(TODAY NICARAGUA) Without offering an exit route to the political, economic and health crisis, dictator Daniel Ortega reappeared this Sunday for the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, after 39 days of absence from public view.
Although for the first time he was seen momentarily wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19, when he did talk, he minimized the disease, mentioning mortality figures not related to the coronavirus., affirming that he has managed to “successfully” face the pandemic, although numbers by independent organizations deny it.
He also stated that “the worst epidemic is hunger and savage capitalism”, in an attempt to justify its mismanagement of the health crisis, which has caused increased unemployment in Nicaragua and threatens to plunge the gross domestic product (GDP) by more than eight percent this year, a situation that is aggravated by two years of recession.
His speech of at least one hour focused on reading health-related figures.
“Medicine for the poor, medicine for workers, medicine for the people,” Ortega praised amid the ovation from the select members of the Sandinista Youth (JS) who attended this exclusive event.
Despite the fact that the pandemic in the world has killed more than 600,000 people, Ortega yesterday hinted that in Nicaragua – a country where no measures have been taken to contain the virus – people are dying mostly for other reasons, less for the COVID-19.
According to his accounts, until June 30 at least 12,100 people have died in the country, of which only almost a hundred by the spread of the virus.
The official figures of the deceased released by Ortega’s ministry of health is 99. However, figures by the independent Observatorio Cuidadano outs the real figures from 7 to 10 times that.
Still, in another part of his speech, Ortega acknowledged that citizens do not go to hopsital until their condition is serious.
“For not arriving at the hospital, they arrive until they are lacking oxygen, until they feel suffocated, until they are suffocating. And already at that moment, that person who arrived at the hospital, has already affected their lungs,” Ortega justified, in an empty speech, with no proposal for a solution to the three crises that plague the country, increasing despair among Nicaraguans.
“Be careful with the ambassadors”
What’s an Ortega speech with an attack on the United States, Nicaragua’s main trade ally. He did not waste the opportunity.
Ortega sent a message to the “ambassadors of the United States”, making it clear that their actions must be monitored, although this time he did not mention the sanctions applied by that country to his relatives and most loyal officials, several of whom accompanied him on the stage, in one of the more lackluster in decades acts of the celebration of the triumph of the revolution.
“Be careful with the Yankee ambassadors”, repeated Ortega, when he related the moment when his hero, General Augusto C. Sandino, signed the peace, but was assassinated by a “plan of the Yankees with (Anastasio) Somoza”, in which plan the dictator pointed, without the ambassador of the United States of that time having the evidence.
Ortega did not refer to electoral reforms, which is an item on the political agenda, because opponents demand changes in the electoral system before the 2021 elections.
Nor did he propose to the nation a plan to contain the pandemic and alleviate the economic and social impact it has caused. And worse yet, he did not talk about what he will do to overcome the political crisis.
First July 19 without mass meeting
This was the first time in 40 years that a massive gathering of Sandinistas was not held, to commemorate the fall of the Somoza dictatorship 41 years ago. Sunday’s act was carried out with the officials closest to Ortega, the majority sanctioned by the United States, and surrounded at a distance by members of the Sandinista Youth (JS).
His wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, and the Army chief, General Julio César Avilés, sat at either side of Ortega as well as the Generals Bayardo Rodríguez and Marvin Corrales, chief of the General Staff and the Army inspector general, respectively.
Other of the sanctioned assistants were the president of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras; the Minister of Health, Sonia Castro; the director of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS), Roberto López, and the minister of Finance and Public Credit, Iván Acosta.
As usual, the members of the JS attended uniformed with the new 41/19 shirt, all with face masks and physical distance of at least one meter, a physical distance that contrasts with the massive events that the regime has promoted since the COVID- 19 arrived in the country last March.
La Prensa, El19Digital