NicaNotes: We Won’t Rest in Defending the Revolution

By William Grigsby Vado

[Transcribed and translated by Miguel Mairena and Nan McCurdy from “Sin Fronteras, Feb. 4, 2022, minute 7 to 27 and a short selection from Feb. 9]

(William Grigsby is a Nicaraguan journalist, analyst and historian.)

Let us begin with the decision taken by the National Assembly at the request of the Ministry of the Interior to cancel the legal status of a handful of non-governmental organizations which in practice are fronts for European and North American interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. I believe that the logic that must be understood in this type of decision is the logic of the defense of the power of the Nicaraguan people, the defense of revolutionary power. In other words, in this logic we must understand that these types of decisions are not capricious, they are not excessive…. They are fair.

“The CIA does not rest, US imperialism does not rest.”

The Yankees do not stop working to overthrow the revolution, to overthrow the people of Nicaragua. The Europeans don’t stop working in that direction either; they are the mouse’s tail, and they are the gringos’ bootlickers. So they [agents of the US in Nicaragua] say to Sullivan [US ambassador in Nicaragua], they keep asking him: “What are we going to do now?” We have to be clear: they keep asking him for their tasks; “Yes, sir, what are we going to do now?” So the Yankee aggression against Nicaragua has not rested, I repeat, they do not rest in the logic of aggression.

Neither will we ever rest in defending the revolution.

So in that same logic they created an ideological and organizational apparatus, a powerful one that they have been working on for many years.

It did not start when Daniel assumed the presidency in 2007, no, it began much earlier. They have been creating and financing … garage universities that have no academic quality but are businesses; they serve for money laundering and also to identify and recruit people, which is no novelty in Nicaragua. ….

The main source of recruitment [of US agents] is the universities or centers of higher education [in the US]…. They recruit people who have athletic abilities, who have above-average intelligence and have a rebellious attitude; that’s how they recruit and train them. It is the style of forming the security apparatuses of the United States, which are many. They are not only the FBI and the CIA. And it is not a bunch of disguised people who look for these [future] intelligence assets, to keep the people of the United States under control. And in some cases it is to prepare agents for aggression against other peoples.

So that style is reproduced in Nicaragua and not from recent times but since Somoza’s time. I could mention several well-known personalities, some of them already deceased, who were CIA agents, and who never even revealed their names. And even the CIA had some of its agents here killed because they had decided to leave the agency and join the effort of the people of Nicaragua and that is why they sent people to kill them. I could quickly mention four names of people killed between 1979 and 1981, sent to be killed by the CIA. So let’s not believe that this is a fantastic invention; no, this is reality, pure reality. There was [also] a famous CIA agent who was in the upper echelons of the Sandinista People’s Army and did a lot of damage at the time… and like him, there were many others.

What I want to say is that the CIA does not rest, US imperialism does not rest. That is why the counter intelligence that the Nicaraguan Army and the National Police do to avoid penetration in their ranks, for example, is so important.

The US has helped create this organizational and ideological apparatus in the universities, in centers of higher education with the purpose of recruiting individuals to serve their interests and also their ideological purpose. Remember that the revolutionary struggle is ultimately an ideological struggle because at the same time that we are triumphing in the battle against poverty we must also defeat the idea of imperialism. It always ends up being a cultural battle, an ideological battle … Remember Marxism [which says] that the ideological apparatus is made up of the educational system, the media and the … churches. And now I would add the social networks. These ideological structures have been very much penetrated by the American interests. Who is unaware, for example, that the United States had financed and consolidated the ideological apparatus of the Diocese of Estelí and the Universidad Católica del Trópico Seco (UCATSE) – which just lost its legal status, formerly called Francisco Luis Espinoza School of Agriculture and Livestock. It was donated to the diocese by the revolution; it was personally owned by Bishop Abelardo Mata and he has all the people close to him studying or working there. And later [Mata] used other instruments of the diocese for the formation of youth cadres who in turn reproduced the Yankee discourse [and participated in the 2018 attempted coup].

We should not lose sight of these things, that is, the conspiracy of US imperialism. They have never ceased, they do not cease in the war against Nicaragua. We cannot just be waiting for them to hit us again. And they were again preparing conditions for another coup.

We cannot be naïve about what is going on. A guy who is a lawyer and who was once a Sandinista, took over one of the private universities. And he had started talking to the gringos years ago; he was already working as a petty cashier for them [money laundering]. I had information about that, a student there passed it on to me about three years ago…. Here on the radio two professors came to tell me how that character did it, how he laundered the money, how he traveled to the United States and brought money or hired people to travel disguised as merchants and brought money, and instructions, of course. Then, about 4 or 6 months ago, a colleague passed on more information to us. Imagine, that now this character is crying, and furious [because his university lost its legal status]. The guy is a criminal. I won’t even get started on how they have swindled thousands of young men and women, forcing them to pay thousands of dollars for a degree. The poor kids spend five, ten years to get their degree, swindled. And then they tell them that they have been trained in a certain profession and when they go out to the labor market the poor kids do not know even half of what they need to know for that degree they have supposedly obtained; they were swindled.

Years ago there were 53 universities here in the country. Anybody could go to the National Assembly, before 2007, and say “Here I come – I want you to approve this university.” “How much are you going to give me [would say an Assembly member], OK then.” And suddenly a classroom would appear in a garage of a house with a sign for such and such university … and just as it appeared, it disappeared.

How many youth paid and had their money stolen? But these universities fulfilled three objectives: First – a money-making business, second, money laundering, and third, to work for the strategy of US aggression. I believe that we cannot abstain from this struggle because it is for the defense of revolutionary power, the defense of the people of Nicaragua.

The main thing now with these universities [that have lost their legal status] is that no student will be left in the lurch. They can continue their classes normally; they will receive their degrees. The National Council of Universities (CNU) will be responsible until they are assigned to another university.

The band of outlaws, of the Somocista movement, of the Somocista renovation movement (MRS), came out with a communiqué [against the action of ending the legal status of some universities – see News Briefs]. When have they ever defended the students? What they did [in 2018] was to destroy the UPOLI [a private university that was used and abused during the coup attempt and is one that recently lost its legal status]. Don’t you remember what they did with the UPOLI in the Somocista coup of 2018? They destroyed it! And it was people from inside there; from the Somocismo outlaw gang [MRS]. And they have wanted to go back to the old ways plotting another coup there and also in other places.

This is the big mistake imperialism is making, as well as all its hired assassins here. They think that we are stupid, and we are anything but that. As we were saying the other day – we are peaceful but we are not defenseless. Not only are we not defenseless, we know how to defend ourselves and win.

They believe that we might be careless and, if we are careless, “we’ll hit them again.” That is their logic. They are crazy. Aggression itself is madness. What is the crime of President Daniel Ortega and the people of Nicaragua? What is the crime of the Sandinista Front? To benefit the people of Nicaragua.

Yesterday (Feb. 3), for example, two other convictions were issued [of those recently tried for treason, conspiracy, money laundering, etc.].

Then come imbeciles like Gabriel Boric, who unfortunately was elected president of Chile, talking nonsense. What moral authority has Boric, when he negotiated, negotiated, the betrayal of the popular movement that had put Piñera against the wall. Not only Piñera, but the Chilean political system; and he negotiates the surrender behind the back of this movement, because he thought he might lose? In Chile there are thousands of political prisoners at the moment, whose crime was to walk in the demonstrations, who were not involved in any conspiracy, who did not want to overthrow Piñera, who were not armed, who did not murder people, who did not rape women, who did not destroy state property [as opposed to what the violent opposition did in Nicaragua in 2018]. No. They are in prison for opposing the system.

What are the Argentines going to say to me? They have Milagros Sala in prison for about six years for the crime of organizing and fighting.

What are the Mexicans going to tell me; they have thousands of political prisoners. I was reading about one case – 12 years in prison and he has not been prosecuted. There are people there imprisoned on the basis of torture, demonstrated by different local and international institutions. Yesterday they threw one in jail – a secretary of public security [minister] of a state…

What authority does that little king have [in Spain]? Or [Prime Minister] Pedro Sanchez? What moral authority do they have to talk about prisons, trials and so on? When they have prosecuted singers and composers simply for composing songs against the king.

What are they going to talk to me about? What freedom are they going to talk to me about? Just now they threw a lot of workers in jail for the strike in Andalucía. And didn’t the fighters for the independence of Catalonia spend years in jail? And their only crime was to organize a referendum. That was their crime. They were finally released, but their record wasn’t erased.

What is the United States going to tell me with thousands of political prisoners….

And Julian Assange? What is he? Isn’t he a global political prisoner? He is the political prisoner of the world capitalist system. Why is he in prison? Why is he being held hostage? For the crime of revealing the secrets of imperialism. This is his great crime.

Why did Edward Snowden have to flee to Russia? He was persecuted for revealing the barbarities, the atrocities that imperialism carries out. What moral authority are these people going to have?

What are Salvadorans going to tell me? What is Bukele going to tell me? He has women in jail for having abortions! They have women in jail who had miscarriages.

[From Sin Fronteras, 9 Feb. 2022: There are now protests in four Canadian states with truck drivers blocking the national capital and the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest commercial bridge with the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a tweet in which he affirmed that “Canadians have the right to protest, to disagree with their government and to make their voices heard. We will always protect that right. But let’s be clear: you do not have the right to block our economy, or our democracy, or the daily lives of our fellow citizens. It has to stop.” The paradox is that when between April and July 2018 in Nicaragua, U.S.-funded terrorists ravaged Nicaragua with blockades, assassinations, burnings of public buildings, mass kidnappings, among other criminal rampages, Trudeau did not hesitate to offer his support to the tranqueros (violent road blockers).]

Here it is proven: those being tried are traitors to the homeland. They went to the United States to ask the Yankees to attack Nicaragua; to cut off loans from international financial organizations; to take [Nicaragua] out of CAFTA, to ask for money to carry out a military adventure. That is treason.

This is proven, documented. I ask myself, what would any of these presidents do if the same thing happened to them, what would they do if what happened to us happened to them? What would they do? What would the Spanish king and the slimy Pedro Sanchez do, if the Catalans, for example, went to say to Russia, to ask for help to achieve independence – give us arms, give us money; and Putin gives it to them. What would they do? It’s funny, not to say tragic.

U.S. imperialism must understand once and for all, and so must their hitmen in Europe, their servile governments, their European servants, the Boris Johnson, Pedro Sanchez, and all the rest. They must understand that there is no way they can overthrow us by force, there is no way. And there is no way they will beat us in elections. There is no way. Because the people of Nicaragua continue to rule. And they have enough dignity and conscience to continue voting for the Sandinista Front to defend their revolutionary project. Understand this once and for all.

By Nan McCurdy

Consensus Reached on New Minimum Wage
Representatives of the government, employers and unions agreed on Feb. 3 to increase by 7% the minimum wage in nine economic sectors as of March 1. The three parties, which make up the Tripartite Roundtable agreed on this wage adjustment from March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023. Professor José Antonio Zepeda, Secretary General of CGTEN-ANDEN-FNT, emphasized that the agreement is beneficial for all parties. Leonardo Corea, president of the Private Sector Business Association, which brings together private companies of all economic sectors and now the Pymes and Conimipymes, stated that “here what we are privileging is a consensus that gives us stability.” The minimum wage is adjusted every year according to the economic growth and the accumulated inflation, according to the laws of the country. (Radio La Primerisima, 3 Feb. 2022)

Second Lowest Unemployment Rate in Latin America and the Caribbean
The International Labor Organization (ILO) presented it’s “2021 Labor Overview, Latin America and the Caribbean” Report on Feb. 1 which states that Nicaragua with 4.8% had the second lowest unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, surpassed only by Mexico with 4.3%. (Nicaragua News, 3 Feb. 2022)

New Food Shipment to Cuba
Nicaragua will send a new solidarity shipment of 36 containers of food to Cuba. As scheduled, the ship A.C. Sandino will set sail on Feb. 6 from Port Arlen Siu, Nicaragua’s main access route to international markets in the Caribbean. The shipment ordered by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo is intended to provide humanitarian aid to the island, affected by an acute economic crisis as a result of the tightening of the U.S. blockade. (Radio La Primerisima, 5 Feb. 2021)

Advances in Titling of Properties
Dr. Wendy Morales, Attorney General, said her office has delivered property titles in 25 territories of the Caribbean Coast, very large territorial areas that include 315 communities, with some 48,000 Caribbean families. From 2007 to date approximately 552,000 property titles have been legalized. “Compared to previous governments this is a very large number. In the 1990s it was 116,000 and during the early 2000’s  it was practically null, approximately 16,000 property titles.” Morales said that since 2007 there has not been any eviction action.  To get titles people can go to the departmental offices of the Attorney General or they can go to the offices of the Civil Registry to initiate the process. (Radio La Primerisima, 2 Feb. 2022)

CABEI Congratulates Nicaragua on Construction of Departmental Hospital
Last week, the President of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) Dante Mossi congratulated Nicaragua on the construction of the new Dr. Mauricio Abdalah Departmental Hospital in Chinandega. “CABEI is pleased to support Nicaragua to see the dream of thousands of Chinandega families come true, who will have access to first-world, inclusive, and quality public healthcare service. “A 35,000 square meter infrastructure with 300 beds, 142 rooms, 8 operating rooms, 31 consulting rooms, attention in 27 specialties, 16 outpatient beds, 18 for dialysis services,” detailed  Mossi. The new US$99.8 million hospital financed through the General Budget with support from CABEI, will benefit 500,000 people in 13 municipalities. (Nicaragua News, 7 Feb. 2022)

84% of the Population with at Least One Vaccine
About 84% of the population aged 2 years and older has received at least one shot against Covid-19, while more than 90% of pregnant, postpartum and lactating women are vaccinated, as reported by Vice President Rosario Murillo. Seventy percent of children between 2 and 11 years old are immunized, and 82% between 18 and 29 years old. “And the population over 30 years of age shows 88% compliance,” she said. (Radio La Primerisima, 7 Feb. 2022)

Less Pneumonia in 2021
On Feb. 7 the Ministry of Health reported that between January 1 and February 8 there was a 23% decrease in cases of pneumonia and 32% fewer deaths attributed to this disease. MINSA Secretary General, Carlos Sáenz explained that “epidemiological surveillance indicates that cases of pneumonia have decreased which is excellent given the context of the pandemic.” (Nicaragua News, 8 Feb. 2022)

30 Nicaraguans Will Study in China
Vice President Rosario Murillo reported that 30 Nicaraguan scholarship students from different fields arrived in Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China. After resting, they will fly to Shanghai where they will be quarantined for 21 days in a hotel. At the end of the quarantine they will move to the cities where they will study, including Beijing and Wuhan. (Informe Pastran 8 Feb. 2022)

El Salvador Continues Hostile Activities in Nicaragua Maritime Waters
Since Feb. 5, Salvadoran military vessels with artillery have entered into coastal waters of Nicaragua, less than 30 miles from land. They remain there claiming sovereignty over Nicaragua’s maritime spaces. In letters to the government of El Salvador, Nicaragua emphasized that these spaces have always been under the undisputed sovereignty of Nicaragua and that El Salvador has never before pretended or claimed sovereignty over them. Historically, the position of El Salvador has always been and continues to be that the Republic of Honduras has no right in the mouth of the Gulf of Fonseca, neither in the waters outside of it nor in the Pacific Ocean.

It is precisely because of this intransigent position of El Salvador with Honduras that Nicaragua signed the “Treaty of Limits between the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republic of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea and Waters outside the Gulf of Fonseca” on October 27, 2021. Nicaragua at the time explained that with the signing of this Treaty, Nicaragua did its part so that the Honduran people would obtain their deserved right to a part of the Gulf of Fonseca, a right that the International Court of Justice had already recognized and that El Salvador to this day refuses to recognize. In that Treaty a call was made “to the sister Republic of El Salvador to continue with the efforts to maintain the maritime spaces in the Gulf of Fonseca and in the Pacific Ocean, as zones of peace, sustainable development and security.” On Feb. 8 Nicaragua said “If the Government of El Salvador truly considers that a boundary dispute exists, we call upon it to cease resorting to the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of Nicaragua and to submit the alleged dispute to the International Court of Justice. Nicaragua reaffirms that it accepts the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court to resolve the current dispute. As the international community is aware, Nicaragua has a long tradition of resolving any dispute by peaceful means and remains faithful to its commitment to peace.” To read two letters from Foreign Minister Denis Moncada see here: ,
Radio La Primerisima, 7 and 8 Feb. 2022, Informe Pastran, 8 Feb. 2022)

Legal Status of 16 NGOs Cancelled
On Feb. 2 the National Assembly approved the cancellation of the legal status of 16 non-governmental organizations, among them universities, for violating the General Law of Non-Profit Organizations and other legislation.

Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (UPOLI)
Universidad Católica Agropecuaria del Trópico (UCATSE, Estelí, owned by the former Bishop of Estelí Abelardo Mata)
University of Humanitarian Studies (UNEH).
Popular University of Nicaragua (UPONIC).
Paulo Freire University (UPF).
Agricultural Institute of the Diocese of Estelí.
Association of parochial schools of the Diocese of Estelí.
Diocesan Caritas of Estelí.
Father Fabretto Family.
Justice Commission of the Diocese of Esteli.
Cultural Center of the North of the Diocese of Estelí.
Michelangelo Foundation.
Association for the Development of Esteli.
Association for the Promotion and Creation of Graduates.
Association of Nicaraguan Singer-Songwriters.
Association of Orthodontists of Nicaragua

These schools and associations have not reported their financial statements for several years and have not updated their boards of directors as required by law. Organizations violated the General Law of Legal Personality, in addition to the Non-Profit Organizations Law. “The Association of Singer-Songwriters and the Association of Orthodontists of Nicaragua have failed to provide the financial reports to the department of registration and control of non-profit civil associations of the Ministry of the Interior …  showing lack of transparency in the administration of the funds,” according to the Ministry of the Interior report. Associations also violated Law 977, the law against money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. (Radio La Primerisima, 2 Feb. 2022)

Three New Universities Created
On Feb. 7 the National Assembly approved nearly unanimously the Laws for the Creation of the Ricardo Morales Avilés National Multidisciplinary University, the National Polytechnic University (UNP) and the Francisco Luis Espinoza Pineda National University. These three universities, which will be under the administration of the National University Coouncil (CNU) will take over responsibilities for the six universities that lost their legal status due to flagrant and continuous violations of the Law of Civil Associations. The creation of each public higher education center will guarantee the continuity of academic programs, according to the law. “Our Political Constitution establishes, in Articles 58, 116 and 119, the right of Nicaraguans to a full and integral education; it also recognizes education as a fundamental factor for the transformation and development of the individual and society,” states the bill sent over to the Assembly by President Ortega. The Ricardo Morales Avilés National Multidisciplinary University will be in charge of administering the former Hispano-American University (UHISPAM); the Humanitarian Studies University (UNEH), the Popular University of Nicaragua (UPONIC) and the Paulo Freire University (UPF). The Universidad Nacional Politécnica (UNP) will give “continuity to the academic programs that were offered by the extinct Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua (UPOLI). The third “Francisco Luis Espinoza Pineda National University” Law will administer the academic programs that were offered by the extinct Universidad Católica Agropecuaria del Trópico Seco (UCATSE), first known as the Francisco Luis Espinoza School of Agriculture and Livestock of Estelí.” (Radio La Primerisima, 3 Feb. 2022)

Foreign Universities Lose Registrations
The Ministry of the Interior (MIGOB) cancelled the registrations of seven foreign universities for having failed to comply with the country’s laws regulating non-profit organizations. The universities are Florida International University, Michigan State University, University of Mobile Corporation, Wake Forest University, all of them from the United States. Also, Fundación Universidad Particular en Ciencias del Mercado, from Panama; Thomas More University and Universidad Centroamericana de Ciencias Empresariales (UCEM), from Costa Rica. MIGOB pointed out that these universities did not report financial statements with detailed information of income and expenses, balance of verification, donations (origin, provenance and final beneficiary), in violation of Article 14 paragraph b of  Law 977. They did not report the directive of the country of origin (article 21 of Law 147). They also failed to report previous donations coming from abroad to the Department of Associations. (Radio La Primerisima, 3 Feb. 2022)

CNU Will Guarantee Studies, Stability and Fee Reductions
The students of universities that lost their legal status are guaranteed the continuation of heir studies and a reduction in fees, said the president of the CNU, Professor Ramona Rodriguez. Stability will also be guaranteed to both teachers and workers of these universities, said Rodriguez during an interview on Channel 4 Television’s “En vivo” magazine. “The National Council of Universities as the governing body of higher education is at the forefront because we have the responsibility to take care of education and ensure that students continue with their academic curriculum,” she said. “We will maintain quality which is our main commitment, stability, and a reduction of the fees,” Rodriguez explained. (Radio La Primerisima, 4 Feb. 2022)

Téllez, Vijil, Alemán and Mora Found Guilty
Dora Maria Téllez , Ana Margarita Vijil and Lesther Alemán were found guilty of the crime of conspiracy to undermine national integrity in three separate trials by different judges. They are members of UNAMOS, formerly Movimiento Renovador Sandinista (MRS). Accusations were filed against them of having conspired to undermine the national integrity, in accordance with articles 410 and 412 of the Penal Code, to the detriment of the Nicaraguan society and the State of Nicaragua.” Arrests were based on the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace, popularly known as the “Law of Sovereignty,” which was approved by the National Assembly in December 2020. Miguel Mora, ex-director of 100% Noticias, was found guilty on Feb. 4 of conspiracy to undermine national integrity. Mora was a foreign agent, promoter of the roadblocks and spreader of false news. He threatened policeman Gabriel Vado Ruiz and six days later Vado was tortured, murdered and burned. In a July 2018 interview with the Grayzone Mora asked the US to invade Nicaragua and take out the President and his family like they did to President Noriega in Panama in 1989, when hundreds of Panamanians were killed. At the beginning of the coup he also spread the false news that the president and his family had fled Nicaragua. (100% Noticias, 3 Feb. 2022, Hablando de Todo, 4 Feb., 2022)