Nicaragua: Esperanza Cruz Rodríguez

A new world is not built in one day. We need an effort from all of us, every day of our lives.

— Esperanza Cruz Rodríguez

Esperanza Cruz (77) was born in Jinotepe, the main city of Carazo, an administrative district of Nicaragua. She has a huge social conscience and has been committed to supporting the more needy populations of the rural areas, since a very young age. During the government of the Popular Sandinist Revolutionary Party (1979-1990) and in the middle of the conflict between the Administration and different counter revolutionary armed groups, Esperanza founded the Nora Astorga Committee of Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs.

November of 1984 was very sad for Esperanza Cruz. One of her sons died, assassinated by a counter revolutionary military force opposed to the government of the Popular Sandinist Revolutionary Party (1979-1990) in Nicaragua. “When I lost my son, I realized that I was not alone, that thousands of other women had also lost their sons. I began to initiate actions that would unify the mothers of Sandinist supporters and the mothers of counter revolutionaries, so that a kind of reconciliation would not be far off.” In 1985, Esperanza founded the Nora Astorga Committee of Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs. Along with the mothers of Sandinist combatants, who had died in the war, she consolidated and expanded the organization until it had 5000 members. How to incorporate the other mothers? Two years later, in the middle of the armed conflict, she convened an assembly. She stated that, in order to obtain peace, it is necessary to reach reconciliation between Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. This statement was first seen with great resistance, but, in the end, all the women burst into tears and understood Esperanza's motivation. She began to prepare the meeting between the mothers of both sides in the war. “Then they had to meet each other face to face; mothers of dead sons from both sides. Everything went differently than what I had thought. There was no conflict, no violence and no accusation. The women in front of us were very humble, repressed, quiet and sad. When the meeting was over, it ended with all of us hugging each other, all of us filled with tears in our eyes. It was something we will not forget for the rest of our lives.” Two decades after those hugs, Esperanza Cruz assures us that “the problems of the people who suffer from the effects of war must constantly energize us and motivate us to strive for peace and justice.”

Comité de Madres de Héroes y Mártires “Nora Astorga“ (Nora Astorga Commitee of Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs)