THE FILM

Synopsis

August 2018. Four months have passed since an unprecedented popular insurrection in Nicaragua, the biggest since 1979, has put the de facto dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in check. The dead are counted by the hundreds, as are the disappeared and the political prisoners. Police forces and paramilitaries have unleashed a house-to-house searches to hunt down and imprison the main leaders of the revolts as well as peasants, journalists, environmentalists and former Sandinista guerrilla fighters.

 

In this context of terror, a Spanish journalist and university doctor specializing in the Sandinista Revolution, connects with the resistance movement against the Ortega regime to learn first-hand the nature of these protests that go well beyond a mere revolt. With a direct style and narrative range that goes from the purely literary to the strictly journalistic, we will hear invaluable witness accounts of the protagonists that shortly after these interviews had to go into exile or were imprisoned by the Ortega regime.

 

Throughout the film we will see the role played by the Catholic Church, the feminists, the LGTB collective, the esoteric nature of the Ortega regime, the plight of the poorest such as the peasants, the prominence of the students, who only months before were accused of lacking social and political sensibilities or the ability to construct a new leadership, and who are under permanent threat of being arrested by the repressive forces of the regime. These witness accounts enables the viewer to understand the many faces of a popular insurrection that has opted for the peaceful route and that has transformed the old slogan of the Sandinista revolution "Free country or death" into the more hopeful "Free country to live".

Context:

The insurrecton of Abril 2018

On April 18, 2018 a peaceful demonstration in Nicaragua, demanding that the government reverse its pension policies, flares and turns into an unprecedented social revolt similar to that of 1979, when the Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the Somoza dictatorship.
 

Almost forty years have passed since the triumph of the revolution. During this time the Berlin wall has collapsed, the Soviet Union has disintegrated, international terrorism is on the rise and drug trafficking and violence are wracking many Latin American countries

In 2007 the Sandinistas returned to power in Nicaragua after 17 years of neoliberal governments. But the Sandinistas are no longer the same. How did the liberators become the oppressors? This film delves into the heart of the “April Insurrection” through the voices of those who forty years ago led the revolution and those who today defy repression in the streets, the grandchildren of the revolution and, above all, of the children and grandchildren of that revolution that now repudiate commander Daniel Ortega, whom they consider a new dictator who has gone beyond the excesses of the Somoza dynasty.

 

Since the outbreak of the first protests in April 2018, more than 500 people --according to trustworthy international organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International or Human Right Watch-- have been killed in Nicaragua by the police and government sponsored paramilitary forces. There are also more than two thousand wounded, hundreds of political prisoners, including some of the most prominent journalists in the country, and tens of thousands of refugees who have had to flee for their lives for the mere fact of having participated in protests against the government.

Treatment

The thematic treatment revolves around the personal testimonies of the main protagonists of this popular insurrection. Peasant, student, ecclesiastical and civil society leaders weave a story that is intertwined with the vision of some of the protagonists of the 1979 revolution to explain why Nicaragua has risen again against a new dictatorship.

 

The documentary establishes some historical parallels between these two struggles, highlighting the important similarities between both historical events but also pointing out the important differences, especially the determination of this new insurrection not to go down the well-known route of the armed struggle and the staunch commitment to the peaceful route and the civic struggle.

 

Many of the testimonies were given at a time when Nicaragua was under a de-facto curfew, with paramilitary and police forces searching houses looking for the main leaders of the insurrection. Many interviews took place in safe houses under siege, others were filmed in countries such as Costa Rica or Spain where the protagonists have had to seek exile, but where they continue to be active against the Ortega-Murillo government.

 

Every-day stories of the repression in Nicaragua are also documented, such as that of the thousands of wounded who are banned from medical care in public hospitals and are cared for in secret by doctors who risk their professional careers and their freedom. The film also focuses on the dramatic situation of the more than 50,000 exiles who have had to flee to Costa Rica and have stressed the capacity of government to receive them and now have to live in crowded makeshift shelters.

Some of the main characters

The author

Daniel Rodríguez Moya

Spanish writer and journalist specializing in Nicaraguan history of the twentieth century. His doctoral thesis, with which he obtained the qualification of Outstanding Cum laude, is dedicated to the cultural and educational implications of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua.

 

As a filmmaker, he is the author of works such as the documentary I like poems and I like living, about poetry workshops in Nicaragua in a hospital for children with cancer, with which he was a finalist at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival of 2015. He is also the author of the documentary Brigadistas (2016), about the Spanish volunteers who took part in the literacy campaign in Nicaragua in 1980.

 

He was chosen by about 100 universities (Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Columbia, La Sorbonne ...) as one of the most relevant authors of his generation for the volume The open canon: latest poetry in Spanish. His literary work has been published in several countries and translated into many languages.