, and to ensure impartial investigations that include all those directly and indirectly responsible, as well as their chain of command, it is recommended that the State consider the need to involve international prosecutors in the Special Prosecutor’s Office. In this regard, it is recommended that those be selected based on candidate profiles provided by the international community suitable for the task of advising in the creation of such office.
Recommendations to other parties:
— 22. In order to prevent impunity for crimes against humanity, it is recommended that Member States of the regional system (OAS) and international system (UN) initiate investigations, and where appropriate, bring those responsible for the aforementioned crimes to justice within the framework of universal jurisdiction, and in accordance to the applicable domestic legislation of each country.
— 23. It is recommended that bilateral and multilateral international aid agencies, as well as regional and international financial institutions, incorporate in their work a process to evaluate and consider human rights conditions in the country, and the degree to which it complies with international human right commitments. Thus, these agencies and institutions will help ensure that the country works towards overcoming challenges and obstacles identified by bodies charged with the supervision and enforcement of treaty obligations and other international mechanisms that protect human rights.
— 24. Finally, the IGIE deems it essential that Nicaraguan society, in general, and its more privileged and least vulnerable sectors, in particular, do not abandon victims of serious acts of violence, and accompany them supportively, instead, in their pursuit of justice and redress.
Nicaraguan-American Center for Democracy, Inc.
© 2019, of this Executive Summary, Nicaraguan-American Center for Democracy, Inc. All rights reserved.

Painting representing the heartless killing of a boy named Junior Gaitan in June 2018 in Masaya, Nicaragua. He pleaded for his life but the Ortega police killed anyway.