The Obsession with and Lies about NICARAGUA

December 17, 2018

The intense focus on the “ills” of Nicaragua completely misses the deep issues of continued US intervention – imperial neocolonialism – into the sovereign lives of other countries, as here with Nicaragua. Whether you love or hate Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, their personalities and personal lives are not the issue, whatsoever.

For US Americans to be so closely scrutinizing clearly the most progressive government in Central America, ignoring the new US friendly but unpopular president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the systematic violence in the streets of El Salvador which is directly related to the US funded death squad governments of the 1980s; the repressive and illegal President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez; and the repressive and corrupt government of Guatemala under President Jimmy Morales, is very interesting, and disturbing.

The elaborate, well-planned conspiracy behind the April-July 2018 US-orchestrated coup attempt against Nicaragua, included most of the church hierarchy, many wealthy ex-Somocistas, many NGOs including the European-funded CENIDH, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, and a couple thousand young Nicaraguans trained over 4 years in the use of social media to blitzkrieg an agenda-loaded propaganda campaign when the right opportunity arose. It had been in the works since at least 2011 when Nicaraguan Felix Maradiaga teamed up with Colombian narco-trafficker Julio Cesar Paz Varela to develop a drug distribution network in Nicaragua, many of the proceeds of which were to be devoted to overthrow the Sandinista government.

The facts are that the few NGOs (of over 4,000 NGOs in the country) who have recently been curtailed by the Nicaraguangovernment, is because of their support of various criminal activities designed to overthrow the government. Their accountability to the law was long overdue. The same goes for several TV stations (funded largely by NED), the internet news outlet Confidencial (funded by the NED), and La Prensa (funded by NED) which have openly supported opposition “terrorist” activities (yes, that is correct), something that would never be tolerated in the US or in virtually any country. Many of the hundreds participating in dozens of murders, arsons, destruction of buildings, tortures, and destruction of equipment (including over 50 ambulances), etc., committed by Opposition members, are fortunately now on trial or in jail. Over 200 fugitives remain in Costa Rica.

It is also ironical, that those people in the US who are so condemnatory of the Nicaraguan government, remain comfortably removed from the terror campaign, April-July, which was awful as I can attest as a resident, while I was forced to read and view, with rage and anger, the spew of scripted lies days after day on social media, and major media outlets, not based on any actual investigative reporting. Ironic, because the US is one of the most oligarchic, non-democratic countries on the planet, and its citizens possess no legal or moral authority to judge others. The US possesses the largest prison per capita population in the world, with 80,000 of prisoners in solitary confinement; it produces the most waste and pollution; it has military troops in 150 countries, and war  planes and ships everywhere; it is the wholesale terrorist force on the Planet; it has on average 3 citizens a day murdered by US police; it has a president who has been accused by over 15 women of sexual misconduct/assault, a president who lies multiple times each day; it is a country where student debt keeps graduates in a kind of servitude for life to the banks; it has thousands of homeless living in tents and abandoned cars in virtually every city; it is a country without accessible health care for millions of its citizens; etc. It has a political election process unreliable due to systematic voter suppression, gerrymandered Congressional districts every ten years, privatization of the voter counting process, while the process itself is literally owned by the millions and billions of dollars of the rich and mighty, headed by the military industrial complex that makes obscene profits on intervening everywhere.

So, Nicaragua is an easy center of focus. If any one of us, or any other Central American government, was subjected to the intense efforts to destroy us, or any country, then one can predict the likely consequences. Neighboring Honduras has not yet recovered from the 2009 US sanctioned coup of President Zelaya. The fear and the repression there is horrendous, but it seems that with those in the US, including in the government, nobody gives a shit? The NICA Act should be the HICA Act for Honduras instead of Nicaragua. But Honduras is a safe Cry Uncle government, despite the fact that the people live in constant fear.

And the idea of name calling people as usual is not helpful in the discussion. Catherine Cusic, who has called Camilo Mejia a liar, has called me several times as an idiot – then, in the past, and now.  Not too constructive for healthy debate.

When will the issue of US imperialism be taken seriously, and a recognition that the US political economy is so destructive it is on a path to destroy the planet? And, yet, the most progressive country in Central America (where there really is NOT repression) – Nicaragua –  with no friends in the Senate or House of Representatives, very little support in the solidarity community, and only supported by the ALBA countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, is targeted for destruction. Lies, lies, more lies. Disgusting beyond disgusting. The truth as I have documented is virtually the exact opposite of what most social media and major media organs spew as if reading from a script. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, is famous for saying that a lie told enough times becomes the truth. Goebbels principle has come once again to haunt Nicaragua. And the US govt. has spent millions of dollars through NED, US AID, NGOs, etc., at least since 2014, getting ready for the overthrow of a progressive government, primarily because it IS progressive compared to the other Central American governments. It is not a Cry Uncle government. And despite the lies, the Sandinista government remains popular with a majority of the people, similar to Assad in Syria despite intense western media propaganda against him.

So, Libya, The Ivory Coast, the Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia, and on and on, are touted as enemies, subject to the “exceptional” US to seek their overthrow to “correct” matters,  if they haven’t already succeeded. It is interesting that Trump’s fanatical security adviser, John Bolton, has identified the Troika of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua (and soon Bolivia) to be targets as threats to the national security of the US. So preposterous yet it is official US policy.

Astonishing, absurd, and criminal. So continue, folks, focusing on the issues you have with Ortega-Murillo, while the US continues on an uncontrolled imperial savagery. Meanwhile, feel smug with your support of “humanitarian intervention” by the most dangerous country on Earth.

 

 

 


22 Comments

  1. John E. Hemington, Jr.
    Posted December 17, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I just received this from Dan Kovalik and I thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of freedom in Nicaragua and its people.

  2. Posted December 17, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear Brian:

    Thank you for this insightful and excellent article. Anti-imperialism is the key. The U.S. has become so sophisticated with all its intelligence agencies, media lies, Pentagon machinery in creating the big lie, that didn’t just start with Nicaragua, and in recent memory, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, it is great tragedy that some in the movement keep falling for those lies.

    Thank you again.

  3. Bob Projansky
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you Brian. Very depressing situation. What is to be done?

  4. bencio malunao
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    BIG THANKS Brian for taking the cudgels for Nicaragua and its good and brave people! God Bless Nicaragua! Down with U.S. imperialism! Down with this sonamagun named Trump!

  5. Tony Ryan
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for this excellent piece. Venceremos!

  6. Posted December 18, 2018 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you Brian for this helpful post. Very much agree that our focus must be US imperialism and its attempts to derail, overthrow the FSLN government. We here in US must wage a campaign against the crippling sanctions of the NICA legislation starting w educating, pressuring members of Congress. Part and parcel is challenging the distortions of the “pro-imperialist left” (thanks to Dan Kovalik for coining the phrase). Please continue to report from the front.

  7. Posted December 18, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    I am sad to see this piece by Brian Willson, whose personal sacrifice and lifetime of solidarity work I respect immensely. I have huge problems with this analysis. It is true that the United States is and always has been a danger to the rest of the world. BUT WHY THE HELL CAN’T THESE SECTORS OF THE LEFT PROTEST U.S. ACTIONS WITHOUT SUPPORTING A DICTATORIAL DUO THAT IS DESTROYING NICARAGUA??? Why does it have to be either/or? I know Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo personally, the first from before the Sandinista win in 1979 and the second when we worked together for almost a year when I lived in Nicaragua. They are power-crazed maniacs. If anyone has enriched him or herself at the expense of the Nicaraguan people it is this duo. The accusations Willson makes are simply untrue. The NGOs they recently attacked and closed down are longtime and valuable assets to the community. Vilma Núñez has a lifetime of service behind her (but she has been in Ortega’s crosshairs ever since daring to postulate herself for the presidency several decades ago). Carlos Fernando Chamorro is a deeply respected journalist who has risked his life to tell the truth. But what galls me most is that Ortega raped his stepdaughter, Zoilamerica Narvaez, for 19 years and these sectors of the left who claim we must support him make no connection whatsoever between that sort of criminality (which I suppose they still consider “personal” or “domestic”) and the right to be a political leader! To my mind, this is unconscionable. There is so much bullshit about understanding patriarchy and no follow-through in terms of analysis. Yes, we must protest U.S. machinations and interference whenever and wherever it exists, including in the Honduran coup and within the Trump administration. We must also protest a pair of dictators whose paramilitary thugs have murdered more than 600 Nicaraguan citizens since the April uprising and who continue to kill, maim, imprison, torture and force into exile anyone who speaks out against their power.

  8. Roger Harris
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you Brian for a timely and important commentary on Nicaragua, which focuses on what the tasks are for us solidarity activists who are privileged to live in the very belly of the beast. I hope your words are understood by the solidarity community.

    The issue in Nicaragua for us is foremost not who the Nicaraguans have democratically elected as their leaders, but what our leaders are doing to destroy one of the strongholds of progressive, counter-hegemonic politics in the hemisphere.

    I appreciate that some longtime activists have personal knowledge about the current leadership of Nicaragua. That is useful to know. But even more useful to know is what the alternative is. If the current Sandinista government is overthrown, what would replace it? Please recall the litany of accusations made about Qaddafi, and now see what has resulted for the people of Libya with his removal by the US/NATO.

    Which side are you on?

  9. lauren coodley
    Posted December 18, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    apparently amy goodman on democracy now continues to attack Nicaragua, for those who have an opinion about it worth knowing…

  10. Patty Labbé
    Posted December 19, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Who is this guy who wrote this nonsense?
    Come to Nicaragua and see with your own eyes what is happening here before making any comments, folks!

    You can take the facts and make foolish interpretations. No country deserves the kind of dictatorships, corrupt and ruthless, as the one in Nicaragua.

  11. Peter
    Posted December 19, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The caravan of despair at the Mexican border, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans but almost no Nicaraguans. Says a lot about the US approved client states.

  12. Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Dear Brian,

    I think you are a good person with good intentions and you think you are helping the Nicaraguan people by supporting Daniel Ortega.

    However, since 18 April 2018, very few people in Nicaragua and around the world doubt that Nicaragua has turned into a fully fledged dictatorship. There is no other way to define a political regimen which, in addition to its track record of human rights violations, has demolished all democratic institutions including the judicial system, the electoral sytem, and even the national police.

    In 18 April 2018, Nicaragua experienced anti-government protests that have resulted in close to 600 people killed, thousands more injured, 580 political prisoners, and close to 70 thousand Nicaraguan refugees dispersed in several countries such as Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, United States, Spain and Panama, among many other countries. In April, demonstrators took the streets calling for democracy, respect for human rights and the resignation of Daniel Ortega. The governmental response was shocking: a shoot to kill policy, which even included police snipers shooting against an unarmed populations.

    Why Nicaraguans went out to the streets in April and continue to build a resistance against Daniel Ortega and his family?

    It was clear that the overwhelming majority of Nicaraguans had had enough of a regime that was able to consolidate due to a number of factors that I will not try to explain here. However, please note the following: Daniel Ortega’s brother, General Humberto Ortega, has also claimed, publicly, the responsibility of his brother and calls on him to end violence. Also, everysingle senior leader of the Sandinista Revolution (with one or two exceptions) separated from Ortega and is now part of the opposition: Luis Carrion, Sergio Ramirez, Dora Maria Tellez, Hugo Torrez, Ernesto Cardenal, Gioconda Belli… you name it. They all agree that Ortega is a dictator. Even Rosario Murillo’s sister has publicly opposed her sister who is the current vicepresident and wife of Daniel Ortega.

    In sum, please do not confuse your ideology with a severe human rights crisis committed by Ortega’s police. His regime has started a smear campaign against legitimate civil society organizations that have exposed his crimes against humanity. The United Nations, The OAS, the European Union and yes, the US government, all agree that political violence and political persecution must stop in Nicaragua.

    Regards,

    Felix Maradiaga Blandon
    Executive Director
    The Institute for Strategic Studies and Public Policies
    Note:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-44992306
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-15544315

  13. Marthe Raymond
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    For those two folks in Gringolandia who are so concerned about the “Ortega dictatorship”: I remember the Margaret Randall brouhaha when I was living in New Mexico–the wannabe Che who renounced her US citizenship and then made a deal to get it back. And as for other folks living off the US bogus NGOs, you have my complete “desprecio”. I was in Nicaragua in February and March and I read, over my morning coffee in Granada the bragging announcement in La Prensa on March 4th letting the cat out of the bag about the upcoming protests that were going to overthrow the “dictator” and impose a new government (nothing about any democratic process like an election) before November. So don’t come on here with your blather about people spontaneously taking to the streets. I have seen the same script several times in Caracas since 2001, and in fact some of the same cast and crew turned up to provide “technical assistance” to the US supported terrorists in Nicaragua. Instead of the hand-wringing about Ortega having perverted the Sandinista process, I suggest that some of the former wannabe Ches examine how they have shifted their ideological goalposts to the extent of being further right than Pinochet. I have seen that process happen too many times over my lifetime: with notable examples being the writers Mario Vargas Llosa and Octavio Paz.

  14. David Parker
    Posted December 22, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    My point of view is along the same lines as Margaret Randall. But, first of all, I have to disagree with Roger Harris’ notion that Daniel Ortega was democratically elected. Nonsense, Ortega won the election by law, NOT democratically. Also, there are legal limits to how many presidential terms one person can serve, and Ortega circumvented those laws a long time ago. The truth is the Ortega power organization ( which is more than personal ) is a band of mafioso thieves pretending to be socialists. Margaret is correct that we should oppose US interference/intervention. But her view is also ( if I understand her correctly), supporting Ortega is not how you oppose US intervention/interference. Daniel Ortega has stolen from and abuse the people for too long. Nicaraguans see him as a despotic dictator and that’s true he is a dictator. He needs to go. But, by the way, I’m told it’s going to take a long time to get rid of him and his mafioso organization (comparable to Mayor Daley of Chicago in the ’50s and ’60s).

  15. Marthe Raymond
    Posted December 23, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    You aren’t getting it, gringos. From your comfortable perches in the Belly of the Beast you have no idea of what’s happening here in Latin America. You also don’t care. This isn’t about supporting Daniel Ortega. I know him, first met him 15 years ago at a solidarity event in Caracas, and I thought at the time that he was largely going through the motions. But that isn’t the point. The point is, precisely, solidarity with left-leaning governments in a time when fascism is chewing up folks’ rights and spitting them out all around this planet. Not a time for those still claiming to be leftists to turn up their noses and demand purity or nothing. Especially when they have crawled on their fat bellies to appease the US government. I have lived in Mexico for over 25 years–a country which finally has a non-fascist president for the first time since Lázaro Cárdenas left office in 1940. Folks are whining that López Obrador hasn’t turned Mexico into Switzerland or Norway in 3 weeks as president. Are they purists, too? Will they all crawl on their bellies for a US Visa? At 74, I have watched all but a few folks who were “militant leftists” in the 60s and 70s move to the right for money, power, a podium, Cervantes and Nobel prizes, a seat at the table–who are too pure to show solidarity with what is left of the Left. Sergio Ramírez, Nicaraguan writer, is an apt example. He wanted to be president, so he wrote Adios Muchachos and formed the MRS along with some oligarchs who had been playing Sandinistas when it put them in the spotlight. As I recall he got 1.8% of the vote. But it opened the doors to support and money from the US, from Spain–where the stench of franquismo is still unbearable–and even gave him a bully pulpit here in Mexico’s La Jornada which chose to believe he was one of the pure leftists who, in their notable purity, have been forced to the extreme right. Lack of solidarity in the face of fascism is colonial thinking, and it is all too dominant from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego. For the colonial peons claiming purity who are throwing all left-leaning governments under the bus to curry favor from the white master or almost white master in turn: the apocalypse is on you.

  16. Mary Ellsberg
    Posted December 24, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Dear Brian,

    I have been reading your posts from Nicaragua with increasing sadness and dismay over the last eight months. I tried to reach out to you personally months ago but never received a response. I keep hoping that the mounting evidence from the voices of the families of those killed or imprisoned by the Ortega Murillo regime and the international human rights bodies and many governments (not just the US, but over 49 countries have denounced the human rights violations of the Ortega government) would move you to reflect on what seems a blind loyalty to Daniel Ortega. You keep repeating that it doesn’t matter what we think of Ortega and Murillo, that the focus should always be on US imperialism, but I agree with Margaret Randall – it is possible to have a principled stance against imperialism AND solidarity with the Nicaraguan people who are being murdered, tortured, exiled, and arrested for the crime of political dissent.

    You have cited the Enrique Hendrix reports many times to say that the opposition has killed as many people as the government and para-military forces – that is simply not true. I have done my own analysis of the Hendrix report, using the same sources he did, and found dozens of errors, including the fact that he misclassifies scores of murders by snipers as unrelated to the protests, and eliminates many more as “not enough information,” because they were not covered by the mass media (which is his only source of information.) He classifies another large group of murders as committed by the protesters, when video documentation, forensic reports, and survivor and witness testimonies all point to the police or para-militaries as the perpetrators. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), made up of respected human rights experts from all over Latin America, has done a much more detailed forensic analysis of all of these deaths than any lay person could possibly do, and their findings provide a devastating portrait of the crimes against humanity committed by Ortega and Murillo over the last eight months (an incredibly detailed analysis of all the events between April 18 and May 30 can be found at gieinicaragua.org) Sadly, they were expelled from the country the day before they were meant to present their report, and the key independent media channels were shut down the same day, so most Nicaraguans do not have access to this damning report.

    You mentioned many times in your early facebook posts that you have been unable to learn Spanish, despite your best efforts – is it possible that you are missing much of what is going on because of this? I have noticed in some of your posts that you have described acts of atrocities supposedly committed by the opposition and backed these statements with media reports in Spanish that actually say the opposite of what you have described.

    You continuously denounce Nicaraguan NGOs for having received funds from the US or European governments, as if this automatically robs them of any legitimacy or independence. Yet, according to your own facebook posts and blogs over the last two years – you have benefitted enormously from the “generosity” of the Ortega government – in the form of donated properties, complete renovation of your house, vehicles, translators, drivers, medical expenses. Does this affect your independence or political integrity in any way? I absolutely believe that you are acting from your conscience and political beliefs rather than for financial gain. But there is no escaping the fact that if Ortega were overturned, or even voted out of power, it would be a personal financial disaster for you, and I have never seen you acknowledge this, although you are constantly attributing crass financial motives or manipulation to anyone opposing Ortega. Do you really believe, after all they’ve been through over the last 40 years, that Nicaraguans cannot make political choices without being manipulated by foreign powers?

    You, and some of your friends who have posted on this site, have implied in other comments that the views of those of us who are outside of Nicaragua at the moment do not count as much as those of you who are living there right now. But, since we met in the 80’s on your first trip to Nicaragua, you know that much of my family is still in Managua, risking arrest, others are currently in forced exile, and that I, like Ana Quiros (who was just deported and stripped of her Nicaraguan citizenship after 40 years in Nicaragua), Margaret Randall, and many others that you discount regularly, have devoted most of our lives to promoting social justice in Nicaragua. We care as desperately about the welfare of our families and compañeros as you do, and that is the only reason that I am entering into this dialogue with you publicly, rather than privately, as I would have preferred.

    In peace and solidarity,

    Mary Ellsberg

  17. Marthe Raymond
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the infamous Mary Ellsberg and her entire family of US government parasites. Pushing the same old tired gringo bs. No shame.

  18. Posted December 28, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting about Nicaragua Brian–and for leaving all the various comments up. We need multiple perspectives without gun and bombs backing them up.

  19. Al Donohue
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Brian , It was great to read your excellent principled and accurate description of the situation in Nicaragua and the U.S.’s policies toward the rest of the world . From reading on the origins of the U.S. war in Korea (1950-1953 ) ; ie Bruce Cumings , Wilfred Burchett , and others it is clear that the mass media have been nothing if not a propaganda smokescreen for the anti-democratic ,imperialist foreign policy of the U.S. gov. since the end of WW II . As a Vietnam Veteran I have been aware of this for a long time , but did not know and understand how pervasive the anti-communism was right after WW II . I knew that it existed in the U.S. in the 1880’s and that Labor organizers were called “Reds” , and that the U.S. sent troops to fight against the Socialist revolution in Russia in 1919 , but really wondered how the U.S. gov. was able to turn 180 degrees against the U.S.S.R. after the Second World War . Obviously the development of the mass media and it’s control by the capitalist class is the answer . Again Thanks ; Al Donohue member V.V.A.W.

  20. Posted February 15, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

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  21. Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Hello, Brian, this is a request of right, I ve stolen your blog and republished it on my unpaid blog. Is it OK? With name and links.

  22. Posted March 15, 2019 at 4:47 am | Permalink

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