Every 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 voted yet?” Then, he would say, “This is probably the most important 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 nervousness I skilled final 12 months has given technique to outright dread as my household’s homeland prepares to elect its subsequent president. When it involves the query of who will win, the result is a foregone conclusion.
You could marvel why I, an American citizen who lives in Los Angeles, am afraid of what occurs in Nicaragua on November 7. Well, 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 stability. He was accused of being an “enemy of the state.” My father’s “crime”? Speaking out in opposition to Ortega and Murillo.
In the final 100 days, my mother has gotten to see him twice, briefly. He just isn’t doing nicely. Between her two visits, he’d misplaced 40 kilos. He described being subjected to day by day, countless, pointless interrogations. He mentioned 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’s not receiving his medicine. And, most just lately, his request for a replica of the Bible was denied.
He’s my dad, so in fact I’m deeply invested. But why ought to different Americans care as nicely?
Even extra 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’s been rumored the regime’s paranoia will diminish after the election, and prisoners shall be launched or positioned below home arrest—all higher choices. But it is laborious to consider it will occur.
More probably, with out additional actions by the US, nothing will change after the election. And our struggle to free our homeland will proceed below 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. But everybody who believes in freedom, democracy, and the preservation of human rights needs to be anticipating what occurs this Sunday in Nicaragua—and the times and weeks after.