Students and faculty gathered in the Stokes amphitheater on Tuesday night to stand in solidarity with those affected by political upheaval in Nicaragua.
The event, “A Moment for Nicaragua,” featured reflection, prayers, and a candlelight vigil. It was hosted by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, The Organization for Latin America Affairs (OLAA), and the Latin American Business Club (LABC).
The ceremony opened with a song performed by BC students followed by prayers and an address from Fr. Victor Gracitúa. The assembly also included a moment of silence for 63 individuals who lost their lives during a social security reform protest.
Nicaragua has experienced much instability and severe political unrest in recent weeks. Protesters believe President Daniel Ortega should step down and have been met with a torrent of violence. Ortega, who is now serving his third consecutive term as president, has been accused of electoral fraud.
Several students also spoke to the crowd that congregated in the Stokes amphitheater. Pablo Cardenal, LSOE '20, who has lived in Nicaragua for most of his life, described the violence, assassinations, and student disappearances that have plagued the country.
Despite the dire situation, Cardenal was optimistic about the future.
“Where there is darkness there is always hope," said Cardenal.
“Nicaraguans will overcome these obstacles and become the beautiful and vibrant nation that they want to be," said Cardenal. "Nicaragua is fighting for peace. Nicaragua is fighting for democracy. Nicaragua is fighting for Nicaragua."
Nicaraguan student Massiel Flores Mairena, MCAS '21, commended the bravery of organizers and protesters, many who are students.
“The 63 that have died, and those that have disappeared, serve as a reminder that standing up for what we believe in is hard and costs a lot,” she said. “But with the help of God, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve a more just world.”
After the student remarks, the assembled community members lit candles and walked in a procession to the Statue of Our Blessed Mother in front of Bapst Library. Another moment of silence and closing prayer concluded the ceremony.