lundi 30 décembre 2013

Nicaragua: The “Metal Tree of life”, new symbol of the Sandinista power*.



The First lady Rosario Murillo and the painter Gustav Klimt’s imagination.

         Huge metal structures and spectacular bright yellow symbolizing the "tree of life" have been installed in the emblematic places of the capital, Managua. Imagined by the first lady and inspired the painter Gustav Klimt, these "trees" that have ”bloomed " generate a lot of comments ...

         On 19 December, the Loma (hill) Tiscapa in central Managua, puzzled passersby saw workers erect a huge metal tree yellow alongside the statue of the national hero of Nicaragua, Augusto César Sandino . Nobody explained what was doing this dance hall , the largest forest trees iron which extends from July on the main roads of the capital.

Loma de Tiscapa is a kind of sanctuary.

         For Managuayens, Loma de Tiscapa is a kind of sanctuary that is located that were prisons where they tortured under the dictatorship of Somoza. The "tree of life " because that is his name, has been installed beside Sandino at the request of Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua's first lady . It is the emblem of the new power booming.
         These yellow trees are an adaptation of the famous drawing by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt in 1909. Sensitive to the symbolism, the first lady promotes a strange doctrine which mixes Catholicism, mysticism, pre-Hispanic symbols and Sandinistas. It opened its adaptation of July 19, the day of commemoration of the Sandinista revolution. Rosario Murillo has created a kind of altar to worship the image is that of Sandino, lit by a sun in the center which weaves a feathered serpent. On each side of the image, there is the "tree of life". It is not known whether Rosario Murillo asked permission to adapt the work of Klimt and in any case, the government gives no explanation.

Trees for 20,000 dollars each!

         After this ceremony the Catholic-revolutionary, metal trees began to be planted throughout the city . Each tree has dozens of small twinkling lights at night. These facilities are monitored by a private company, which according to the Nicaraguan press, belongs to the family of President Daniel Ortega. The digital magazine of investigation and analysis Confidencial (Managua) consulted several specialists-architects, electrical engineers, planners- who said that the cost of each tree, including manufacturing and maintenance amounted to 20,000 dollars. If this is the case, it is a significant expense for a country where 47% of the population live below the poverty line , according to official figures.
         One afternoon in late November, I went to the Plaza de la Fe (where was celebrated the anniversary of the revolution), along with a foreign journalist who visited Nicaragua. At one corner of the square, some workers were busy painting huge yellow metal structures.

Pope John Paul II’s Obelisk, alongside Hugo Chavez’s memorial!

         These came complete obelisk currently erected in honor of Pope John Paul II, a personality constantly cited by Rosario Murillo in his frequent speeches on television (at least four, broadcast on cable) that controls the Ortega family. Later, these trees should be installed by the workers of the municipality of Managua and national electric transmission company (Enatrel) in the main squares of the city.
         "It's incredible, I've never even seen such a thing in the countries of the former Soviet bloc",
he assured me this foreign journalist experienced . While talking, we walked along the broad Avenida Bolívar, planted on either side of yellow trees by the dozens, along with altars dedicated to the Virgin Mary and nativities, all designed by Rosario Murillo.
         At the end of the avenue, another place, the first lady has installed a monument to the memory of Hugo Chávez, the great benefactor of President Ortega: the face of the deceased commander, painted in yellow, uniform the air Force, crowned with three huge trees of life overcoming a sun which wraps the feathered serpent and at the foot of all , small shrubs in plastic merry little lights.
         "It's like in the world of Willy Wonka", he told a passing allusion to the character of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Ronald Dahl novel, adapted by Tim Burton).

Symbols of a hard and absolute power.

         Nicaraguans are quick to get excited about politics, but they did not hesitate either to mock their leaders. They were quick to deride these strange trees that thrive in the capital. And then, last Thursday, 19 December 2013, which was not surprise to see that one of these trees, much larger than the others, stood alongside their hero Sandino, in a place that symbolizes torture and the ignominy of the Somoza regime.
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*Carlos Salinas Maldonado, published in "El Pais" on 24 December 2013.

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