[Marxism] Fwd: In Defense of Nicaragua

Michael Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Mon Dec 22 13:26:23 MST 2008

Let me start by saying that Nicaragua and the Ortega government must be
defended against imperialist intervention. It is, in fact, such
intervention during the 1980s that led to the degenerated state in which
the FSLN finds itself. Such defense passes through absolute rejection of
the Liberals' (PLC) attacks on the recent municipal elections,
convincingly won by FSLN candidates, and other efforts by the U.S. and its
internal allies to impose  political options in that country that are more
to its liking.

In the weeks following the municipal elections, the PLC hammered away at
the "fraud" theme, apparently based on directions provided at the U.S.
embassy prior to the elections, which even the U.S. embassador advised the
Liberals they would not win. According to Jorge, my brother-in-law, who
has EVERY reason to detest Ortega, but, nevertheless voted for him in the
presidential elections and the FSLN in the municipal elections, the
elections were monitored and transparent -- and overwhelming. Apparently,
the Liberals had the chance to audit the results, and didn't cry foul at
the time. They could have appealed the results to the Supreme Electoral
Council, as stipulated by law, but opted, instead, to appeal to the
Episcopal Conference. Jorge affirmed that the FSLN won because of its
historical trajectory and because they have actually brought some benefits
to the poor in that country through food, education, health care and
producer credit programs.

Having said that, I would add that I wouldn't trust Ortega as far as I
could throw him. Since the FSLN's electoral defeat in 1990, he and his
circle have gutted the FSLN, purging historic militants and slandering or
forcing the resignation of any who opposed him. In short, he converted
himself into a rather traditional caudillo at the head of a corporativist
instrument tied to business interests. The goal of this transformation was
power. His grouping sought to reestablish its position at the helm of
state, and to do this, in a period of retreat, rather than reaching out to
the grass-roots of the party, they sought to bargain through horse-trading
with the Liberals for quotas of power. These were the infamous "pacts"
that led long-term FSLN leaders such as Monica Baltodano, Dora Maria
Tellez, Julio Lopez, and many others to protest and be purged or walk out
in disgust. The Ortega claimed to support popular mobilizations during
this time, but tended to use them as bargaining chips, casting them aside
or turning them off, like a faucet, when they served their purpose, as
occurred both with student movements and with the movement of workers
poisoned by Nemagon. Women's rights also became such a bargaining chip,
particularly for support or at least abeyance, by the Catholic Church
hierarchy, when the "Presidential couple" pushed through the National
Assembly a law prohibiting even therapeutic abortions. During this period,
Ortega and company succeeded in gaining significant posts in the judicial
and electoral system in this way.

Since his election, Ortega's has continued to operate in the same way.
While he has implemented programs -- aided by oil from Venezuela -- that
have benefitted the masses of the poor in Nicaragua (and should be
supported for this), he and his wife have been anything but accountable to
their base. Underhanded attacks on critics, such as Ernesto Cardenal, have
continued the pattern of recent years. The administration of Hugo Chavez'
donations have been anything but transparent and, instead of being placed
under state supervision have been administered by a private holding

Late last summer the extremely marginalized populations that live by
scavenging municipal garbage dumps staged an uprising against the almost
equally impoverished sanitation workers over the latters' removal of
recyclables (to supplement their meager incomes) before the former could
get to them. The entire panorama was the product of more than a decade of
IMF-imposed neoliberal policies followed by the respective administrations
(with FSLN support to various degrees). What could have been an
opportunity to unite, mobilize and educate the population against IMF
policies a la Bolivia, was instead instrumentalized by President Ortega to
oust his former ally-turned critic, then Managua Mayor Dionisio Marenco.
The Ortega circle supported the blockades and demonstrations by the
scavengers against the workers, initially pushing for sanctions against
workers who remove recyclables from the garbage they collect!

Similarly, in terms of foreign policy, Ortega has largely talked the talk,
but failed to walk the walk. He was to be commended for condemning
Colombia's invasion of Bolivia -- but then capitulated to Uribe to the
extent of even backing away from his own government's claims against the
Colombian regime. He joined ALBA, but has continued to minister to the
needs of such "globalized" corporations as FENOSA, the Spanish company
that owns Nicaragua's water supply.

So, while I can support "building a wall" against further imperialist
meddling in Nicaragua, I wouldn't hold out any hopes for "democratic" much
less "socialist" construction in that country under Daniel Ortega, any
more than I would have for Mexico under that legacy of the Mexican
Revolution, the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

> Message: 13
> Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 21:25:59 +1100
> From: "Fred Fuentes" <fred.fuentes at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: In Defense of Nicaragua
> To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
> 	<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID:
> 	<b5a2a8180812210225i2dff3d16ydd00c9e67c18f0cd at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Friends and comrades
> We send you the Manifesto "IN DEFENCE OF NICARAGUA" - also in the WORD
> format.
> The Manifesto is the initiative of a group of Nicaraguans and
> internationalists aiming to awaken the international conscience about
> what is happening in this Central American country, victim of a fierce
> campaign of harrassment and destabilization carried out by forces of
> the local oligarchy, financed and directed by the United States and
> the most powerful of the European governments.
> If you agree with the Manifesto's content and want to support it
> please send an e-mail to:
> carta at tortillaconsal.com
> indicating your name, the town where you live and your country of
> residence. If you want to support the Manifesto as an organization
> please help us by indicating its country and the town or city where it
> is located.
> Likewise, if you have time available to help Nicaragua, we request
> that you circulate the Manifesto to those who may want to support it.
> We want to close the signature process for January 10th 2009 when the
> Sandinista government will complete two years in office.
> We hope to build an international wall in defence of Nicaragua.
> Thank you
> ____________________________
> In Defense of Nicaragua
> Most of Latin America is in the process of irreversible change. Its
> peoples have elected governments that have taken the path of
> independence, dignity and sovereignty to shake off foreign tutelage
> that has submerged the region for centuries in misery and repression
> by force of arms.
> In November 2006, the Nicaraguan people elected the Sandinista Front
> for National Liberation (FSLN) to direct its destiny and from January
> 2007 the new government has taken up again the process of
> self-determination begun on July 19th 1979 which had been abandoned
> for 17 years by three neo-liberal, capitalist, anti-democratic,
> anti-nationalist  governments.
> Nicaragua has recovered its national dignity with a government
> independent of the imperial powers, one which again places the most
> impoverished at the centre of its development policies.
> As part of this process, Nicaragua has joined the Bolivarian
> Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and with the generous support of
> many peoples and governments, especially Cuba and Venezuela, the
> Sandinista government has set up various programmers by means of which
> the Nicaraguan people have recovered a great deal of their social and
> economic rights, broadening the possibilities for socialist,
> democratic national progress.
> But just as happened during the 1980s, when the United States launched
> its war of aggression against the Nicaraguan people and the Sandinista
> Popular Revolution, today Nicaragua has to face a ruthless campaign of
> lies and blackmail promoted from Washington and various European
> capitals, using the methods of information counter-insurgency, within
> a low intensity war, with the objective of blocking Nicaragua's
> independent development under the leadership of the government of
> President Daniel Ortega.
> This campaign has surged in recent months with the objective of
> discrediting the unquestionable and categorical electoral victory of
> the FSLN in the municipal elections of November 9th last, when
> Nicaraguans validated with their votes their support for the country's
> new direction.
> This campaign has reached the extreme of suspending development aid to
> the Nicaraguan people. It is unacceptable that the governments of
> developed countries should use as a political weapon for imperialist
> domination the money their own peoples assign to the most impoverished
> countries.
> For all of these reasons, we free women and men who believe Another
> World is Possible,
> Declare:
> 1. Our unconditional support for the right of the Nicaraguan people to
> self determination and national sovereignty, without foreign
> interference of any kind.
> 2. Our support for the independent, sovereign, popular, course taken
> by the FSLN government, led by President Daniel Ortega.
> 3. Our delight at the Sandinista victory in 105 out of 146 municipal
> authorities in this year's municipal elections.
> We reject and condemn:
> 1. Foreign interference in Nicaragua's internal affairs.
> 2.  The policy of blackmail used by the governments of the United
> States and the European Union.
> 3. The campaign of lies promoted by the international (dis)information
> corporations and multinationals.
> We encourage:
> 1. All the world's peoples, especially in North America and Europe, to
> renew their links of friendship with Nicaragua, pressuring their
> respective governments to increase the sums destined to eradicate
> poverty in Nicaragua and to oblige them to desist from interfering in
> the internal affairs of the Nicaraguan people.
> 2. Social communicators, especially in alternative communications
> media, to break the silence on the situation in Nicaragua and to
> actively inform in a truthful, independent way on what is really
> happening in Nicaragua and the Central American region.
> 3. The progressive and independent governments of Latin America and
> the world to show their unrestricted solidarity with the Nicaraguan
> people and its legitimate, democratically elected government.

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