Lenín Antonio Salablanca Escobar, 38, was a child with a slightly dysfunctional family. On his way, he encountered vices and was even destitute, but a helping hand helped him to get ahead. He felt God in his heart and his life changed. Now as an adult, he says he cannot bear the injustices of the dictatorship, which has imprisoned, tortured, besieged him and does not let him live in peace because of his critical thinking.

This Tuesday, September 14, LA PRENSA visited him at his house, located in the Morenita Number Two neighborhood, in the Juigalpa municipality, to learn more about this opponent of the regime who is not afraid to make videos every time he is arrested, besieged and beaten the officers of the Orteguista Police (PO).

In addition to recording them – with the help of his 22-year-old wife Cristian Belén Pérez Ríos – he tells them many truths on their faces and refutes them, indicating their human and constitutional rights. The videos in which he directly confronts the police are viral and show genuine courage against the repressive agents of the dictatorship.

An hour after LA PRENSA’s visit, the PO proceeded to capture and beat Salablanca. At that time, Roxana Salablanca, Yasiris Chévez and Cristian Pérez, sister, cousin and wife of the detainee, proceeded to record the arrest, for which they were also taken to the Juigalpa Police cells. Hours later they were released.

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Before Salablanca’s arrest, A group of 10 policemen, two in civilian clothes, held the LA PRENSA team for 40 minutes at the entrance to the Cuapa municipality. They searched Carlos Lam, driver; Wilmer López, photographer and this journalist. Cameras, tape recorders, notebooks, IDs and cell phones were taken from us to review the recorded material. Then they returned it.

They took pictures of us and a commissioner who was in charge of the « operation » made several calls to report our presence at the scene. They kept us in the sun all that time and threatened to imprison us if we took videos and photographs of what was happening. In the end they decided to let us go.

Difficult childhood

Lenin had a bittersweet childhood. On the one hand he had a kind and loving grandfather who taught him carpentry and to have faith in God, but on the other there was his father, who had problems with alcohol and gave them a bad life.

His father abandoned his mother, so from a young age Lenin dedicated himself to selling trinkets, scratch cards and shining shoes in the local markets and parks. The poverty and needs of his family allowed him to only complete the sixth grade of primary school. However, at the age of 23 he continued studying and has managed to finish the third year of secondary school.

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At age 13 Lenin went astray. He began to smell glue and live on the streets, so his mother decided to send him with an aunt to Costa Rica. While in the neighboring country, he did not leave the vices and on the contrary, he increased the repertoire that led him to be in five rehabilitation centers. He lived on the streets for nine years as a homeless man, until one day a helping hand helped him.

«The man (a neighbor in Costa Rica) stared at me, smiled and said: ‘Every time you have asked God from your heart, He has seen it and has sown a seed in you; One day, without you realizing it, it will germinate and you will be a different man « … After I bent my knees and asked God to help me from the heart, I never felt the need to take drugs again, » recalls Lenin.

With social conscience

At age 22 he returned to Nicaragua. He managed to work as a waiter in a restaurant, then he dedicated himself to selling various products and continues to do so amidst harassment and police siege.

His days were simplified in taking care of his family and selling their products, but they changed when his conscience did not leave him calm when he saw the cowardly beating that members of the Sandinista Youth gave to elderly people who were protesting the Social Security Reform that it affected his meager pension.

«It hurt a lot, it hurts a lot. To this day I cannot watch those videos because I am moved to see how the rights of the elderly were violated. I used to tell my mother: « Mom, I am defending your rights because you are also a retired person. » Also, that day I saw a group of girls crying at a gas station in Juigalpa because they had been beaten, their banners and flags had been taken from them; I told them: ‘Don’t worry, we are going to make a new banner, we are going to talk,’ « said Salablanca.

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Salablanca assures that his family has Sandinista roots, but not Ortega. “Some time later, seeing that the government that we thought was going to change Nicaragua has become the executioner of our own people. We have had to live in our own flesh and suffer the consequences of this dictatorship. My family and I are not sorry for having taken that great step, that not all people have the courage to take it, to protest against this government that has become the main violator of the human rights of our Nicaraguan brothers, a murderous government, a criminal government. ‘

Lenín Salablanca goes out every day to sell his products on his motorcycle. Routinely, every time he does it, he is watched by the Police.
LAPRENSA / Wilmer López.

Kidnapping by the dictatorship

He was arrested on August 19, 2018 when he was preparing to participate in an opposition march in the department of Chontales. On June 11, 2019, he was released when Ortega deputies approved an amnesty directed by the dictatorship. Now he does not deny being afraid that the PO will lock him up again, but he believes that someone should speak out against injustices.

He described the lawsuits and differences that occur within the National Coalition as regrettable. «While those from below, those on foot, are crying out for unity, freedom, justice, there is a certain group above that what they are fighting for is their economic and political good, and they are forgetting the suffering and pain that we are going through as a people ».

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Afraid to speak

THE PRESS sought the opinion of residents of Salablanca on the police siege in the sector, but almost all were afraid to express themselves. « Then the Police and the CPCs (members of the Citizen Power Committees) are looking for you and they don’t leave you alone, » said one who refused to identify himself.

But Manuel Antonio Lumbí, Lenin’s neighbor, was not afraid and said that “they besiege him (Lenin) all the time, at 12:00 at night, at all hours, at noon. Milagro (the policemen) are not there right now, but it is true that they live harassing him and he speaks to them with the truth and that man has balls. I don’t get involved in that, but sometimes I am afraid that they will blast him (shoot) I think … the fact is that since he does not belong to the same government party (then) that is the crime then. That is why I do not like political things, because I am a peasant, I work to support my family.

Lenin lives in a humble home with his wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and three-year-old son. “We are scared when the police search us because we don’t know what will happen to us. Once a police officer beat me when he took away the cell phone with which he was recording the harassment of my husband. My son is scared when he sees the police outside the house, he tells me: ‘Mom, Mom, the police are there,’ but I’m going to continue supporting my husband in the face of this siege, « said Cristian Pérez.