In 2009 a US backed military coup in Honduras shocked the region, sparking massive national and international outcry which demanded restoration of the democratic order. Nicaragua’s solidarity with the people of Honduras was clear and decisive. In support of international attempts to reverse the coup, United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto (formerly Nicaraguan Foreign Minister) accompanied President Manuel Zelaya to Honduras days after he was illegally ousted. The Honduran military blocked their plane from landing and fired on the crowds that had gathered at the airport to receive them. Nicaragua’s solidarity continued throughout the 13-year crisis that ensued.
On September 20, 2022, Honduran President Xiomara Castro addressed the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, speaking truth to power and establishing historical memory about the devastating impact of the 2009 US-backed coup, a coup that was finally reversed thanks to the courageous resistance of the Honduran people and international solidarity.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro’s Speech at the UN
[The speech can be watched here: https://www.latribuna.hn/2022/09/20/vea-el-discurso-en-vivo-de-xiomara-castro-en-la-onu/. The Spanish transcript can be read here: https://confidencialhn.com/blog/2022/09/20/queremos-vivir-en-paz]
Not only am I the first woman to have the honor of leading our Central American nation, but I also represent the first democratically elected government after going through 13 years of dictatorship, the 2009 coup d’état, full of cruel assassinations and death squads, two separate electoral frauds, a pandemic and two hurricanes. It is impossible to understand Hondurans and the great caravans of migrants without recognizing this context of cruel suffering that we have had to go through.
But electoral democracy is not enough to obtain the material and spiritual well-being of our people.
Thirteen years of a dictatorship, protected by the international community, led the country to multiply by six its public debt and reach a poverty rate of 74 percent, the highest rate in the history of Honduras.
Five out of ten of my compatriots live in extreme poverty, but I am clear that none of these figures impresses anyone in the world today that lives under the monetary dictatorship that imposes the most draconian measures of fiscal discipline on the poorest, that increases the suffering of the neglected majorities, and where speculative capital has no limits.
It is evident that for our country to survive today we must reject this presumptive austerity that rewards those who concentrate wealth in a few hands and exponentially increases inequality.
Since we arrived [in office] at the end of January, we have shown a strong desire for consensus, always expressing the firm decision to achieve agreement on our commitments without denying any of them. But attempts to undermine the will of the people come at us from all directions. Conspiracies are fomented among the same sectors that looted the country and from their coup allies emboldened by a brazen anti-democratic attitude, sometimes disguised as diplomacy.
The public policies endorsed by the rentier economic model* of the international financial community during the last 13 years have dragged us into a world full of violence and poverty with failed and abandoned projects, corruption, looting and drug trafficking.
None of the international witnesses to the electoral frauds of 2013 and 2017 were ignorant of those who were condemning our people [to suffering], and yet they were complacent about the worst plague that has hit our country. The arrogance of capital and petty interests made many opt for deception while organized crime led the country to the abyss.
The poor nations of the world will no longer endure coups, the use of lawfare**, or Color Revolutions, usually organized to plunder our vast natural resources. The industrialized nations of the world are responsible for the serious deterioration of the environment but they make us pay for their lifestyle, and for this, they spare nothing to plunge us into their plans and into an endless crisis, trying to tie us hand and foot.
The Honduras that I direct is being built with a vision of humanistic refoundation, imbued with dignity and sovereignty, which will do what is legally possible to recover our environment, and achieve the common good for all our population.
This arbitrary world order is unacceptable to us: where there are third and fourth category countries, where those who think they are civilized do not tire of carrying out invasions, wars, financial speculations and crucifying us with their inflation over and over again.
I take this platform to demand that we be respected, we want to live in peace! DO NOT continue trying to destabilize Honduras and dictate its measures or choose to whom we should relate.
The people are sovereign and they demonstrated it last November 28, supporting my victory, the largest in history. And the resistance that fought against the imposed dictatorship during these 13 years accompanied me en masse in the streets this September 15, the day of our independence, casting out the public threats and the custom of delivering national assets to the highest bidder.
Never again will we carry the stereotype of the Banana Republic; we will end the monopolies and oligopolies that only impoverish our economy.
A generous people, who have defended our forests and rivers, will not forget the hundreds of murders of young people and of our comrade Berta Cáceres, nor the forced disappearance of Honduran men and women because of their way of thinking, like the five Garífuna comrades two years ago.
Every millimeter of the homeland that was usurped in the name of the sacrosanct freedom of the market, including the Zones for Employment and Economic Development (Zedes) and other regimes of privilege, was irrigated with the blood of the original peoples. My social and democratic government will return to a state of justice and law, so that this does not happen again.
We are working hard to prioritize stimulus and the elimination of fiscal abuses. We have already started promoting a law for energy as a public good, the restoration of rights to workers, support for our internal market by investing in agriculture for food security, and subsidizing the poorest so they no longer pay for electricity.
We have proposed renegotiating free trade agreements. We have made the sovereign decision to invest in our development with import substitution, competing in international markets without subsidizing the excesses of developed nations.
For women, who have been denied their inclusion in development for centuries, we will recognize their importance in society as part of its backbone. We will provide health, quality education, security and food sovereignty to our children and youth.
For Honduras, each caravan of migrants fleeing from the dictatorship that was set up for more than a decade is a hard loss for our country and for their families. This exodus, caused by neoliberal injustice, generates more unemployment and binds us to an undesirable dependency. In our country, paradoxically, emigrants generate more foreign currency income than many of the traditional exports. Our solidarity and accompaniment are with the TPS*** recipients.
In Honduras we cannot continue to support the hypocrisy of a system that now judges a few people for crimes related to drug trafficking, but supported them for more than a decade in the commission of criminal actions, two electoral frauds, and crimes against the homeland and against millions of Hondurans.
For all this, we are going to set up an international commission to combat corruption and impunity with the support of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Honduras will only have a future if it takes firm steps to dismantle the neoliberal economic dictatorship.
That is why we have already begun the refoundation of our homeland and of education with the ideals and values of our national hero, Francisco Morazán Quezada.
*Rentier capitalism describes the economic practice of gaining large profits without contributing to society.
**Lawfare is the use of legal systems and institutions to damage or delegitimize an opponent, or to deter individual’s usage of their legal rights.
***Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows people to live and work in the US for a period when their country is experiences war or environmental disaster.
By Nan McCurdy
Highest Percentage of Covid-Vaccinated People in the Region
On Sept. 27, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported that with 90.1% of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Nicaragua is the country in Central American with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated people followed by Costa Rica (81.8%); Panama (71.8%); El Salvador (66.2%); Honduras (55.8%); and Guatemala (37.7%). (Nicaragua News, 28 Sept. 2022)
More than 77% Back President Ortega’s Administration
77.3% of the population approves of President Daniel Ortega’s administration, according to the latest survey by the polling firm M & R Consultores, released on Oct. 4. 72.5% support the direction in which the country is being led by the Sandinista leader. 78.4% of those surveyed highlight the progress of Nicaragua today in relation to what existed before 2007 and 79.9% talk about the hope generated by the government. See details: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias-generales/destacado/mas-del-77-de-poblacion-respalda-gestion-del-presidente-daniel/ (Radio La Primerisima, 4 Oct. 2022)
Municipal Election Ballot Ready
The electoral ballot to be used in the Nov. 6, 2022, municipal elections was approved on Sept. 30 after the review and signature of the legal representatives of the political parties and alliances. The president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), Magistrate Brenda Rocha, highlighted that this is one more activity of the calendar that guarantees the legality of the process. “With you we ensure that the content of the ballots has the correct data of each party and alliance: emblem, color, names of candidates, photos, flags,” she said. See photos and more details: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias-generales/destacado/lista-boleta-que-sera-utilizada-en-elecciones-municipales/ (Radio La Primerisima, 30 Sept. 2022)
Parties Present Lists for Voting Boards
The Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) announced that the period from September 29 to October 6 is the period for the presentation of slates of members to form the Voting Boards (JRV) for the upcoming municipal elections. These lists are put together by the political parties and alliances of political parties participating in the elections on November 6. The proposed list of citizens must be delivered to all of the 153 Municipal Electoral Councils (CEM) and the CSE has set up a digital platform for political parties and alliances to use to send in these lists in an efficient and orderly manner. A total of 7,931 Voting Boards (JRV) will be set up in the 3,106 Voting Centers, where citizens will be able to exercise their right to vote this November 6th. Each JRV is formed by a president and two members, with their respective alternates. From October 10 to 14, the Municipal Electoral Councils will officially appoint a total of 47,586 members of the Voting Boards (including alternates). On October 31, the members of the Voting Boards will be sworn in. (Radio La Primerisima, 2 Oct. 2022)
More than a Thousand Property Titles Delivered Last Week
1,008 new registered property titles were delivered last week to families in Managua, Rivas, Chinandega, Matagalpa, and Jinotega departments, as well as the Southern Caribbean Autonomous Region. Attorney General Wendy Morales stated that the titles were delivered house to house. (Nicaragua News, 28 Sept. 2022)
Loan Signed with CABEI for Treatment Plant in El Viejo
The Water and Sewage Company and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration signed an agreement for US$22.8 million in support of the project to expand the sewage system and build the wastewater treatment plant in El Viejo municipality, Chinandega Department. The project which includes installation of a water pumping station will be completed by February 2024. (Nicaragua News, 28 Sept. 2022)
Nicaragua to Increase Shares in the World Bank
The National Assembly approved Presidential Decree 18-2022 that authorizes the acquisition of 2,653 additional shares in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank. Deputy Walmaro Gutiérrez, Chair of the Committee on Economy and Budget of the Assembly, stated that “The US$2.6 million-dollar investment, to purchase IFC World Bank shares to strengthen Nicaragua’s position as a full member of this financial entity, guarantees the channeling of resources for social programs that benefit the population and demonstrates that we are a reliable partner that complies with international commitments.” (Nicaragua News, 4 Oct. 2022)
Bluefields Designated Member of Global Network of Learning Cities
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that the city of Bluefields was designated a member of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. The UNESCO Permanent Secretary in Nicaragua Arturo Collado, stated that “Bluefields is the third city of Nicaragua to be incorporated into the Global Network of Learning Cities, after León and Granada. UNESCO recognizes the efforts of the Bluefields educational system to implement full access to education with cultural identity that has helped to preserve the Afro-descendant heritage of the city.” The Global Network of Learning Cities encompasses cities that demonstrate through public policies and effective learning practices at all levels that they are inclusive, safe, and resilient, contributing to the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Bluefields, part of the Southern Caribbean Autonomous Region, is the cradle of Creole culture and home to two intercultural universities of Nicaragua. (Nicaragua News, 4 Oct. 2022)
Medical Oxygen Plant Begins Operations
As part of the strategy to produce medical oxygen to guarantee the health and safety of the population, the Social Security Institute (INSS) completed the construction and equipping of the “Kevin Coffin Reyes” plant. The plant has a total area of 2,300 square meters, including production area, warehouses and administrative offices. It has two PSA medical oxygen generators with a capacity of 6,500 cubic feet per minute, which allows for the daily filling of 970 T220 cylinders or 25,000 cylinders filled monthly. It complies with all safety requirements established by the Unified Fire Department and the Ministry of Health. The new hospitals under construction also contemplate the installation of oxygen generators. (Radio La Primerisima, 29 Sept. 2022)
New Waste Water System Inaugurated in Malpaisillo
The Water and Sewage Company inaugurated a project to improve and expand the sewage and sanitation system in Malpaisillo municipality, León department. The US$43,835 project was financed by the General Budget with support from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration. (Nicaragua News, 29 Sept. 2022)
2.5 Million People Participate in Disaster Preparation
The National Center for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention (SINAPRED) organized the third Multi-Threat Exercise for Preparation and Preservation of Life on Sept. 29. More than 2.5 million Nicaraguans participated in the exercise simulating a magnitude 8 earthquake. Seven thousand local emergency committees in the most vulnerable points for a major earthquake that would generate landslides, tsunami alert, volcanic activity, or infrastructure collapse were activated. This exercise tested the VHF and HF frequency communication system at a national and international level in the event of possible collapse of conventional services. (Nicaragua News, 29 Sept. 2022)
Twenty-two Officers Killed in 2018 Coup Attempt Posthumously Promoted
During the 43rd anniversary ceremony of the founding of the National Police on Sept. 28, President Ortega promoted nine new general commissioners, among them six women, “who today swear to defend peace, which is to defend the lives of Nicaraguan families…” A Presidential Agreement was also issued under which 22 officers who were killed by terrorist groups in 2018 were posthumously promoted. The Agreement, read by Vice President Murillo, states that when the “security of Nicaraguan families were brutally harassed and violated by coup terrorism in 2018, the National Police in courageous combat against crimes that were directed, organized and financed by imperialism, knew how to defend the sovereign security of Nicaraguans…. During that fatal interventionist attack promoted by the enemies of humanity, 22 brothers and sisters of the National Police offered their lives, defending the common good of the hard-working and peaceful families of our Nicaragua….” (Informe Pastran, 28 Sept. 2022)
Diplomatic Note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The following note was released by Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry on September 30: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nicaragua Government of Reconciliation and National Unity reiterates to the Government of the United States the communique issued on July 28, 2022, of rejection and non-acceptance of Mr. Hugo Rodríguez, a proven interventionist, a disrespectful and undiplomatic official, offensively nominated as representative of that government to our blessed, sovereign and free Nicaragua… Mr. Hugo Rodríguez … will not, under any circumstance, be admitted to our free Nicaragua, and much less as an exponent of the worst forms of an offensive and irreverent modality of bilateral relations between states, which contravenes the Vienna Convention from its very beginning.” [Editor’s note: At his confirmation hearing before the Senate, Mr. Rodríguez spoke disparagingly about Nicaragua and said he would “support using all economic and diplomatic tools to bring about a change in direction in Nicaragua.” He also said he would try to get Nicaragua excluded from DR-CAFTA – the free trade agreement between the US and Central America. The US Senate confirmed Rodríguez’ nomination to the ambassador post on Sept. 29 despite Nicaragua saying in July that it would reject him.] (Foreign Ministry, 30 Sept. 2022)
Nicaragua Accuses the Netherlands of Interventionism
Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with the Netherlands on Sept. 30 over accusations of “interventionism,” hours after it said it would deny entry to the new United States ambassador because of his “interfering” attitude.” “Nicaragua, faced with the repeated meddling, interventionist and neocolonialist position of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that has offended … with threats and suspensions of works for the common good, communicates to the government of that country our decision to discontinue diplomatic relations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sept. 30. The Netherlands, for political reasons, had pulled its promised financing of the new hospital in Bilwi, which then had to be paid for from other sources. (Foreign Ministry, 30 Sept. 2022)
“They are Continuously Conspiring”
During the 43rd anniversary celebration of the founding of the National Police President Daniel Ortega recalled and honored the heroes who gave their lives, defending the lives and peace of Nicaraguans, saying that this obliges us to continue strengthening the National Police to be attentive to terrorist activities because there are those who do not stop conspiring. “They are continuously conspiring; they are looking for ways to harm and destroy, as they destroyed schools, health centers, as they destroyed homes of entire families. They would like to repeat that history and that will not happen again and for that, the Police has to continue strengthening itself,” he said. He said that the strengthening is to protect women’s rights, noting that “their rights are clearly established, but we know that they are victims of totally brutal attitudes, murdered women, and that is why it is important to strengthen the Women’s Police Stations.” Ortega urged citizens to make democracy real saying, “… we want to make democracy a reality in all fields, and that is to say, there should be voting in all fields and especially in the religious field which is so sensitive; you should be able to choose who you want to be your pastor in the neighborhood, the community, in the department, in the country.” (Radio La Primerisima, 28 Sept. 2022)