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HomeTopicsArts and CultureExiled Writer Gioconda Belli Speaks Out Against Nicaraguan Regime

Exiled Writer Gioconda Belli Speaks Out Against Nicaraguan Regime

The stripping of nationality from more than 300 opponents of Daniel Ortega’s government in Nicaragua was a declaration of “civil death”, said Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli in Costa Rica on Thursday. “We didn’t think they would declare our civil death in our own country,” said Belli, exiled in Spain since early 2023, upon receiving an “honoris causa” doctorate from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), the main university in Central America.

The 75-year-old Nicaraguan poet and novelist, awarded the Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry in 2023, said she did not think she would have to leave her country again after her exile in Costa Rica during the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in the 1970s.
“It was thought that it would not happen again” after the Sandinista revolution that overthrew Somoza in 1979, commented Belli. “We were wrong,” she added.

Ortega, a former guerrilla of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), stripped more than 300 opponents and critics of their nationality and sent them into exile, accusing them of being “traitors” and “sellouts” for having participated in or supported the 2018 protests.

Ortega, who ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s after the triumph of the revolution and returned to power in 2007, assures that those demonstrations, which left more than 300 dead in three months according to the UN, were an attempted coup sponsored by Washington.
During her speech upon receiving the title at UCR, Belli mentioned how she had to “leave Nicaragua abruptly” to go into exile again, this time in Spain, where the socialist government of Pedro Sánchez granted her Spanish nationality.

“We did not imagine the detour that life had prepared for us,” she said about the sudden departure from her country. Belli, who also received the Order of Arts and Letters in France in 2013, among other awards, was part of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and held positions in the government until 1986, when she dedicated herself entirely to literature.

The author of “The Inhabited Woman” and “The Scroll of Seduction” also thanked neighboring Costa Rica for being “a refuge” for thousands of Nicaraguan migrants and exiles.

“It is a shame that our twisted history has forced us to come to you so many times,” she said, addressing the Costa Rican audience.
Spain welcomed and gave citizenship to Belli and renowned Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez, Ortega’s vice president in the 1980s, who was also forced into exile. Both are fierce critics of Ortega.

United Nations human rights bodies, the United States, the European Union (EU), and other countries have condemned the stripping of nationality for the opponents.

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