Each Sunday night time, I might name my father, a horse farmer and part-time political pundit in Nicaragua, who would give me his evaluation of the week’s occasions, adopted by a easy query: “Have you ever voted but?” Then, he would say, “That is in all probability a very powerful election of your lifetime.” And it was—on the time.
Now, an much more essential election for me and my ancestral nation is going on in Nicaragua this weekend—and most of the people within the US aren’t following it. The anxiousness I skilled final yr has given strategy to outright dread as my household’s homeland prepares to elect its subsequent president. In the case of the query of who will win, the result is a foregone conclusion.
You might marvel why I, an American citizen who lives in Los Angeles, am afraid of what occurs in Nicaragua on November 7. Nicely, the destiny of my 77-year-old father, who was arrested over 100 days in the past by the Nicaraguan navy police hangs within the steadiness. He was accused of being an “enemy of the state.” My father’s “crime”? Talking out towards Ortega and Murillo.
Within the final 100 days, my mother has gotten to see him twice, briefly. He’s not doing nicely. Between her two visits, he’d misplaced 40 kilos. He described being subjected to day by day, countless, pointless interrogations. He stated he will get one meal a day—a plate of leftover rice and beans. His filthy, bug-infested cell is boiling sizzling through the day and freezing at night time. He isn’t receiving his treatment. And, most lately, his request for a duplicate of the Bible was denied.
He is my dad, so in fact I am deeply invested. However why ought to different People care as nicely?
Much more ironic: Ortega was as soon as imprisoned and tortured in an earlier incarnation of the “El Chipote” jail, the place his present political enemies languish. This really is an occasion of the bullied changing into a bully. Or, in Ortega’s case, the populist revolutionary changing into the ruthless oppressor. In 1984, he was elected president. In 1990, he misplaced his bid at reelection to Violeta Chamorro.
In 2006, he was elected once more—and has been holding on tight to the presidency ever since. (After a long time of residing within the US, observing these political machinations from afar, my father and mom moved again to Nicaragua in 2000.)
As for my father and the opposite political prisoners, we—their households—are ready for election day with a mixture of dread and hope. It has been rumored the regime’s paranoia will diminish after the election, and prisoners might be launched or positioned beneath home arrest—all higher choices. However it’s laborious to consider this can occur.
Extra doubtless, with out additional actions by the US, nothing will change after the election. And our struggle to free our homeland will proceed beneath the radar, till the powers that be see match to do one thing—actually do one thing— to shake Ortega’s stranglehold on the nation. The stakes of this weekend’s election for my household are clear. However everybody who believes in freedom, democracy, and the preservation of human rights needs to be awaiting what occurs this Sunday in Nicaragua—and the times and weeks after.