Reading about the bitter protests in Nicaragua, I am starting to wonder if Faguas, the fictitious country in Gioconda Belli’s “Waslala,” is somehow a prediction of what Nicaragua is turning into.
Belli’s futuristic novel makes a case for how the world is going to become more globalized while, at the same time, the gap between the developed and undeveloped countries will widen. In Faguas, the Espadas seem to be controlling every aspect of life in Faguas, and the people seem contempt with the situation. Everybody is too afraid to say anything because they don’t want to be silenced– or killed.
In the book, Belli paints a very possible scenario of what life may turn into if those in power fail to manage resources well, turning undeveloped countries into dumps where other powerful countries can exploit those resources and leave the people starving. One of the main characters of the book, Raphael, is a journalist in what I assume the United States. He was sent to Faguas to find fields of “filina”, which is a combination of marihuana and cocaine. On the way there, he hears about Waslala, an Utopic land in Faguas, and finds Melisandra, a local, who will take him there. Raphael knows that the filina fields will sell more newspaper copies, but he is in love with Melisandra and wants to find Waslala with her.
On the way there, the scenes that Belli describes are much like the ones in a newspaper article about Nicaragua today. The New York Times said:
“The streets are ours,” said José Bonilla, a Sandinista supporter holding a homemade plywood shield, during the tumult in Managua on Tuesday afternoon. Fellow demonstrators, waving red-and-black Sandinista flags, shot explosives over the heads of riot police officers who were blocking them from Mr. Montealegre’s rally a block away.
What really sounds outrageous to me is that the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega limited the access of outside observers to the elections and arranged the ballots so that candidates loyal to him came out on top. If there is nothing to hide, what’s all the mystery?