martes, 5 de agosto de 2014

Asphyxia






Asphyxia
                                                   
By: Cristiana Guevara-Mena

Asphyxia occurs when oxygen stops flowing to the lungs or bronchi by a blockage in the throat or trachea. The causes of chocking include drowning, gas poisoning, and strangulation, among other reasons. When we speak of Nicaragua, we don’t necessarily refer to the lack of air that we breathe through our noses, but to the cost of life that is increasingly being strangled by the high costs of self-censorship, fear, moral degradation, misery. The aforementioned factors that stifle the human being in all possible levels also go beyond economics. There is such a shortage of everything that is essential that even the present text lacks spaces. What horror! This asphyxia attacks us all without exception in this country, from the simplest to the highest government leaders, including even the church institutions and the private enterprises. The government increasingly bombards us with mediocre propaganda to mask the serious crisis of its ridiculous mixture of a government-party state. They have no other choice but to cling to power by putting their unconditionally loyal dogs in the institutions they have pillaged because otherwise their power is unsustainable. The supply of Venezuelan oil is almost nonexistent, so they have had to invent the illusion of an inter-oceanic canal to justify any kind of fraud and embezzlement of huge amounts of funds to support the little power they have. The money is running out and we all shout in despair because we are sinking in the mud like quicksand. If we move we sink faster and if we don’t move we sink the same, until we come to the point of being completely underground. If we're lucky, only the tips of the index and middle fingers will be on the surface of the earth facing the sun. Not even raising the nose for breathing will be enough because the air space is being reduced. The Catholic Church is enclosed in its own frame of forty by thirty centimeters on the wall. They are painted, almost motionless, stuck on that canvas that paints a colorful altar of priests with cassocks that now premieres the color red. The inability or unwillingness to do something for the people besides showing off their colors as a portrait, is slowly choking them. They cannot later complain about losing parishioners because of their lack of credibility and outward courage. This complex of holiness by resorting to their "good children" will not help them much. The suffocation doesn’t pardon them either. In a pigpen of private enterprise there is a horde of hogs with an insatiable hunger for money without the care from where it comes, if the money is dirty, bloody, or taken from the ribs of whomever. They eat anything that smells like money. Locked in their pigsty they increasingly feel squeezed by the voracious fattening of their bellies and their bank accounts. In the end they have no interest in the space for breathing. As long as their bellies are still in the task of fattening they don’t care if they are stuck against each other or unable to move. The journalists, media, at least the few remaining that are decent - if there are any left – have their space of freedom of expression reduced. The government owns almost all media, or if not, they own a percentage of shares that limits the intensity of the opposition voice. How do they survive with so little mental oxygen? Could they still be alive with a rope so tight around their neck? They are on the verge of breaking their neck. You cannot see the difference between the censored by force or the self-censored by intimidation. Let us not forget the vast majority of the population that are helpless and orphan of authentic representation. You cannot stretch the minimum wage like rubber so that their bellies no longer wrench with hunger. The cost of a bite of food is skyrocketing and the mind does not give you a chance to think of nice concepts like "citizenship" or "human rights." How do you eat that? Unfortunately that does not feed five children of a single mother. And this unimportant writer has the spaces to publish her ideas increasingly reduced despite that she manages to type on a typewriter that has fallen into contemporary disuse. There are some cases where people are squeezed so tightly that they explode like pimples and fly to various foreign countries because they could not handle the scarcity any longer. Life is escaping and we force our breath like an asthma attack. We are running out of oxygen as everyone drowns equally without exception. And you, esteemed reader, were you able to breathe while reading this text? We feel the sand and the mud coming to the shoulders. Even this text lacks separation of paragraphs, there is no space anywhere! We have no air to scream in despair! How long will we continue living this way? What else has to happen for us to react and change our reality? Why do we have to endure so much misery? We are fed up. It's time for the truth, we sink, time to breathe deep at the count of three ... one, two, three, iiiighh!

martes, 29 de julio de 2014

Asfixia





Asfixia

Por: Cristiana Guevara-Mena

La asfixia se produce cuando deja de fluir oxígeno a los pulmones o bronquios por una obstrucción en la garganta o tráquea. Entre las causas de asfixia se encuentran el ahogamiento, el envenenamiento por gases, estrangulación, entre otras razones. Cuando hablamos de Nicaragua, no necesariamente nos referimos a la falta de aire que respiramos por nuestras narices, sino a la vida que cada vez está siendo más estrangulada por los altos costos vulgarmente impagables de autocensura, miedo, degradación moral, miseria, que van más allá de lo económico. Hay tanta escasez de todo lo indispensable que hasta al presente texto le faltan espacios. ¡Es un horror! Esta asfixia nos ataca a todos sin excepción en este país, desde el ciudadano más sencillo hasta las altas cúpulas del gobierno. Incluso a las instituciones de la iglesia y la empresa privada. El gobierno cada vez más nos bombardea de propaganda mediocre para maquillar la seria crisis de su mezcla ridícula de gobierno-partido-Estado. No tienen otra salida más que aferrarse al poder poniendo a sus perros incondicionales en las instituciones-botín-de-guerra que tenemos porque de otra manera su poder es insostenible. A falta del suministro de petróleo venezolano ya casi inexistente, se han tenido que inventar la ilusión de un canal interoceánico para justificar cualquier tipo de estafa y enormes cantidades de malversación de fondos para sostener el poco poder que tienen. La plata se nos acaba a todos y gritamos de desesperación porque nos estamos hundiendo en el fango como arena movediza. Si nos movemos nos hundimos más rápido, y si no nos movemos nos hundimos igual. Llegaremos al punto de estar completamente bajo tierra. Si tenemos suerte, solamente las yemas de los dedos índice y medio estarán en la superficie de la tierra dándoles el sol. Ya ni levantar la nariz para respirar será suficiente porque el espacio de ese aire se está reduciendo. La iglesia católica está encerrada en su propio marco de cuarenta por treinta centímetros colgados en la pared. Están pintados, casi inmóviles, atorados en ese lienzo que pinta un altar de sacerdotes con sotanas coloridas que ahora estrena el color rojo. La incapacidad o falta de intención de hacer algo por el pueblo además de lucir sus colores como retrato, poco a poco los está matando de asfixia. Luego que no se quejen por la pérdida de feligreses a causa de su falta de credibilidad y valentía frontal. Ese complejo de santidad acudiendo a sus “buenos hijos” no les servirá de mucho. A ellos tampoco los perdona la asfixia. En el chiquero de la empresa privada hay una manada de cerdos con hambre insaciable de dinero sin importarles de dónde viene, si el dinero es sucio, lleno de sangre o a costilla de quien sea. Ellos comen cualquier cosa que huela a dinero. Encerrados en su chiquero, cada vez más se sienten apretados por el engorde insaciable de sus panzas y de sus cuentas de banco. Al final el espacio para respirar no les interesa, ni quienes se ahoguen. Si están pegados unos contra otros sin poder moverse da igual con tal que sus panzas sigan en la tarea del engorde. Los periodistas, medios de comunicación, al menos los pocos decentes que quedan – si es que quedan – se les reducen los espacios de libre expresión. El gobierno es dueño de casi todos los medios, o si no, son dueños de un porcentaje de las acciones que limita la intensidad de la voz opositora. ¿Cómo hacen para sobrevivir con tan poco oxígeno mental? ¿Será que todavía estén vivos con una cuerda tan apretada al cuello? Están al borde de ser desnucados. Ya no se puede ver la diferencia entre los censurados a la fuerza o los autocensurados por intimidación. No olvidemos a la gran mayoría de la población huérfana y desamparada de representación auténtica. Ya no se puede estirar más como hule el salario mínimo para que no apriete tanto la barriga. El costo del bocado de comida está por los cielos y la mente no te da para pensar en conceptos tan bonitos como “ciudadanía” o “derechos humanos”. ¿Cómo se come eso? Lamentablemente eso no alimenta a cinco hijos de una madre soltera. Y a esta escritora sin importancia, cada vez más se le reducen los espacios para publicar sus ideas que a pesar de todo logra teclear en una máquina de escribir portátil caída en el desuso contemporáneo. Hay algunos casos en que los apretaron tanto que explotaron como espinilla y salieron volando a distintos países extranjeros porque ya no pudieron más con tanta escasez.  La vida se nos va y forzamos el aliento como con ataque de asma. Se nos está yendo el oxígeno, nos ahogamos todos por igual sin ninguna excepción. Y usted apreciado lector, ¿logró respirar al leer este texto? Sentimos que la arena y el fango nos están llegando a los hombros. Ni siquiera este escrito tiene separación de párrafos, ¡ya no hay espacios en ningún sitio! ¡No tenemos ni aire para gritar de desesperación! ¿Hasta cuándo seguiremos viviendo de esta manera? ¿Qué más tiene que suceder para que reaccionemos y cambiemos nuestra realidad? ¿Por qué tenemos que soportar tanta desgracia? Estamos hasta las narices. Es la hora de la verdad, nos hundimos, a respirar profundo a la cuenta de tres… uno, dos, tres, ¡ijjjgh!

lunes, 31 de marzo de 2014

Ode to Venezuela


Ode to Venezuela

By: Cristiana Guevara-Mena


The brotherhood between Nicaragua and Venezuela unfolds from the heat of the tropics, to the natural beauties in their Margarita and Corn Islands. In the mountains of the Andes and fire line of our volcanoes. As well as the wonders of Salto Ángel and Ometepe. We share the warmth of our people and the same heritage of the Spanish colony. We live the same culture, language, and even the use of “vos” spoken in Maracaibo of the Zulia State as well as throughout Nicaragua. We are warm, friendly, and naturally welcoming people. With these features, among many others, it is impossible for us not to come together.

Our fraternity, goes far beyond geographical differences. We have been associated for a very long time. There was a time when our indigenous people reached lands to what is now Venezuela, which is possibly the reason we share the same way of talking in certain Venezuelan regions, most likely caused by that indigenous Central American influence that managed to mix in the south.

Let us remember the not so old political relations from the late nineties to this day. The recently deceased Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, kept very close political relations with the de facto president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega Saavedra. What happens today, Venezuelan brothers, is not pleasant for the democratic Nicaraguans. It should be mentioned that this gentleman's interference in our country was disrespectful and arrogant. The misfortune that we had from the last spurious national election, opened the doors so widely to this Venezuelan sir that he became to feel even mightier than in his own home. He gave speeches to the Nicaraguan population as if he were in Miraflores, as if Nicaragua were an extension of Venezuela. The bad taste that this Venezuelan sir left us cannot be cleansed in this generation.

Dear fellow Venezuelans, there are so many things that unite us that it is impossible for us not to sympathize with your struggle for freedom. We, like you, also suffer a dictatorship. We live with the same fear and the same repression, poverty, violence, delay, false propaganda bombing, lack of opportunities for the youth, unemployment, media censorship, stealing the people's money, and a long list of et cetera’s. The model is the same, except that Venezuelan oil generates so much currency that it calls the attention of the international community, and also represents a bargaining chip for the complacent and complicit silence of almost all states of the Americas.

The things that bring us together and empathize us with your struggle for peace go beyond sympathy or belief in democracy. It is rather about a shared deep wound. We also feel your pain. To us Nicaraguans, the homeland hurts as much as it hurts you. We feel robbed, insulted, and abused by a lying, oppressive dictatorship. In Nicaragua, we know now very well the taste of repression, theft of opportunities, and submission to the will of the dictator. It is true that this process of freedom involves a lot of bloodshed, wounded, killed, prisoners, weeping, and mourning. We already lived it once, and we still haven’t finished recovering from that fracture. However, we are confident that by the end of so much suffering you will see the light and be free. When this is over, the dictatorship and abuse of Chavez will be nothing but a nightmare from which you woke up, and will no longer have significance in your lives but in the history books.

From our little country we send you strength, faith and hope. We accompany you in your fight even at a distance. Although we cannot be present in your land, you can count on our prayers, moral support, and especially the spreading of social awareness of your situation to the world. Venezuelan brothers, your people represent for us an example to follow and a promise to perform. Your strength teaches us that these dictatorships of poverty and human misery have an end. You show us that the organization, firmness and vigor of a people can end the oppressive authoritarianism. You have become the spark that would ignite the fire of a Latin American spring that will free the peoples of similar dictatorships.

It’s imperative that your struggle for freedom and peace continues. Push on, don’t give up. Daylight is soon to come and the storm will be nothing but a bad memory. The voice of the Venezuelan people will overcome. Today and tomorrow we'll sing with you "Glory to the brave people which shook off the yoke, the law respecting the virtue and honor...” with the hope that tomorrow you will join us with "Hail to thee Nicaragua in your soil, the voice of the cannon no longer roars..."


domingo, 23 de marzo de 2014

Oda a Venezuela



Oda a Venezuela

Por: Cristiana Guevara-Mena



La hermandad entre Nicaragua y Venezuela se manifiesta desde el calor de los trópicos, las bellezas naturales en sus islas Margarita y Corn Island. En las montañas de los Andes y nuestra línea de fuego de volcanes. Al igual que maravillas de Salto Ángel y Ometepe. Compartimos el calor humano de sus pueblos y la misma herencia de la colonia española. Vivimos la misma cultura, lenguaje, hasta el “voseo” del hablado usado en Maracaibo en el Estado de Zulia y en toda Nicaragua. Somos gente calurosa, amistosa y naturalmente acogedoras. Con estas características entre tantas otras es imposible no hermanarnos.

Nuestra fraternidad, va mucho más allá de las diferencias geográficas. Hemos estado relacionados desde hace muchísimo tiempo. Hubo un momento en la historia, que nuestros indígenas llegaron hasta territorio hoy de Venezuela, que posiblemente sea esa la razón por la que compartimos la misma forma de hablar con ciertas regiones venezolanas a causa de esa influencia indígena centroamericana que se logró mezclar en el sur.

Recordemos las relaciones políticas no tan antiguas, desde los finales de los noventa hasta la fecha, el presidente venezolano recientemente difunto, Hugo Chávez Frías, mantuvo relaciones políticas muy cercanas con el presidente de facto de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega Saavedra. Lo que hoy les sucede, hermanos venezolanos, no es nada agradable para los nicaragüenses democráticos. Cabe mencionar que la injerencia de este señor en nuestro país fue irrespetuosa y arrogante. La desdicha que nos tocó de la espuria elección nacional pasada, le abrió las puertas tan ampliamente al señor venezolano, que se llegó a sentir hasta mejor que en su propia casa. Daba discursos a la población nicaragüense como si estuviera en  Miraflores, como si Nicaragua fuera una extensión de Venezuela. El mal sabor que  nos dejó el señor venezolano no se limpiara en esta generación.

Queridos conciudadanos venezolanos, son tantas cosas las que nos unen que es imposible no solidarizarnos con su lucha por la libertad. Nosotros, al igual que ustedes, también sufrimos una dictadura. Vivimos con el mismo miedo y la misma represión, pobreza, violencia, retraso, bombardeo de propaganda falsa, falta de oportunidades para los jóvenes, desempleo, censura mediática, robo del dinero del pueblo y una larga lista de etcéteras. El modelo es el mismo, con la diferencia del petróleo venezolano que genera tantas divisas que llama tanto la atención a la comunidad internacional, y que además representa moneda de cambio para el silencio complaciente y cómplice de casi todos los Estados del hemisferio americano.

Las razones que nos unen y nos solidarizan en su batalla por la paz van mucho más allá de la simpatía o la creencia en la democracia. Se trata más bien, de una herida profunda compartida. Nosotros también sentimos su dolor. A los nicaragüenses nos duele la patria al igual que ustedes. La sentimos robada, ultrajada y abusada por una dictadura mentirosa y  opresiva. Ahora en Nicaragua conocemos muy bien el sabor de la represión, el robo de oportunidades y el sometimiento a la voluntad del dictador de turno. Es cierto que este proceso de libertad conlleva mucha sangre, heridos, muertos, cárceles, llantos y duelo. Nosotros ya lo vivimos una vez, y aún no nos terminamos de recuperar de esa fractura. Sin embargo, tenemos la certeza que al final de tanto sufrimiento ustedes verán la luz y serán libres. Cuando esto termine, la dictadura y el maltrato del chavismo no serán más que una pesadilla del cual se despertaron y no tendrá más trascendencia en sus vidas que en los libros de historia.

Desde nuestro paisito les mandamos fuerzas, fe y esperanza. Los acompañamos en su lucha aunque sea a la distancia. Pese que no podamos estar presentes en su tierra, cuenten con nuestras oraciones, apoyo moral, y sobre todo difusión de conciencia social de su situación al mundo. Hermanos venezolanos, su pueblo representa para nosotros un ejemplo a seguir y una promesa a realizar. Su fuerza nos enseña que estas dictaduras de pobreza y miseria humana tienen un fin. Nos muestran que la organización, firmeza  y el vigor de un pueblo pueden ponerle fin al autoritarismo opresivo. Se han convertido en la chispa que encendería el fuego de una primavera latinoamericana que liberará a los pueblos de dictaduras similares.

Es preciso que su lucha por la libertad y la paz siga. Adelante, no se den por vencidos. La luz del día pronto llegará y la tormenta no será más que un mal recuerdo. La voz del pueblo venezolano vencerá. Hoy y mañana cantaremos con ustedes “Gloria al bravo pueblo que el yugo lanzó, la ley respetando la virtud y honor…” con la esperanza que mañana nos acompañen con “Salve a ti Nicaragua en tu suelo, ya no ruge la voz del cañón…”


lunes, 17 de febrero de 2014

Coffee with Obama


Coffee with Obama

By: Cristiana Guevara-Mena


Sometimes the desire for democracy and anxieties that we live every day, make us dream, and in my dreams and sleepless nights, I had invited the President of the United States to have coffee in our city of León. President Obama finally accepted my invitation for coffee and chat a little with me, it was hard for him to accept coming to Nicaragua since he has a very tight schedule, naturally. So I decided that the best place to take him is the restaurant El Sesteo to have a good coffee there in front of our old and imposing cathedral. For us Nicaraguans, the social importance of this drink is undeniable.

We sat in one of the narrow tables outside facing the central park and the monumental cathedral of León. We were approached by a waiter. Good afternoon, would you like something to drink? Yes, bring us two American coffees; we must give a good impression to the nationality of the guest. Would you like one Mr. President? Yes, I'd like to try it. You must know that this coffee is brought from the best coffee plantation of Matagalpa, the best area in the north to plant coffee. Our coffees arrive ten minutes. Thank you very much. Feel the gentle aroma of the coffee smoke planted and harvested by our farmers. Mmm ... how pleasant.

I guess you must be asking yourself in surprise why I'm inviting you for coffee. Yes, it certainly surprises me. The truth is, that we the vast majority of Nicaraguans are the ones who are surprised with your decisions of foreign policy towards Nicaragua. Oh Really? Well, it's not news to me that foreign countries complain about my administration or any American government, I am not meant to be liked around the world, I have the burden of my country and other responsibilities. I understand that you have many responsibilities, but things that your government has wrongly done to Nicaragua, have compromised the freedom and peace of our people without you seeming to realize it. And with that I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Explain please. Of course I’ll explain.

On May fourth two thousand thirteen, you came to Central America, particularly to Costa Rica, to meet with all the presidents of the isthmus. Yes, I remember, I came with my wife. I dare to ask, how does it occur to you, apparent symbol of democracy, to sit and drink tea in open camaraderie with a tyrant like Ortega, when you are head of state of the country that says to represent the values ​​of freedom and rule of law? Doesn’t the liberty, as our Ruben Dario says, raise her torch in New York? Or does this monument have no significance to you? Didn’t you know in advance with whom you were sitting with to eat? Well, first are the interests of my country. What am I supposed to do? It is not my responsibility to solve your internal problems. That’s too much to ask! Yes, of course it's our responsibility! But in your case, rather than diplomacy, Mr. President, it’s complicity with the dictatorship. Do you not see it?

Another thing, how is it that your brilliant secretary Kerry sees tyranny and politicization of the prosecutor, judicial power, police, and media monopoly in Ukraine and doesn’t see it here? *cough cough* what are you talking about, miss? Don’t choke on the coffee, Mr. President; I do not want to cause you any indigestion with my questions. That is, he denounces the government of Kiev, probably due to the conflict of interest that you have with Europe against Russia, but in Nicaragua you don't give a damn! We're supposed to be a friend and nearby country. Is there a double language, or perhaps a double standard? And if there is, is this the new version of American democracy? Waiter, bring a glass of water please, the president is choking!

*Breathing and clarifying voice*. Well, what happens is that in Ukraine they are manifesting and are coming out to the streets, so my vice - president pronounces himself. If the dictatorship affects you so much, then why don’t you take the streets? Why don’t you rise as people? From the outside it seems you are very happy, because they change the constitution and sell the country on you, force you to self-sensor in front of your noses, you get physically and morally trampled, and the people, very well thank you. My government does not have to lead a domesticated opposition of a people who seem to not know or exercise their rights. Or do you even want that done for you? It seems that you want democracy served on a silver platter without any effort. You do your part, and we will support.

I see, so it is for two reasons that the U.S. moves, money and blood. With all due respect, Mr. President, but you have the complex of vampires. Don’t forget that ironically, Mr. President, you embody the Anglo-Saxon culture of the north that we know very well as brutal, ambitious, full of greed, and with an unquenchable thirst for money and power. You represent the insatiable consumer culture, no wonder your government only sees oil when interested in the world around it, and only turns to see if there are rivers of blood because it draws the attention of the media that may affect your electorate. That’s disgusting, sir. Now the coffee is going to make me sick.

Don’t have an indigestion, miss, but with all due respect, you also represent the lazy political culture of Nicaragua, barking and wanting everything served, it seems that you are asking me to rescue you. No, no, no. Don’t get confused, Mr. President, it’s not that we want it all served, what happens is that this government is responsible for terrorizing the people, prostituting the heads of the opposition, and on top of that, sitting to drink tea with the U.S. government! We feel betrayed! But you're right; it is us who must solve our problem, this time we're not going to rely on the U.S. government as we did in 1990 when the UNO won. In the end that government was a disaster. I admit it. So the change must be authentic from the bases. We see that we cannot count on you. Besides, whenever you get into our affairs just like former President Carter, who threw us to the wolves, you leave us worse than we were before. You don’t even know how to help right! You are clumsy. Pretty soon is time to go. Waiter, can we have the check, please?

Don’t bother, Mr. President, I invite. In the end, this is my country and you are my guest. You have a beautiful cathedral in León. Thank you, we admire your Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, where the faces of the fathers of democracy are carved. Before we go, let me read you a part of the poem by Rubén Darío called Ode to Roosevelt, it was written in 1904. I hear you. Be careful. Spanish America lives! / There are a thousand cubs let loose in the Spanish León. / it will be needed, Roosevelt, to be God himself / the terrible Rifleman and strong Hunter, / to have us in your iron claws. / And, although you count with everything you lack one thing: God! I do not know how to respond to that. Do not answer anything, Mr. President; just have it ringing in your head. Let’s leave in peace. Let’s admire the esoteric colors of our permanent faded lights, and our fireworks in the sky Fourth of July style, in the land of Sandino, with dances and songs of our gigantona. I wake up, and this is how an innocuous and shameful interview ends.