Matt Andrés Romero
“We are not afraid, they have already taken a piece of our family”
Murdered in Managua on September 23rd, 2018
The student Matt Romero was assassinated on Sept. 23rd, 2018, at the last blue and white protest in Managua before the police forbade all independent social protests, which is an unconstitutional action.
Matt’s grandmother, Rosa Largaspada, raised him and taught him how to prepare and sell tamales that they cooked together while his mom worked. Andres’s death, as his grandmother called him, caused the woman to undergo the most dramatic experience she could ever have imagined.
“When I saw the news that he was injured I thought it was a lie. I immediately told my daughter Tania to go look for him,” narrates doña Rosa, who is 70.
“Go see my little boy Andrecito who is dying,” exclaimed the grandmother that tragic Sunday. I thought he would die because when those people shoot they are dead on. They don’t shoot you in the arm or in the leg. They shoot you in the head or in the chest, one clear shot,” she exclaimed.
The protest that Matt participated in was demanding the liberation of hundreds of political prisoners, and it was attacked by armed gunmen. The government said that Matt Romero died in crossfire between police and protesters in the sector of Las America III, but the family flatly rejected the government’s version.
Dilcia Romero, the young aunt, says that she only believes her 14-year-old son who was next to Matt in the protest. “First the paramilitaries attacked with rocks and then came the shots from the AK-47 rifles … and they shot everybody, children, adults, the elderly…. The police, anti-riot forces and paramilitaries don’t care about anything,” she pointed out.
During the wake, there were two caskets, one purchased by the Romero family where they placed Matt and the other casket that was sent by the government office where Tania Romero worked. “My sister was given that casket but we didn’t accept it. You can see it on the side. We bought his casket separately,” says aunt Dilcia.
Matt Romero’s casket was carried by his friends and school companions to the Milagro de Dios Cemetery, many of his friends dressed in their blue and white uniforms. During the funeral they sang the national anthem and they released balloons in the air as the casket was lowered into the grave, covered with the Nicaraguan flag.
The cemetery was surrounded by 8 police vehicles and the police tried to terrorize Matt’s family, but they were unsuccessful. “Why are we going to be afraid? They have already taken a piece of our family,” exclaimed aunt Dilcia.
To honor Matt Romero’s memory one year after his murder, the Blue and White National Unity called for a march on Sept. 21st 2019 in Managua. The march was forbidden and hundreds of police were deployed on the principle routes of the planned march. Despite the harassment and the insistent rain, dozens of independent anti-government protestors took to the street, challenging the terror.
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