Sometimes the desire for democracy and the anxieties that we live with every day lead to wild dreams at night. On one fitful night I dreamed that I had invited the President of the United States to have coffee in our city of León. President Obama finally accepted my invitation for coffee and a chat, which was hard for him to squeeze in since he has a very tight schedule, naturally. So I decided that the best place to take him is the restaurant El Sesteo to have a good coffee in front of León’s old and imposing cathedral. For us Nicaraguans, the social importance of this drink is undeniable.
We sat at one of the narrow tables outside the restaurant, facing the central park and the monumental cathedral. We were approached by a waiter.
“Good afternoon, would you like something to drink?”
“Yes, bring us two American coffees; we must give a good impression to our guest. Would you like one Mr. President? You know that this coffee is brought from the best coffee plantation of Matagalpa, the best area in the north of Nicaragua for producing coffee.”
Our coffees arrives 10 minutes later. We smell the gentle aroma of the coffee that was planted and harvested by our farmers. Mmm … how pleasant.
“I guess you must be asking yourself why I’ve invited you for coffee,” I say.
“Yes, it surprised me,” Obama answers.
“The truth is, we the vast majority of Nicaraguans are the ones who are surprised with your decisions of foreign policy towards Nicaragua.”
“Oh Really? Well, it’s not news to me that foreign countries complain about my administration or any American government; I am not meant to be liked around the world. I have the burden of my country and other responsibilities.”
“I understand that you have many responsibilities, but things that your government has wrongly done to Nicaragua have compromised the freedom and peace of our people, without you seeming to realize it. And with that I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.”
“Of course I’ll explain. On May 4, 2013 you came to Central America, to Costa Rica, to meet with all the presidents of the isthmus.”
“Yes, I remember. I came with my wife.”
At this point I dare to ask Obama, “how did it occur to you, as the apparent symbol of democracy, to sit and drink tea in open camaraderie with a tyrant like Ortega, when you are head of state of the country that says to represent the values of freedom and rule of law? Doesn’t the liberty, as our Ruben Dario says, raise her torch in New York? Or does this monument have no significance to you? Didn’t you know in advance with whom you were sitting with to eat?”
“Well, first are the interests of my country. What am I supposed to do? It is not my responsibility to solve your internal problems. That’s too much to ask!”
“Yes, of course it’s our responsibility! But in your case, rather than diplomacy, Mr. President, it’s complicity with the dictatorship. Do you not see it? And another thing, how is it that your brilliant secretary of state Kerry sees tyranny and politicization of the prosecutor, judicial power, police, and media monopoly in Ukraine and doesn’t see it here?”
*cough cough* “What are you talking about, miss?”
“Don’t choke on the coffee, Mr. President; I do not want to cause you any indigestion with my questions. I’m just pointing out that Kerry denounces the government of Kiev, probably due to the conflict of interest that you have with Europe against Russia, but in Nicaragua you don’t give a damn! We’re supposed to be a friend and nearby country. Is there a double language, or perhaps a double standard? And if there is, is this the new version of American democracy? Waiter, bring a glass of water please, the president is choking!”
*Breathing and clearing his voice*. “Well, what happens is that in the Ukraine they are protesting and taking to the streets. So if the dictatorship affects you Nicaraguans so much, then why don’t you take to the streets? Why don’t you rise up as people? From the outside it seems you are all very happy with your government; they’ve changed the constitution on you and sold the country out from under you, forced you to self-censor and physically and morally trampled upon your rights. My government doesn’t have to lead a Nicaraguan opposition who doesn’t know how to exercise their rights. Or do you even want that done for you? It seems that you want democracy served on a silver platter without any effort. You do your part, and we will support the effort.”
“I see. So it is for two reasons that the U.S. moves, money and blood. With all due respect, Mr. President, but you have the complex of vampires. Don’t forget that ironically, Mr. President, you embody the Anglo-Saxon culture of the north that we know very well as brutal, ambitious, full of greed, and with an unquenchable thirst for money and power. You represent the insatiable consumer culture, no wonder your government only sees oil when interested in the world around it, and only turns to see if there are rivers of blood because it draws the attention of the media that may affect your electorate. That’s disgusting, sir. Now the coffee is going to make me sick.”
“Don’t get indigestion, miss. With all due respect, you also represent the lazy political culture of Nicaragua, barking orders and wanting everything served to you. It seems that you are asking me to rescue you.”
“No, no, no. Don’t get confused, Mr. President, it’s not that we want it all served up; the issues is that our government is responsible for terrorizing the people, prostituting the heads of the opposition, and on top of that, sitting to drink tea with the U.S. government! We feel betrayed! But you’re right, we must solve our own problem. And this time we’re not going to rely on the U.S. government as we did in 1990 when the UNO won. In the end that government was a disaster. I admit it. So the change must be authentic from the bases. We see that we cannot count on you. Besides, whenever your country gets involved in our affairs, like former President Carter did when he threw us to the wolves, we’re left worse off than before. You don’t even know how to help right! You are clumsy.”
Pretty soon is time to go. Waiter, can we have the check, please?
“No, don’t bother with the bill, Mr. President. I’ll invite. In the end, this is my country and you are my guest.”
“You have a beautiful cathedral in León.”
“Thank you. We admire your Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, where the faces of the fathers of democracy are carved. Before we go, let me read you a part of the poem by Rubén Darío called Ode to Roosevelt. It was written in 1904. I hear you. Be careful. Spanish America lives! / There are a thousand cubs let loose in the Spanish León. / it will be needed, Roosevelt, to be God himself / the terrible Rifleman and strong Hunter, / to have us in your iron claws. / And, although you count with everything you lack one thing: God!
“I do not know how to respond to that.”
“Do not answer anything, Mr. President; just have it ringing in your head. Let’s leave in peace. Let’s admire the esoteric colors of our permanent faded lights, and our fireworks in the sky, Fourth of July style, in the land of Sandino, with dances and songs of our gigantona.”
Then I woke up.