Message from President Comandante Daniel to the Nicaraguan People
February 9th 2023
Good afternoon, beloved Nicaraguan brothers, beloved Nicaraguan sisters, beloved families of this blessed and always free Nicaragua.
On this occasion we have convened here at this place, site of so many Historical Events, at this Olof Palme Convention Center, that going from left to right, from left to right we have, or going from left to left; here we have Army General Julio César Avilés Castillo, Major General Bayardo Rodríguez, Major General Marvin Corrales.
Then there's the Chancellor of the Republic, a General in retirement, because he was also a guerrilla fighter, Denis and his brothers, there in the north of the country, compañero Denis Moncada; the Public Prosecutor of the Republic, compañera Ana Julia Guido; there's compañero Marvin Aguilar, Vice President of the Supreme Court of Justice; we are giving a bit of time to Alba Luz, who still had to do some work relating to the issues we are about to address; compañera Arlette Marenco, Vice-Chancellor of the Republic, and compañero Michael Campbell, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, who works as an advisor, and in various activities.
Here is compañera Rosario Murillo, co-President of the Republic, in truth that's right, she is co-President of the Republic! We will have to make some reforms to the Constitution... Doctor Porras, we will have to make some Reforms so that the principle of co-Presidency is established.
First General Commissioner of the National Police, Francisco Díaz; General Commissioner Horacio Rocha, advisor, with all his experience, advisor to the Presidency accompanying the work of the Police; General Commissioner Zhukov Serrano, in charge of the intelligence work of the National Police.
President of the National Assembly, compañero Doctor Gustavo Porras. The National Assembly is our power of State, which has to carry out the swearing in of the country's authorities; the Assembly takes the oath of the President, the Vice President, the Deputies, the Deputies and all the compañeros and compañeras who hold institutional Positions and who are appointed by the Assembly and then are sworn in by the National Assembly.
Our beloved sister, Professor Loria Dixon, she is the Secretary of the National Assembly, we have an extraordinary Secretary. I met Loria first over on the Caribbean Coast, we met there, it was in Bilwi, we met in Bilwi, I encountered her there where she was a teacher, and look where she is now, at the head of the greatest power of the State, the Highest Authority of the Nicaraguan State, which is the National Assembly.
There's also Compañera Arlin Alonso, from the National Assembly, Arlin Alonso is from Chinandega.
Then from the Ministry of the Interior, a compañera, a tireless worker, María Amelia; compañero, also a tireless worker, Luis Cañas; and the compañero Carla Salinas. That is to say, this is the Directorate of the Interior Ministry, two compañeras and one compañero, who have a 24-hour workload, day and night they have their workload in the Interior Ministry.
On this day, beloved Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, beloved families, an event occurred that I would call surprising, because you have to remember that already on several occasions, in different Public Events I had been saying that all these people who were in prison, who were detained for attacking Sovereignty, acting against Peace, against the Nicaraguan People, since they were all agents of foreign powers, at that time I was speaking in general and on another occasion I spoke in particular too, that they should be sent abroad, I asked, "why don't they take them in?" On another occasion we challenged the US government that has vilified us so much, accusing us of having “political prisoners”.
But after the Congress of the United States was stormed by US citizens of the Republican Party, who were not armed as the terrorists were armed, here in April 2018, murdering, burning, destroying. They were not armed, we all saw the scenes when they entered the Congress, the police did not put up much resistance to stop them from entering. And there were 2 dead, there was a brawl among them and there were two killed. But there were thousands who entered the Congress, and there were two killed, but of course, a lot of destruction.
Then came the persecution and those people were accused of attacking the security of the great US Nation, of being attacking the democracy of the great US Nation. And the arrests began. And there in the United States right now, today, when there is not a single terrorist left in prison here in Nicaragua, there in the United States there are more than 1,200 of those who assaulted Congress who are classified as terrorists, are indicted and some of them have already been sentenced to 20, 30 years in prison.
And before the Ambassador of the United States was about to leave in recent days, the Ambassador was going to the United States a few days ago, yes; so Rosario suggested to me, why don't we tell the Ambassador to take all these terrorists away now? Go ahead tell him, I said to her, maybe they'll listen to you. It really was far from my mind, because it wasn't about negotiating anything, this should be made very clear!
Already the traitor Sergio Ramirez is making his analysis and saying that we made a mistake, that we should have released a few at a time, in exchange for... he talks about a negotiation. For example, if we have negotiated them, along the lines of, I'm going to give you 20 now and you give me so-and-so, or I give you another 20 and now you offer me... that is, talking like a mercenary, which he has been, a mercenary. No! This is a matter of principle for us.
We know what their essence is, what the thinking is of all these people, who after all are victims of imperialist policy, they are victims, of those who use them, finance them, give them weapons... How many such stories do we not have! And then they send them to work out how to destroy the Peace, the stability of a country, as Nicaragua had been enjoying up until 2018.
And it was an operation where there was funding, on that we have documentation from the embassies, European embassies, European ambassadors, with their signature and handwriting, there in those documents, where they are shown to be conspiring; from the US embassy itself, from ambassador Laura, when ambassador Laura Dogu was there. We have that evidence.
Well, Rosario called the Ambassador and asked him. I didn't expect a positive response, I didn't really think there would be a positive response, given what have they may have imagined: "what are they going to ask us? Are they going to ask us to lift the sanctions on them?" No, we are not asking for the sanctions to be lifted! We are not asking for anything in return! This is a matter of Honor, of Dignity, of Patriotism, that they take their mercenaries, that they take them back, as they took back their mercenaries after the invasion in Cuba. There were more than 1,000 mercenaries captured there, and Fidel sent them back.
Well, the ambassador's response was that, since he was traveling to the United States, he was going to consult with his superiors. Well, a reply, that I said still doesn't confirm anything for us, but a reasonable answer: "I'm going to consult."
Then the matter took off with dizzying speed, when they asked how many we might be going to release... All of them! And they asked us in particular about one person, whether this included Alvarez too, the Bishop Alvarez? Him too! We want not trace of the Empire's mercenaries here in our Country to remain.
Then they asked us to send a list and that meant a race by our compañeras and compañeros in the Judiciary, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Interior Ministry; indeed, it was an intense job, we had just hours, because already at that moment they replied that they were willing to take them all on a single flight. And they already gave us a date, which was the 9th, that the plane would arrive on the 9th, that is, today, the plane was to arrive here in Managua, but in order not to create expectations we decided on silence, since we could not start discussing this event as if it had already happened, because if then it did not take place, we would look ridiculous.
So, they complied and, naturally, we complied and it must be recognized that this matter was taken seriously by them, as we too took it very seriously. And when they us what we hope to get out of it? Nothing! Let them all be taken away, that's all. I mean, it wasn't about negotiating. There has been no negotiation here! This should be made clear. Because the country's Sovereignty, the Nation's Dignity, is not up for negotiation, it is simply not negotiated!
And we made ready the lists, the lists were prepared, here I have the original list that was sent to them; in this original list they were in total, from all over the country, they were in total 228. That is the list we had of all these people who had participated in acts against Sovereignty, against Peace, against the Nicaraguan people... 228. I mean to say, we excluded no one.
In this original list, I have here the original list, here are the signatures of the judges who signed it: The Tribunal of Appeal's First Criminal Court, this was signed by the Court yesterday, February 8th at 5.45pm. And this list was sent to them, and everything was in motion because it had already been announced that the plane was on its way. And in this list, here he is, at number 92, Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, ID number 001-271166-0061F, here is his name, Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, number 92, Rolando José Álvarez Lagos! He wasn't excluded from the list, there he is.
Well, they received this list and then they communicated back to us, all this in a hurry, because at the time we were making plans with the police to transfer all the prisoners who were in different places, from the prisons of San Carlos, there were coup plotters there; in Chinandega, in León, in all the country's departments, in some there were more, in others there were fewer, and of them of course were here, in the Tipitapa Prison that was known as the Model Prison, and in the Judicial Auxiliary facility, that's where most of them were.
And it was an operation that had to be carried out with great discipline, with a lot of organization, to avoid any accidents, because the prisoners that were being brought did not know where they were going; they may have speculated, and those from the departments may have wondered whether they were being brought to the Model Prison, while those in the Model Prison may have thought they were being taken who knows where. That is to say, they were being transferred to gather them at points from where they could then be transferred to the Air Force base where the plane for them would be parked; and of course there was direct coordination with the Army, with General Aviles who with his compañeros was also ensuring the necessary conditions.
And the first response they gave us to this list, this list that was the original list really with 228 names, they come along and reply to us, that from the list they do not accept four of the prisoners who are there for their crimes: One named Eliseo de Jesús Castro Baltodano; another named Walner Antonio Ruiz Rivera; another named José Manuel Urbina Lara, quite well-known, I think, José Manuel Urbina Lara; and another named Jaime Enrique Navarrete Blandón.
The US said they couldn't take them, they didn't give us reasons and we weren't going to ask them for reasons, but what they told us was that, since they were already processing the list, while we started from the principle that the list we had given them was the one of the people they were going to take, and they thought that we were going to argue.. But if they don't want them, then they don't want them! You see, how badly you get paid by the ones who used you! How badly you are recompensed by the ones who said they cared about you and funded you! They didn't want them, neither Eliseo, nor Walner, nor José Manuel Urbina Lara, nor Jaime Enrique Navarrete.
So then, when the process was already under way, already there on the Air Force runway where the plane is, they entered it one by one, a really extraordinary operation, carried out with great coordination, great discipline. And the people themselves were also very orderly, they made no fuss, they didn't make a scene, everyone entered, climbing the steps to the plane, well, maybe they were surprised, but of course they were not going to stop getting on to the plane.
So they go up the steps of the plane and there were two who refused to go: One of them, Fanor Alejandro Ramos, who from what we can tell we understand why. This 50-year-old Fanor Alejandro Ramos is in the Tipitapa Prison sentenced to 8 years for storing drugs, 369 kilos of cocaine, at the time of his arrest he was found to have a Glock pistol. He was there in 2018 accompanying the coup promoters; he was held under of the Third Criminal District Court and has served 3 years and 1 month in prison. So why didn't he accept? No doubt he was afraid that once in the United States and with his record they would open proceedings against him, investigate him, find connections with drug activity in the United States and he would end up with life imprisonment, or in the electric chair, or even with the death penalty. So he preferred not to get on the plane.
The other one who refused to get on the plane, as he himself stated, was Álvarez. But before loooking at that there was another person the Embassy did not accept, this one is called, I do not know if his name has already been mentioned here, Eliseo de Jesús Castro Baltodano, and let's explain a little why maybe they did not want to take him. He was a member of a criminal gang called “Crosti”, who made bombs and home made weapons; and they continued to do so in 2019, after 2018 they continued those terrorist activities.
Of course, in 2006, you see, long before April 2018, on February 6, 2006 he had been deported from the United States after having served a sentence of 8 years and 3 months for assaults on women... 8 years! Why would anyone want him back! He didn't want to go back either and, for their part, the Embassy didn't want him because they knew his record.
Now let's talk about this individual, Alvarez. Well, when he is standing in line, he had already arrives at the steps up to the plane, or at the entrance for him to get on, and then he started to say that he would not leave, that he needed to talk to the Bishops first, meet with the Bishops, and he demanded a meeting with the Bishops. Something absurd! If there has been a decision of the Nicaraguan State, which he as a Nicaraguan cannot question, he cannot question it.
How many Priests, how many Priests, how many Bishops, how many Cardinals have been tried and are being tried and imprisoned in the World? In the United States, in Canada, in Europe, there are terrible scandals because of all the crimes committed by Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, yes, and there is an internecine war where they even attack the Pope, some of them insult him, attack him. But it doesn't occur to anyone in the United States to say: "Wait, I want to talk to the Bishops because they want to throw me in prison". And they do put them in prison, they try them, then they convict them, and there are cases like that everywhere.
I do not know what this gentleman is thinking, that faced with a decision of the Nicaraguan State he comes along and says that he refuses to comply with a Resolution of a Court of Justice of the Nicaraguan State, ordering him to leave the country. He says that he refuses to comply and wants a meeting with the Bishops. Furthermore, since several priests were already on the plane, they had already been passed, they had quietly got on and they are now in the United States, he says that in order for him to leave, all those priests should be called back, because he needed to talk to them, and they should get off the plane so they can talk to him and also the Bishops should arrive to talk to him.
In sum, we could not, because the other side did not allow for that, in the agreement the US authorities did not allow us to forcibly put anyone on the plane who did not want to leave for the United States, so we could not make him get on by force. If it were a deportation, there is no problem, because what would the Nicaraguan State do to him? Quite simply, if he doesn't want to get on the plane, he gets put on the plane, gets handcuffed and goes where he is sent. But since the US side explained they could not accept anyone who did not want to go, and since this gentleman did not want to go, then, back as you were!
He had been treated in an incredible way, like no prisoner in the history of this country. I was imprisoned for seven years and one month and I have never known the story of a prisoner who had been treated in the way this man was treated.
Well, now he is in the Model Prison, of course, since he is an ordinary man, "the habit doesn't make the monk”, as well we know, we know very well that “the habit doesn't make the monk”. What we have here is the arrogant behavior of someone who already considers himself the head of the Church in Nicaragua, a leader of the Church in Latin America, and maybe he even thinks about his chances of occupying the position of His Holiness the Pope. Indeed, he's crazy, out of his mind!
But in any case, that will have to be worked out now, to begin with, the judicial authorities who are of course well informed of this man's case, and the medical authorities who will have to take care him, because now that he has arrived at the Model prison, ha has behaved like a man possessed; that is to say, he hasn't the courage, nor can he have the courage of Christ, who endured scourging and crucifixion... No, he can't even accept being put in a prison where there are hundreds of other prisoners!
I know those cells well, I lived in those cells for more than 7 years, I know them well and it's nothing fatal, prison is prison, and that's that.
Ah, but since he was under house arrest, special meals were made for him every day, the doctors came twice a day, the nuns came to cook for him, and it was a mansion! It's not that he lived in a small public housing project , it's not that he lived in a regular house like the one Cardinal Brenes lives in there in Altagracia, no, that's a humble house. His was a mansion, he lived in a mansion, and his whole family lives there, each one has their own mansion; so he's irritated now because he's in prison, in jail.
Such is the case of this man who simply refused to comply, that is, he is enraged and refusing to obey the decision of the Nicaraguan authorities, of the Nicaraguan State, because he could willingly go to Miami, go to join Silvio Baez there, and rant away along with Baez and company; but since it is the Nicaraguan state that ordered his deportation then he is enraged, overcome with rage, fury, and well, it was he who decided, and now there he is in prison.
Furthermore, eleven prisoners who were in the Judicial Auxiliary facility, eleven in total, all of them religious, priests, eleven: Benito Enrique Martínez Gamboa, a priest, made no fuss and got on the plane, and now he is in the United States; Raúl Antonio Vega Gonzales, a deacon, also got on the plane; Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios Cano, a priest, also got on the plane; Ramiro Reynaldo Tijerino Chávez, also got on the plane, a priest; Oscar Danilo Benavidez Dávila, a priest , also got on the plane; Sergio José Cárdenas Flores, a lay religious, also got on the plane; José Luis Díaz Cruz, a priest, also got on the plane; Melkin Antonio Centeno Sequeira, a seminarian, also got on the plane; Darvin Esteyling Leiva Mendoza, another seminarian, also got on the plane; Manuel Antonio Obando Cortedano, a lay religious, also got on the plane; and Wilberto Artola Mejía, a layman, also got on the plane.
That is, eleven people, including priests, religious and lay Community Members, all of them got on the plane, left on the plane.
Who are the only priests who are detained in the country? Well, one, Álvarez, who did not want to comply with what the law commands, what the Nicaraguan state commands.
Then there are two priests who are detained, one, from Boaco, accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, he is from Boaco, the girl's family accused him, they accused him in that case and he has nothing to do with politics, it is simply a common crime, and he is in the “Jorge Navarro” penitentiary in Tipitapa. The other priest under arrest is from Nandaime for the crime of grievous bodily harm and psychological violence, I think you may all remember this case of the person who appeared with a machete, that was something publicly know, it's nothing political, he just went out with the machete assaulting, fighting with a woman, for that he is under arrest.
They are the only ones who are detained, these two, for common crimes; and the other for terrorism, the Bishop, for being a terrorist.
In this way we want to make very clear the events leading to 222 of those people who were called “political prisoners” being sent to the United States. They are already there at the airport in the US, they have already been received at the airport, an airport there in the United States, they are already being taken care of and they are very happy, I saw some film on Colombian television, they took some footage there of them.
In fact, this is nothing more than a message for Peace, for Stability, so that the Nicaraguan people can be sure that everything we do is to ensure Peace.
And from the United States government, as I was telling you, we have asked for absolutely nothing, nothing! This is not a barter, this is not a case of "I give you this and you give me that"... No! This is a matter of Principle, of Dignity, and what it does is confirm that those people are returning to the country that used them, its rulers, not the US People, their rulers used them to sow terror, death, destruction, here in Nicaragua.
That is what is very clear, you see, and that is the lesson we Nicaraguans have to learn, and thank God, of course we thank God, because I really did not believe, though I heard that Rosario was in touch and that they were saying this, saying that, we just have to remove this one, that everything was ready; but I said: "As long as we don't see the plane here, as long as the plane isn't here we can't think that it's all over...
And thank God the miracle happened, because this People, the People of Cacique Diriangén, the People of Andrés Castro and José Dolores Estrada, the People of Benjamín Zeledón, the People of General Sandino, the People of Carlos Fonseca, the People of Tomás Borge, the People of Father Miguel d'Escoto who would be turning 90 now, this People of so many Heroes and Martyrs, where it has been possible to cultivate and continue to make this People flourish despite the fact that there have been attacks, attacks looking for how to sweep away the Dignity, the Heroism of Nicaragua's people.
This People, thank God, has the strength to undertake the greatest Battles, face the greatest challenges, and achieve Peace, like th Peace we managed to reconquer after April 2018, this Peace that we are enjoying now, and now that the coup plotters have gone, the mercenaries, well, we can breathe with more Peace here in Nicaragua... Thank God! And Long live Nicaragua, Blessed and Always Free!
Remarks by Compañera Rosario after the Message of President Comandante Daniel to the Nicaraguan People
February 9th 2023
Good evening, Juan, and very good evening, beloved families of this Nicaragua of ours that fills us with pride, of this People of ours that makes us feel so proud, of this hardworking, striving Nicaragua, that reveres Peace, that venerates Peace, that demands Peace, that deserves Peace!
We do not stop working for a moment to guarantee the Peace which is our Right, which carries us forward, along routes, along paths of Work, Security, Stability, and Prosperity.
I want to send a big embrace on this day that, I think, renders true once again this phrase that we have coined, that we have gathered up from the poems of Darío: Here we are illuminated by a Sun that doesn't set! Every day we have reasons to thank God, to thank Him for blessing us with such force of Spirit, with such Faith, with such Strength. Because it is thanks to that force of Spirit, that immense Faith and that Strength renewed every day, that we go forward and that we are able to be generous... Relentless in battle, said Tomás, generous in Triumph, the Triumph of Peace that we are living in our Blessed Nicaragua!
New Times, New Days, to strengthen ourselves more and more around work, around the urgent needs and the solutions to them Nicaraguan Families must find. To strengthen ourselves more and more to move forward, making our way in Peace and Well Being, with Good Heart, with Goodwill, and continuing to solve matters at hand.
In these hours of gratitude to God, of proclaiming our Faith and our Hopes, I want also to send a greeting to the families of the People who were arrested for treason... What fault have the children, what fault have grandparents, what fault have the Mothers!
I think all of us need to consider what we are, as Nicaraguans, those of us who continue to be proudly Nicaraguans by the Grace of God, that we are a family and that we have virtues, values and an identity of our own, of us all, one that brings us closer and brings us together to proclaim Peace, to continue strengthening Peace. So that the Peace we have, since we are Nation and we love this Nation, may be extended and so that we know how to protect it every day, so that they never, never dare to jeopardize it again.
We have always said: Peace is not to be trifled with. And we have always said: They cannot...! Because without Inner Peace, without Values, no one can. Never again Hatred! That's why we have said: They cannot. And we say: They could not Prevail, nor Will They!
Jesus reigns here forever, and Love reigns...! And well, let's all com to know how to reflect, to value and to improve all the time, to work harder and harder, and thank God with more and more Spirit to make our way Forward, because the Future is ours. Because we know that the Way is Always Further On, towards the Light, towards the Truth, in really True Life!
A big embrace to all the families of our Nicaragua, Blessed, Enlightened, and full of Love. Thank you, Compañer@s.