By Fernando Rodríguez Doval | Animal Farm is the title of one of the most famous works by British writer George Orwell. Quick and easy to read, this fable tells the story of farm animals who decide to rise up against their owner, in order to achieve freedom and happiness; that rebellion, however, quickly degenerates into a tyrannical and brutal system of government.
Like the Orwellian novel, Nicaragua is another sad case of a revolution that ended in a dictatorship worse than the one it fought.
At the end of the 1970s, the Sandinista guerrillas defeated Anastasio Somoza, an ancient dictator who had plunged the country into poverty. “Let’s march forward, comrades, let’s advance to the revolution, our people is the owner of its history, the architect of its liberation,” sang the young people led by Daniel Ortega, who famously shouted “better than Somoza, anything.”
The Sandinista government soon aligned itself with Cuba and the Soviet Union. The country’s problems worsened and a socialist dictatorship was imposed, but it fell thanks to the popular vote just a few years later. In the 1990s, liberal and conservative governments accused of corruption succeeded each other, which allowed the return in 2006 of Daniel Ortega.
From then on, Ortega undertook a systematic process of concentration of power and joined the Bolivarian bloc, headed by the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. Thousands of Nicaraguans have been killed by the Armed Forces, many others are imprisoned or exiled. In the 2021 presidential elections, Daniel Ortega was re-elected without competition, since seven opposition candidates were arrested, two more were disqualified and the rest had to go into exile.
Today Nicaragua is a cruel tyranny. The Catholic Church is one of the institutions that has raised its voice most strongly to denounce the atrocities of the Ortega government, and for this reason it has also been one of the most persecuted. A few months ago, the Ortega administration expelled the apostolic nuncio, Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, as well as the nuns from the congregation of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It has shut down Catholic radio stations, desecrated churches, and jailed priests and seminarians. Last Friday, the government arrested Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, bishop of Matagalpa, and is keeping him in prison in very harsh conditions.
Nicaragua is another sad example of revolutions that promised collective happiness, but in reality they built hell on earth, where the State became all-powerful and eliminated those who thought they were “traitors to the country.” It happened in Russia, it happened in China, it happened in Cuba, it happened in Venezuela. Let it not happen in Mexico or in the rest of Ibero-America.
Fernando Rodríguez Doval is a politologist, member of the Executive Council and Secretary of Studies and Strategic Analysis of the National Action Party (PAN) of Mexico, also member of the Political Network for Values.