[Marxism] Nicaraguan Contradictions
rfidler at ncf.ca
Tue Sep 4 09:59:56 MDT 2018
The key word of course is "maintains." That is, no major difference from the record under previous governments.
As to upholding a government because you can see no progressive alternative, isn't that the same argument used by "anti-imperialists" in Syria: that if Assad is overthrown, it will just mean placing ISIS, or Russia, or USA, or Turkey -- who else? -- in charge. Better to support the monkey than the organ-grinder. In Nicaragua, the reality is that Ortega has removed from contention one opposition group after another, and barred the road to the emergence of a progressive alternative. Such an alternative is more likely to emerge from a powerful grassroots opposition movement that has managed through its own efforts to overthrow an autocratic regime.
From: Louis Proyect [mailto:lnp3 at panix.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2018 11:48 AM
To: Richard Fidler; 'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Nicaraguan Contradictions
On 9/4/18 11:20 AM, Richard Fidler wrote:
> Earlier today, Lou posted a reply to an article in the Scientific American by a
> critic of Nicaragua's environmental abuses. It is worth reading the article that
> is the target of the author, Paul Oquist: Nicaragua's Acions Cast a Shadow over
> Its Leadership of Major Climate Group,
It is also noteworthy that the Scientific American article states:
Nicaragua maintains a “policy of permanent destruction of natural
resources,” according to an e-mailed statement from environmental
scientist Jaime Incer Barquero, who directed the country’s Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources during the presidency of Violeta
Chamorro in the 1990s.
Maybe most people reading the article have no clue what was happening
under Violeta Chamorro but citing the head of the Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources is rather disingenuous. Everybody is
ready to see Daniel Ortega overthrown but until the student movement
puts forward a program that makes clear its opposition to him being
replaced by the gang that ran Nicaragua before Ortega's reelection,
count me out of the Dan La Botz brigades.
From Environmental Justice: International Discourses in Political
Economy, edited by Paul Thompson, 2002:
Although having adopted the rhetoric of environmentalism, successive
former Presidents Violeta Chamorro and Arnoldo Aleman showed a
willingness to sacrifice environmental quality, worker health and
safety, and decent wages and social services in favor of "structural
adjustment" and neo-liberal economic policy. Private investment in
resource extraction is being encouraged. In 1996, the Ministry of
Environmental and Natural Resources (MARENA) and President Aleman
granted Solcarsa, a subsidiary of the giant Korean-based multinational
corporation Kumkyung, a 30-year timber concession covering 62,000
hectares in the Autonomous North Atlantic Coast Region (RAAN)—the
largest and longest ever granted in Nicaragua's history. The logging
inflicted enormous damage on indigenous communities and the second
largest rainforest in the Americas, and was a clear violation of
Nicaragua's laws against mahogany exports and the right of the region's
indigenous peoples to determine the use of local resources under the
1987 Autonomy Law (the logging concession was later declared
unconstitutional in February of 1997 by the Supreme Count of Nicaragua
on the grounds that it violated Article 181 of the Constitution).
Although the concession was revoked in late February 1998 because of
local and international protests, another concession was granted to a
"new company" PRADA two months later.
Government-owned industry and natural resources have been privatized,
and new laws allow foreign interests 100 percent owner-ship of
Nicaraguan companies. As a result, Canadian companies practicing
open-pit gold and copper mining (which uses cyanide leaching to remove
the precious metals from ore), are now creating severe environmental and
human health problems throughout the country. Although some
environmental programs will be maintained, it appears likely that the
more comprehensive environmental programs initiated under the Sandinista
government (and which do not receive external funding) will continue to
be dismantled until there is a change in power. And in the wake of the
devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch, there will undoubtedly be
increased exploitation of natural resources to generate foreign exchange
and rebuild the collapsed economy. This is very likely to further deepen
the vicious downward spiral of poverty and environmental deterioration
which contributed to the disaster in the first place.
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