Courage, Solidarity, and Freedom: Stories from Nicaragua

August 23, 2023  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

Courage resides not only within the hearts of the fearless, but also in the souls of those who dare to confront fear… I ask myself, ‘where did this courage come from?’ And I found that love is the answer. ”

– Berta Valle, Human Rights Defender, Voices en Libertad

Amidst the political and human rights crisis in Nicaragua that shook the democratic foundations of the country to its core, Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) Fellows were some of the more than 200 individuals who were tortured and imprisoned by the repressive Ortega regime for dissenting against the government. 

At the opening plenary of the 2023 Resnick Aspen Action Forum, three of those Fellows, Ana Margarita Vijil, Social Activist, Juan L. Holmann, General Manager, Editorial La Prensa, and Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Activist with Alianza Civica, shared their personal experiences confronting injustice, finding their courage, and sustaining through their unjust imprisonment. Berta Valle, Human Rights Defender, Voices en Libertad and wife of AGLN Fellow Félix Maradiaga – another of the now released political prisoners – also shared how her advocacy for the release of her husband at the 2022 Action Forum served as a springboard of action from Fellows across the globe to support and eventually triumph in his cause.