“I hope that Dora María is free to receive a Doctorate from the Sorbonne”

“I hope that Dora María is free to receive a Doctorate from the Sorbonne”

Guerrilla commander Dora María Téllez, who this Monday marks one year of being locked up in total isolation in a cell at Chipote, was honored by the Sorbonne University, which decided to award her a doctorate honorary causewith the approval of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, according to a communication that this prestigious university sent to his family.

“With this title, the Sorbonne wants to pay tribute to his exceptional political and scientific career, and his contribution to international social commitment,” says the letter sent to the family, signed by the president of that alma mater, Jamil Jean-Marc Dakhlia.

The Parisian university hopes to “recognize his lifelong commitment to social justice and democracy, both in his country and throughout the Latin American region,” the statement said.

This prestigious university also decided to honor former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among other personalities, with an honorary doctorate.

The delivery ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 28, December 9 or December 14, 2022 and although the authorities of the French university hope that Téllez will be able to attend to receive the degree in person, her relatives do not rule out that she appoint someone else, if by then she continues to be imprisoned on the orders of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, as her brother Óscar Téllez relates in this interview on the program This week.

Oscar, you Sister Dora María Téllez, celebrates one year this Monday of being in a punishment cell, in a solitary confinement cell in the Chipote prison. She saw it this weekend. How is she?

We visited her at 3:30 in the afternoon. She is a strong woman, physically and mentally. She’s good mentally, she’s solid mentally, and solid in her position as well. Physically she is fine. She has no chronic diseases, so she is fine.

I saw her a little better compared to the previous visit. I think he has taken a break, has regained his usual energy levels, and is gradually recovering from the burn caused by an ointment prescribed for alleged vitiligo caused by lack of sun. She was treated by an internist, it seems that the doctors who diagnosed her with vitiligo are no longer treating her, and indeed, the doctor, after much insistence, etc., saw her the deputy commissioner in charge of that, and prescribed antibiotics and has started to improve.

how do you resist loneliness, isolation? A whole year in a cell without talking to anyone, and in addition to a state of gloom.

She is emotionally strong. She finds intellectual alternatives to cope with that feeling of loneliness and isolation, because in that gallery, she is the only one who is isolated. I think that now she is isolated and they call her ‘Chino Enoch’. I don’t know what the name of this gentleman is, an enemy of Doña Chayo. And, let’s say, despite being in these conditions, she is coherent, she is lucid, she remembers everything, she has a practically intact sense of humor, she enjoys the things we tell her about her family, about her friends.

During the conversation, I do not notice a cognitive impairment. I am not a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist, but I do not notice her being distracted, or losing the thread, not even her memory, which at this point in time we are already beginning to have memory problems. So in that sense, she resists him. Of course the loneliness bothers her, the isolation bothers her, the gloom bothers her. She specifically told me that she believes she hasn’t lost vision from the dark, but there’s no way that doesn’t affect them.

In the Mock trial in which she was sentenced in prison, Dora María said: “Imprisoned or free, I will continue fighting.” Are they still interrogating her? Are they still accusing her of those alleged crimes of conspiracy?

According to what she told me yesterday, the last interrogation was about three weeks ago, and she didn’t give me many details of the interrogation. She never likes to give me details, because she sees them as inconsequential, so she doesn’t stop to give me too much detail. She says that they have left her alone, because before she was daily.

This conviction has been considered political revenge against Dora María, and has generated not only a national claim, but also a global condemnation in some international circles. Is she aware of that solidarity?

Yes. When we visit her, we always review the solidarity, the friends who call, the friends who ask about her; of the people who pray, of the people who, although they do not pray, dedicate their thoughts to her, dedicate their energies, their vital forces, to thinking of her in the mornings, in the afternoon. We always review that, and the solidarity of the different groups that are emerging.

Is week it became known that the University of the Sorbonne, in Paris, has awarded him a doctorate honorary cause to Dora Maria. What does the Sorbonne say to grant you this recognition?

They sent a note to Dora María on May 17 last, telling her that she had been distinguished, by unanimous decision of the members of the Academy and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, the Doctorate Honoris Causa, basically for two reasons: for his contribution as a social scientist, and for his fight for democracy and freedom in Nicaragua and in the region. That’s what she says, basically.

“I hope that Dora María is free to receive a Doctorate from the Sorbonne”

That is a doctorate that was awarded, in addition to her, to four other people, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is a very high honor, I imagine. Well, I can’t imagine, she told me. For her, and even for her entire family. I think it is also a tribute to the political prisoners of Nicaragua, to the one hundred and eighty and other political prisoners, to make them visible, so that people know more every day about the circumstances in which they find themselves.

How Does Dora María receive this news, this recognition in prison?

He welcomed it. I mean, it is definitely a high academic honor to receive an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne (…), which is a prestigious and ancient European university. It is definitely a great honor.

The doctorate has already been conferred, but has not been carried out the delivery ceremony. Does this have a date? Do you hope that Dora María recovers her freedom to receive that doctorate?

They are going to set a date at the end of this year, between the end of November and the beginning of December. It would be highly desirable for her to be free by then and be able to travel to receive her degree from the corresponding authorities in France, from the university. But if that is not the case, I imagine that at some point she will have to appoint a person to receive it on her behalf. And we will see that in the coming months, because we are still in the middle of the year, there are a few months to go and the universities, in general, take their time. There are five people who receive this honor, and I imagine that they combine agendas to set a definitive date, and that the other issues will be communicated to us later.

The condition of a punishment cell, of solitary confinement, in which she finds herself, and also separately, Ana Margarita Vijil, Suyén Barahona, Tamara Dávila, has been the object of worldwide condemnation; but, on the other hand, there are institutions such as the International Red Cross, the Vatican or some other institutions of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church, which have not ruled on this. What expectations do they have?

I believe that those who have not spoken out will no longer do so. The International Red Cross that is more or less their way of operating internationally, because they do not want to be associated with any political movement. They are only, supposedly, vigilantes of the rights of political detainees, and there is a Convention that governs them.

As for Holy Mother Church, well, there are pastors and pastors. Since the beginning of the Christian Church there are differences, there is a Paul and there is a Peter, with two different visions of the Church. Currently we have a Monsignor Álvarez, and other gentlemen who are not fondly remembered, who have different attitudes towards an act that they consider violates human rights, so I don’t think the Vatican is going to change its position. Right now a priest is detained for an accusation; Monsignor Álvarez was attacked and besieged, and I don’t think they are going to do it. The Vatican is always playing between what is a State, and what is a religion. They are going to remain that way, silent, because they think that, in this way, Relationships are no longer alienated, and perhaps in the future they may play a role, but I don’t think that will change substantially.

But is this punishment regime going to be prolonged, which will be a year old tomorrow? Should it be discontinued?

The relatives of all political prisoners want them to be released, and in our case, the inmates who are isolated and in harsher conditions, we want that condition to end. She herself has asked during the interrogation, that this condition cease, that she has the right to regular visits, to the rights that an ordinary prisoner has in Nicaragua. But they are not ordinary criminals. I do not think that this is going to change immediately, unless there is mediation, or a negotiation with the current government, or that everyone recognizes and accepts the situation in which we live, which are two totally different and difficult things. This government shows no sign of wanting to accept any negotiations; and on the other hand, everyone demands their freedom, their right to express their opinion, to organize.

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