NicaNotes: Nicaragua’s Evidence-Based Democracy Threatens U.S. Oppression Domestically and Abroad

By Lauren Smith

(Lauren Smith is Covert Action Magazine’s correspondent on location and serves on the editorial board of CAM. Her work has been widely published in other outlets as well.)

Bilwi, Voting Center No. 1, Nov 7, 2021 [Photo: Lauren Smith]

Despite Washington’s best effort to derail Nicaragua’s electoral process through hybrid warfare, strong voter turnout resulted in a decisive victory by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), and the reelection of President Daniel Ortega with 75.92% of the votes cast. Nicaragua’s non-partisan, independent Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) reported on Monday, November 8th that 65.23% of 4.4 million eligible voters (16 years and older) participated in Sunday’s election. Supporters attribute the FSLN’s success to its ability to ensure peace and achieve socioeconomic & political objectives that strengthen the wellbeing of the people of Nicaragua.

This markedly contrasts the widespread neglect and corruption endemic under Nicaragua’s U.S. supported neoliberal period from 1990-2007. It is precisely President Ortega and the Sandinista administration’s showing of evidence-based democracy that threatens the U.S., for Washington in comparison has become unabashedly authoritarian in its futile attempt to maintain its Hollywood-styled democratic image both domestically & abroad.

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Briefs
By Nan McCurdy

Nicaragua and China Reestablish Relations
On December 10, China and Nicaragua signed in Tianjin, China, a Joint Communiqué between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nicaragua on the Restoration of Diplomatic Relations. The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nicaragua granted each other mutual recognition and restored diplomatic relations at the level of Ambassadors. The two governments agreed to develop friendly ties on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-intervention in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. The Government of Nicaragua recognized that there is only one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only government that represents all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The Government of the Republic of Nicaragua in that way broke its “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan. (El 19 Digital, 10 Dec. 2021)

Nicaragua and China Promote Cooperation
The Nicaraguan delegation visiting Tianjin held a series of meetings with Chinese trade and investment institutions. Government officials met with the Ministry of Commerce of China, with the Chinese Agency for International Development Cooperation and with the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Investment. The delegation presented its priority sectors for social projects aimed at improving the quality of life of Nicaraguans as well as the potential for trade and the positive investment climate of the country. Work will continue for the development of projects of mutual benefit between both nations. (Radio La Primerisima, 10 Dec. 2021)

ALBA-TCP Meets in Havana
President Daniel Ortega arrived in Havana on Dec. 14 to participate in the XX Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of America (ALBA). Also participating are Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Bolivian President Luis Arce, Prime Minister of Grenada Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonzalves and representatives of the other nations that are members of ALBA including Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, San Cristobal y Nieves, and St. Lucia.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said that ALBA members will jointly evaluate the regional scenario and actions to guarantee peace and stability. “The meeting will strengthen political coordination to prevent the interference of hegemonic governments in the internal affairs of member states,” he said.  Maduro stressed that the meeting will be a “summit of union, of brotherhood, an alliance for peace and true solidarity. It is our alliance, the Bolivarian Alliance. We are holding the first post-Pandemic Summit to discuss an economic plan for Latin America and the Caribbean.” Sacha Llorenti, the alliance’s secretary general, said that, during the event, ALBA leaders will create an observatory against interference. Llorenti stressed that the U.S. has allocated a fund of “US$224 million and another of US$400 million. Where does this money go? I can tell you that in the case of Bolivia it went to a coup d’état; in the case of Nicaragua in 2018, it went to a conspiracy against the Sandinista Revolution; in the case of Venezuela to destabilize and try to violate sovereignty. We from the Secretariat will propose to the heads of states the construction of an observatory with the purpose of making a periodic report on that money and who receives it.” (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Dec. 2021)

“Seventeen years in defense of peace”
The countries that make up the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP) congratulated President Daniel Ortega for his victory in the recent elections of November 7 in their final declaration at the conclusion of the XX ALBA Summit in Cuba. They also expressed their support for his decision to continue defending sovereignty, peace, and the remarkable social and economic progress without foreign interference or international economic sanctions. In the declaration, they reaffirmed the right of progressive nations to build their own political systems, free from unilateral coercive measures and aggressions. They maintained that such practices, contrary to international law, threaten the recovery, the economic resilience of the region and the stability of their peoples in the current context of the pandemic. The meeting concluded with agreements and a plan of action that supports its independent course for integration and against the interference of the United States. The declaration rejected what it described as “attempts by imperialism to confuse our peoples.” The Havana Declaration thanked Cuba for its contribution to other peoples of the world and rejected Washington’s blockade and its inclusion of Cuba in a unilateral U.S. list on charges of terrorism. “We denounce the lies of imperialism that preach peace and practice war,” stated the text, which also expressed solidarity with Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Climate change, emigration, post-Covid-19 strategy, and selective protectionism are among the issues which the plans of the ALBA alliance address. See the full declaration: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias-generales/destacado/paises-del-alba-ctp-rechazan-injerencia-yanqui/ (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Dec. 2014)

Social Security System Stronger Than Ever
“This year, after 15 years of work, Nicaragua’s social security system is stronger and has more policyholders. The Government through INSS [the National Institute of Social Security] guarantees complete and integral health services to the insured and their families, as well as to senior citizens,” according to INSS president Roberto López. 2021 is ending with 302,000 retirees receiving pensions every month. That figure triples the amount that there were in 2006. Nationally, there are 775,000 insured persons. In 2006, there were just 420,000 formally insured, so there has also been a growth in formal employment to date. Nicaragua’s social security system covers health care as well as pensions and this year there were 4.5 million medical consultations, 79,900 hospitalizations, 11.8 million prescriptions filled, attention to 9,454 people with cancer or follow-up care after the disease, and hemodialysis attention for 3,495 patients. López said that the survival of Social Security is assured, noting that this year 36 million córdobas were paid in to Social Security, over eight times more than that collected in 2006. (Informe Pastran, 9 Dec. 2021)

2021 Economic Growth to September nearly 10%
Ovidio Reyes, president of the Central Bank, said that economic activity shows an accumulated growth rate of 9.9% up to September 2021. The sectors with the highest economic growth are mines and quarries, construction, commerce, manufacturing, industry, electricity, livestock, hotels and restaurants, transportation and communication, agriculture, and water. All sectors not only show recovery but are also expanding. The unemployment rate decreased in the third quarter of the year by 4.3%. (Radio La Primerisima, 13 Dec. 2021)

China Donates Vaccines
Nicaragua received 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines against Covid19 from the People’s Republic of China. Presidential advisor Laureano Ortega said that these are the first of a donation of one million vaccines. “On behalf of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, the Nicaraguan people deeply appreciate this gesture of solidarity, cooperation and fraternity of the people and government of the People’s Republic of China,” Ortega stated. (Radio La Primerisima, 12 Dec. 2021)

WHO-PAHO Representative Praises Nicaragua’s Community Health Model
Antero Almeida de Pina of UNICEF, recalled that he has insisted that “it is with solidarity that we can defeat this pandemic.” “I also want to congratulate the Government of Nicaragua for a very good acceleration in the vaccination campaign, the data is clearly seen, and it is impressive,” he added. Similarly, the WHO-PAHO representative, Ana Treasure, highlighted “the aggressive vaccination campaign carried out by the Ministry of Health.” She continued, “It is impressive to see the vaccinators going from house to house; we have seen them in the markets, in different parts of the city; and this is all over the country and this is very good. That is the strength of the family and community health model that allows these house-to-house visits and that the population knows that vaccination will reach them.” France is donating 827,190 doses of Pfizer vaccines against Covid-19 through the Covax mechanism. Brieuc Pont, French Ambassador in Managua, stressed that the delivery makes concrete the commitment of his government to accelerate the global vaccination campaign. France committed to deliver 67 million vaccines, including those donated to Nicaragua. (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Dec. 2021)

New CABEI Loan to Build and Improve Roads
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) approved US$382.6 million for the execution of the X Road Expansion and Improvement Programs. According to a CABEI press release, this program will improve the quality of life of 534,820 Nicaraguans in nine municipalities on the Pacific coast and two on the Southern Caribbean Coast (RACCS) with the construction and improvement of 185.22 kilometers of roads. The Southern Pacific Coast Phase I (known as La Costanera) will positively impact 232,129 people in San Juan del Sur and Tola and in the municipalities of Jinotepe and Diriamba in the department of Carazo and San Rafael del Sur in Managua with the improvement of 119.49 kilometers of roads. The program is expected to increase livestock and fishing production, reduce vehicle operating costs and travel times for users, facilitate mobilization and access to education and health centers, as well as guarantee better traffic conditions for cargo transportation. The initiative also includes the construction of 16 bridges. (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Dec. 2021)

A Million Toys for Public School Students
The Government will begin giving more than a million toys to public school students on Dec. 13. The youngest students of the Caribbean Coast, the mining sector, Rio San Juan and Central Zelaya will be the first to receive these Christmas gifts. Then the children of Jinotega, Matagalpa and the special zone of Alto Wangky will receive gifts on Dec. 14. On Dec. 15, the distribution of gifts will take place in Boaco, Chontales, Madriz, Nueva Segovia and Estelí; on Dec. 16 in Chinandega and León; on Dec. 17 in Rivas, Granada, Masaya and Carazo; and on December 18 to the children of the districts and municipalities of Managua. (Radio La Primerisima, 12 Dec. 2021)

Legal Status of NGOs that Failed to Comply with Laws Canceled
On Dec. 14, the National Assembly cancelled the legal status of nine associations and foundations that failed to comply with the law on non-profit organizations. They include the Las Colinas Country Club, the Association of INCAE Graduates, the Association of Consultants for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (ACODEP), the Association of Economists of Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan Chamber of the Small and Medium Tourism Industry CANTUR, the Veritas Foundation, the Fundación Hispanoamérica HISPAN, the Tourism Foundation FUTURISMO, and the Coordinating Federation of Higher Universities COSUD. (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Dec. 2021)