To see on social media a group of students in El Sauce dressed in camouflage, like guerrillas, carrying one of their classmates who represents Sandino, is “barbaric”, according to educator Josefina Vijil. The Ortega-Murillo regime, she was sorry to say, “is attempting to impose on people an education that promotes political fanaticism through the use of an image with religious implications”.
“Education has to be connected to developing critical thinking. But what the Ortega-Murillo regime has done is to use education to try to legitimize their particular way of seeing the world. The regime is forcing principals, teachers and students to hit the streets waving the FSLN Party flag and to promote the Party’s propaganda”, explained Vijil.
Vijil believes that the current regime in Nicaragua thinks of the educational system as a “vehicle for carrying to the people the Ortega-Murillo duo’s own particular view of the truth”. But she believes that the regime has failed, because although they think the students and people in general are not smart, but they are. The truth is that this is a country with intelligent and resilient people who understand that the regime wants to fool them.”
“Through authentic education freedom is promoted, also culture and respect. These are seen as the keys to opening up the world for people, so that they can fully enjoy their rights. True education is not for forming human beings to accept being dominated, to have no power.” These are the comments of this teacher and investigator from the Center of Research and Social and Educational Action.
“They want to present Ortega as if he were a god”
Referring to the photos of the procession that circulated on social media on the weekend, during the celebration of the anniversary of the founding of Jonathan Gonzalez Morales High School in El Sauce, historian and former Sandinista guerilla Monica Baltodano commented that this sort of action is “insane, because it hopes to deify the character of Sandino.”
Baltodano went on to explain: “The regime apparently wants to put Sandino up as a saint, but its real aim is to somehow convert Daniel Ortega himself into God, because supposedly Ortega’s moral authority and his thinking come directly from God. It’s all a failed plan cooked up by the servile group of people that works for the presidential couple.”
According to historian Baltodano, manipulating people by using religion does not work, people reject it.
Students and teachers reject the political indoctrination
Since the April 2018 Rebellion, teachers have been receiving official ‘motivational’ classes on the last Friday of each month. ‘Peace and reconciliation’ are emphasized. ‘The attempted coup and rightwing vandals’ are denounced. This was revealed in a report by Confidencial in 2019.
Teachers said they were obliged by followers of Ortega to watch the series ‘180 Degrees: the Keys to the Truth’. The series attempts to remove from the regime all responsibility for the massacre that took place in 2018.
Students at public schools don’t want to see and hear the audiovisual propaganda regarding repression. Several times when this material was going to be shown in the classrooms students protested. They filmed the moment and then put it on social media.
“I’d rather have classes”, said one student, “we have to study”, rather than watch some documentary made by the Sandinista Youth.
Last year educators criticized textbooks published by the Ministry of Education because they promote worshipping politicians and glorifying social programs developed by the Ortega-Murillo duo.
Throughout Nicaragua the red-and-black FSLN Party flag has been forcibly introduced for use in schools and for parades, rather than the blue and white one, which is the actual flag of Nicaragua. More than once students have been made to remove the Nicaraguan blue and white flag because everyone knows that it has become a sign of protest on patriotic holidays and at graduations.
In Diriamba and Madriz some students were forced to carry the red and black FSLN flag during a patriotic parade. In El Cua, the entire band was dressed in red and black.
According to Vijil, people reject all this indoctrination because it is simply not credible. It doesn’t hold up when you look at real life as it is lived by the Nicaraguan people.
“The official discourse is highly inefficient in the face of the reality the students see with their own eyes. The great frustration of the students is that the regime is deeply disrespectful of the real conditions in which most Nicaraguans have to live. And the regime wants people who don’t think, who don’t criticize.”
For this specialist, the aim of education is to give people a chance to develop their potential. It doesn’t have to do with feeding them some story. It’s about people being able to develop themselves so they can write their own stories.