I write this article from the pristine safety of a California university library where I have taken refuge to sort out our new lives following our self-imposed evacuation from Nicaragua in the first week of July. My son, Aiden and I left Granada with the intention of waiting out from afar the violent conflict resulting from the recent political protests. We optimistically hoped that the remaining summer months would produce a resolution in favor of the blue and whites, a return to security in the streets, and an overall better Nicaragua.
As we reach the end of the month, a Nicaraguan human rights group (ANPDH) reports the growing number of deaths due to the Orteguista state-sponsored civil repression at 448 people. This is devastating news and points to the probability of a protracted conflict without clear victories or endings. I decided that we cannot wager on a spontaneous change in the political dynamic to determine our course this year. We will stay in California and begin again figuring out out each new life step as we go on the fly.
Frankly, when we arrived to California, we were exhausted both physically and emotionally. Living through a developing crisis characterized by violence and the ever looming threat of violence is like being the proverbial frog that delays leaping from heating water that he doesn’t notice is set on course towards a rolling boil. My mind had played tricks on me for months, gravitating towards indications that that all would be well and that we had ample time to react. Strangely, I tended to ignore most signals to the contrary (a sure case of ‘normalcy bias’ that I wouldn’t have predicted for myself).
My son was the opposite. He asked me constantly for details about what was happening around us and the daily death count due to the unrest. He wanted to know if and when we were leaving and told me in no uncertain terms that we were not safe. In the end, I could not deny that he was right. Whether we were directly in harms way through violence on the street, or potentially limited access to basic resources, or that we might have our car and cellphones searched for political material at random there were threats everywhere to our sense of well-being, security, and happiness. Continue reading “Every day I had said one more day, until I couldn’t justify it anymore. It was time to go.”