Nicaraguans need to know their rights to defend them


In the upcoming municipal elections, and in any future elections, it is important to point out that the average Nicaraguan is not interested in voting; it’s the last thing on his or her mind. The right to exercise the vote is not an everyday concern of most Nicaraguans. Most people are only concerned with daily survival.

The majority of our people, according to the statistical studies by the UNPD, are unemployed or underemployed. The poorest citizens, according to these statistics, are surviving on less than $1 per day. The great majority of Nicaraguans who live on such a meager and inhumane budget are also trying to maintain a family of four or more people. Naturally, with that amount of money, it’s not possible to have a dignified household, a decent wardrobe, or food three times a day, not to mention elementary needs such as access to education and good health care.

If we analyze the power strategy of the government, we’ll realize that this situation of hunger and unemployment is created in an evil and intentional manner to avoid at all costs the rise of new leadership that would create a counterweight to the government. This strategy has as an objective: The continuance of power for the administration, based on the poverty of others. Evidence of this can been seen in the mediocrity of our primary and secondary schools, as well as in the quality of our higher education throughout the country.

This type of unhealthy and perverted government makes a lot of sense for the administration, because people who have free time and relative economic stability are more likely to analyze the country’s political situation and work to change it.

We must understand that the main secret of a totalitarian government, whether on the left or right, consists in weakening the public spirit to the point where people lose complete interest in the ideas and principles that have made, and can make, revolutions. This results in the weakening and stultification of society, it curbs people’s interest in education and culture, and distracts citizens with spectacles, vices, and mass media.

In Nicaragua, no one needs to burn entire libraries to deter education, as they did in Argentina. Here the lack of interest in reading and knowledge makes such actions unnecessary. This strengthens the vicious circle of the entry of one dictator, and the exit of another.

The lack of interest in the accumulation and diffusion of knowledge makes us, as a people, easy to manipulate, because we don’t know anything other than what they give us or what we’re told. Therefore, the people’s consciences and wills become easily manageable with handouts, because we’re not used to questioning the “why” of things.

As Nicaraguans, we’re a people who demand democracy but don’t  worry about what it consists of, let alone what it’s for. We demand our rights but don’t even bother knowing what they are. We must understand that this indifference towards knowledge weakens our character as a people and subtracts independence of thought.

Since we’re not interested in knowing our rights, or understanding why we have them or what they’re for, we’re also not much interested in voting. In the end, what the great majority of Nicaraguans think is, “Since the government doesn’t feed me, then, why should I vote?”

With this mentality, we think that if the president builds a school for us, or paves a street near our house, we should be thankful (because Nicaraguans are thankful). We never consider that this is the duty of the government, and the reason why we pay taxes.

It’s because of this reality that I dare to state that Nicaragua, at this pace, will never prosper. The youth are not the future and the salvation of this country will slip further away all the time. We are part of an indifferent generation that becomes more stupefied every day. The youth prefers to give in to the triviality of empty entertainment, rather than read a book.

We’re sinking deeper every day into a hole that we’ll never be able to get out of unless we wake up and end this vicious circle that gets passed from generation to generation.

Cristiana Guevara-Mena is a lawyer and young blogger living in Managua. A version of this article ran on the author’s blog, Ensayos Politicos, a bilingual blog on national politics and youth issues.




  • http://aol EL JUSTICIERO

    why we the nicaraguan people should not vote in the municipal election.
    as the world knows that in nicaragua there are not freedom,we have an inscontitucional presidente that violate art.147.still all kind of election with his crunies,on the CSE,CSJ and many more ministry.a vote of the opposition is a vote for the dictador.i ask the nicaraguan people not to vote,as we knws that the election will be stolen by the bastard of the litle dictador and he crunnies.the only way that this goverment will understan is we the armas of the oposition,and there freedom fighter tah want to get him of of nicaragua.DIOS PATRIA LIBERTAD JUNTOS VENCEREMOS.DEAT TO THE DICTADTORSHIP AND HIS CROUNIES.

    • G.Gonzalez of Boaco

      You are a fool. Nobody wants more war. You are trying to make the illusion that there is freedom fighters. You do this for the hope some rich anti-socialist would fund you and your imaginery fighters. When the smoke clears, you will pocket the funding money and just disappear. You are a con artist. The good thing is most congress people do not believe you and let you flapp your mouth. You are not anti nica gov’t, you are anti-nicaragua. Just to try and trick a sugar daddy so you can roll on him and STEAL and run. Stay in Fl and take English classes and go to church and ask 4 forgiveness. Fool

  • mnelson

    My Spanish is not great but as I read La Prensa I believe editorials there are very good and provocative, yet hardly any Nica I know can either buy or read the paper. If the editorial page was posted behind glass in every city center plaza daily, there might begin to be a more motivated and enlightened electorate. Baby steps for sure.

  • Ken

    Actually, voter turnout in Nicaragua is comparatively high, as also are other measures of political efficacy. Neither is there evidence of a decline in these since Ortega became president, and in fact the trend lines seem up. Also, both poverty and especially extreme poverty have declined under Ortega. Thus, two key facts on which this article is based are simply mistaken.

    The other points about the role of poverty and ignorance (e.g. not reading) among the electorate are however important. Odds are that a more affluent and informed population would be less likely to support the kinds of authoritarian-leaning politicians that are notorious in Nicaragua. The monster questions though are how to alleviate poverty and improve education. Bashing Ortega doesn’t seem to answer these questions, especially since poverty is down under his leadership/dictatorship.

  • terrance rogan

    Well said Christiana, you hit the nail on the head. As for voter turnout Ken , it has been high, but after two fraudulent elections voter apathy will bring those % down. Or perhaps again we ll see people voting multiple times, prepacked voting stations etc…etc… what a farse

  • Kevin Shea

    I can’t predict what becomes of Nicaragua and its constituents, nor care to see the hope or despair suggested by others without hearing first what they have done to improve the lives of others. For the moment, I am making actions that I hope make a difference to someone, some group, some nation. I make it up as I go along, so I hope I don’t lose my way. Thanks Cristiana.

  • AguaMan

    Apathy for exercising their right to vote in the elections this year, the mediocrity of spiritual principles and civil, are some issues that Nicaraguans have to overcome.
    I feel that apathy to exercise rights as citizens and distrust of politics is the product of the betrayals of former political and religious leaders.
    They were the ones who have plunged into this moral and political decay to Nicaraguans. I mean as traitors, The Group of Twelve, Sergio Ramirez Mercado, Arnoldo Aleman, and Cardinal Miguel Obando
    The group of the Twelve served to mask the armed disciples of Fidel Castro against Somoza.
    The Twelve had the sympathy of the Nicaraguan armed the others had not. It was after the public announcement of the Twelve in favor of the armed group that the people began to support them against Somoza
    Later Twelve group leader who was Dr. Sergio Ramirez shared power with the armed groups to mask a pluralistic government, being a member of the JGR and finally as Vice President of the Republica.
    Years later Dr Arnoldo Aleman betrayed to people when he signed an agreement with the FSLN and lowered the percentage of the vote from 50% to 38% to choose winning candidate in presidential elections.
    Cardinal Obando began his treachery to Catholic people before the year 1979. Cardinal Obando helped pro-castristas to get transportation (bus and plane) to Cuba after being surrounded by the guard at the home of a minister of Somoza govertment who was killed right there. Year later the same group overthrew Somoza after being trained in Cuba.
    No doubt these people who betrayed to Nicaraguans have became overestimated in Nicaragua. It may be that the withdrawal from active politics was a step back to avoid a secret in their lives were broadcast in the media by the FSLN. On the other hand Dr Arnoldo Aleman does not care what people think while the pact with FSLN pay him and fill his belly.

  • Christopher Montealegre

    It’s really quite shocking to realize that the poverty and education levels in Nicaragua are kept as low as they are for a reason – an evil reason no less. It’s at times like these that the folks who know better CANNOT afford to stay quiet. It’s a shame that most people I know, both rich and poor, are politically uninformed as all hell…anyone wanna’ start a podcast with me, advertise the crap out of it, and turn this country upside down within a matter of, say maybe a year? Lol.