NicaNotes: The Monroe Doctrine Weakens as Latin America Moves Forward: An Interview with Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister

(This interview was originally published in Spanish by El 19 Digital on December 2, 2023.)

The Monroe Doctrine, issued by US President James Monroe on Dec. 2, 1823, stated that any interference in the Americas by a European power would be viewed as a hostile act by the United States. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt added the Roosevelt Corollary, which stated that the United States could become involved in a Latin American country’s internal affairs in cases of “wrongdoing” by that Latin American country.

Interview of Foreign Minister Denis Moncada by Jorge Gestoso of TeleSur

The Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, Denis Moncada, granted this interview after participating in the International Forum Against Imperialism, Fascism and Neocolonialism held in Venezuela within the framework of the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine.

Moncada asserted that “The Monroe Doctrine is in a process of weakening, to the extent that our peoples and our governments are advancing in this struggle against imperialism, against fascism, against neocolonialism. The Monroe Doctrine, which has been the instrument of U.S. imperialism, is declining as the hegemony of the empire is declining.”

Gestoso: What does the phrase “America for the Americans” often attributed to U.S. President James Monroe mean?

Moncada: America for the Americans was the conception of the North American empire, and it was the objective of the Monroe Doctrine, really the control and domination of the Americans, of the North American empire, because we must also differentiate between the North American people and the North American government; the objective was to conquer America, to dominate America, to take over its natural resources… and expand, let’s say, the geography of the North American empire.

Gestoso: Has Nicaragua experienced the Monroe Doctrine?

Moncada: Permanently. The Monroe Doctrine has been present in the case of Nicaragua since it originated, until today. And with the struggle of the Nicaraguan people led by Sandino, and later by the Sandinista National Liberation Front, currently led by Comandante Daniel, we continue in that anti-imperialist struggle, because imperialism does not cease its policy of aggression, invasion, interference, of seizing the natural resources of our countries south of the Rio Bravo.

Gestoso: Was there a relationship between the counterrevolution and the Monroe Doctrine?

Moncada: The counterrevolution was precisely an organization financed, organized and trained by the United States. They tried to put an end to the revolutionary process in Nicaragua that was organized by the Sandinista National Liberation Front and which put the Nicaraguan people in the vanguard as the actor of the Sandinista Popular Revolution and we continue in that process.

Gestoso: Were the neighboring countries accomplices of the Monroe Doctrine?

Moncada: Yes, that is how it was, part of that had to do with the Organization of the American States, right? Then, the United States always uses its vassals, its subject countries, to serve as a base on the one hand territorially, and also to mobilize the armament of the counterrevolution at that time, and to serve as a support base at that time against Nicaragua, against the Government of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

Gestoso: Does the Palmerola air base in Honduras still qualify as the landing field, as the “US aircraft carrier” in Central America?

Moncada: Palmerola in Honduras. Yes, Palmerola was precisely the transit route when President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown [in 2009], and, of course, it was also a supply base for the counter-revolution in Nicaragua. It is the spearhead of intervention with the presence of military bases, of the multiple military bases, that exist in Latin America, including South America.

Gestoso: What role does the Organization of American States play in all this?

Moncada: The OAS is the political and diplomatic instrument designed by the United States—and located just a few blocks from the White House and from the State Department—precisely to put into practice this policy of domination, of interference. It provides them [the United States] with an apparent diplomatic and political justification in the Americas and in the rest of the world for US aggression against the countries of Latin America.

Gestoso: Why did Nicaragua leave the OAS?

Moncada: We left precisely on November 19 of this year [two years after notification of the intention to withdraw in 2021]. We resigned. We no longer have ties with the Organization of American States, precisely because we became convinced that this is the organization of U.S. interference and intervention and that it is permanently acting against the peoples that have democratic governments, that have truly free governments.


By Nan McCurdy 

Nicaragua Demands Justice and Reparations for Climate Damages 
The UN-sponsored Conference (COP28) on climate change officially opened on Nov. 30 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with an urgent call to abandon the use of fossil fuels.

The message of the Nicaraguan delegation to the conference stated that “the impacts of phenomena associated with the climate crisis leave us with losses and damages of between two and four billion dollars a year, mainly damage to infrastructure, social and productive sectors, environment, health, education, energy, telecommunications, water and sanitation.” The message went on to say that, “The root of the climate crisis is the responsibility of the large capitalist economies that apply and expand destructive models of production and consumption, causing and expanding the climate crisis.” Preserving and defending the right to life on Mother Earth require concrete results by the conference which are based on the principle of “common responsibilities but with different capacities” that will strengthen climate justice. This means reparation in the form of assistance that is direct, unconditional, and respectful, the message said. (La Primerisima, 30 November 2023)

People with Disabilities Present their Ventures
More than 60 entrepreneurs with disabilities from all over the country are participating in the fifth edition of the National Fair Expo Nicaragua Emprendimientos que Inspiran, (Businesses that Inspire), which began on December 2 at the Plaza de la Soberanía (Sovereignty Plaza), in Managua. The participants are offering products such as jewelry, footwear, textiles, wines, piñatas and more, to promote the inclusion, promotion and projection of people with disabilities. “Year after year [the government] has been promoting all entrepreneurs who have been developing their skills and talent around creativity,” said Camila Ortega, Director of the National Commission for Creative Economy. The Expo Fair continues through Dec. 3. (La Primerisima, 3 December 2023)

Drinking Water and Sanitation: Rights Largely Restored
On December 5 the head of ENACAL, Erving Barreda, stated that the budget execution of 4,217 million córdobas (US$117 million) this year allowed the improvement of the drinking water service to almost 39,000 families. “We are talking about very important projects such as San Juan del Sur, El Rama and La Esperanza, a completely new system, and in six communities of the North Caribbean Coast,” he said. He added that substantive progress was made in projects being carried out in 12 cities, which will be completed by the first half of 2024 at the latest. Barreda said that ENACAL has made notable progress in the execution of drinking water and sewerage projects in several cities and it is expected that at least 130,000 families will have better service before the end of the first half of 2024. Regarding budget execution, he affirmed that the year will close with a 100% compliance. “In the end what is behind all this are families whose rights to drinking water and sanitation are being restored,” he said. (La Primerisima, 5 December 2023)

Nicaragua Generating Clean Energy
Nicaragua will be the first country in the region to build a large photovoltaic plant for the generation of clean energy. On Dec. 5 the National Assembly approved a Credit Facility Agreement between Nicaragua and China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) of the People’s Republic of China, in the amount of 66 million euros with which the Nicaraguan Company for Water and Sewage (ENACAL) will build the plant. The photovoltaic plant, which will be located in the town of Las Mangas, in the municipality of San Isidro, department of Matagalpa, will be used for pumping water, strengthening access to quality water, thus benefiting more than 3,740,000 people. It will also increase the generation of energy from renewable sources in line with the ongoing change in the national energy matrix. (Informe Pastran, 5 December 2023)

Masaya Overflows with Marimba Dancing
In a night that will remain engraved in the history of Masaya, the undisputed cradle of Nicaraguan folklore, the Greatest Marimba Dance 2023 stood out as a celebration of identity and tradition. Families gathered to be part of this unique experience. 1,518 couples of folklorists and traditionalists participated in dancing to the rhythm of the marimbas. Children, in their colorful costumes, joined in the dance, demonstrating how cultural roots are transmitted from generation to generation. The Greatest Marimba Dance was not only a gathering of entertainment, but a palpable expression of Masaya’s identity. See photos:  (La Primerisima, 4 December 2023)

Specialists Have Successfully Performed Almost 200 Fetal Surgeries
The Health System has successfully performed 197 fetal surgeries since March 2021 when this neonatal surgical process began, reported Dr. María Carolina Cantarero Moreira, neurosurgeon and spinal pediatrician. Nicaragua has stood out in the region with these procedures. The Ministry of Health developed the IV Congress of Fetal Surgery, held under the slogan: “A Window of Opportunities to Save Lives,” in which more than 50 Nicaraguan specialists participated. This congress is part of continuing education to acquire new techniques, new goals and analyze results. Dr. Rita López Solano, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Bertha Calderón Hospital in Managua, explained that fetal surgery in Mexico costs between US$20,000 and US$25,000, while in Nicaragua it is completely free and the patient is assisted by a team of medical specialists. (La Primerisima, 1 December 2023)

Achievements of Healthy Schools Plan in 2023
On Dec. 1, the Ministry of Health presented the 2023 final report of the National Healthy Schools Plan administered in schools throughout the country. The report states that, between January 23 and November 30 this year, 685,942 linguistic tests were administered, detecting 6,469 children with speech alterations; 714,653 hearing acuity tests were carried out, registering 7,871 children with hearing problems; 747,847 visual acuity measurements were taken, identifying 6,658 children with vision problems; and 71,789 dental care appointments were conducted. Sixty-three thousand doses of vaccines against COVID-19 were applied and 660,606 personal hygiene workshops were organized. The National Healthy Schools Plan seeks to strengthen the health of 1.8 million students, guaranteeing the integral development of the nation’s children. (Nicaragua News, 4 December 2023)

SICA is Responsible for Defending the Sovereignty of Central America
The Government of Nicaragua has urged the promotion of a dynamic, efficient and effective agenda and the reduction of bureaucracy in the institutions of the Central American Integration System (SICA) as well as the promotion of development and the deepening of the fight against poverty. Nicaragua noted that SICA institutions should be aligned with the Tegucigalpa Protocol and other regional instruments to prioritize areas that benefit the region’s peoples. President Daniel Ortega’s message at the 58th Ordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of SICA held in El Salvador was read by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. The message said that SICA should not permit external proposals to impose a model on the Central American countries that is not compatible with their reality and their history and SICA should not accept any type of foreign interference. Ortega’s message said that SICA’s priorities must be aimed at developing programs, policies and actions that lead the way towards economic development with a view to reducing poverty and inequalities. Ortega pointed out that countries are obliged to identify the needs and open opportunities that restore the rights of the region’s peoples to a peaceful, dignified and just life in the face of a global capitalism that acts to the detriment of social welfare. Read President Ortega’s statement: (La Primerisima, 29 Nov. 2023)

Nicaragua Withdraws its Ambassador to Argentina
The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry on Dec. 4th issued a press release recalling the country’s ambassador to Argentina. The press release stated: “In view of the installation and inauguration of a new government in the Republic of Argentina, to be held on December 10, and in view of repeated declarations and expressions of the new rulers, the government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua has proceeded to recall its ambassador, writer and communicator Carlos Midence. The withdrawal is effective immediately.” The press release was signed by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. (La Primerisima, 4 December 2023)

Streamlining Cross-Border Commerce in Central America
In order to streamline and improve trade procedures in Central America, the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) launched the Central American Digital Trade Platform (PDCC). Financed with support from the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank, the PDCC is an intra-regional system for coordinated management of borders, simplification and systematization of foreign trade processes and the creation of unified statistical databases. Annually, SIECA member countries carry out more than 676,000 land trade operations and more than 439,000 export operations, mobilizing US$800 million dollars. (Nicaragua News, 29 Nov. 2023)

CNU to Have Control of the Higher Education System
On November 30 the National Assembly approved reforms to two laws that strengthen the functionality of the National Council of Universities (CNU), granting it full authority to administer the higher education system. The deputies reformed the Law of Autonomy of Higher Education Institutions and the General Law of Education saying that it was necessary to transform the management model of higher education, which involves redirecting the operation of the CNU, as the governing body of the subsystem. The CNU will be in charge of the regulation of higher education institutions and will ensure the training of professionals in accordance with the National Human Development Plan. “The National Council of Universities as a state entity will be in charge of the regulation of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), ensuring the training of professionals in accordance with the country’s sustainable human development policies. This implies reorganizing the organic structure of this entity, strengthening its functions and providing it with the legal capacity to manage university education,” the reform states. (La Primerisima, 30 November 2023)

Strengthening Professional Technical Capabilities
The National Technological Institute (INATEC) presented a report last week on the results of the 2023 Professional Training Plan which states that between January and November this year, the 153 municipal trade schools throughout the country trained 34,837 students in 167 trade courses, 11 technological courses, 17 tourist services programs and 58 empirical work certifications. INATEC Director, Lloyda Barreda, noted that “of the total number of students trained this year, 75.5% are women and 24.5% are men, who have successfully completed their professional certification that allows them to start their own ventures or perform with greater knowledge in traditional trades.” (Nicaragua News, 4 December 2023)