Thursday marked exactly five months since President Daniel Ortega’s government killed Alvarito Conrado. The 15-year-old distributed water to those protesting the Nicaraguan government when he was shot and killed. His death only served to further anger citizens, who had already become fed up of the many injustices perpetrated by the government over the years. The protests started on April 18 after Ortega increased pension contributions from employers and reduced the pensions of retirees by 5 percent. And while he since called off the reform, it has not quieted demonstrators who have fought for their country since April 18. On Thursday, exactly five months after Alvarito’s death, Nicaragua-born Bianca Jagger delivered a powerful speech at the Council of Americas condemning the government and calling for the international community to stand alongside her people.
Jagger opened the speech explaining that when she learned of Alvarito’s death, his final words struck her. “It hurts me to breathe,” she repeated. To this day, the words fill her with anger.
“When Alvarito was taken to the hospital, he was let to die,” she said. “Because the government of Daniel Ortega is not only prosecuting, is not only killing innocent civilians who are unarmed, it’s not only kidnapping, it’s not only torturing people, it’s not only putting people under false accusations in jail accused of being terrorists, but is giving orders, the minister of health gave orders that doctors should not provide medical attention to the students or to the people of the demonstrators who were wounded. So Alvarito died.”
It’s not the first time Jagger uses her platform to speak up for her country. In the last few months, she has tweeted and retweeted news articles and called for change.
On Thursday. Jagger, who admits she supported the Sandinistas at first (though she said that Daniel’s current supporters should be called Orteguistas), explained that circumstances forced her to speak up against Ortega – who many still laud as a hero – and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo. After breaking down how Ortega came into power and the hope that he once gave people, Jagger then dug into the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded in the Central American country.
“I can tell you when Daniel Ortega claims that the US is invading, when Daniel Ortega claimed that this is a foreign intervention from the right, nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “The movement in Nicaragua is neither the left or from the right. It’s where students, it’s where people who came together who said, ‘Enough of this dictatorship.’ It is not true that there is an invasion from the US. I think that no one will have the audacity of claiming that I am a right-wing person. I think that my credentials are clear.”
Toward the end of her speech, Jagger wraps herself in a Nicaraguan flag. Check out her powerful words below.