Felix Maradiaga, the man who gave Daniel Ortega an "intellectual" pulse

Nicaraguan academic Félix Maradiaga taught 2,000 "young people" the language of non-violence for eleven years, formed a group of volunteers during the protests against President Daniel Ortega and, from the United States, now faces a warrant.

"I have suffered a permanent persecution, I believe that the Ortega government has always been dangerous to the field of ideas," says Efe Maradiaga, who is in Boulder (Colorado) to intervene today in a hearing on Nicaragua of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR).

A judge in Managua ordered last month the capture of Maradiaga for having supported "national and international criminal groups" through the management of financial resources through the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), a center of thought that he has managed since January. of 2017.

Maradiaga believes that the Executive considers him the "intellectual leader" of a coup d'état because, in 2007, he created the Civil Society Leadership Institute, which until 2013 trained 2,000 young people in "a new culture to make citizen protests based on nonviolence. "

"The State is exaggerating my role, but obviously my presence during eleven years in all the universities of the country, constantly giving talks, has been converted to the Government as a kind of easy prey to be able to invent that fantasy of the soft coup (of State) ", it states.

When the protests broke out on April 18 for social security reforms, Maradiaga took to the streets as "a self-appointed citizen more."

But, the repression of the State was too strong and on April 20 decided to structure a "group of volunteers" to remove from the cathedral of Managua some students who had been besieged by the police, who fired tear gas bombs without stopping inside the temple, according to the images of then.

"I felt that after 48 hours of protest against the violence of the State it was essential to give an answer that mitigated the levels of violence," he says.

His activism unleashed a cycle of repression: on April 26 a group of supporters of Ortega attacked his house and, at the beginning of June, the police pointed him out as part of the group "El Viper", which he blames for terrorism, drug trafficking and murders since the beginning of the revolt.

When the police formulated these accusations, Maradiaga was meeting in Washington with members of the IACHR.

He returned to Nicaragua on June 13 and, until his departure on July 15, lived a "hell" with several assassination attempts, a violent beating and the anguish of sleeping every night in a different place to avoid alleged paramilitary groups, accused of extrajudicial executions by the IACHR.

In the end he had to leave the country, but he assures that the Government will not manage to keep him out "in the long term".

"I am going to return to Nicaragua, but I do not believe in immolation, I believe that the country has already had too many deaths, I have a deep conviction in nonviolence, that means not giving the State the opportunity to violate my own integrity, I have the responsibility to maintain a voice of serenity, "he argues.

And is that Maradiaga felt the need to remain neutral since young, when he saw the recruitment of children during the war that left thousands dead in the 80s of the last century.

To escape polarity, he set course for the United States. At the age of 12, he lived with a host family in Florida, learned perfect English and, after the war ended, returned to Nicaragua to study on a campus of the American University of Mobile (Alabama) in the Central American country.

He returned to the United States to study at Harvard University, Yale and, later, again in Nicaragua, led a program of disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants of the war under the government of Enrique Bolaños (2002-2007), predecessor of Ortega. .

"I have made a very little understood decision that is to make my life an example of non-radicalization," he reflects.

His next destination is Costa Rica, where he wants to help the thousands of migrants and refugees who have fled the violence in Nicaragua.


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