Patria libre para vivir: Discursive articulations and disarticulations in the 2018 Nicaraguan uprising

Authors: Julie Cupples*, University of Edinburgh, Kevin Glynn*, Northumbria University
Topics: Latin America, Communication, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Nicaragua, media, activism, revolution, state-led violence
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past two decades, Latin America’s revolutionary left has increasingly descended into authoritarian and repressive tendencies. This descent has been particularly pronounced in Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua. Since 2006, Ortega has ruled through a combination of measures that include the intensification of neoliberal economic policies, the suppression of media freedom, the expansion of clientelism, and the persecution of (especially feminist and campesino) activists. In April 2018, however, a dramatic explosion of social movement activism led especially by digitally connected and media-savvy students and other young people erupted on the streets of the capital and in many other towns and cities. These self-organizing grassroots movements (autoconvocados) have demanded Ortega’s removal from power and the democratization of the country. Nicaraguan police and paramilitary forces, in their turn, have responded with violence, killed hundreds, and taken many more political prisoners. This state-led violence has not, however, succeeded in squelching Nicaragua’s urban uprisings, which have benefited from a proliferating array of digital activisms characterized by viral and spreadable spontaneity, hashtag creativity, digital artwork production, and meme generation. Moreover, these digital activisms draw on and honor Nicaragua’s revolutionary history by disarticulating radical slogans from their links with the FSLN and rearticulating them with the current uprisings. This paper assesses the significance of these uprisings within the wider context of the convergent media environment, and explores the role of everyday media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the production of spaces for the emergence of a heterogeneous multiplicity of revolutionary subjectivities and identities.

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