By Nehomar Hernández
In autocratic regimes, it might be thought that the worst punishment that anyone who dissents can expect is imprisonment or, even worse, physical elimination.
However, history and even literature show that there can be something worse than both: to be the object of the symbolic firing squad.
In reality, regimes such as the Soviet regime brought about immense horrors.
During their time in power, the comrades of the Communist Party ordered massacres, invasions, and the imposition of famines, among other absurdities.
But, deep down, there is something as or more serious than the tortures or the extermination walls that also took place in Eastern Europe.
The instrumentalization of a policy of moral annihilation of the opponent, where whoever dared to oppose the totalitarian state’s nomenklatura ceased to be human, to become something less than a worm.
The dystopian fiction of the twentieth century – which largely took totalitarian regimes as a central issue of interest – also sheds light on the subject.
George Orwell, for example, in his famous “1984,” suggests that the greatest triumph of total horror regimes is not so much to kill their opponents physically but rather to take over their minds, transform them into a wreck and provoke a state of alienation.
For example, if a person does not like mayonnaise, this person may become a devout consumer of it and fanatically lashes out against those who dislike it.
This annihilation of subjectivities may well occur in modern times by way of the elimination of the most basic of rights: that of identification.
To “be” is, in part, to be situated in the world.
To have a name or names and surnames, but also a gentilicio or at least a community to which one belongs.
That community is generally the country – the homeland – into which one is born or embraces after living in it for years.
Hence, taking away a person’s nationality is tantamount to telling the individual that he or she does not belong anywhere, does not exist, and is a zero to the left.
All this comes to mind because of the turn taken in recent months by the Ortega regime in Nicaragua.
Beyond having imprisoned hundreds of opponents after the 2018 protests and undertaking a systematic escalation against religious people, to the point that one of the most visible faces of the Catholic Church, Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, has recently been sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sandinismo has opted for the route of building the progressive scenario of symbolic elimination of those who oppose it.
Last week the big news in many of the world’s media was that Ortega unusually decided to release 222 political prisoners who boarded a plane to the United States.
However, a relevant aspect of the measure is that they were abruptly stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship, subjecting them to the condition of exiles.
To reach this point, Ortega opted to reform even the country’s Political Constitution through the Parliament so that it would be possible to declare the dissidents “traitors to the Homeland” and thus proceed to strip them of their nationality.
A sort of symbolic death similar to that which resulted from the ostracism sentences in ancient Greece.
But it does not end there.
The Nicaraguan regime’s mess looks like a new pattern of behavior that, from now on, will govern how it will relate to the little or much that is left of the organized opposition in the country.
At the beginning of this week, a second list of people stripped of their nationality by the regime’s decision became known.
Thus, 92 individuals were left in the limbo imposed by being in a pariah situation.
In addition, it was decided to take away all rights to the enjoyment of their property, and the State confiscated their assets.
Simple: if you don’t exist, you have no right to have anything…
“Nicaragua ceased to be a society in which the law and the Constitution are respected, to impose the law of revenge, caprice and hatred against citizens who aspire to live in a free society,” Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of the newspaper Confidencial, said on Thursday about this situation.
Chamorro is one of the 92 people whose nationality was taken away with the stroke of a pen by the regime.
Regarding the threats looming over the immediate future of the Central American nation, civil associations such as Nicaragua Lucha are already warning about the developing practices of state terrorism, from which only more repression can be expected.
9 members of this group were affected by the recent outrage orchestrated by the tyranny.
“Far from complying with its international duties, the Nicaraguan government continues to practice State terrorism, sophisticating its repressive methods, leaving human rights defenders stateless, many of them with precautionary measures,” says a statement from the organization that circulated on Thursday.
Most of the analyses that have been carried out in recent days point precisely to the issue that the suppression of a person’s nationality goes one step ahead of any repressive policy that a regime of this nature may take.
Faithful to a historical tradition outlined above, Ortega has brought back the old dream of all totalitarianism: to strip the “being” from those who oppose it.
With information from LGI