San José, Oct. 4 (EFE).- Nicaragua’s opposition Blue-White National Unity (UNAB), which emerged to oust President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, from power, turned five on Wednesday with the challenge of regrouping in exile.
Founded on October 4, 2018, six months after the outbreak of anti-government demonstrations, National Unity now has its foremost leaders in exile, stripped of their nationality, property, and civil rights by order of Ortega and judges affiliated with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).
“During this time, we have suffered all kinds of attacks: exile, banishment, confiscation, and the arbitrary detention of our leaders, in a clear attempt by the Ortega-Murillo tyranny to make us disappear; however, their attempts have been unsuccessful,” the group said in a statement.
“We have remained firm, cohesive, and with a large internal presence in Nicaragua,” said the political movement, highlighting that in these five years, they have “maintained their commitment to democracy, freedom, and justice without impunity.”
At least 43 social organizations in Nicaragua formed the Blue-White National Unity 5 years ago, including student, political, academic, professional, feminist, gender, peasant, and business movements and associations.
One of its founders, now in exile in Costa Rica, Azahalea Solís, told EFE that the fundamental achievement of the unit has been “to sustain itself over time in the adverse conditions” in which the Ortega government has left it.
They have gradually regrouped in exile, “maintaining relations with the country,” and have managed to maintain international influence, generating their initiatives and participating in others.
Solís, a constitutional lawyer, said one challenge is that “the opposition must work on its consolidation” and “take diversity into account.”
“Social, political, and cultural pluralism is not a rhetoric. It is a reality of all contemporary societies. Nicaragua is no exception. Therefore, we cannot act with exclusions because that would be repeating the anti-democratic practices of the past and an exhausted elite,” she argued.
For the lawyer, who was stripped of her nationality after being accused of treason by the Public Ministry, “a democratic and broad vision must be part of the opposition’s plan, and its actions must be in line with what it thinks and says.”
“We feminists believe that the personal is political. Therefore, when we demand institutionalization, we demand respect for fundamental rights. This means that we must promote and defend them and ensure they are not violated,” the activist explained.
She argued that democracy is transversal, involving public life and personal action, and “it is necessary to keep this in mind.”
Different philosophies and a common goal
Opposition leader Juan Sebastián Chamorro, another founder of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy who later withdrew from the UNAB, recalled that this group “was seen as the formalization of all opposition forces.”
“It effectively came to bring together many expressions that found in the UNAB a banner of struggle,” he said.
Chamorro agreed that the dispersed opposition is making an “effort of peaceful civil resistance” and influencing international denunciation of “all the arbitrariness occurring” in Nicaragua.
The opposition leader, who was also denationalized and deported to the United States on February 9 along with 221 other political prisoners, acknowledged that the Civic Alliance he belongs to does not have “the same line of thought” as National Unity.
However, he added, “the important thing is that we are on the same line of struggle against the dictatorship.”
In October 2018, members hoped that UNAB would have the same effect as the National Opposition Union (UNO), a coalition of 14 parties that defeated then-President Ortega in the 1990 elections with Violeta Barrios de Chamorro as its candidate.