Meet Rolando Bertrand, he is a Nicaraguan national currently living in Wrexham who has been threatened with deportation. We spoke to the Bellevue FC man and discussed his story and a bit about Bellevue's season.
TIWF: Okay Rolando thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First of all for those who don't know, could you tell us a bit about your story and what's going on?"
RB: "In 2018 in the month of April protests against the despotic government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo took place all across the country. Secondary school and university students were staying locked in the premises of different universities of the capital as a way of protest, one of these universities was UPOLI. Tony Córdoba, a friend of mine and I were part of a network of suppliers that were providing the students of that university with masks and other medical items to help them resist the police clashes during the first stage of repression. After that my family and I attended to demonstration against the government, one of these being attacked by the police who killed many people by shooting them in their heads or chests, fortunately we weren't harmed. A few months later, a police officer and a paramilitary stopped me on the street, pointed me with a gun, took off my cellphone and threatened me, saying that I was on the blacklist. A week later my mum and sister were stopped by the police, they pointed my mum with a gun and took pictures of their automobile and both mum and sister. The police officers told them they were on the radar. After that happened, we decided we had to leave the country and while doing so, have a low profile by not protesting and staying in the house. After a few months, we managed to sell the car and a house and got the money to leave."
TIWF: "It has emerged that you are at risk of being deported out of the United Kingdom. Your club, Bellview FC, have started a petition to get this decision overturned. How does it make you feel knowing that so many people have signed this petition and are willing to help you fight your battle to remain?"
RB: "It's truly a blessing to be part of a a community, a football club, a family that are supporting us this way. It makes me and my family feel loved and cared rather than hated or unwanted. [It] Makes me feel home and safe, the love we've experienced this last week has been immense and me and my family will be always grateful for it. However, it is worrying that the Home office and judicial system are denying us protection, depriving us from the opportunity to stay safe here."
TIWF: "Let's talk a bit of football! It hasn't been the best of seasons for Bellevue, do you believe the squad can start to push on and start picking up some points?"
RB: "I think this season has been though cause many players from last season left and new players came about (me included), we are a team in construction and it's something that takes time to develop, we've been working hard in strategy lately so I think we'll start seeing the fruits of it in the next few games and most likely sneaking out some points out of it."
TIWF: "Bellevue are known for being a multinational club, how does it feel being part of such a unique club?"
RB: "I felt weird at the beginning to be honest cause there were so many cultures mixed together in a single group playing football as one usual bunch of good friends! That is not seen that often where I come from! I realised in that moment that football is not only a sport but it's also a way of linking people, bringing them together for a single goal and that way, creating community. I love to be part of it cause it's learning everyday about other people's culture and at the same time allows me to share mine. It is a very interesting and cultivating experience."
We'd like to thank Rolando for agreeing to speak to us about such a sensitive topic. If you would like to know more about Rolando's story or if you are interested in signing the petition, you can click the link here that takes you to the Change.org page: https://www.change.org/p/home-office-it-should-be-our-choice?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=ba858680-c896-11e4-baec-298325289eea
(Image Credit: Bellevue FC)