NicaNotes: Sign-on Letter: Supporting Nicaragua’s Sovereignty, Honoring Its Achievements!

[Versión en español]

Dear friends,

We are asking for your help to de-escalate hostility against the people of Nicaragua.  Will you endorse the statement below entitled “SUPPORTING NICARAGUA’S SOVEREIGNTY, HONORING ITS ACHIEVEMENTS,” and forward this message to friends and organizations?  To endorse, just send an email to NicaraguaAdvocacyNetwork@gmail.com , providing your full name, your organization (if any), and whether you are signing as an individual or on behalf of your organization. Collection of signatures is ongoing.

On November 10, 2022, an online White House statement announced that President Biden had invoked emergency powers on October 24, declaring Nicaragua a continuing “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”  This renews for yet another year the Executive Order unjustly issued by Donald Trump in November 2018.  It accompanies the biggest escalation of hostility toward Nicaragua – by the United States, but also by its allied nations and the media – since the Reagan Administration made similar declarations in the 1980s.

Ronald Reagan applied US sanctions and illegally funded terrorists to overthrow the Sandinista government, using money from sales of cocaine to US citizens and weapons to Iran.  Nicaragua’s economy was destroyed, and its people eventually voted the Sandinistas out of power in 1990 to stop the war and the economic embargo.  Conditions for most Nicaraguans, however, only got worse during the three successive US-backed governments.

So, the Nicaraguan people voted the Sandinistas back into office.  On President Ortega’s first day in office in January 2007, he signed an Executive Order restoring the people’s Constitutional rights to free and universal health and education, rights that had been systematically denied during the previous 17 years of neoliberal governments.  Since then, Nicaragua has made tremendous social progress, and the economy has grown across social demographics.

But now the United States has returned to the hostility of the 1980s, pressuring its allies to follow suit, illegally escalating sanctions and funding violence to destabilize Nicaragua.  Many news media promote the same falsehoods about Nicaragua that they used in the 1980s.

It’s time to set the record straight – to ask all our governments and media, wherever we live, to portray Nicaragua with greater accuracy and to stop interfering with its sovereignty.  Nicaragua has been called “the threat of a good example.”  This small country, with one of the world’s tiniest military budgets, may threaten some – but it is an inspiration to many!

Did you know that NICARAGUA…

–provides universal and free health care throughout the country, with 24 new hospitals, 181 maternity wait homes, and well over 3,000 health centers and health posts?
–adopted special measures to achieve among the lowest rates of excess deaths during the pandemic in Latin America, and the highest level of Covid vaccinations in Central America, as certified by the World Health Organization?
–has universal and free education from preschool through trade school, university, and professional school?
–recently held its municipal elections with an impressive 57% turnout of voters, with candidates from five parties – and paper ballots secured and counted by all party representatives?
–has several TV channels, numerous radio stations and well-used news websites expressing opposition viewpoints, alongside government-oriented media?
–consistently receives high ratings from international financial institutions for its transparency and execution of development projects, and for its prudent fiscal policies?
–is ranked 7th in the world for gender equality in 2022, with women in half of all government positions and 164 Women’s Police Stations to attend to violence against women?
–is a world leader in renewable energies, with 70% of its energy from renewable sources?

–builds and provides thousands of good quality, low-cost homes annually?
–is a pioneer in defense of the rights of its Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, who have communal title to a third of the national territory?
–has an ambitious National Plan to Fight Poverty that exceeds 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals?
–actively encourages citizen participation in government at many different levels?
–sponsors and helps develop thousands of cooperative businesses and agricultural enterprises?
More such examples of Nicaragua’s recent achievements and sources of information can be found here.

Nicaragua is not a threat to the United States.  It deserves our recognition and support in affirming its national sovereignty.  Please help by signing and circulating the statement below.  Thanks so much!

Solidarity Statement

SUPPORTING NICARAGUA’S SOVEREIGNTY, HONORING ITS ACHIEVEMENTS

We, the undersigned, stand firmly in support of Nicaragua as a sovereign nation. We are alarmed and offended by the November 10 White House notice regarding Nicaragua, of a “national emergency” originally declared in 2018, now set to continue through November 27, 2023. The notice falsely claims that Nicaragua poses “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. We also observe the escalating use of sanctions on Nicaragua by the US and its allies. Therefore, we demand the following of all other governments, media outlets, and nongovernmental organizations:

  1. Respect the right of the Nicaraguan people to choose their own leaders, to govern themselves, and to determine their own path to development.
  2. Lift all coercive measures (aka “sanctions”) against Nicaragua. These measures are illegal under international law, as they violate the human rights of the Nicaraguan people. They cause immense political, social, and economic suffering, especially to the most vulnerable in society.
  3. In describing or dealing with Nicaragua, use a consistent set of standards for comparison with any other nation, regardless of its chosen economic system or sphere of influence.
  4. Be accurate when discussing Nicaragua, in foreign policy statements and in news and social media:
  • Avoid the use of pejorative terms and negative statements not backed by evidence.
  • Acknowledge Nicaragua’s advancement of many human rights – political, civil, social, economic, cultural, and collective – for its own people and for all other nations. Support such comprehensive and uniform human rights standards for all peoples of the world.
  • Recognize Nicaragua’s significant achievements, worthy of emulation by other countries.

We urge other governments and media to strive for accuracy, rather than demonizing Nicaragua and dismissing or ignoring its achievements. Nicaragua’s policies and government programs have made major improvements in the lives of its people, through massive advances in health care, education, housing and other public services which provide a lesson in how state investment can be used effectively to everyone’s benefit.

Many governments and media have consistently misrepresented the US-funded coup attempt in 2018 and its damage, blaming all violence on the police and not on the criminals who orchestrated it. They avoid mention of evidence and allegations against those more recently rearrested for again attempting to incite insurrection. As in the 1980s, misinformation supports such destabilization efforts. Adding to the injury is the failure to acknowledge the damaging effects of the pandemic, three destructive hurricanes, and escalating sanctions.

Despite all these challenges, the Nicaraguan government has managed to provide considerable security for its citizens. Nicaragua’s community-based policing has generated the people’s trust and support, and has ensured that Nicaragua does not suffer the violence generated by drugs and gangs commonplace in the rest of the region. The robust response to Covid-19 enabled Nicaragua to have one of the lowest excess death rates in the Americas. Its disaster response has prevented the many deaths seen in neighboring countries from the same hurricanes and floods. Nicaragua’s economy has recovered, and effects of poverty have been mitigated, while the US government and allied media claim the people are suffering from oppression and corruption.

Sanctions against Nicaragua must end. Unilateral coercive measures are illegal under international law. Through the effects on Nicaragua’s government programs and employment, they are especially unjust for the poorest people in the country. During the pandemic, sanctions prevented the health service from accessing vital equipment. Many sanctioned individuals are government officials delivering vital public services, yet they are prevented from signing financial contracts or administering systems linked to international finance. These coercive measures are tightening a stranglehold on economic recovery, deterring business investment, and putting jobs at risk. They are also counterproductive because they drive emigration (even though the rate for Nicaragua is still well below that of most neighboring countries).

For all the reasons stated above, we demand justice for Nicaragua, a cessation of interference with its sovereignty, and respect for its achievements.

Organizational Endorsements to Dec. 6th

ÁBACOenRed (Nicaragua)
Alliance for Global Justice
Baltimore Club of the CPUSA (MD)
Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace (MD)
Benedictine University Faculty Senate
Big Apple Coffee Party (NY)
Black Alliance for Peace
Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace (BACP) (MN)
CAIRDE Teo (Ireland)
Casa Baltimore/Limay (MD)
Chicago ALBA Solidarity (IL)
CODEPINK
Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB-ML)
Communist Party of Ireland
Community Organizing Center (Columbus, OH)
Cuban Solidarity Forum Ireland
DC Black Workers Center Chorus
Echoes of Silence (Nicaragua)
emar Studio for Public Architecture (CA)
Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, Canada
Friends of Latin America (MD)
Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland
Friendship Office of the Americas
Greater New Haven Peace Council (CT)
Green Renaissance – Sovereign Rights Movement (GRSRM)
International Action Center
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Internationalist 360° (Canada)
Isaiah Project
Jubilee House Community, Center for Development in Central America (Nicaragua)
Kawsachun News
Latin America Solidarity Committee -Corvallis (OR)
Maryland United for Peace and Justice (MUPJ)
Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA)
New Creation Community Presbyterian Church (Greensboro, NC)
Nicaragua Center for Community Action (CA)
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group (NSCAG) (UK)
Nicaragua Solidarity Ireland
NYC Free Assange
Orinoco Tribune
Peace Action New York State
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (WA)
Peoples Power Assembly
Popular Resistance
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC) (OR)
Rights Action (Canada & USA)
Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA) (NY)
RocUbuntu (NY)
SanctionsKill Campaign
Socialist Unity Party
Struggle-La-Lucha News
Svensk-Kubanska Föreningen / Asociación Sueco-Cubana (Sweden)
Task Force on the Americas (CA)
The Network in Defence of Humanity/La Red en Defensa de La Humanidad (Ireland)
The People’s Forum (NY)
The Workers’ Party of Ireland
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
Venezuela-Network Ireland
Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter (Corvallis-Albany, OR)
Víctor Jara Siempre Canta (Nicaragua)
Western New York Peace Center
Women In Struggle/ Mujeres En Lucha
Workers World Party

Sources:
White House Briefing, November 10.
Historical references:
(1) Iran-Contra Scandal: The Intercept
(2) CIA cocaine trafficking: Review from US Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General
Nicaragua’s achievements:

  1. National Plan for the Fight against Poverty and for Human Development, 2022” (available in English and Spanish)
  2. A review of achievements up to 2021
  3. More recent article from November 2022

Briefs
By Nan McCurdy

Growth in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published its annual report on “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The report states that in 2021 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nicaragua totaled US$1.22 billion dollars, 63% growth over 2020. “The increase in FDI in 2021 allowed the country to exceed the average levels received during the previous decade making Nicaragua the fourth-largest recipient of FDI in Central America, representing 11% of the total income of the region.” (Nicaragua News, 1 Dec. 2022)

Improving Health Care
With the purpose of strengthening care for cardiac patients, the Ministry of Health delivered 350 high-resolution electrocardiograph machines to the 19 Local Comprehensive Systems (SILAIS) of the country. The US$2 million funding for purchase of the equipment was provided by the General Budget. (Nicaragua News, 2 Dec. 2022)

Nicaragua Recognized for its Commitment to Immunization
Last week Nicaragua hosted a Regional Training Event for the new Effective Vaccine Management Evaluation System (GEV 2) being implemented by the World Health Organization. During the inauguration of the event, the Pan American Health Organization Regional Cold Chain/Supply and GEV Advisor, Dr. Nora Lucía Rodríguez, stated that “Nicaragua was selected to host the event in recognition of the commitment of Nicaragua to immunization. Currently, the country carries out constant national immunization campaigns that protect against 17 diseases including COVID-19, achieving national vaccination coverage greater than 90%.” Experts from Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay participated in the GEV training event. (Nicaragua News, 5 Dec. 2022)

300 New Computers Provided to Hospitals and Health Centers
In support of the Health Sector Digital Transformation Project being implemented in Nicaragua, the Ministry of Health provided 300 computers to the 19 Local Comprehensive Systems (SILAIS) to modernize patient file registration systems in the hospitals and healthcare centers of the country. The US$10.5 million funding for the computers was provided by the General Budget. (Nicaragua News, 5 Dec. 2022)

Growth in Cocoa Exports
The Nicaragua Cocoa Commission (Comcacao) reported that 6,200 tons of premium cocoa beans were exported between January and November of 2022, representing US$22 million in sales, a 12% increase compared to the same period in 2021. Comcacao representative Mario Nolasco noted that “the increase in exports of premium cocoa is mainly due to the transformation of the sector, leaving aside dependence on agrochemicals and implementing sustainable agriculture strategies that have increased the number of plantations and improved the quality of the cocoa, making it more attractive for the international market.” (Nicaragua News, 6 Dec. 2022)

More Than 2,000 Turtles Released
MARENA (Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources) authorities released 2,343 specimens of the scorpion mud turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides) in the Finca Cervantes Private Wildlife Reserve, located in the community of Buena Vista, municipality of El Viejo, Chinandega. These turtles were confiscated from illegal wildlife traffickers, with the support of the Navy and National Police. (Radio La Primerisima, 5 Dec. 2022)

RT and Nicaraguan Communication Council Sign Agreement
The Nicaragua Communication and Citizenship Council and the Russia Today Television Network (RT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish strategic cooperation between RT and the Nicaragua Communication Council. The Agreement provides for cooperation initiatives to exchange, rebroadcast, develop, and improve television networks in both countries. (Nicaragua News and TN8, 6 Dec. 2022)

Nicaragua Excels in Electricity Coverage and Renewables
Nicaragua closed the month of November with an electricity coverage of 99.245% of the population and with important international recognition for being one of the nations with the highest coverage in the region. Salvador Mansell, Minister of Energy and Mines, specified that another US$22 million will be invested in 2023 for electrification of 12,000 more homes. Mansell commented that recently Forbes Magazine recognized that Nicaragua together with Costa Rica are the countries with the highest electricity coverage in Central America, noting that Costa Rica has 99.4% coverage; Nicaragua 99.245%; El Salvador 97.9%; Panama 93.8%; Guatemala 91.7% and Honduras 85%.

The country has made progress in other areas, such as public lighting systems, establishing the goal for 2023 of 17,500 more street lights in 153 municipalities, for which ENATREL will invest US$3.9 million; and reaching 13,022 solar panels on the Caribbean coast, an investment of US$32.1 million with financing from Korea’s Eximbank. In this period Nicaragua managed to turn around the electricity generation matrix by going from 30% generation with renewable sources to 70%. These advances have been recognized by worldwide organizations such as IRENA, CEPAL, STATISTA, FORBES and OLADE. Globally Nicaragua is in seventh place for production of electricity with renewable sources. Today Nicaragua has an installed generation capacity of 1,633.06 MW, in 2006 it was only 754 MW. Between January 1 and November 27, 2022, the generation with renewable sources was 69.65% and 30.35% with non-renewable sources. Solar energy contributed 0.42%; hydroelectric 12.07%; geothermal 12.69%; biomass 11.55%; wind 10.77%; regional market imports 22.14%. Peak demand was 765.8 MW with a total generation of 4,383.70 GWh. (Radio La Primerisima, 6 Dec. 2022)

Among the Best Diving Destinations in Central America
“The Washington Post” published an article last weekend titled “Central America is a diver’s paradise. Here are 5 spots to get deep.” The article highlighted that Little and Big Corn Islands off of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast together form the third best diving destination in Central America. Historically, the islands were a hub for lobster fishermen, but in recent years, the shallow reefs have become an increasingly popular choice for snorkelers and dive beginners. On the Big Island, the great draw underwater is Blowing Rock, a rock formation that rises to the surface of the water and houses lots of marine life. Little Corn, which is just about one square mile, boasts 20 different dive spots teeming with lobster, nurse sharks and vibrant coral.” (Nicaragua News, 6 Dec. 2022)

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