September 8, 2020
Amy Goodman, Mike Burke, Libby Rainey,
I am Jose Antonio Zepeda Lopez, Secretary General of the General Confederation of Education Workers of Nicaragua (CGTE ANDEN) and I write to express the following:
You have reproduced a publication concerning my country, NICARAGUA, which does not correspond to the existing reality, so we are forced to send this note, hoping that it will be published in the same space and media that the article in question was published.
According to the report by Amy Goodman, in our country 45 teachers have died from Covid. To which we ask:
1. What was your source of information? I don’t know, I imagine there was no source except a report published by the newspaper La Prensa of Nicaragua naming Ms. Lesbia Rodriguez as a union leader, someone who didn’t even mention the names of schools, much less the names of dead teachers.
2. If as you claim in your publication this complaint was made by a labor union, then I must ask: Which one? The right-wing sectors, who tried to stage a coup d’état in 2018, have created organizations with no popular base and in this letter from La Prensa they mention a teachers’ body, which clearly does not exist. This Ms. Rodriguez used to be an educator, is currently receiving her retirement pension and is neither in charge of, nor a member of, any labor union.
3. The Covid-19 pandemic affects all countries on the planet, some more than others, however, news media in the service of right-wing interests attack countries like ours that do not collaborate with foreign interests, but rather fight for peace and employment, with freedom and self-determination.
Ladies and gentlemen, I take as given that you were taken unawares by spinners of information. The Government of the Republic has and continues to publish the statistics of people affected by this cruel pandemic. It has taken public health measures to protect Nicaragua’s families. It invests in projects to strengthen our model of community and family health care which has allowed us to maintain the contagion curve as flat as possible, which is reflected in the confident way the population are carrying out their activities.
Our union, the largest in terms of worker affiliation, on that you can consult international organizations or Google if you so wish, has continued and will continue to support our Government’s policies because they are match our reality and our capabilities. It is out of the question to punish workers’ families by denying them the right to work, and even more so to deny them free and quality public education.
In our schools, all public health measures have been taken to prevent and avoid contagion. Schools are not just a space for teaching, they are social resources that help us to strengthen democracy and to be in touch with families.
Therefore, we reject the report you have published and we appeal to you to refrain from publishing reports serving those who want to destroy peace and social harmony in our country.
José Antonio Zepeda López
General Secretary, CGTEN ANDEN