A memorandum signed last March 28 by Leopoldo Rivas Alfaro, national coordinator of attention to “historical Sandinism”, which announced the deactivation of that movement after smoothing out rough edges and joining “the glorious ranks” of the party’s professionals, seeks to centralize everything the power of the FSLN in the hands of Vice President Rosario Murillo, they consider Sandinista militants.
Rivas Alfaro is a trusted ex-military officer of the presidential couple. In the eighties he held the rank of brigade commander and later colonel. He held key positions in the institution as head of Military Services in 1979 and was also Deputy Minister of Defense.
According to the document—widely circulated on social networks—, the “deactivation” of the historical members occurs at the moment that supposedly 90 percent of them are incorporated into the Electoral Victory Units (SVU), that is, the party structures through which the ruling party carried out espionage tasks in the neighborhoods in the face of last year’s voting.
Considering this incorporation as a “goal accomplished,” Rivas Alfaro affirms that “the existence of a structure such as that of the historic Sandinismo is no longer necessary,” made up mainly of former soldiers, former guerrillas, and former combatants who participated in the fight against the Somoza’s dictatorship and in the war of the eighties with the counterrevolution.
The movement of the “historical” was activated as a result of the crisis of April 2018, when the FSLN controlled by Rosario Murillo and the cadres of the Sandinista Youth, was overwhelmed by the social unrest and the national protest.
At the head of this movement were placed ex-guerrillas and retired senior soldiers such as Edén Pastora, Leopoldo Rivas, Raúl Venerio, and Glauco Robelo, and elements that participated in the paramilitary repression were recruited from their ranks.
Another of the tasks they carried out, according to their coordinator, was intelligence, but the new order is supposed to stop collecting information on “enemy activities and transmitting them to the National Police and the Army at the territorial level.”
“It is strictly prohibited to continue organizing and operating intelligence or counterintelligence networks of any nature,” reiterates Rivas Alfaro in the communication in which he says goodbye, appealing to “party discipline” and cheering Ortega and Murillo.
Hermeticism among the “historical” members of the FSLN
Donald Mendoza, another of the members of the “historical Sandinismo,” said by telephone that he did not confirm or deny the veracity of the memorandum. Militants of this party on condition of anonymity assured that it circulated in the territories and that, at the last minute due to the impact caused by its dissemination among the “historical”, they alleged that it was “fake news”.
“The goal is to centralize everything in the game under Rosario’s control. Those who have already rejoined the FSLN from the historical ones are fine for them, and the others leave them without authority and let them walk free. That is why they liquidate the historic Sandinista movement, a measure that is detrimental to those groups that criticize it,” added the source.
CONFIDENTIAL He tried to speak with other members of the historical Sandinismo to know their impressions, but they did not agree. Marlon Sáenz known as “El Chino Enoch” did not respond to a query made on his social networks. However, a supposed audio was circulated among the militants in which he spoke out against what he considered disrespect for the morals of the “historical” and criticized the FSLN for being an “autocratic” party.
“It’s embarrassing when they send you to say that they no longer trust the police intelligence and the Army’s counterintelligence, that we don’t give them information. How are they going to deny us that relationship? If it’s the only thing I trust. I don’t trust Rosario, I don’t trust most political secretaries, much less Fidel Moreno (political secretary of the FSLN in Managua),” accused Sáenz.
According to another FSLN source, the communication circulated in the territories, among the members of the Sandinista Leadership Councils (CLS). This historical Sandinista consulted assured that the red and black sympathizers interpreted it as a matter of “party obedience.”
The movements within the ruling party were announced four months after the presidential elections, in which Ortega and Murillo were re-elected without electoral competition after imprisoning more than 40 political, social and business leaders last year. The election results were considered illegitimate by the majority of the international community.
The regime is also facing the impact on the already deteriorated credibility of its discourse after the resignation last week of two high-level officials who left the government after denouncing Ortega’s human rights violations. Those public servants were Arthur McFieldsformer Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), and international lawyer Paul Reichler.
Avoid parallel intelligence networks
The exit of the “historical” also seeks to avoid parallel networks outside the presidential control, added other Sandinistas consulted. “Although there are problems such as the fact that the economic expectations of this group of historical Sandinistas have not been resolved, Leopoldo (Rivas) reaffirmed his loyalty to the Ortega Murillo family,” they highlighted.
Another supporter of Ortega and Murillo considered that in the case of the Rivas Alfaro movement they are sick and the leadership simply chose those who are most useful to them.
During the 2018 rebellion, when thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest against the regime, the state responded with brutal political violence. The Police and paramilitary groupsincluding some former police officers and former members of the Army, carried out the repression against opponents.
The “clean-up operation” was the name given to the violent clearing of the barricades, erected by the population to defend themselves against the threat posed by the state incursion into the territories. Hundreds of people died.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reported 355 dead between April 18, 2018 and July 31, 2019. The OAS, in a report prepared by independent experts, denounced that Crimes against humanity against the people of Nicaragua. However, these cases remain in impunity.
The regime, for its part, maintained that they were victims of an attempted coup to reinforce a narrative and justify further human rights abuses.
The international community has repeatedly demanded the immediate release of political prisoners and the restoration of citizens’ rights violated by the Nicaraguan dictatorship, but they also sanctioned the dictator’s close circle, including Murillosome of their children and his security adviser, Néstor Moncada Lau.