Felix Maradiaga, Nicaraguan opposition leader and human rights activist, addresses the 11th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks.

11th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Tuesday, March 26, 2019

On human rights abuses in Nicaragua:

“It was the case of the child Conrado Alvaro, who was shot in the neck as he carried water to students protesting in Managua on April 20. While he shouted ‘It pains me to breathe,’ his companions tried to save his life, but the Ortega regime had already ordered that the wounded of the protests were not to be treated in public hospitals.”

“Franco Valdivia—another university student, singer and father of a girl – was killed with a high-precision shot in his eye. In one of Franco’s songs, he tells us ‘I want death to return to me what life has taken from me…’”

“In little more than ten months, more than 82,000 Nicaraguans have been exiled, more than 2,000 political prisoners have passed through the prisons, of which more than 650 are still under arbitrary arrest. They still remain in jail…”

Call for help from the international community:

“I come before you, with a great weight in my heart for the sacred respect to that bloodshed, in order to ask you: Do not leave us alone. Help us in our determination to build a peace with freedom. That peace is only possible with the right to memory, truth and justice.”

On authoritarianism:

“A lesson learned from the Nicaraguan odyssey is that the apparent stability that many authoritarian regimes claim to assure is a single illusion when there is an absence of freedoms.”

“Peace without freedom, is the peace of the grave.”

Full Remarks