Courtesy Reuters

The Death of La Prensa

On June 26, 1986, in a note just two lines long, the Sandinista government of Nicaragua notified me that our newspaper, El Diario La Prensa, was closed down indefinitely.

With this action, Nicaraguan authorities institutionalized the state’s contempt for freedom of thought, speech, private property, religion and all norms of democratic government. La Prensa had already experienced four consecutive years of brutal censorship, in which 80 percent of the material submitted for publication was suppressed every day by order of the Sandinista military censors.

I tell of this, not as a long complaint of melancholy, but rather as testimony for all democracies to take notice.

II

The case of La Prensa is evidence of the worst sort of tyranny of our time, hidden by the workings of a Sandinista propaganda network that deceives many people of goodwill in the United States and throughout the world. The extensive and suffocating daily censorship of the press is sometimes excused by world public opinion as a logical consequence, given Nicaragua’s state of war. These justifications are unfair to the Nicaraguan people, who are thereby denied their right to be informed.

The excesses of the censorship department at the Ministry of the Interior have not been clearly recognized. They are measures aimed not at national security, but at the systematic destruction of an independent newspaper such as ours, and of Nicaraguan freedoms.

At root there always has been a determination on the part of the Sandinista commanders to impose total dictatorship and prevent the most minimal expression of free thought. Just like General Anastasio Somoza, who despised anyone who contradicted him, the Sandinistas cannot tolerate a dissenting voice or the expression of a contrary political idea.

No one is indifferent to the tragedy in Central America or to Sandinista repression, but I am concerned that Nicaragua’s case has been viewed outside our country through two prisms which ultimately distort the reasons behind our struggle for a free press.

Some assert that we oppose the Sandinista

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