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Know this; surrender before all these people. You may laugh, you can make all the faces you want, but we are asking you to order a cease-fire right now, and the liberation of our political prisoners. We cannot have dialogue with an assassin, because what has been committed in this country is genocide. I first saw the cameras turn; they were pointed at the president and they turned towards me.

And then I saw him; I saw his face, his eyes, his pupils dilating as he watched me; I don't know whether from surprise or if he was thinking many things about me. And Rosario was drinking water nonstop. It was so strange. I thought I wouldn't be able to speak very much; I was hoping he'd interrupt me. Says Lesther, and he tells me the story. It was September The end of the dictatorship is coming, he'd say, and he went into that room and killed him.

Then they riddled him with bullets, around three hundred shots. Two days earlier, he'd written a letter to his mother, one of the most beautiful letters I have ever read. And in it he says he's going to free the country, nothing else. Then, that Wednesday, I thought: Rigoberto reincarnated in me. I thought: it wasn't with bullets; it was with words. I don't learn things by rote, by memory, because I believe emotion makes you say accurate words.

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But the night before, I walked the hotel hallway from end to end, many times, and I kept asking myself, what am I going to do, what are people going to say, what will peoples' reaction be? And I kept asking myself what to do so they wouldn't silence me. So I started writing these lines; I wrote two drafts that are over there, in my own hand. Lesther doesn't have a son yet, and it's nighttime.

On the outskirts of Managua, at the University Centre where he and his companions from the University Coalition take refuge, half clandestine, at the edge of the pool and a gym, he tells me that he's the son of a family of sugarcane workers and that, with a scholarship, he's studying fourth-year Communications at the Universidad Centroamericana—Jesuit—in Managua. That afternoon, he says, there was a microphone and he, for the first time, dared to use it. Because I've dreamt of being this country's president since I was little, and they know it. He says now, and looks at me very seriously, smiling but serious; that it's true, and that he always had two dreams: one, to join the Army, because he loves order and seriousness and camouflage uniforms; the other, to become president.

After all these days of not going home, of living on the run, Lesther is still impeccable: a tight brown shirt, black pants, severe boots. His slacks have white spots, and you can tell they bother him; he scratches at them to no avail; on one hand he wears a signet ring and a tiny watch, almost doll-sized. My best friends have always called me Commander. Lesther laughs, a battalion of white teeth lined up for inspection, and says he has to study a lot, prepare to become president with all the knowledge and all the merits, but that could happen in a different country, that in this one the dictatorship discourages it, that many of his classmates from the Faculty of Communications, for example, don't want to be journalists, because, what for, if control and censorship are the norm.

But that he's never discouraged, that he's read a lot about Sandinista ideals, that his hero is Carlos Fonseca, the founding father and hero of the Front, who died shortly before the triumph of his revolution. Says Lesther; he'll later explain to me that he frequently speaks of himself in the third person: Lesther thinks such thing, Lesther does this other thing.

He says, and that the worst moment was that afternoon at the Cathedral, when they tried to take refuge from the police and parapolice attack, and were surrounded. But that lasted about two hours, until the Sandinista mobs arrived and it became collective hysteria; out of sheer fear, some were going all the way into the sacristy, desecrating all the holy places. At that moment I thought we'd be killed, I thought I'd be left there, murdered in the Cathedral. And my mates were crying, and I was crying, and they were throwing gas inside, bullets… But I tried not to let it show, to stay calm.

As a leader you have to do that, so you don't show signs of suffering to the rest. They were shut inside almost thirty hours, waiting for the final attack: that night, the lights were cut; they continued to threaten them; they were exhausted, unarmed, waiting for the end. But the next day, they let them out.

Lesther was one of the last: exhaustion, relief, the firmest resolve. But to this day, Lesther hasn't been afraid. I don't fear for my life. Suffering and pain are necessary if you love your people. He says with that voice that seems to emerge from another person, more solid, more aged, more experienced. But I'm not like those who fear for their lives, for their safety, who have left the country… and maybe they haven't even participated, and they're already out. Lesther tells me that he'd like to be a journalist, that a couple of years ago he was in New York and got his picture taken at the entrance of the New York Times, that he likes to read newspapers on paper and listen to the radio on a real radio, that as a millennial he's much too analogic, that his friends tell him he's an old man in the body of a twenty-year-old boy.

He doesn't need to, now: everyone remembers him. I tell him, and he laughs uncomfortably, but he tries to think about it: we discuss it. He then explains to me that one of his forms of humility is the issue of referring to himself in the third person. I don't think I can say I am like this, I say this, so I'd rather beat around the bush: Lesther is like this, Lesther says that. I tell him yes, I can see that, we laugh, he keeps explaining the inexplicable to me, he gets almost nervous: one of those shy people whose shyness makes them more expansive, more electric.

He is, after all, a twenty-year-old kid who everyone is suddenly watching. He is also, these days, the most popular person in Nicaragua, the hero who lived just around the corner.

RED LETTER REVOLUTION - Clip 9 - Shane and Tony on the Most Important Sermon

She had already asked at all the hospitals and finally, on May 12, she decided to visit the morgue at the Institute of Legal Medicine; when they told her he wasn't there, her relief was immeasurable: Javier must be alive still. But he was still lost; the next day, Margarita went to knock on the doors of the Directorate for Judicial Assistance, a.

El Chipote, a repression centre with an eighty-year criminal history: there, they told her they didn't know him, but former detainees told her that they had seen him inside and that he was being tortured. On Friday 18, Margarita was one of the hundreds of relatives who showed up before the IACHR delegation: she wanted to report her son's disappearance. Her cell phone rang while she was there. Margarita answered: an official from Legal Medicine told her that they had Javier's body. Her screams were heard throughout the floor. But you start losing your fear in the street. As we like to say, they took so much from us that they took even our fear.

Yes, many of us were attacked by the police, we already know how that goes. I was also at the Cathedral when the police and the Ortega mobs surrounded us, and we were so close to death. Melisa and Erasmo study at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, the largest in the country, forty thousand students and thirty hectares of forests scattered with buildings: thickets, trees, canyons, and now a few tents that give shelter to watchful students. The University was closed two weeks; on May 7, when it reopened, the students occupied it.

And now we're inside a building—the School of Geology—that the rebels use as a hospital, kitchen, dormitory. Melisa and Erasmo are around twenty years old, middle-class kids, very articulate. It's just that many of them can't be here. For example, I've been here since Monday of last week, and I know if I go home I won't be able to come back again. I ask him why.

Says Erasmo, and Melisa cuts him off. Melisa really feels like talking; her forehead is broad, clear beneath brown curls, an intelligent gaze:. The problem is that nobody wants to die. Nobody wants to be a martyr. But we already have martyrs; there are already more than sixty dead youth. The notion that a few do what many would is one of the foundations of twentieth-century politics: they used to call that the vanguard. Here there are a few, and those few place a government in check. They have legitimacy and public opinion on their side, and sometimes—just sometimes—that is worth more than strength, than numbers.

We know that at any moment they can attack us, we have to be prepared all the time. Says Melisa. Evicting them doesn't seem difficult in practice; for the government, the cost could be very high. The few hundred are also organized into groups that take care of the food, sanitation, guard duty, clashes. There is a complex network of young men and women who occupy the entire space of the university, with a system of delegates and powers, reunions, assemblies, discussions. It may seem utopian, but if Somoza fell, if the Berlin Wall fell, why wouldn't this one fall?

There isn't an entirely legal way to put an end to Ortega's government: if he resigns, his wife, the vice-president, will succeed him; and if they both resign, next in line is their stalwart, the president of the Assembly. In order to put an end to the regime and call for elections, they would have to do legal somersaults that are still unclear. Otherwise, the moment will come when Nicaragua will blow its lid. And when Nicaragua blows its lid, believe you me, that man won't know which way to turn. Says Erasmo, almost menacingly. Blowing its lid is something serious, and nobody wants that to happen, but there isn't an alternative either.

Not yet. We aren't armed, we're the children of the postwar period. Our parents, however, are ex-combatants, at least some of them; they experienced the revolution, the Contra, they were militants, but what do we know about these military, logistical things…? Between and , over twenty years of war, one hundred thousand Nicaraguans died. Later, many described this generation as kids who had seen that the only thing to come of it was that a handful ruled and became rich, and that that's why it was logical for them to care only about online games, and Messi games, and certain music, and certain dances: that they were a generation of apathetic individualists, poor things, that they'd never know what life is really about.

But they were also kids who had spent their whole lives hearing heroic, revolutionary stories from their parents, their grandparents, and being reproached for being slackers or loafers, for not having done those things. You can tell they got tired of it. We're tired of deaths. We don't want anyone else to die, we're betting on a peaceful path, for a resolution without the use of arms. My father supports me; he was in the Sandinista revolution… And he says that, for the time being, we're safer here than at our homes.

Now, no one knows what may happen. Daniel Ortega least of all: he must be perplexed. A month ago, poor people in the shantytowns as well as businessmen in Managua would wrangle over getting a selfie with him. It's likely that some of the poor people still keep them; very likely that most of the businessmen have already deleted them.

And the patronage system of social control was working in full: the party endorsed you for getting a job; it brought you tin for your shack's rooftop; it could ruin your life. The most common mistake is to underestimate him, because in the end he always manages to get something out of each situation.

And everything is on hold. Or it could annoy many citizens, who would get fed up with problems and difficulties, sorrows, losses, discomforts, and would begin to miss calmer times. Some remember Venezuela's example: a few months ago it seemed that its government was ready; now it just gave itself new elections. A fresh movement is happening, and in its purest form is about one thing: following Christ. This transformation is reshaping the Christian landscape.

When Revolutions Become Religions

Believers are starting to simplify their faith in order to exemplify Christ—a simple yet profound way to live out the gospel. This has become a revolutionary concept. They prefer inclusion over restriction, dialogue over debate, practice over preaching, and love over judgment. Authentic communities are preferred over institutionalized organizations, and grassroots groups gain wisdom and knowledge from relational interaction, social media, the web, and an array of other sources—there is no monopoly controlling leadership or sources of information.

Previously ignored issues such as environmentalism, social justice, equality and human rights are back at the forefront, and the love of Christ is starting to supersede any social, political or religious agenda. In the people. We agreed to be at this table to demand right now that you order an immediate stop to the attacks that are being carried out in our country, repression and attacks by paramilitary forces, by their troops, by the mobs that support the government.

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You know the pain we've experienced these past twenty-eight days. How can you sleep peacefully? We haven't slept peacefully, we're being persecuted. He said, in his old-fashioned radio announcer voice, his movements measured, a hint of a smile—and nobody dared interrupt him. Three metres down, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo were listening in disbelief; no one in all these years had done something like this.

Activism - Social Movements - Protesting - Revolutions

Then Lesther—his glasses, his handsome, slender body, his modern, well-cut hair—delivered the blow:. It's a table to negotiate your departure. And you know that very well, because it's what the people have requested.


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In one month you have torn the country apart; it took Somoza many years, but in less than a month you have done things that we never imagined. Many feel deceived by the ideals that have not been fulfilled—those four letters, FSLN, that swore that our homeland would be free—and today we are still slaves, today we are still subjugated, today we are still marginalized, today we are being massacred. How many mothers are crying for their children, sir? There was utter attention, tremendous tension. The country's authorities paralyzed before a twenty-year-old boy who was saying to them what nobody had ever said to them: serenely, without raising his voice, as if he were explaining something obvious to a slightly dense uncle.

The scene was hypnotic and moving, and it was unending:. Know this; surrender before all these people. You may laugh, you can make all the faces you want, but we are asking you to order a cease-fire right now, and the liberation of our political prisoners. We cannot have dialogue with an assassin, because what has been committed in this country is genocide. I first saw the cameras turn; they were pointed at the president and they turned towards me. And then I saw him; I saw his face, his eyes, his pupils dilating as he watched me; I don't know whether from surprise or if he was thinking many things about me.

And Rosario was drinking water nonstop. It was so strange. I thought I wouldn't be able to speak very much; I was hoping he'd interrupt me. Says Lesther, and he tells me the story. It was September The end of the dictatorship is coming, he'd say, and he went into that room and killed him. Then they riddled him with bullets, around three hundred shots. Two days earlier, he'd written a letter to his mother, one of the most beautiful letters I have ever read. And in it he says he's going to free the country, nothing else. Then, that Wednesday, I thought: Rigoberto reincarnated in me.

I thought: it wasn't with bullets; it was with words. I don't learn things by rote, by memory, because I believe emotion makes you say accurate words. But the night before, I walked the hotel hallway from end to end, many times, and I kept asking myself, what am I going to do, what are people going to say, what will peoples' reaction be? And I kept asking myself what to do so they wouldn't silence me.

So I started writing these lines; I wrote two drafts that are over there, in my own hand. Lesther doesn't have a son yet, and it's nighttime. On the outskirts of Managua, at the University Centre where he and his companions from the University Coalition take refuge, half clandestine, at the edge of the pool and a gym, he tells me that he's the son of a family of sugarcane workers and that, with a scholarship, he's studying fourth-year Communications at the Universidad Centroamericana—Jesuit—in Managua.

That afternoon, he says, there was a microphone and he, for the first time, dared to use it. Because I've dreamt of being this country's president since I was little, and they know it. He says now, and looks at me very seriously, smiling but serious; that it's true, and that he always had two dreams: one, to join the Army, because he loves order and seriousness and camouflage uniforms; the other, to become president. After all these days of not going home, of living on the run, Lesther is still impeccable: a tight brown shirt, black pants, severe boots. His slacks have white spots, and you can tell they bother him; he scratches at them to no avail; on one hand he wears a signet ring and a tiny watch, almost doll-sized.

My best friends have always called me Commander. Lesther laughs, a battalion of white teeth lined up for inspection, and says he has to study a lot, prepare to become president with all the knowledge and all the merits, but that could happen in a different country, that in this one the dictatorship discourages it, that many of his classmates from the Faculty of Communications, for example, don't want to be journalists, because, what for, if control and censorship are the norm.

But that he's never discouraged, that he's read a lot about Sandinista ideals, that his hero is Carlos Fonseca, the founding father and hero of the Front, who died shortly before the triumph of his revolution. Says Lesther; he'll later explain to me that he frequently speaks of himself in the third person: Lesther thinks such thing, Lesther does this other thing. He says, and that the worst moment was that afternoon at the Cathedral, when they tried to take refuge from the police and parapolice attack, and were surrounded. But that lasted about two hours, until the Sandinista mobs arrived and it became collective hysteria; out of sheer fear, some were going all the way into the sacristy, desecrating all the holy places.

At that moment I thought we'd be killed, I thought I'd be left there, murdered in the Cathedral. And my mates were crying, and I was crying, and they were throwing gas inside, bullets… But I tried not to let it show, to stay calm. As a leader you have to do that, so you don't show signs of suffering to the rest. They were shut inside almost thirty hours, waiting for the final attack: that night, the lights were cut; they continued to threaten them; they were exhausted, unarmed, waiting for the end.

But the next day, they let them out. Lesther was one of the last: exhaustion, relief, the firmest resolve.

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But to this day, Lesther hasn't been afraid. I don't fear for my life. Suffering and pain are necessary if you love your people. He says with that voice that seems to emerge from another person, more solid, more aged, more experienced. But I'm not like those who fear for their lives, for their safety, who have left the country… and maybe they haven't even participated, and they're already out.

Lesther tells me that he'd like to be a journalist, that a couple of years ago he was in New York and got his picture taken at the entrance of the New York Times, that he likes to read newspapers on paper and listen to the radio on a real radio, that as a millennial he's much too analogic, that his friends tell him he's an old man in the body of a twenty-year-old boy. He doesn't need to, now: everyone remembers him.

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I tell him, and he laughs uncomfortably, but he tries to think about it: we discuss it. He then explains to me that one of his forms of humility is the issue of referring to himself in the third person. I don't think I can say I am like this, I say this, so I'd rather beat around the bush: Lesther is like this, Lesther says that. I tell him yes, I can see that, we laugh, he keeps explaining the inexplicable to me, he gets almost nervous: one of those shy people whose shyness makes them more expansive, more electric. He is, after all, a twenty-year-old kid who everyone is suddenly watching.

He is also, these days, the most popular person in Nicaragua, the hero who lived just around the corner. She had already asked at all the hospitals and finally, on May 12, she decided to visit the morgue at the Institute of Legal Medicine; when they told her he wasn't there, her relief was immeasurable: Javier must be alive still. But he was still lost; the next day, Margarita went to knock on the doors of the Directorate for Judicial Assistance, a.

El Chipote, a repression centre with an eighty-year criminal history: there, they told her they didn't know him, but former detainees told her that they had seen him inside and that he was being tortured. On Friday 18, Margarita was one of the hundreds of relatives who showed up before the IACHR delegation: she wanted to report her son's disappearance. Her cell phone rang while she was there. Margarita answered: an official from Legal Medicine told her that they had Javier's body.

Her screams were heard throughout the floor. But you start losing your fear in the street. As we like to say, they took so much from us that they took even our fear. Yes, many of us were attacked by the police, we already know how that goes. I was also at the Cathedral when the police and the Ortega mobs surrounded us, and we were so close to death. Melisa and Erasmo study at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, the largest in the country, forty thousand students and thirty hectares of forests scattered with buildings: thickets, trees, canyons, and now a few tents that give shelter to watchful students.

The University was closed two weeks; on May 7, when it reopened, the students occupied it. And now we're inside a building—the School of Geology—that the rebels use as a hospital, kitchen, dormitory. Melisa and Erasmo are around twenty years old, middle-class kids, very articulate. It's just that many of them can't be here. For example, I've been here since Monday of last week, and I know if I go home I won't be able to come back again.

I ask him why. Says Erasmo, and Melisa cuts him off. Melisa really feels like talking; her forehead is broad, clear beneath brown curls, an intelligent gaze:. The problem is that nobody wants to die. Nobody wants to be a martyr. But we already have martyrs; there are already more than sixty dead youth. The notion that a few do what many would is one of the foundations of twentieth-century politics: they used to call that the vanguard.

Here there are a few, and those few place a government in check. They have legitimacy and public opinion on their side, and sometimes—just sometimes—that is worth more than strength, than numbers. We know that at any moment they can attack us, we have to be prepared all the time. Says Melisa. Evicting them doesn't seem difficult in practice; for the government, the cost could be very high. The few hundred are also organized into groups that take care of the food, sanitation, guard duty, clashes.

There is a complex network of young men and women who occupy the entire space of the university, with a system of delegates and powers, reunions, assemblies, discussions. It may seem utopian, but if Somoza fell, if the Berlin Wall fell, why wouldn't this one fall? There isn't an entirely legal way to put an end to Ortega's government: if he resigns, his wife, the vice-president, will succeed him; and if they both resign, next in line is their stalwart, the president of the Assembly.

In order to put an end to the regime and call for elections, they would have to do legal somersaults that are still unclear. Otherwise, the moment will come when Nicaragua will blow its lid. And when Nicaragua blows its lid, believe you me, that man won't know which way to turn. Says Erasmo, almost menacingly. Blowing its lid is something serious, and nobody wants that to happen, but there isn't an alternative either. Not yet. We aren't armed, we're the children of the postwar period. Our parents, however, are ex-combatants, at least some of them; they experienced the revolution, the Contra, they were militants, but what do we know about these military, logistical things…?