Archive | Nicaragua

Open Letter to the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Open Letter to the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to the IACHR Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on Nicaragua, the Argentinian Team of Forensic Anthropology and SITU Research of New York

From Nicaraguan civil society and from members of North American and European Networks in solidarity with Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution

By Nicaraguan civil society

IACHR President: Sr. Joel Hernández García
IACHR First Vice-President: Sra. Antonia Urrejola Noguera
IACHR Second Vice-President: Sra. Flávia Piovesan
GIEI members: Sr. Amerigo Incalcaterra, Sra. Sofía Macher, Sr. Pablo Parenti and Sra. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey
EAAF: Sra. Mercedes Doretti, Directora Programática Centro y Norteamérica
SITU: Brad Samuels, partner

IACHR reports on events in Nicaragua

We are writing to express our concern at what we believe to be very serious shortcomings in the video documentary your organizations released on May 30th this year, about events leading to the deaths of three Nicaraguan citizens demonstrating against their government two years earlier on May 30th 2018.

While your video documentary acknowledges there is no conclusive evidence, it still argues that circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly suggests that armed police officers or Sandinista supporters indiscriminately killed those three protesters who died that day, as well as other people also shot dead in the same set of incidents. Your video documentary acknowledges that two Sandinista supporters were also shot dead in related incidents that day, but you have selectively chosen to omit any consideration of how or why they might have been killed.

Your video documentary reinforces the unjust and extremely dishonest claim by Nicaragua’s political opposition, repeated, with no serious attempt at independent corroboration, by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts organized by the Inter American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States, that the country’s Sandinista government deliberately used disproportionate lethal force against peaceful protesters during the violent failed coup attempt between April 18th and July 17th 2018.

We have the following questions about this video documentary and sincerely hope you will respond and answer them in the interests of institutional transparency, democratic debate and genuine accountability.

  • Why does the video documentary mention the killing of two Sandinista supporters without noting that they were probably shot dead by armed opposition activists, completely undercutting the video documentary’s claim that the opposition protesters were unarmed and peaceful? Surely it then becomes practically impossible to dismiss the probability that the three opposition protesters who are the focus of your video documentary were killed in an exchange of gunfire that began in circumstances involving conflicting versions of the events in question? Why does your video documentary systematically exclude any discussion of that fact?
  • Why have you omitted from your video documentary footage, including video reports from the opposition media outlet Radio Corporación and other videos of opposition activists carrying firearms including automatic rifles and firing automatic pistols in the late afternoon of May 30th 2018, near the area from which you claim the fatal shots were fired killing the three protesters who are the focus of your documentary?
  • Why does your video documentary omit mentioning the wounding by gunfire in the same set of incidents covered in your documentary of 20 named police officers, a fact which completely contradicts your suggestion that all the opposition protesters were unarmed and peaceful?
  • Why does your video documentary portray the police and volunteer police with weapons without explaining that the reason they are heavily armed is that just two days previously, in the same area as the incidents covered by your video, one police officer was killed and five police officers wounded by armed opposition activists preventing those police officers from going to the aid of over 20 workers of Nueva Radio Ya which was under attack by armed opposition activists?
  • Why does your video documentary show no footage of police use of firearms which might have been presented to show that there were antecedents for what your organizations argue were the events of May 30th 2018, despite the claim in your video documentary that your organizations have reviewed thousands of videos showing examples of police repression?
  • Why does your video documentary omit mentioning that various official documents, press reports and witness testimony contradict the version of events your video documentary presents?
  • Why does your video documentary omit the strong possibility of a false flag attack similar to that at Puente Llaguno in Caracas during the failed coup attempt in Venezuela in 2002, since any genuinely scientific account of the events analyzed by your video documentary would have noted such contrary hypotheses and explained why they should be discounted?
  • Why does your video documentary not follow up the mention of evidence in the Knox Associates report’s sound analysis of the three shootings of “a firearm discharged near the video camera. It’s difficult to determine what type of firearm it is, … It could be a semi-automatic pistol or a rifle”, apparently referring to a weapon or weapons used by protesters at the demonstration?
  • Why does your video documentary mischaracterize the location of the police confronting the protesters on the Avenida Universitaria? Video footage from May 30, 2018 place them at a road junction 175 meters from the barricade, while a map on your archive website shows the police to be even closer. A comparison of the map in your video with Google maps clearly indicates that it is not to scale, and in fact shows a radius of 145-215 meters, which means that the police were not in the location from which your firearms expert said the fatal shots were fired.
  • Why does your video documentary only investigate the three shots supposedly responsible for killing the three protesters on whom you focus, given that Knox Associates’ evidence, even though it only covers a few minutes, indicates that there were other exchanges of fire, apparently from both sides?
  • In this context, why does the video ignore the admission on page 164 of the original GIEI report, of “the presence of four armed persons among the demonstrators” [GIEI “Informe sobre los hechos de violencia ocurridos entre el 18 de abril y el 30 de mayo de 2018,”], which appears to be referring to the same incident in Avenida Universitaria?
  • Why is the investigation portrayed in your video documentary limited to events on the west side of the national stadium when other shootings were taking place on the east side, and these would have influenced the behavior of the police in the entire area of the stadium, especially if they were actually under fire or had recently been under fire, as they had been on May 28th?
  • SITU Research and EAAF acknowledge financial support from corporate sources in the United States, including the Open Society Foundations, suggesting a strong ideological component in the production of this video. Who funded your organizations to produce it and how much money did they invest?

We look forward very much to your observations in response to our questions.Nicaragua – Virtual Reality and Human Rights

Alliance for Global Justice (USA)                                               

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group (UK)

And signed by:

Blanca Segovia Sandino Arauz, Daughter of General Augusto C. Sandino, Nicaragua

Camilo Mejia, Human Rights Activist and former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Miami, USA

Patricia Villegas, Presidente TeleSur, Venezuela

S. Brian Willson, war veteran, author, lawyer, Granada, Nicaragua

Foro Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo Forum

As well as by the individuals and organisations in Nicaragua, USA and Europe listed below

Adrian Martínez Rodriguez, Secretario General , Confederación de Trabajadores por Cuenta Propia de Nicaragua CTCP Nicaragua

Al Burke Editor, Nordic News Network Sweden

Alberto Martínez Vargas, Retired Nicaragua

Alexandra Valiente, Editor Internationalist 360° Canada

Andrea Pérez Espinoza, Political scientist Nicaragua

Andreia Vizeu, Educator USA

Anne Mitchell,Deputy principal (retired) USA

Antonio Espinoza,Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria de Nicaragua CONFEDERACIÓN AGROINDUSTRIA Nicaragua

Arnold H. Matlin, M.D., F.A.A.P., Doctor USA

Augusto Enrique Castillo Sandino, Family of General Augusto C. Sandino Nicaragua

Aurora Elena Baltodano Toledo,Solidarity activist Italy

Becca Mohally Renk, Jubilee House Community Nicaragua

Ben Norton, Writer and editor of The Grayzone USA

Calvin McCoy, Nicaragua Solidarity Ireland Ireland

Carlos José Hurtado Ordoñez, Technical assistant Nicaragua

Carlos José Martínez Hernández, Editor, Radio La Primerísima Nicaragua

Cecilia Herrero, Painter Argentina

Coleen Littlejohn, Development economist (retired) Nicaragua

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, New York USA

Coordinamento Associazione Italia, Nicaragua Solidarity group (Milan) Italy

Courtney Childs, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism USA

Dan Kovalik, Human rights lawyer USA

Daniel Hopewell, Director of community development NGO UK

Daniel Shaw, Professor USA

David Paul, Nurse USA

Declan McKenna. Nicaragua Solidarity Ireland Ireland

Diana Bohn, USA

Domingo Francisco Peréz Zapata, Secretario General, Unión Nacional de Empleados Públicos de Nicaragua UNE Nicaragua

Dr Francisco Dominguez, University professor UK

Dr. Agustín Velloso Santisteban, University professor Spain

Edgardo Garcia General Secretary, Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo Nicaragua

Eleanor Lanigan, Cuba Support Group, Ireland

Enrique Castillo Delgado, Technician, husband of Blanca Segovia Sandino Arauz Nicaragua

Erika Takeo, Coordinator, Friends of the ATC Nicaragua

Evile Umaña,, Secretaria General, Central de Trabajadores de Salud de Nicaragua FETSALUD Nicaragua

Fausto Torrez, Secretary of International Relations, Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo Nicaragua

Fredy Franco, Secretario General, Federación de Profesionales Docentes de la Educación Superior FEPDES-ATD Nicaragua

Friends of Latin America, Solidarity organization USA

Gimmi Maria Cristini, Solidarity activist Italy

Herman van de Velde, Pedagogue / retired academic Nicaragua

Janet Pavone, Painter UK

Jennifer Atlee, Friendship Office of the Americas USA

Jeremy Cerna, Writer Germany

John Perry, Housing and migration researcher Nicaragua

Jon Barrenechea, Film marketing executive UK

Jorge Capelán, Journalist Nicaragua

José Angel Bermudez, Secretario Ejecutivo, Frente Nacional de los Trabajadores FNT Nicaragua

Judith Bello, Antiwar activist USA

Julio César Castillo Sandino, Family of General Augusto C. Sandino Nicaragua
Karen Sharpe, Editor, France

Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance USA

Lauren Smith, Independent journalist USA

Leonardo Flores, Political analyst USA

Les Blough, Journalist Venezuela

Lisa Klein, Student Germany

Lucy Pagoad,a Teacher USA

Luis Adolfo Barboza Chavarría, Secretario general, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores José Benito Escobar, CST-JBE Nicaragua

Madeliene Kießling Klein, Retired Germany

Magda Lanuza, Community worker and writer Nicaragua

Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance USA

Maria de los Angeles Obando Medina, Secretario general Confederación de Trabajadores de la Pesca de Nicaragua, CONFEPESCA Nicaragua

Maritza Castillo, Nicaraguan activist Nicaragua

Maritza Espinales, Secretaria General, Federación de Sindicatos de Trabajadores Universitarios FESITUN Nicaragua

Mark Mayer, Solidarity activist USA

Martin Mowforth, Environmental Network for Central America. UK

Martin Roger, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign UK

Max Blumenthal, Writer and editor of The Grayzone USA

Michael Boudreau, Compas de Nicaragua Nicaragua

Miguel Mairena, United Methodist missionary Mexico

Mike Woodard, Jubilee House Community Nicaragua

Mitchel Cohen, Author USA

Nan McCurdy, United Methodist Missionary Mexico

Nora Mitchell McCurdy, Researcher Nicaragua
Paul Richard Harris, Journalist, Canada

Paul Peulevé Baker, Ode to Earth coordinator Nicaragua

Professor Jose Antonio Zepeda, Secretario General, Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de Nicaragua CGTEN-ANDEN Nicaragua

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Canada

Richard Kohn, Ph.D University professor USA

Richard Lanigan Physician/chiropractor UK

Richard Luckemeier, P.E. Water utility engineer USA

Rita Jill Clark-Gollub, Translator USA
Robert Navan,, Nicaragua Solidarity Ireland, Ireland

Roger Stoll, Writer USA

Sandra Edith Baltodano Gutierrez Solidarity activist Italy

Scott Hagaman, Physician USA

Sofía M Clark, Political researcher Nicaragua

Stansfield Smith, Writer USA

Stephen Sefton,Community worker and writer Nicaragua

Susan Lagos, Retired teacher, Friends of the ATC, activist, translator Nicaragua

Walter Ramiro Castillo Sandino, Family of General Augusto C. Sandino Nicaragua

William Camacaro, Venezuela Solidarity activist USA

William Grigsby Vado,Presidente Asociación de Profesionales de la Radiodifusión Nicaragüense (APRANIC) y Director General Radio La Primerísima Nicaragua

Zoltan Tiroler, Swedish-Cuban Friendship Association Sweden

Posted in USA, Human Rights, Nicaragua, PoliticsComments Off on Open Letter to the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Strength of the Sandinista ModelBy: Nicaraguan government

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega
  • The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega | Photo: EFE

In the entire history of Nicaragua, it is only with the two governments of the Sandinista Front, that the popular interests of the great majority, that are poor, have been prioritized.

The strength of the Sandinista Model is based on characteristics and results. The characteristics are that the FSLN is patriotic, democratic, it promotes inclusion and participation under the concept that the Peoples are the President and the manifestation of Popular Power. The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) defends popular interests, enjoys the confidence of the people, and has a social and political base with a high degree of commitment, which constitutes the basis of its great capacity to organize and mobilize the Nicaraguan society through volunteerism.

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At the current stage of the Sandinista Revolution, the People as Leaders, facilitated by a Good Government based on the values ​​and principles of the people themselves, have reaped significant social, environmental, economic and productive results, after so many years of sowing in struggle.

It is the characteristics and results previously described that largely constitute the strength of the Sandinista Model. Historically and currently, the groups opposed to the Sandinista Front form a political enclave mastered and guided by North American foreign policy.

The Sandinista Front is the patriotic backstop of the Nicaraguan political spectrum, heir to the struggle of Sandino and Zeledón and the entire history of defending self-determination, independence and sovereignty.

The Sandinista Front is the father of democracy in Nicaragua. Before the 1984 elections, there was nothing quite like a sovereign and free election. In 1990, the FSLN became the first political force to transfer power peacefully with the results of a free and sovereign election.

In the period 1990-2007, the FSLN made a loyal opposition and acted within the constraints of the Constitution, even when there were periods of governance crisis due to the weakness of the governments in power.

Of course, democracy is more than just elections and it is the Sandinista Front that has promoted the inclusion and massive participation of the Nicaraguan People under the concept of the People as President and the manifestation of Popular Power.

In the entire history of Nicaragua, it is only with the two governments of the Sandinista Front, that the popular interests of the great majority, that are poor, have been prioritized.

One of the strengths of the GRUN Model is the confidence that the people have in the Sandinista Front and in the wisdom of Commander Daniel Ortega to defend and promote the interests of the poor even in difficult circumstances; a trust that has a historical root that comes from the fight against Somocismo, the fight in the 1980´s against the Contra backed by the CIA and two North American administrations, the policy of Governing from below, defending the interests of the poor during the 16 years of neoliberal governments and in the current government in which the leading role of the people, facilitated by the government, has made significant progress for the poor, for women, for indigenous people and people of African descent, that is, a trust forged in historical practice.

Another strength of the model is the high level of commitment toward a solid social and political base, with proven loyalty and a willingness to sacrifice. This forms the basis for the extraordinary capacity to organize and mobilize the Nicaraguan people, through volunteerism, which includes a large percentage of the people themselves, especially youth and women.

The Sandinista Popular Revolution has had clear stages: In the first stage the objective was the national liberation from tyranny. In the second, revolutionary transformations were advanced for the people, but in the end the objective was to survive the brutal American aggression of a decade. In the third stage, the objective was to defend revolutionary advances from neoliberal attempts to reverse them. It is in the current fourth stage that the people, as leaders, facilitated by Good Government based on the values ​​and principles that the Nicaraguan people have reaped, after so many years of sowing in struggle; significant social, environmental, economic and productive results.

The people have recognized the progress with votes in the polls for the Commander: 38% in 2006, 62% in 2011 and 72% in 2016.

The growing strength of the FSLN and its successful model, as well as the weakness of a disjointed opposition, led a part of the opposition and the United States in 2018 to try to add Nicaragua to the list of coups d’état and attempts sponsored by imperialism in this century: Venezuela (2002), Honduras (2009), Ecuador (2010), Paraguay (2012), Brazil (2016), Bolivia (2019).

Armed roadblocks on highways and streets; the armed invasions of neighborhoods and houses; the burning of city halls and other buildings, vehicles and construction equipment; looting of stores and other businesses; the kidnapping, torture and murder of Sandinistas; 198 people died, including 24 policemen, while 401 policemen were wounded by bullets; all this in the midst of a false news campaign and massive psychological warfare based on the media and social networks. In the end, the coup collapsed and the people triumphed, showing the strength of the model.

SOCIAL STRENGTH

GRUN SOCIAL PROJECTS:

The GRUN has promoted a model of human development and participatory, representative democracy and social justice, which can be verified in:

The transformation of health, education and recreation, among others, to which the entire population can access without exclusion and without distinction. Everyone has the right to enjoy the benefits that may be granted to them.

The prioritization of public investment or state investment in areas of Human Development has been guaranteed every year in the GRUN budget that invests in free health and education, as well as to guarantee security, food, care and protection, as well as the right to have decent housing for the people of Nicaragua.

The expansion of the coverage and quality of drinking water and electricity services, as well as highways and roads. New roads have been built, and electricity has been brought to almost the entire country (97.57%) and drinking water to areas of the country that lacked these benefits.

The creation, expansion, and restoration of parks in all the municipalities of the country. New parks have been built and existing ones in need of repair, have been improved.

The massification of sports at the national level, among children, adolescents and youth has not only built new sports spaces, but it has also promoted and facilitated access for all the general population to these places for recreation.

The rescue, protection, safeguard, promotion and dissemination of the historical and cultural heritage, taking care of museums, as well as the implementation of programs so that the population can visit the historical sites of the country and learn about the culture of the peoples in general.

Regarding labor rights, the rights of workers have been defended and the culture of entrepreneurship has been implemented, which has promoted new sources of work and employment.

In the area of ​​Social Security, the affiliation of workers has increased, particularly by expanding in rural areas, cooperatives, unions, home help and self-employed workers.

On land ownership and planning, property titles have been delivered to people who live in different areas without possessing legal documents.

In relation to prevention and care in the family, we have been promoting not only laws, but education at all levels for the care and protection of families in general.

For people with different disabilities, we have been guaranteeing a culture of respect, ensuring that these people can have the right and access to jobs, education, regardless of their condition.

As for the elderly, laws have been promoted that benefit older adults, creating comprehensive care centers, discounts on payments for their basic services (electricity and water), as well as favorable prices for access to touristic sites.

Likewise, the GRUN has developed:

Maternal Homes in Nicaragua. Pregnant mothers are accommodated by providing pre-delivery care and the newborn is cared for.

Love for the little ones. Its objective is the early stimulation of boys and girls under the age of six, a process that begins from the prenatal period and promotes breastfeeding, surveillance, growth and development, as well as the vaccination process, ensuring health, nutrition and personal hygiene of minors.

Snack and School Packages: It consists of the preparation of food in the study centers by the parents with meals provided by the government, along with school supplies delivered to the boys and girls.

Literacy and Youth and Adult Education: It allows people who do not have studies, to complete them in a short time.

Zero Usury Program: It is a program aimed at women who are self-employed, providing them with improved credit terms and interests rates that are less than the ones offered by banks and “small loan institutions”.

All with A Voice Program: Personalized attention to people with disabilities through medical check-ups, delivery of medications, food packages, education, among other benefits.

Solidarity Roof Plan: Consists of the delivery of sheets of zinc for families in need to improve their living conditions.

Houses for the People: Construction and delivery of social housing for the population living in poverty.

Productive and Food Programs: Delivery of cows, poultry and fruit seeds, to reduce malnutrition and poverty in the short term.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT STRENGTHENS THE GRUN’S CHRISTIAN, SOCIALIST AND SOLIDARITY MODEL.

The GRUN, since 2007 to date has promoted new laws and updated and modernized others, which have as a priority the strengthening and restitution of the rights of the Nicaraguan people. Among these we have:

Laws that guarantee Nicaraguan citizens a better quality of life: Law No. 693, the Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security Law; Law No. 721, Law on the social sale of medicines; and Law No. 842, Law for the protection of the rights of consumers and users.

Laws that protect and strengthen the family and its members: Law No. 870, Family Code; Law No. 677, Special Law for the promotion of housing construction and access to affordable housing; Law No. 688, Law for the promotion of the dairy sector and the glass of school milk; Law No. 718, Special Law for the Protection of Multiple Birth Families; and Law No. 720, Law for the Elderly.

Laws that protect the rights of people with some type of special needs: Law No. 675, Nicaraguan Sign Language Law; Law No. 650, Law for the Protection of the human rights of people with mental illnesses; and Law No. 763, Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Laws that promote equality, dignity and equity of rights to all Nicaraguans: Law No. 648, Law on Equal Rights and Opportunities; and Law No. 757, Law of dignified and equitable treatment of indigenous peoples and people of African descent.

Laws that promote a life free of violence: Law No. 779, Comprehensive Law against Violence against Women and reforms to Law No. 641 Penal Code.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF THE GRUN’S SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

International organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Food Program (WFP), have highlighted and recognized that the Nicaraguan government has made significant progress on issues of poverty reduction in general, the creation of economic opportunities in rural areas for families to produce their food, and the positive performance of the economy, maintaining growth levels that are higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean.

ENVIRONMENTAL STRENGTH

Since the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity assumed the destiny of the country, a policy of protection and defense of Our Mother Earth has been put into practice, which is manifested in the proposals of the National Program for Human Development.

The lines of action that are applied to carry out this policy are mainly environmental education; defense and protection of natural resources and forest development; the conservation, recovery, collection and harvesting of water; mitigation, adaptation and risk management in the face of climate change; sustainable land management; the regulation and control of environmental pollution for the conservation of ecosystems and human health; as well as preventing the environmental impact of economic activities that take place in the country.

Within the framework of this policy, year after year, a Great National Reforestation Crusade is promoted as part of a reforestation strategy in forest areas and in regions suffering from land degradation. In this sense, a community forestry model is applied, in which the indigenous and Afro-descendant communities of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua are actively involved, as well as farmers along the agricultural frontier. On the other hand, Nicaragua received the approval of the Forest Carbon Cooperative Fund, through which rural communities and indigenous peoples living in the forests of the Caribbean Coast, Bosawás and Indio Maíz, will reduce deforestation and forest degradation, reducing emissions of approximately 11 million tons of Carbon Dioxide and receiving in return positive incentives for 55 million dollars in five years. This goal only represents 50% of the potential of the Caribbean region in reducing emissions. This is done through the MARENA ENDE-REDD + program, with the assistance of the World Bank.

The technological and technical capacities of MARENA, INETER, INAFOR and Regional Governments of the Caribbean Coast have been strengthened, with the establishment and operation of a forest monitoring system, which will allow the monitoring, recording and verification of the reduction of carbon emissions and the greenhouse gas effect due to deforestation and forest degradation processes at the national level and direct actions for the restoration of forest landscapes.

In the search for the use of water resources, the construction of water harvesting works and reservoirs for productive uses and recovery of this vital liquid is promoted. All of this within a strategy that seeks to recover and preserve water, the potential of water in river basins, soil fertility and the conservation of the flora and fauna of our country, which constitutes between 7% and 8% of the world’s biodiversity.

At the international level, the GRUN has stood out in firm defense of Mother Earth and has raised its voice so that the whole of humanity mobilizes to reverse the consequences of climate change. Nicaragua has been a banner for developing countries in discussions in the different spaces of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, maintaining the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, “historical responsibilities of developed countries”, “the principle of cooperation” and “the principle of respect for sovereignty” Nicaragua also stresses the need for developed countries to assume a moral commitment to finance developing countries in their efforts to mitigate, adapt, and address loses and damages caused by centuries of pollution from developed countries. Nicaragua has an active participation in the different decision-making instances of the Climate Change Convention such as the Green Climate Fund, the Permanent Finance Committee, the Subsidiary Bodies, among others.

Nicaragua signed the Paris Agreement in 2017, because in most countries of the world there was a consensus that the 2015 commitments in Paris are insufficient to prevent an increase in the global average temperature to 2ºC and much less to 1.5ºC, and also agree that the reduction goals for gases such as CO2 and methane in developed countries should be increased. Thus, Nicaragua’s solitary position in Paris in 2015, became a consensus position in 2017.

The State of Nicaragua has continued to collaborate with the international community in promoting collective action on climate change, maintaining a firm and coherent position in defense of the environment and making continued efforts to adapt and mitigate the consequences of climate deterioration.

Our government has met the goals, commitments and agreements of the Climate Change Convention and the goals for reducing emissions have been defined through the reports of the “National Determined Contributions”, which are currently in the process of being reviewed and improved to define our goals in terms of reducing gas emissions.

A national policy for mitigation and adaptation to climate change has been defined. This policy has a focus on sustainable development, compatible with disaster risk management, innovation and efficient use of resources, an ecosystem approach, gender equity, citizen participation, feasibility of measures, climate finance, recognition of indigenous peoples and indigenous communities,  and education on climate change.

ECONOMIC STRENGTH

The IMF projects that the world economy will suffer a sharp contraction of -3% in 2020, much worse than that registered during the financial crisis of 2008–09. ECLAC, for its part, forecasts -5.3% for the Latin American region in 2020. On the other hand, according to the estimates of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), measures like the ones currently in place could reduce the world economy by -2.0% per month, or an annualized rate of -24%, approaching the levels of the Great Depression of the 930s.

The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting a huge and escalating human cost worldwide. The health crisis is also having a serious impact on economic activity. Preliminary data for the response to the pandemic for the first quarter of 2020 indicate that the US economy (Gross Domestic Product, GDP) fell -4.8%, the largest decline in the first three months of the year since 2008 during the global financial crisis, when the US economy contracted by -8.4%

According to the Central American Integration System (SICA), through the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) and together with the Executive Secretariat of the Central American Monetary Council (SECMCA), the updated scenario with the perspectives collected as of April 2020, estimates for 2020 a decrease in the economy of Central America of -6.9% and a rate of generalized and sustained increase in the prices of goods and services (inflation) of 0.6% for the region. By 2021, the decrease in the economy at the regional level would be -1.4% and the estimated inflation rate would be 1.9%.

Some estimates also indicate that 29 million people in Latin America could fall into poverty, reversing a decade of efforts to reduce income inequality.

Faced with such unfavorable scenarios at the regional level and the world in general, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity (GRUN), has not closed the economy, nor declared an absolute quarantine, since in Nicaragua approximately 80% of employment is informal, working brothers and sisters who live from day to day, and while 41% of the population lives in the countryside and require activities outside the home every day. All of them would be seriously affected. Added to this, that since the crisis of April 2018, GDP has experienced a successive contraction of up to -4.0% in 2018 and -3.9% in 2019.

The government, in addition to attending and facing the pandemic, is having to defend itself from the media attack and appeals to “stay at home”, promoted by the leaders of the failed coup, with the aim of further destroying the economy, hindering productive and commercial activities, which would cause significant losses in household income and in the economic performance of companies, especially small and medium-sized ones. Government policy is protecting peasants, informal workers, small and medium-sized enterprises, the poor in general, and the national economy.

The strategy of balance of the GRUN and its Christian, Socialist and Solidarity Model, from the first day, has been to keep the economy afloat, reduce poverty and inequality levels, promote a monetary and financial policy of the government in harmony and in times of crises, like the one we are currently going through, avoiding a catastrophe in GDP by the end of 2020.

We have in our favor the flow of agricultural activities, productive transformation and provision of public services for families in the countryside and cities; the supply of basic consumer products has been maintained, while the price level of the products and services that the population demands daily remains stable. This contrasts with other countries where there has been panic buying and speculative price rises leading to shortages.

GOOD PERFORMANCE OF MONETARY POLICY

The policies implemented by the BCN and the good performance of the variables of the monetary sector led to the strengthening of the Gross International Reserves (RIB). Thus, the RIB closed 2019 at a higher level than in 2018 (2,397.4 million dollars). The exchange rate remained as expected, inflation was stable in one digit and the total amount of cash in the hands of the public (Monetary Base) stands at C$34,477.7 million, C$4,345 million more than in 2018.

GOOD PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT FINANCE

Government finances showed good performance in 2019, the execution of the State budget and its components (public spending and taxes) were handled in a prudent manner. As a result of this, public debt has shown a tendency to decrease.

Likewise, the Christian, Socialist and Solidarity Model has been in charge of providing generous incentives to attract more investment to the country, especially for export-oriented sectors, including free zones, tourism, mining and forestry.

A PRO-INVESTMENT GOVERNMENT

The Government of Nicaragua recognizes the positive impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) in an economy like that of Nicaragua, so it actively and openly promotes it as a country committed to its employees, the community, and the environment.

The appointment of a Presidential Delegate for Investments to coordinate investment promotion efforts and ensure the successful development of these projects reaffirms the government’s positive stance towards foreign direct investment.

PRONicaragua, the official investment promotion agency, was highlighted with the best results among all investment promotion agencies in the world in the 2012 Global Comparative Study of Investment Promotion (GIPB), published by the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

WORLD ECONOMIC FREEDOM REPORT

Nicaragua’s economy is among the freest in the world, according to the recent World Economic Freedom (EFW) report, published by the Fraser Institute. In the 2018 edition of the report, the country ranked 54 out of 162, with a score of 7.27 out of 10.

This annual report measures economic freedom (levels of personal decision, ability to enter markets, security of private properties, the rule of law, etc.) by analyzing the policies and institutions of more than 160 countries and Hong Kong.

CONNECTIVITY AND MARKET ACCESS

Nicaragua’s geographical position and its connectivity with the rest of the world, in addition to the benefits related to the different preferential access agreements, increase its potential to export to non-traditional markets.

Preferential agreements have become an important component of trade liberalization in Nicaragua, therefore, the country continues to seek opportunities to ensure its successful insertion in international trade and the global economy.

Likewise, Nicaragua has signed Free Trade Agreements with the United States, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador and the European Union. It also belongs to the Central American Common Market, to the Bolivarian Alliance for Peoples Of Our America (ALBA) and a Generalized System of Preferences with Japan, Norway, Canada, Russia and Switzerland and has additional treaties under negotiation.

INVESTMENT PROMOTION LAWS

The relevant laws regarding Investment Promotion are: Law Nº. 344, Law for the Promotion of Foreign Investments; Law No. 822, Tax Agreement Law; Law No. 382, Law of Temporary Admission Regime for Active Improvement and Facilitation of Exports; Law No. 917, Free Export Zones Law; Law No. 532, Law for the Promotion of Electric Generation with Renewable Sources; Law No. 387, Special Law on Exploration and Exploitation of Mines; Law No. 306, Incentives Law for the Nicaraguan tourism industry; Law No. 694, Income Promotion Law for Retired and Retired Residents.

COMPETITIVE OPERATING COSTS

Nicaragua offers one of the most competitive cost structures in the region, which allows companies to increase their competitiveness and reduce their operating costs and provide greater added value to their products or services.

Before establishing operations in a country, every company must go through an important process of due diligence and evaluation, where operating costs play an influential role in the final result of the decision to invest.

MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum wage in the different economic sectors in Nicaragua range from US$0.92 to US$2.06 an hour, including social benefits.

Social benefits represent an additional 52.0 percent to the minimum wage, these include: social security, contributions to the National Technological Institute (INATEC), paid vacations and Christmas bonuses, among others.

Below are the minimum wages by law for 2019:

Minimum Wage 2019 (Dollars

Sector

Monthly US$

Hourly US$

Construction, Financial Services and Insurance

428.79

2.06

Electricity and Water, Commerce, Restaurants and Hotels, Transportation, Storage and Communications

351.44

1.68

Mines and Quarries

344.11

1.65

Fisheries

291.34

1.4

Personal and Communal Community Services 

268.61

1.29

Manufacturing

257.63

1.24

Fiscal Regime Industries

271.19

1.3

Central and Municipal Government

238.94

1.15

Small and Micro Artisanal Industries and National Tourism

205.87

0.99

Agribusiness*

191.6

0.92

Fuente: Ministerio del Trabajo (MITRAB). Tasa de cambio promedio 2019: 33.13. Incluye beneficios sociales. *Salario mínimo más alimentación.

Regarding companies that are under the free zone regime, the minimum wage is the most competitive at the regional level, which makes Nicaragua an ideal country to establish labor-intensive operations, as can be seen in the following table:

       Nota: Incluye beneficios sociales, Nicaragua base 100
      Fuente: Ministerio de Trabajo de cada país 2019

TELECOMMUNICATIONS COSTS

In Nicaragua there are several telecommunications companies, including Claro and Tigo, which offer E1 telephone service, widely used by companies that handle a high level of calls in their operations. Additionally, advanced digital line plans are offered that include services such as call waiting, three-way conference, caller ID, voicemail, and text messages (SMS). In these types of plans, the cost per minute for international calls to the United States and Canada is approximately USD $ 0.20 / min.


INTERNET COSTS

The main providers of business connections in Nicaragua are Claro, Amnet, Navega, IBW, Ideay, among others. All of them offer various dedicated business data packages whose approximate average prices can range from $70 for a 256 K/s connection to $640 for a 3,072 K/s connection.

WATER SERVICE COSTS

The Nicaraguan Company of Aqueducts and Sanitary Sewers (ENACAL) is the entity in charge of providing the country’s water and sewerage service. This company is regulated and controlled by the Nicaraguan Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (INAA). In Nicaragua, an average company whose monthly consumption is greater than 50 m3 of water has an approximate rate of US$0.40 per m3. ENACAL also applies a charge per m3 of consumption to companies with private wells.

ENERGY COSTS

In Nicaragua, the energy distribution service is provided by the company DISNORTE-DISSUR and is regulated by the Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE). Industrial companies have the option of opting for energy rates with or without time discrimination. For an industrial company with a monthly contracted load greater than 200 KW and under this category without discrimination, the cost per KWh consumed is around US$0.19.

Additionally, for companies with a minimum concentrated load requirement of one megawatt per month, there is the option of opting for the “Large Consumer” category and obtaining a preferential rate by purchasing directly from the generators.

In the same way, self-generation of renewable energy for self-consumption is allowed and even better, according to law 1011 to reform article 32 of Law 272 Law of the Electric Industry, the sale of surplus Electric Power delivered by the Generator to the distribution network and that is committed by means of an energy purchase and sale contract with the Distributing Companies, will be exempt from the application and / or withholding of all kinds of taxes, fees and special contributions, given that the Generator is not an Economic Agent.

PRODUCTIVE STRENGTH

The Production, Consumption and Trade System

The coordination between the policies, programs, projects and specific actions developed by the different levels of government, allows for greater effectiveness in the implementation of sectoral and national plans, as well as greater efficiency and transparency in the execution of the national budget and funds from external sources, all this based on the National Program for Human Development, the integrated work of State institutions and framed in the Model of Dialogue and Consensus of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity (GRUN).

The dialogue and consensus model

Under this model sectoral policies, as well as the programs and projects directed to the development of the productive sectors, are formulated and executed with the effective prominence of the local actors.

This allows for private actors to feeling not as “beneficiaries” of public policies, but as “protagonists”, actively participating in the processes, and also that these policies, programs or projects correspond effectively to the productive, environmental, economic and social realities of the territories in which they will be executed.

The focus on Family, Community, Cooperative and Associative Economy

Since its inception, the GRUN identified that more than 70% of employment and 40% of Nicaragua’s GDP were generated by the family, community and cooperative economy and that the actions that were being developed through the famous “Zero Hunger” programs and “Zero usury” in order to reduce the vulnerability of rural and urban families submerged in poverty by neoliberal governments, would have the potential to significantly increase these percentages of contribution to employment and national production, and would be a fundamental part of the successive National Human Development Plans and Programs. Since 2012, when the Ministry of Family, Community, Cooperative and Associative Economy (known as MEFCCA) was organized, this sector has been strengthened.

The new approach in the Creative Economy

Among the axes of the National Program for Human Development 2018-2021 is the implementation of an entrepreneurial culture, developing programs at all levels that stimulate teaching-learning, innovation, improved management, productivity and competitiveness of Undertakings in strategic alliances with and between private institutions, the central government, municipalities and social organizations.

The Creative Economy, from the strategic vision of the government and its institutions, allows for the achieving of higher levels of productivity, added value, professional qualification, quality work, competitiveness of SMEs and all companies, and the development of the country, by promoting the consolidation of national and local institutions, the development of infrastructures, the promotion of markets and businesses, the strengthening and stimulation of human talents, the production and use of knowledge and technologies, and the increase in creative production.

HOW DOES NICARAGUA ADVANCE DESPITE UNILATERALLY IMPOSED SANCTIONS

Despite the economic aggressions promoted and imposed by the United States Government, such as the “Nica Act”, Nicaragua is working together with missions abroad, with solidarity countries willing to contribute to the progress and economic development of the country in executing an active resource and investment management policy with the international community.

Regarding investment, despite coercive measures, we continue to be an important platform for investment and export to the international market; therefore, investment in Nicaragua has continued to develop. Nicaragua has friendship and cooperation agreements with friendly countries and foreign companies have bought national manufacturers; investment in sectors such as agribusiness, infrastructure, tourism, energy and Mining is being promoted; Entrepreneurs and companies continue to arrive eager to invest in opportunities in Nicaragua.

COVID-19 AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION 2020

Given the Great Depression (economic crisis), there will be few countries in the developing world that are stable and with open economies, that is, without capital or profit flow controls. Thus, they will be able to attract foreign investment with solid opportunities. That is the case of Nicaragua in terms of tourism, renewable energy, mining and forestry. 

Tourism

In Nicaragua, as in the whole world, one of the economic sectors that has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic has been tourism, a sector that was already suffering the consequences of the failed coup of the year 2018. Upon exiting the Pandemic, all tourist countries will start from the same position of zero.

The recovery potential of the Nicaraguan tourism sector is great since several specialized media have been publishing, even in times of pandemic, articles highlighting important aspects of Nicaragua, such as the beauty of its colonial cities, extreme sports on the slopes of its volcanoes and the variety of its landscapes and ecosystems, as well as its high citizen security and low costs, which are some of its distinctive features. At the same time, the GRUN has been making significant investments in infrastructure that improve access and facilities in places of great tourist potential.

Renewable energy

Nicaragua is the country of lakes and volcanoes to which it is added that geographically it is located in the tropical region of the planet, affording our country a huge potential for the production of renewable energy from our natural resources, allowing the generation of photovoltaic, wind, geothermal and biomass energy. The National Electric Transmission Company (ENATREL) is executing new electric power projects in Nicaragua; at this time, they are working on the construction and expansion of 18 energy substations, this investment consists of 300 million dollars. 

This range of natural conditions that the country has to produce environmentally friendly electricity and foreign investment facilities has sparked the interest of investors to produce enough energy to export and sell it through the SIEPAC Network that connects all of Central America, from Guatemala to Panama. 

Mining 

Metal mining has been a traditional economic activity in Nicaragua, due to the recognized wealth of its gold and silver mines, but lately its potential in multimetal mines has also been recognized.

The installation of a metal refinery in the country would allow us to add national added value to mining exports, and even open the possibility of capturing ore from other countries in the area and processing it in Nicaragua.

Forestry 

It has been estimated that around 44% of the national territory (5.3 million hectares) is land with a pure forest vocation, while an additional 29% (3.5 million hectares) is land suitable for production under agroforestry or silvopastoral systems.

The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity has established a reforestation strategy, based on public efforts with different specific programs to recover protected areas, through forest plantations in degraded areas and on soils with a forest vocation.

Private forest plantations

In recent years, the private sector in Nicaragua has invested about $150 million dollars in the forestry sector, and several private companies continue to expand their investments in conditions that favor our country, given the situation of many precious wood species that were exploited in Southeast Asia, which is suffering from indiscriminate exploitation, since it is the lucrative business of the military leaders that govern various countries in that part of the world.

Currently the sector has a management area of ​​32,899 ha including its planted and conservation areas.

Sustainable agriculture and livestock

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the instability of industrial agricultural production. In contrast, agricultural activity in Nicaragua is fundamentally based on family production. According to data from the 2011 National Census of Agriculture (CENAGRO), 98% of producers and 90% of agricultural land can be characterized within family farming and contributes an estimated 60% of national agricultural GDP, mainly from the production of basic grains (corn, rice, beans and sorghum) and livestock. 

This is a strength inasmuch as, on the one hand, family systems do not require further hiring of labor outside the family unit, and, on the other, the marketing of their surpluses is easily carried out in local markets, and it does not depend on complex logistics.

On the other hand, it is possible to foresee that, once the COVID-19 pandemic has been overcome, consumer concern for food safety will increase significantly, and Nicaraguan agricultural production, except for some specific items that are produced in larger industrialized processes (for example, flood rice or sugar cane), are characterized by limited use of agro-toxic inputs.

What will be necessary would be to promote more decisively the sustainable intensification of livestock production, which would allow the producer to increase the animal load, freeing up grazing areas that could be used for reforestation and / or for the diversification of the farm from of agroforestry production.

Fishery and aquaculture

This productive potential is insufficiently exploited, mainly due to the lack of a national flag industrial fishing fleet, so the development potential of the industry is still very great. Due to its coastal lagoons on the Caribbean Coast, Nicaragua also has potential for aquaculture production.

Nicaragua has more than 10 thousand km2 of inland waters, including the 8,264 km2 of Lake Cocibolca and 1,025 km2 of Xolotlán, as well as some 90 coastal lagoons on the Caribbean coast, so its potential for aquaculture production is also great. There is already a shrimp aquaculture industry in Puerto Morazán, on the Gulf of Fonseca, which produced US$40.7 million in exports in 2018.

Posted in NicaraguaComments Off on The Strength of the Sandinista ModelBy: Nicaraguan government

Nicaragua Requests OAS Lift Sanctions Due to COVID Crisis

Luis Alvarado, Nicaragua representative to OAS

The Nicaragua representative affirmed that the hostile policies only lead to conflict and interferes with the nation’s self-determination, security, and freedom.

Nicaragua’s representative to the Organization of American States (OAS)  demanded on May 11 that sanctions cease against Cuba, Venezuela, and his nation. 

RELATED: Nicaragua: VP Rosario Murillo Grateful for UNICEF Donation

Nicaraguan diplomat Luis Alvarado participated in the first session of the Weekly Forum on the Challenges Facing Inter-American Law in the Time of the Coronavirus.  He referred to COVID-19’s social and economic worldwide impact. Alvarado stated solidarity and cooperation are paramount to cope with sequels of this health crisis.

The Nicaragua representative affirmed that the hostile policies only lead to conflict and interferes with the nation’s self-determination, security, and freedom. Alvarado also affirmed all states have legal equality. 

“It is unacceptable that in these times of pandemic the wrongly imposed sanctions, economic blockades, and protectionist practices and human rights violations remain against peoples and nations of the world by the great powers,” he insisted.

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Alvarado called for Inter-American Law principles’ respect in public policies. Besides, he stressed these strategies should aim for people’s life, health, security, and integrity preservation.

“Respect for the principles and norms of international law is unavoidable, while at the same time international peace and security are endangered, which is why these acts of aggression and breaches of the peace must be eliminated once and for all,”  he demanded.

The OAS, headquartered in Washington, has imposed hostile policies towards Cuba, which is the only Latin American state excluded from its membership. Furthermore, the organization supported Juan Guaido’s self-proclamation as Venezuela president against Nicolas Maduro’s constitutional presidency and have imposed economic sanctions on Nicaragua. 

Posted in NicaraguaComments Off on Nicaragua Requests OAS Lift Sanctions Due to COVID Crisis

Why the West Hates Sandinista Nicaragua

By: Stephen Sefton

As of Monday there are 10 confirmed cases and two deaths.
  • As of Monday there are 10 confirmed cases and two deaths. | Photo: EFE

In Nicaragua’s case, Western media and NGOs have comprehensively distorted and repeatedly lied about the country’s extraordinary achievement of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nicaragua’s success in containing the COVID-19 virus makes the failure of the U.S. and its allied countries look pathetic. The country’s low numbers of nine confirmed cases to date and just two fatalities categorically vindicate the policies of its Sandinista government led by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo.

RELATED: Nicaragua and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The same is true of other revolutionary and socialist governments around the world. Cuba has given a shining example of global leadership and solidarity. Most notably elsewhere Venezuela, Vietnam and India’s state of Kerala have also implemented diverse but successful policies containing the pandemic.

But in North America and Europe, the success in addressing COVID-19 of these impoverished socialist countries, even when under attack from the U.S. and the European Union, like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, has been suppressed.

In Nicaragua’s case, Western media and NGOs have comprehensively distorted and repeatedly lied about the country’s Sandinista government’s extraordinary achievement in comparison with other countries in the region, let alone the damning contrast with the catastrophic situation in North America and Western Europe. Many reasons contribute to that reality, both contemporary and historical.

However, one reason is fundamental. The Western liberals and progressives who generally control information and communications in North America and Europe cannot acknowledge the success of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government without conceding their own monstrous cynicism and hypocrisy.

In general, ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they have effectively colluded with corporate capitalism and its neoliberal political sales team. At best, they have beseeched minor tweaks and adjustments to the worst capitalist excesses in their own countries to mitigate somewhat all the injustice and suffering at home.

But overseas they have colluded in coups, wars and genocidal sanctions targeting peoples with independent governments. They have effectively abandoned victims of their allies, like the Palestinians or vulnerable populations in the Congo.

Western liberals and progressives in communications media and NGOs could hardly be more comfortable with the fascist union of corporate and State power currently controlling the U.S., Canada, and the European Union. So it has been perfectly natural for these Western liberals and progressives effectively to support, for example, nazi inspired extremists in Ukraine, fanatical pseudo-religious terrorists in Libya and Syria and the extreme right-wing and allied forces in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

One of the effects of that support is that there’s no going back. Nicaragua’s success in addressing the COIVD-19 pandemic is irrefutable. But Western liberals and progressives cannot admit that because doing so would contradict the lies and fabrications of the right-wing and allied forces they support.

RELATED: US Imperialism in Nicaragua and the Making of Sandino

Finally admitting that their right-wing allies are lying frauds would mean radically questioning their version of the violent failed coup attempt of 2018 or the absurd claim ever since President Ortega took office in 2007 that Nicaragua is a dictatorship. Nicaragua is just one example of how Western liberals and progressives find themselves suffocating in a miasma of thoughtless prejudice, moral cowardice, and cynical hypocrisy, making an honest appraisal of their own moral and political contradictions impossible.

That is largely why the next U.S. President will be yet another demented bellicose tool of the U.S. plutocracy and why the European Union will survive ever more clearly as a similarly dysfunctional tool of U.S. and European oligarchs. Hope that the current crisis will lead to a safer, a more humane multipolar world is almost certainly misplaced.

Daniel Ortega’s recent call for better health care instead of more military spending, for a focus on human solidarity rather than capitalist greed, is unanswerable. His government’s patient, practical, prudent but also brilliant example in this crisis is irrefutable. That is why the Western ruling elites and the politicians, media, and NGOs they own have responded with yet more lies, falsehoods, evasions, and threats. They all hate Sandinista Nicaragua because they cannot stand so much Truth and Light.

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UNHCR Lies About Nicaragua – Standard Western Reporting

By Stephen Sefton

Global Research,

On March 10th this year, the UNHCR made the entirely false claim that 77,000 Nicaraguans are currently seeking refugee status in Costa Rica. That claim is a downright lie. Despite the mercenary opportunism of the Costa Rican government, which has received over US$600m to assist alleged political refugees from Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s own migration statistics give a very different account.

At the end of 2017, Costa Rican migration statistics put the number of Nicaraguans already resident in Costa Rica at 339,495. Net migration to Costa Rica from Nicaragua for 2018  and 2019 added another 33254. Nicaraguans entering Costa Rica undocumented do not enter the country’s migratory statistics. Nicaraguans requesting asylum do. The UNHCR cannot weasel out of its false claim by dodging behind undocumented Nicaraguan migrants.

A recent Costa Rican government report stated that at the end of 2019 around 31500 Nicaraguans were seeking asylum. While some data is available for the number of asylum requests granted to Nicaraguans, just 6 out of 23,063 in 2018, data is incomplete for 2019, although Nicaragua’s anti-government news outlet La Prensa reported 18 asylum requests had been approved as of May 2019. The number of requests denied also seems to be unavailable. So putting together a complete picture to date is difficult.

Even so, on official, publicly available data  the UNHCR has no basis, except perhaps false propaganda from the country’s coup promoting opposition, to portray Nicaragua as a country from which tens of thousands of people have fled to Costa Rica to escape violent persecution. Costa Rica’s own migration statistics confirm the reality misrepresented by the UNHCR and bear out the long-standing historical context of economic migration between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Likewise, the Costa Rican government has itself acknowledged that most Nicaraguans claiming asylum do so for economic reasons.Nicaragua and the Corruption, Co-optation of Human Rights

The statistics show that migration from Nicaragua to Costa Rica actually fell during and after the period of the violent failed coup attempt in Nicaragua. Whereas, if opposition claims of mass repression were true, it should have increased. Costa Rica’s data for asylum requests granted also show up the false claims of persecution by opposition activists. During 2018, the Costa Rican authorities approved just 6 applications from the 23,062 Nicaraguans who applied to the Costa Rican authorities for refugee status. By contrast, that same year Costa Rica approved 107 of the 1066 applications it received for refugee status from Salvadorans.

The reason Costa Rica’s immigration authorities granted less than 1% of all those 23,062 asylum requests from Nicaraguans in 2018 is because the overwhelming majority of those applications were phony. Costa Rica granted significantly more asylum requests to Salvadorans because, in the aftermath of the coup attempt in Nicaragua between April and July 2018,  the situation in El Salvador was incomparably more dangerous. The great majority of opposition activists in fact fled Nicaragua quite rightly fearing arrest for the very serious crimes they committed during the violent failed coup attempt of 2018.

Apart from the UNHCR’s false report on the situation of Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, some genuine reporting by veteran Swedish journalist Dick Emanuelsson has also exposed the UNHCR’s duplicity with regard to Nicaraguan opposition activists in Honduras. There, Emanuelsson interviewed the UNHCR representative who rejected claims that the UNHCR was involved in establishing infrastructure for the often violent members of Nicaragua’s political opposition along the Honduran border with Nicaragua. Subsequently, Emanuelsson report cites the representative of a local UNHCR partner organization working along the Honduran border with Nicaragua who admitted organizing exactly that kind of shelter and support.

This level of duplicity has come to be routine for organizations and institutions coopted one way or another by Western corporate funding or governmental intervention. The examples involving the UNHCR in Costa Rica and Honduras seeking to damage Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, while nothing new, are not for that reason less scandalous and disturbing. The fundamental point is that no genuine reporter doing due diligence and checking their facts in good faith can trust the blatant disinformation spread by institutions like the UNHCR or similar bodies like missions of the Organization of American States.

Most people in North America and Europe continue to trust international human rights and humanitarian institutions despite their now proven chronic inability to report fairly and accurately. That has long been true of human rights NGOs like Amnesty International, The International Federation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch. But extremely egregious misrepresentations and omissions have also come to characterize reporting by many multilateral institutions. They have been coopted by Western governments so as to manipulate crises around the world from Syria to Ukraine to Mali to Venezuela. Cynical manipulation of data and events has become the norm rather than the exception.

In Latin America, events over the last decade have categorically demonstrated the collapse in  institutional integrity and independence of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the UN High Commission for Refugees. This has been especially true with regard to the double standards applied , for example, between reporting on Bolivia before, during and after the military coup, on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and the quite different reporting standards applied to countries like Haiti, Honduras Colombia, Ecuador and Chile.

In countries with progressive governments right-wing opposition falsehoods are generally glibly taken as unquestionably true. But in right-wing dominated countries legitimate progressive opposition claims are subjected to meticulous, usually disingenuous and often dismissive  scrutiny.  Even so, practically all Western news outlets invariably publish such information without question. They do so because they long ago gave up genuine news reporting in favour of imperialist psychological warfare.

Reporting of the UNHCR’s misrepresentation of the situation of Nicaraguans in Costa Rica confirms this. Basic fact checking shows the UNHCR claim of a very serious humanitarian crisis of Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica is a lie. The only serious crisis in Costa Rica involving migrants from Nicaragua is the crisis of integrity in the UNHCR.

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Will Policy of Destabilizing Latin American Countries Help Trump to be Re-Elected?

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

As the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election campaign heats up, there is every chance that Donald Trump can become a one-term president as the popularity of Bernie Sanders increases despite the sabotage within his own Democrat Party against him. There still remains a strong possibility that Sanders can become the next president sitting in the White House. Sanders continues to grow mass appeal, with former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon even conceding last month that the Democrat candidate is a “populist,” even if it is different to that of Trump’s. Sanders appeals to the impoverished by directing the frustrations of Middle America to the ultrarich who are fighting tooth and nail to bring the U.S. to Western standards by providing free education and healthcare. This is in contrasts to Trump’s populism which redirects anger of Middle America’s increasing impoverishment to the so-called immigrant “invasion” coming from Latin America.

One of Trump’s main platforms for his seemingly ‘unlikely’ election win, as many so-called experts thought of it back in 2016, was to build a wall traversing the border between the U.S. and Mexico to make it even more difficult for illegal immigrants to enter the North American country. All the slurs and accusations of racism were not able to subdue Trump’s fever as many in Middle America believed they finally found a candidate that spoke their language, addressed their issues and provided a solution to the so-called problem of illegal immigrants “invading” their country. Trump of course knows that illegal immigrants are not the reason for the U.S. problems of de-industrialization, lack of job opportunities, unaffordability and poverty – but it was this rhetoric that projected him into what was an unexpected win for the presidency against Hillary Clinton.

With Sanders speaking of a new populism, not based on a so-called invasion from immigrants, but actually addressing the real issues of the U.S. political and economic system, it is likely that Trump will resort back to the fear of Latin American illegal immigrants to project him to the presidency. This of course may not be necessary in the likely case that the Democrats ignore the popularity of Sanders to go for a Hillary Clinton-like hack and establishment pawn like Joe Biden who will prove unpopular against Trump. None-the-less, Trump will not take chances and will begin using the refugee card, frightening U.S. voters with the threat of new flows coming from Venezuela, Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico and other countries.Trump’s Win Wasn’t Ideological. It Was Brilliant

Meanwhile the world’s focus right now is on the Greek-Turkish border where tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are trying to enter Greece on the orders of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with a high level of international solidarity going to the European country. However, there are stark differences between the migration crisis between the U.S. and Greece. Greece is an impoverished post-colonial country that was under Turkish occupation for over 400 years and does not have the means to support such large numbers.

Nor is Greece the reason for this migrant crisis as it had not invaded Afghanistan, where the majority of illegal migrants come from despite the incorrect reporting that they are Syrian, nor did Greece invade or apply economic sanctions on Pakistan, Iran, North Africa and Syria where the other illegal migrants are from. In the case of Latin America though, the U.S. is the key country in destabilizing the region and therefore has a responsibility to attend to the refugees that itself created. Although many in Middle America are impoverished, this is a result of their own leaderships economic policies, and rather the U.S. is the world’s richest country and has the means and capabilities of dealing with Latin American migrants it creates.

Non-the-less, as the so-called “invasion” of illegal immigrants has drastically decreased, Trump will be wanting to desperately destabilize Latin American countries to create an atmosphere of fear in the U.S. ahead of the presidential election to show voters that he is their only and sole defender whom they must elect in order to secure their future and safety. It worked in 2016 and he will be betting for it to work again later this year. Trump has already mentioned he has some kind of intentions of doing this during an address to the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit only yesterday.

“We’re with Venezuela all the way, and we’re doing a lot, and we have a lot planned,” said Trump, adding that

“the tragedy in Venezuela is a reminder that socialism and communism bring misery and heartache everywhere they’re tried,” prompting a cry of “gracias” from a member of the audience.

Trump has consistently applied devastating sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to force the removal of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and in support of wannabe president Juan Guaidó.

However, these sanctions have had such a devastating effect on the Venezuelan economy that it has prompted many people from the country to seek a better life in the U.S. Trump has not hidden away from the fact that he has “a lot planned” for Venezuela, which only guarantees further misery in the country. Unlike Greece, the U.S. prompts illegal migration by destroying the very countries that these people come from. Not only does this destruction serve U.S. corporate interests in these countries, it will also serve Trump’s re-election campaign as there is a strong likelihood that a new immigration crisis will appear at the borders between Mexico and the U.S.

Posted in USA, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, C.I.A, CUBA, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, PeruComments Off on Will Policy of Destabilizing Latin American Countries Help Trump to be Re-Elected?

From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

By Global Research New

Video: Syrian Armed Forces Teach ‘2nd Strongest NATO Army’ Painful Lesson in Idlib

By South Front,

Units of the Russian Military Police entered the town of Saraqib in eastern Idlib following the second liberation of the town from al-Qaeda terrorists and Turkish forces. According to the Russian military, the deployment took place at 5:00pm local time on March 2 and was intended to provide security and allow traffic through the M4 and M5 highways. In fact, the Russians came to put an end to Turkish attempts to capture the town and cut off the M5 highway in this area.

From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

By Elson Concepción Pérez,

The latest threat to Venezuela of a possible military intervention, the recent coup in Bolivia under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS), the tightening of the blockade of Cuba, destabilization in Nicaragua, and open interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region, where democratic governments have set the standards for development and sovereignty, do not come as a surprise.

The US-Taliban ‘Peace Deal’? Imperial State Criminality and Terrorism, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and “Restorative Justice”

By Junaid S. Ahmad,

The US/NATO war and occupation of Afghanistan offers a glaring case of what US Senator Fulbright (yes, the one who started the Fulbright program of scholarships and exchanges) called the ‘arrogance of power’ (of his country), his book being of the same title. The wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, with a war machine on steroids, invading and occupying for nearly two decades one of the poorest countries on the planet – and one which had already undergone two decades of uninterrupted internecine war in the prior two decades.

Keep It Simple and Question: Propaganda, Technology, and Coronavirus COVID-19

By Edward Curtin,

Two of the major problems the world faces – world destruction with nuclear weapons and the poisoning of the earth’s ecology and atmosphere – are the result of the marriage of science and technique that has given birth to the technological “babies” (Little Boy and Fat Man) that were used by the U.S. to massacre hundreds of thousands of Japanese and now threaten to incinerate everyone, and the chemical and toxic inventions that have despoiled the earth, air, and water and continue to kill people worldwide through America’s endless war-making and industrial applications.

Turkey in Syria: Down a Blind Alley in an Unwinnable War?

By Tony Cartalucci,

Turkey had been making some promising steps in the right direction since Washington’s disastrous proxy regime-change war in Syria began unraveling – yet it still maintains a problematic position inside Syrian territory, backing what are unequivocally terrorists and obstructing Syria’s sovereign right to recover and restore order within its own borders.

The latest and most dangerous manifestation of this untenable policy is the increasingly frequent and fierce clashes between Turkish forces occupying Syrian territory and Syrian forces themselves moving deeper into the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

Neoliberal Globalization Is Pushing Humanity “Towards the Edge”

By Shane Quinn,

There have been a number of harmful consequences as a result of the neoliberal era, which emerged in the late 1970s, taking off during the tenures of Ronald Reagan (US president, 1981-1989) and Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister, 1979-1990). There has been an explosion of private power, splintering of societies, destabilization of the financial system, and so on.

Neoliberal globalization has been an important factor too in political parties shifting further to the right, and succumbing to the power of increasingly dominant multinational corporations. This is most notable in America where the Republican Party (or organization) has moved so far off the spectrum that traditional republicans from previous decades would hardly recognize it today.

Why Are Stocks Crashing?

By Mike Whitney,

Uncertainty. It’s impossible for investors to gauge the economic impact of the rapidly-spreading coronavirus or its effect on stock prices. Investors buy stocks with the expectation that their investment will grow over time. In periods of crisis, when the environment becomes unfamiliar and opaque, expectations are crushed under the weigh of uncertainty. When expectations dampen, investors sell.

Posted in USA, Brazil, CUBA, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Peru, Puerto Rico, South America, VenezuelaComments Off on From Monroe to Trump. US Sponsored Military Coups in Latin America

The U.S. Attempted 2018 Coup against Nicaragua ‘Video’

Nicaragua: The April 2018 Crisis and Beyond. Full length Documentary by Dan Kovalik

By Daniel Kovalik

Global Research,

Watch this full length documentary by Dan Kovalik

Daniel Kovalik is an American lawyer and Human Rights advocate who’s followed Nicaragua’s politics for the last four decades.

20 months after what was called the “April Crisis” he goes to Nicaragua to understand what really happened.

“Kovalik helps cut through the Orwellian lies and dissembling which make so-called ‘humanitarian intervention possible.”  Oliver Stone

Australia’s Naval Base in Papua New Guinea: Power Play in the South Pacific against China

Posted in USA, C.I.A, NicaraguaComments Off on The U.S. Attempted 2018 Coup against Nicaragua ‘Video’

Nicaragua: Amnesty’s travesty of hypocrisy

Another shameful report from those who peddle ‘human rights’ lies to justify imperialist war.

Proletarian writers

President Daniel Ortega during the commemoration of the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

With the facade of a ‘human rights’ group – and with the deeds of a well-funded imperialist propaganda machine – Amnesty International (AI) has waged a three-year smear campaign against Nicaragua and its progressive leadership of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) under President Daniel Ortega.

For decades, imperialism has manufactured public consent for its rapacious foreign aggressions by rebranding it as ‘humanitarian intervention’, justified by the spurious reports of a ‘human rights’ industry spearheaded by outfits such as Amnesty.

These reports deliberately gloss over (at best) or outright ignore (more usually) any serious consideration of the context or historical conditions that give rise to the contemporary actions of governments that are targeted for overthrow by imperialism.

Take China, for instance. AI gingerly glosses over China’s very real reasons for needing to supress such organisations as the new-age (and pro-imperialist) cult Falun Gong. Amnesty deliberately leaves out any mention of the US military bases stationed all over Asia in countries such as south (US occupied) Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, all of which are packed with missiles aimed at China and the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Falun Gong cult has been known to collude with the very US imperialism menacing Asia. (China 2017/18, Amnesty International)

It is bizarre to suggest that AI, with its army of legal experts and activists, left out such vital context, which would explain China’s apparent ‘human rights violations’, for any other reason than rank dishonesty. What’s more, given Amnesty’s official broadening of its horizon to include the policy of “pushing for stronger legal frameworks to protect economic, social and cultural rights” (as well as ‘human’ ones), an honest appraisal ought to lead the organisation to applaud China as a world leader in the field.

As JV Stalin (a leader who did more to guarantee the human rights of workers all over the world than almost any other) once said: “It is difficult for me to imagine what ‘personal liberty’ is enjoyed by an unemployed hungry person. True freedom can only be where there is no exploitation and oppression of one person by another; where there is not unemployment, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his job, his home and his bread. Only in such a society personal and any other freedom can exist for real and not on paper.” (Interview with Roy Howard, 1 March 1936)

Sadly, China’s escalation of literacy to over 99 percent, lifting 850 million people out of poverty, and raising life expectancy to 76 years are all absent from Amnesty’s report. The organisation would do well to revisit its own goals and the wise words of Stalin, one of the world’s greatest defenders of human rights. This clear bias in Amnesty’s report demonstrates its complicity to imperialist aggression.

Meanwhile, in Latin America, Amnesty has been working for the last three years and more to undermine the popular anti-imperialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua just as it is undermining the anti-imperialist leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

Even during the Sandinista revolution, Amnesty proved itself to be a mouthpiece of US empire. For instance, it was more concerned to voice concerns about the rights of Luis Mora, an operative for the US-backed fascist militia, the Contras, than for his 30,000 dead victims.

Such a case of bias not only exposes Amnesty’s role in prettifying western imperialism, but also contradicts one of its newly adopted policies: a pledge made by 2001 “to be more effective in combating human rights abuses by a diverse range of non-state actors”. (Human Rights for Human Dignity, Amnesty International, 2014 and Why Does AI Refuse to Listen to Criticism About its Work?, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group, November 2019)

The economic development of Nicaraguan society has for decades now been impeded by the US imperialists, who have waged a protracted campaign of economic sanctions and backed fascistic Contra rebels to crush the popular government. Logic therefore compels us to conclude that the primary abusers of Nicaraguan human rights reside in Washington.

The way for Nicaragua to overcome imperialist economic and military aggression is through closer economic cooperation with other governments on the frontline of the anti-imperialist struggle. In this regard, the plans to build a new inter-oceanic canal that would break the monopoly currently held by the US-controlled Panama canal is a most welcome development. However, Amnesty has proven, yet again, to be sworn enemies of the genuine development of oppressed nations and the real liberation of their peoples.

Amnesty has criticised the canal’s construction as a project that would ‘divide the country in two’ and sell Nicaragua’s future to the Chinese. These spurious objections fly in the face of the experience of many oppressed nations – particularly in Africa – that has benefitted from Chinese help in developing their infrastructure and strengthening their independence from imperialist control.

As well as highlighting Amnesty’s opposition to any development that takes place outside of the imperialist-backed NGO/IMF and World Bank framework, the report goes on to advocate the disarmament of the oppressed nations – to the sole benefit of the oppressors.

In the wake of a storm of violent imperialist-backed demonstrations against the Sandinista government last year (not unlike the demonstrations that paved the way to the overthrow of Bolivia’s progressive anti-imperialist government and the installation of a fascist dictatorship in its place), Amnesty condemns what it calls the Nicaraguan government’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy – that is, the government’s will to defend its people and their revolutionary gains from terroristic acts by the far-right.

This is yet another example of Amnesty’s failure to make any serious acknowledgement of the context of a government’s actions, and its preferential treatment of fascist terrorists acting in the interests of US imperialism.

A report from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group (NSCAG) titled Dismissing the Truth highlighted key lies in Amnesty’s report on the Sandinista government’s alleged ‘persecution’ of opposition groups, which described these violent provocateurs as gentle pacifists:

“The city of Masaya was the subject of armed siege by opposition forces for several weeks. AI claims that the government, in ending this siege, used indiscriminate and lethal force and pro-government armed forces. The report explains how, given the failure of peace negotiations, the police were obliged to use armed force to free Masaya from heavily-armed actors who had declared their ‘independence’ from the national government.

“Amnesty International wrongly asserts that a police officer killed during the violence was the subject of a possible ‘extrajudicial execution’ by the government for deserting his post. In fact, he was killed by opposition sniper fire, along with a colleague, while carrying out his duties.

“Other cases of alleged ‘extrajudicial execution’ or ‘arbitrary detention’ cited by AI can be shown either to be false or to present conflicting evidence. In each case, AI virtually ignores any evidence that contradicts their pre-existing beliefs about the situation.” (26 February 2019)

The report also highlighted the systematic errors in Amnesty’s report regarding the police officer mentioned above:

“AI is supposed to abide by the so-called Huridocs (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems) research standards, but fails to compare information from what are self-avowedly opposition sources with evidence from elsewhere, for example the national assembly’s truth commission or the government’s office of the procurator for the defence of human rights.

“AI appears to treat murders of Sandinista victims such as in the Morrito massacre (where four police were killed and nine kidnapped) as a matter of domestic law, but then AI attacks the government for applying the law and creating ‘political’ prisoners of the perpetrators.

“Despite its declared intentions, AI appears to hide behind a legally anachronistic and incorrect insistence that only governments can commit human rights abuses. Yet UN security council and general assembly resolutions over the last 20 years have repeatedly insisted on the human rights obligations of armed non-state actors.”

The NSCAG concludes its report on the Faber Lopez incident (the name of the police officer in question) with a damning condemnation of Amnesty. “AI’s account was not only wrong but maligned the bravery of a fallen police officer and, in effect, portrayed him as a coward. AI has never retracted or apologised for this gross error on their part despite direct efforts to get them to do so.”

An irreducible pillar of the communist antiwar policy is to challenge the lies and pro-war propaganda that is sold to the masses lock stock and barrel by the corporate ‘mainstream’ media. Such media depend heavily on the ‘human rights’ industrial complex to manufacture public consent for imperialist aggression and full-spectrum dominance over oppressed countries.

All genuine antiwar activists must work with and promote the work of genuine solidarity campaign groups worldwide in combating and challenging the grossly misnamed ‘human rights’ industry, especially the shamelessly deceitful organisation that is Amnesty International.

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Nicaragua and Western Progressive Opinion

By: Stephen Sefton

A supporter of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega takes part in an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, in Managua
  • A supporter of Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega takes part in an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, in Managua | Photo: Reuters

There has always been significant neocolonial left-wing opinion in North America and Europe, willingly misled by supposedly liberal or progressive news media.

Progressives in Europe and North America attacking Nicaragua’s Sandinista government consistently exclude from their version of events in 2018 the extreme, sadistic violence and economic hardship imposed on Nicaragua’s people by the country’s U.S.-supported political opposition. The demonstrable facts of the failed attempt to overthrow President Ortega stubbornly contradict the outright lies and misrepresentations promoted by the Nicaraguan opposition’s foreign supporters.

Consequently, Western progressives opposed to President Ortega’s government face various intractable dilemmas as they try in vain to distance themselves from the country’s U.S.-owned right-wing political opposition, suppressing the fact that the center-right MRS party, whose propaganda they promote, lobbied for support from extreme right-wing U.S. Congress members Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros Lehtinen. In Ireland, the latest ploy by progressives to cover up their association with Nicaragua’s right-wing has been to revive the long moribund Irish Nicaragua Solidarity Group.

RELATED: 40th Anniversary of the Sandinista Victory—But So Much More

In this context, the solidarity tag invokes the phony, US-driven, anti-monster hyperbole familiar from NATO government and media propaganda against, among others, Syria and Venezuela, rather than anti-imperialist support for governments and peoples resisting the U.S. and allied country sanctions and threats of intervention. This political alignment immediately compounds the initial dilemma facing Western supporters of the Nicaraguan opposition. Their recycling of falsehoods and misrepresentations promoted by Nicaragua’s right-wing opposition is further exposed by the lack of anyone to show solidarity within Nicaragua untainted by their association with that same US-owned right wing. Essentially, their dilemma derives from class loyalties leading them naturally to support their class counterparts in Nicaragua: unrepresentative NGO managers, marginal phony revolutionaries, minority social democrat politicians and their associated media. 

In Nicaragua, there is no credible left-wing opposition to President Ortega’s Sandinista government outside the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN). The authoritative M&R opinion polling consultants’ survey of May this year showed that the main opposition political parties, all of whom are right-wing, together have the same level of national support they had consistently between 2011 and 2018, namely under 10%. No political left-wing with significant support exists. Implicitly recognizing this, North American and European progressives tend to argue that, absent any representative left-wing political party, they support purportedly progressive social movements opposed to the government. But a look at the role of those social movements’ in last year’s failed coup attempt reveals that they have zero claims to a progressive program with majority support.

The main participants in the failed coup attempt were: the US government supported the Sandinista Renewal Movement, along with ex-Sandinista allies like Monica Baltodano and her circle; the most reactionary Catholic Church bishops; the main private employers organization COSEP; US and EU country-funded NGOs; the foreign-funded Anti Canal Movement and the extreme right-wing Ciudadanos por la Libertad political party as well as individual local politicians, mayors for example, from the other right-wing political parties. The coup attempt was stridently supported by U.S. government-funded media oligarch Carlos Fernando Chamorro and other sympathetic right-wing media. 

Given the unprecedented psychological warfare assault, a large number of Nicaraguan students understandably initially supported the coup. But the great majority of public university students realized within a couple of weeks that the coup attempt was in fact a class war against them and their families. That was made very clear when Nicaragua’s wealthiest business leader Piero Coen, on Saturday, April 21, 2018, publicly declared his support, urging demonstrators to continue their violent protests. 

The class attack on low-income students and their families intensified with the violent, criminal occupation of the UNAN and UPOLI, universities serving students from low-income families while private universities were left untouched, and by the opposition’s attempted murder of student leader Leonel Morales because he opposed the coup attempt. Most private university students supported the opposition violence at arms’ length, so long as they were not directly affected. Likewise, opposition feminist NGO leaders, with practically no social base, openly worked in alliance with the most reactionary anti-abortion Catholic bishops, with the wealthy private business leaders of COSEP as well as with well-known right-wing politicians.

On the other hand, women opposing the coup attempt included the huge mass membership of women in the country’s labor unions, cooperative movement and popular economy organizations. Women now comprise around 45% of all cooperative members (112,000 out of 253,000 in 2014), compared to just 26% in 2006. This and similar facts, like Nicaragua’s leading global example in women’s political representation or the halving of maternal mortality since 2006, attest to the unprecedented advances of women in Nicaragua since 2006, a process led by the FSLN, guided in particular by Vice President Rosario Murillo. Those advances contradict attacks on the government by unrepresentative feminist NGO leaders, including beneficiaries of US government funding like Sofia Montenegro and Violeta Granera, and other marginal figures, like Sandra Ramos or Azahalea Solis.

After the violent events of April 18th-April 23rd, involving well organized, extremely violent armed opposition attacks in at least ten important towns and cities, including Managua, Masaya, Leon, Granada, Jinotepe, Diriamba, Estelí and Bluefields, resistance to the attempted overthrow of the government quickly consolidated.

It included all the main labor unions; all the main cooperative organizations; all the main organizations representing small and medium-sized businesses; the nationwide Association of Rural Workers which is a member of Via Campesina; the main students’ union and, too, the Senior Citizens Union. On the Caribbean Coast, most indigenous and afrodescendant organizations supported the government. That reality further compounds the dilemma facing foreign progressives opposed to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, because it renders absolutely clear the class war embodied in the failed coup attempt of 2018.

Ex-Sandinistas like Henry Ruiz and Monica Baltodano openly allied with the private big business owners of COSEP, with the most reactionary Catholic bishops, with US-funded proxies like Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Sofia Montenegro, among a host of other foreign government-funded figures, including CENIDH’s Vilma Nuñez. Monica Baltodano herself was a deputy for the center-right Sandinista Renewal Movement from 2007 to 2011 and consistently voted with Nicaragua’s right-wing political parties in the National Assembly.

More recently, she and her daughter Monica López have championed the Anti-Canal Movement, which has a limited rural base in Nicaragua’s central southern farming region and is most associated with Francisca Ramirez, a landowner and businesswoman from Nueva Guinea who poses misleadingly as a simple Campesina. They have worked closely with Nicaragua’s right-wing for years, for example with the right-wing media owner and former presidential candidate Fabio Gadea.

Not one of these so-called civil society leaders condemned the violence perpetrated by their militant supporters and paid delinquents at the numerous barricades and roadblocks set up in part to try and paralyze the country’s economic life and in part to terrorize people at grassroots.

To the contrary, they encouraged it and suppressed the truth of incidents such as the massacre of four police officers and a school teacher in El Morrito on July 12, 2018 carried out by Anti Canal Movement militants operating roadblocks under the leadership of Medardo Mairena. Vilma Nuñez’s CENIDH activists violently invaded the UNAN campus and persistently broadcast systematic lies accusing the police and security forces of extremely serious crimes now proven categorically to have been committed by the opposition, for example, the family notoriously burned to death in Managua’s Carlos Marx district on June 16, 2018.

All of this means that people in Ireland or anywhere else in North America and Europe expressing solidarity with the political opposition to President Daniel Ortega are supporting organizations and individuals allied with extreme right-wing politicians, with corporate capitalist business leaders, with local US-funded NGO mercenaries and with the most reactionary representatives of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

No other political opposition exists, either among Nicaragua’s social movements or its political organizations. The M&R May 2019 poll results categorically confirm the lack of public support for Nicaragua’s opposition. Even back in September 2018, only 28% of people in Nicaragua wanted to continue protests via barricades and roadblocks. By May 2019 that figure had dropped to 10%, with 32% of people in Nicaragua opposing President Ortega and 59% supporting him and his government. 

The dilemmas facing Western opponents of President Ortega’s Sandinista government have led them into completely demented cognitive dissonance. Progressive foreign opponents of President Ortega simultaneously say they oppose US intervention while supporting a Nicaraguan opposition calling precisely for….U.S. intervention and sanctions. They claim to be anti-imperialist while contradicting explicit support for Nicaragua’s FSLN government from the most important anti-imperialist mass political front in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Foro Sao Paulo. They claim to be democratic while deliberately omitting and suppressing abundant information available within Nicaragua that would allow the general public in North America and Europe a true and fair view explaining President Ortega’s majority support. 

These attitudes and behavior are nothing new. There has always been significant neocolonial left-wing opinion in North America and Europe, willingly misled by supposedly liberal or progressive news media and disingenuous NGOs like Amnesty International. But for the last thirty years, the same lies and psy-warfare motifs have been constantly repeated to the point where there is no excuse to fall for them yet again. As in the case of Venezuela, Syria or Iran, most Western progressives readily attack majority world governments and movements legitimately defending their national sovereignty. Nicaragua is another example of this kind of neocolonial injustice promoted by Western progressives colluding with the self-same imperialist policies they falsely claim to oppose.

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