By Nan McCurdy
Time and again Nicaragua is showing other countries the importance of fighting for sovereignty, independence, peace and the well-being of its people.
On June 27, 1986, the World Court condemned the United States for illegal war and aggression against Nicaragua and ordered the US to compensate Nicaragua for damages, estimated to run to US$17 billion dollars, what today would be more than US$55 billion. On June 27 of this year, President Daniel Ortega demanded that the US fulfill its obligation. He stated, “On June 27, 1986, the International Court of Justice condemned the US and directed it to compensate Nicaragua for all damages caused as a consequence of military activities against Nicaragua. In a situation of armed aggression such as that carried out by the US, no amount of reparations – neither economic nor moral – could compensate for the devastation of the country, the loss of human lives and the physical and psychological wounds of the Nicaraguan people. The Court decided that the United States had a legal obligation to make economic reparations to Nicaragua for all the damages caused.” The President continued, “The compensation due to Nicaragua remains unpaid… Instead of receiving compensation as is morally and legally due, Nicaragua continues to be the object of a new form of aggression, which consists of sanctions and an attempted coup d’état.” In finishing, Ortega said that, “Nicaragua takes this opportunity to recall that the judgments of the ICJ are final and of obligatory compliance, and therefore the United States has the obligation to comply with the reparations ordered by the ruling of June 27, 1986.”
In June the Sao Paulo Forum approved a resolution in support of Nicaragua’s demand for compliance with the 1986 ruling of the World Court. The Sao Paulo Forum is the premier forum of left organizations, movements and parties of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Sao Paulo Forum declared itself in support of Nicaragua’s demand that the US comply with the ICJ ruling, and compensate Nicaragua to the full extent of that historic decision.
The Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Azerbaijan in June issued a joint declaration in which the member countries expressed their support for Nicaragua’s request for US compliance and compensation for damages in accordance with the ruling. The statement highlights that “the persistent refusal of the United States to comply with the Judgment of the International Court of Justice issued 37 years ago, is a flagrant violation of international law and of the ruling of the highest court of justice in the world.”
Nicaragua showed it will not bend to US coup attempts and destabilization when it tried and convicted Nicaraguan agents who participated in violent actions in an attempt to overthrow the government in 2018. Then on February 9, 2023, Nicaragua decided to deport 222 prisoners convicted of treason and other crimes to the US. “In accordance with the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People, Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination … the immediate and effective deportation of 222 persons is ordered…The deportees were declared traitors and punished for different serious crimes (that would be serious crimes in any nation) and their citizenship rights are perpetually suspended.” [Note: The new law under which Nicaraguans can lose their citizenship because of treasonous acts is very similar to US Code 1481 under which a person can lose US citizenship by “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, … by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.]
In another example of demanding respect for sovereignty, Nicaragua suspended the placet it had granted to Fernando Ponz as the European Union ambassador to Nicaragua. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada Colindres said in a statement: “In view of the interfering and insolent communiqué issued this day, which confirms the imperialist and colonialist positions of the European Union, this April 18, on the eve of the National Day of Peace, the sovereign and dignified government of the Republic of Nicaragua … has decided to suspend the placet that had been granted to Mr. Fernando Ponz as ambassador of that subjugating power. We reiterate to the neocolonialist gentlemen and women of the European Union our condemnation of all their historic genocide and we demand justice and reparation for these crimes against humanity and for their virulent, greedy and rapacious plundering of our wealth and cultures. In these circumstances and in the face of the permanent siege on the rights of our people to national sovereignty, we will not receive their representative.”
On Jan. 24, at the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) held in Argentina, Foreign Minister Moncada rejected foreign intervention in any form, including aggressions, invasions, interferences, blockades, economic wars, offenses, threats, humiliations, occupations as well as sanctions, which are nothing more than “aggressions, all illegal, arbitrary and unilateral.” His message also called on the CELAC countries to resist and reject everything that endangers the future, “the luminous horizon of our peoples, where we do not allow any more plundering of our natural and cultural resources, and where the genocide imposed on us for centuries by the colonialist powers is not only denounced, but [our resistance] becomes … songs that demand peace.” He went in to say, “The world urgently needs justice and peace…respectful cooperation and solidarity. The world needs understanding, comprehension and affection. The better world that we all want to create urgently needs … the ability to live together….
Strategies for Development Despite Sanctions
In 2018, the same year of the coup attempt, the US passed a first round of sanctions called the Nica Act. Then, under President Joe Biden, more sanctions were passed called “RENACER.” Currently, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced a new bill to reauthorize and amend the previous sanctions making them even harsher.
All of these sanctions are illegal coercive measures and the US applies them not because Nicaragua has done something wrong, but exactly because Nicaragua is using the riches it produces for the social welfare of its people and not acting as a US colony. Sanctions tend to primarily affect economic growth and studies show they have the biggest effect on the poor and vulnerable.
Nicaragua has developed three essential areas that make it resilient even in the face of this form of war: Nicaragua produces about 90% of the food that people eat; Nicaragua has increased renewable energy from 20% to 70% so every year it is less dependent on petroleum imports; and it has developed excellent infrastructure in health, education, roads and bridges, energy, water and sewage. And because of more benefits like free universal health and education, more affordable housing possibilities as well as more opportunities for youth and women, a very high percentage of the population approves of the government – currently nearly 83%.
And Nicaragua is developing new relationships of respect with many other countries: In the first six months of 2023 Nicaragua received high level visits from China, Russia and Iran.
The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, visited Nicaragua on April 19 and said that together with Nicaragua they will continue to work hand in hand against interference and intervention. “Thanks to the efforts of Daniel Ortega, the country remains stable,” he said. “I would like to wish all Nicaraguans peace, prosperity and stability; I am convinced that the bilateral relations between Russia and Nicaragua will facilitate this process.” Multipolarity is a process that cannot be stopped, but Westerners under the auspices of the US try to spread their hegemony in conflicts such as the one in Ukraine and will try to increase their influence in the region looking towards the Pacific, among others,” he said. Russia has helped Nicaragua develop vaccine production such as the influenza vaccine now produced locally.
Cooperation with China began in December 2021 when Nicaragua recognized that there is only one China. Recently, on July 11 of this year, Nicaragua and China signed three agreements: China will donate 1,481 metric tons of wheat, 2,595 metric tons of urea, and 500 buses to Nicaragua. President Ortega thanked the President of China, Xi Jinping, for this cooperation that is provided in solidarity and unconditionally through the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) for the benefit of Nicaraguan families. Lou Zhaohui, the President of CIDCA, said China will continue to support the efforts of Nicaragua to meet its goals of poverty reduction and human development. And as of May, Nicaragua can export seafood, beef, and textiles to China free of tariffs.
On Feb. 1, 2023, Nicaragua hosted Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahián. Then, on June 13 and 14, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi visited Nicaragua to deepen relations and begin cooperation in the areas of science and technology. Raisi said that the United States wanted to paralyze its people through threats and sanctions, however Iran was not paralyzed in its path and has turned threats and sanctions into opportunities and through those opportunities it has achieved great progress in many areas. “Although the enemy wants to discourage the revolutionary peoples, the peoples have to know that the new world order is being formed in favor of the resistance of the people and against imperialist interests,” Raisi stated.
President Daniel Ortega Emphasizes the Importance of Peace
This year, April 19 was declared the National Day of Peace. On this day in 2018, at the beginning of the attempted coup, the first three people were killed by US-backed agents, including a policeman, a young Sandinista and a passer-by.
In his speech on April 19 President Ortega said: “I want to remind all Nicaraguans to think for a moment what Nicaragua was like five years ago. Could you walk on these streets; could you live in peace in your homes? Everyone was terrified. And the deaths every day; those who were killed were blamed on the government, on the police, and the police were in their barracks, which was the decision we had taken.”
President Ortega frequently emphasizes the importance of peace and how essential peace is to end poverty and for the development of all sectors of the country. On the 40th anniversary of the revolution in 2019, the president asked “What is the way to be able to work, study, receive health care, build schools, roads, show solidarity to get our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters who are still in these conditions out of poverty and extreme poverty? What is the fundamental condition?” Everyone answered with one voice that it is peace. He affirmed that a community needs peace to work and to live.
On January 9 of this year, at the swearing in of the National Assembly, President Ortega pointed out that “no matter how well-intentioned a government may be, if there is no peace, social programs cannot go forward. Without peace, schools, roads, hospitals simply cannot be built. We already know how terrible war is, the war that Nicaragua has lived through, the attempted coups that Nicaragua has lived through, how much blood, how much pain caused by terrorists, how much damage to the economy. But in the midst of the coup attempt, we were still inaugurating infrastructure and, after security and peace were restored for all Nicaraguans, then came this new push, because the country had been acting with enormous strength from 2007 until the coup attempt.”
Nicaragua does all it can to have peace, independence and sovereignty in order to advance well-being for its population. Nicaragua is a revolution that works!
By Nan McCurdy
Nicaragua Has Best Roads in Central America
Nicaragua is the country that has the best roads in Central America, greatly facilitating land trade, announced the president of the Association of Nicaraguan Transporters, Marvin Altamirano. Altamirano said that the Central American Transportation Federation recognizes the effort and work done by the government in facilitating trade. He eH indicated that they expect to close this year with between 3% and 4% growth in the sector. The trade association leader recalled that in 2021 cargo carriers recorded a growth of almost 20%, overcoming the fall they had between 2018 and 2020. (Radio La Primerisima, 4 August 2023)
415 Low-Income Housing Units under Construction
The government, with the cooperation of the People’s Republic of China, is making progress in the construction of the first phase of 920 affordable housing units in the capital city. The construction of the first 415 houses is underway. These houses are being built at a rate of 100 per month. The program will be an important opportunity for families to have access to housing in decent conditions, in an environment of quality, safety, welfare and comfort. The homes in the Nuevas Victorias residential complex will include water, electricity, sewage systems, hydraulic concrete main streets, paved pedestrian walkways, and a park for recreation and leisure for the population. See photos: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/avanza-construccion-de-415-viviendas-de-interes-social/ (Radio La Primerisima, 3 August 2023)
Nicaragua’s Use of Geothermal Energy Highlighted
On August 2 the digital media outlet Energy portal.eu published an article titled “Exploring the Potential of Geothermal Energy in Nicaragua’s Sustainable Future,” highlighting development of geothermal energy in the country. With approximately 70% of electricity used in the country coming from renewable sources, geothermal energy has the potential to transform the energy landscape. “Nicaragua is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the potential of geothermal energy, thanks to its location along the Central American Volcanic Arc, and has an estimated capacity to generate up to 1,500 MW of geothermal energy.” The article also noted that “geothermal energy currently represents 15% of the electricity generated from renewable sources. It has helped to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, lowered greenhouse gas emissions, improved the reliability of the national grid and reduced energy costs. Nicaragua serves as a model for other countries looking to harness the power of the earth’s natural heat to build a more sustainable future.” (Nicaragua News, 3 August 2023)
Nearly One Million Seniors Served with Special Health Program
As part of the Special Love and Care for our Elderly Program, from February 15 to August 2, 2023, 907,492 health care services were provided to seniors. Over 300,000 seniors were informed about the importance of physical exercise and maintaining a healthy diet in house-to-house visits. They were also presented with the booklet “Love and Care for our Elderly.” Over 200,000 people who suffer from chronic diseases received check-ups and medical attention; 173,893 of them participated in meetings to promote adherence to their medication and special care by the family nucleus. Over 125,000 seniors received attention for the early detection of complications; 60,500 specialized medical attentions were provided to those who presented some alteration in their usual state of health. See photos: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/casi-un-millon-de-adultos-mayores-atendidos-con-programa-especial/ (Radio La Primerisima, 3 August 2023)
National Reforestation Campaign Progresses Successfully
More than two million forest and fruit trees have been planted in Nicaragua since May 10 as part of the reforestation campaign called Verde, Te Quiero Verde (Green I want you green), carried out by the Forestry Institute. The trees have been planted in reserves, protected areas, parks, schools, and in the plots of the producer families. The campaign has established a total of 3,655 community and municipal nurseries, with a production capacity of 20 million plants. See photos: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/avanza-con-exito-la-campana-nacional-de-reforestacion/ (Radio La Primerisima, 6 August 2023)
Rehabilitation and Expansion of Health Center in Chagüitillo
The Ministry of Health inaugurated the expansion of the Luisa Amanda Espinoza Health Center in Chagüitillo, a community near Sébaco in the department of Matagalpa. The US$562 million-dollar project includes installation of a new electrical system and improvements to the emergency room, a shock area, a fever care unit and an observation room. Financing was provided by the General Budget, benefiting 5,000 inhabitants in six communities. (Nicaragua News, 7 August 2023)
Northern Caribbean Indigenous Celebrate the Restitution of their Rights
Families from the 18 Indigenous communities of the municipality of Rosita, in the North Caribbean Coast, gathered in the Brikput district to participate in activities in commemoration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. There was a food fair, a meeting of Indigenous women and the election of the queen. There were also traditional games such as the bow and arrow competition, log carrying races, and a canoe competition, among others. Carlos Alemán, governor of the North Caribbean Autonomous Region, highlighted the progress made by the government in that region, such as the implementation of educational programs, technical careers, university in the countryside, electrification, water and sanitation projects, road construction and the Wawa Boom bridge. See photos: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/indigenas-del-caribe-norte-celebran-la-restitucion-de-sus-derechos/ (Radio La Primerisima, 6 August, 2023)
The Huipil is Declared an Artistic and Cultural Heritage of the Nation
September 8 was declared the National Day of the Nicaraguan huipil by presidential decree. The decree states that the Political Constitution establishes that it is the duty of the State to promote the rescue, development and strengthening of the national culture, based on the participatory creation of the people. It adds that the Nicaraguan huipil represents the national and local cultural identity of our people. This is a garment used in festivities and traditional dances and is a reference of our culture and pride of being Nicaraguan. The identity, traditional values, symbolic and artistic aspects of the huipil are declared as intangible, artistic and cultural heritage of the nation. See photo: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/declaran-el-huipil-patrimonio-inmaterial-artistico-y-cultural-de-la-nacion/ (Radio La Primerisima, 8 August 2023)
BCN Cancels Debt with Spanish Credit Insurance Company
The Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN) reported on August 7 that the last installment of payment for the external debt it had with the Compañía Española de Seguros de Créditos para la Exportación (CESCE) was cancelled. The initial debt totaled US$541.1 million, on which the Spanish agency granted a reduction of US$399.1 million, within the framework of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (known as the HIPC Initiative). The BCN paid a total of US$200 million over a 23-year term, of which US$141.7 million corresponded to the debt balance, plus US$58.3 million for interest. (Radio La Primerisima, 7 August 2023)