“Agreement under the boot” by Daniel Ortega
The social contract has collapsed in Nicaragua, replaced by a forcefully enforced ‘boot deal’.
By Jose Alberto Montoya (Confidential)
HAVANA TIMES – Different theorists and philosophers have pointed out the human need to give up complete freedom in order to guarantee stability, security and harmony among the population: we know this as the social contract. In Nicaragua, this whole theory has collapsed, given the disappearance of the rule of law and the total absence of separation of powers prescribed by the Constitution. All of this is the work of the dictatorship to stay in power, in absolute power.
The truth is that Nicaragua is using a new social contract, an imposition that completely lacks the national consensus that an agreement between rulers and ruled implies. It is undeniable that through the ever-increasing repression, the regime has formalized a model where citizens must adapt to a new context: absence of public freedoms, economy in decline and at a standstill, social insecurity and attempt to normalize society. a one-party regime. with political prisoners, police sieges, mass emigration, mismanagement of the health crisis and now with state violence centered on religious freedom.
Although they may not fully accept these elements, Nicaraguan citizens find themselves having to shape their daily lives around censorship, in exchange for being able to live in a kind of peace, without undergoing the usual [government] reprisals against those who openly criticize the dictatorship.
In a historical period when the rights of citizens were very limited, Rousseau understood the social contract as a pact between citizens; years later, John Rawls contradicted this view. One might assume that Daniel Ortega pushed the country back to historical times when certain sectors of the population were not considered citizens – as was the case with slaves or women. However, Ortega’s basic understanding of Rousseau’s contract is flawed, since the historical moment when he implements his “deal under the boot” is a moment when the entire national population is considered to hold rights. citizenship rights, according to the case law of the country.
Since coming to power, the dictatorship has created a stratification of citizens – it has divided the population into first-class citizens and second-class citizens (an action little or not at all in line with socialism, depending on who sees themselves as such) .
In 2015, the national police obstructed a march in Managua led by the rural agricultural sector, which demanded the repeal of Law No. 840 [allowing land to be expropriated for the later-failed canal project]. At the same time, they protected Ortega’s supporters a few days later and allowed them to march without disturbances or inconvenience. This serves as an indication of their differentiation from citizens. On the other hand, it would be a serious mistake to think that every Ortega sympathizer is a “first class citizen”. The extreme poverty, the inequality of opportunities and the total refusal of criticism, even among the members of the FSLN, are the proof of this, the best example being the imprisonment of “Chino Enoc”. [a militant Sandinista now in jail for criticizing Rosario Murillo].
Ortega and Murillo may think that the status quo of their “bargain under the boot” is perfectly suited to maintaining a seemingly orderly society, ensuring that no one defies the mandates and desires of the tyrannical duo. Rawls said that no society is orderly if it lacks social justice, and the absence of it only produces cracks in the social fabric. This is clearly happening in Nicaragua, a country steeped in inequality, even in economic development opportunities, due to the continued blocking of proposals from unofficial voices.
But do the dictators themselves really trust their system?
To the continual outbursts and micro-explosions of Nicaraguan citizens are added cases such as that of Arturo McFields, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS, who, using his position, denounced the dictatorship he theoretically represented, before the full meeting of the OAS Permanent Council. These things indicate that even the rigidity imposed on their own officials cannot guarantee an orderly system.
In the short term, the dictatorship has made it clear to Nicaraguan citizens that no dissenting act will be left without its respective sanction. Dr. Magda Alonso in Matagalpa, for example, was called to the police simply for trying to arouse the conscience of the police officers besieging the city’s bishop, Monsignor Alvarez.
The social contract that the dictator proposes, or rather imposes, is that of a negative peace in exchange for the abandonment of the freedoms sealed in the Magna Carta of the country. It remains to trust the lessons of history – that when a sultan is sure of his power, he does not expect the social collapse that Rawls’ theories predict, due to the absence of a pact just and comprehensive society.
Read more about Nicaragua here on Havana Times