Nicaragua: Sovereign State or Vassal State?
[This article was originally printed in the Black Agenda Report at
By Margaret Kimberley
(Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. Her work can also be found at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.)
The United States and the European Union announced new sanctions on the day that Daniel Ortega was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua. The move was not surprising, given that the United States Congress passed the RENACER Act one week before elections which were held on November 7.
The people of Nicaragua have acted in defiance of the United States ever since the 1979 revolution. First, Ronald Reagan used reactionary forces, the Contras, as proxies in an attempt to destroy the new government. The Reagan administration mined Nicaragua’s harbors and fomented a war that cost an estimated 30,000 lives. The United States still owes Nicaragua an estimated $17 billion in compensation for the damage it created decades ago.
It is Nicaragua that has acted as a democratic nation, as the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) gave up power in 1990 after losing an election. They were re-elected in 2007 and three more times, but the desires of the Nicaraguan people are of no importance to the United States. All talk of democracy is a cynical ruse used to secure a neoliberal government which will act as a US vassal state.
The Donald Trump administration picked up where Reagan left off when it instigated a 2018 coup attempt which brought violence and havoc to the country yet again. As in all other foreign policy decisions, Joe Biden followed Trump and called the 2021 election a fraud before it had even taken place. As one of more than 200 election acompañantes, companions, this columnist witnessed a process that was open to all citizens and where opposition candidates freely campaigned.
The bipartisan RENACER Act passed by a huge margin, by voice vote in the Senate and then, [on Nov. 3,] with 387 in favor and only 35 opposed in the House of Representatives. Biden signed the new law just three days after the election. It is a classic example of hybrid warfare, as it calls for “supporting independent news media and freedom of information in Nicaragua.” Such language is a declaration of interference in the rights of a sovereign nation, in short, a blueprint for war propaganda and regime change.
Fortunately for the people of Nicaragua, the United States is not the only player on the world stage. As part of its effort to protect itself from U.S. aggression and align itself with the majority of the world’s people, Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, making clear that it would not give up its rights easily. China enthusiastically accepted the recognition and immediately began to discuss new partnerships between the two nations. China also donated one million doses of its Sinopharm covid vaccine.
The United States surely has power, and can force its puppets at the Organization of American States (OAS) to join in the non-recognition of the Nicaraguan election. But the days of the Monroe Doctrine, and claims that the entire hemisphere is “America’s backyard” are given no credence anywhere else but in Washington.
Nicaragua’s sovereignty is the heart of the matter. It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden or members of the Senate and House think about that government. It also doesn’t matter what fair-weather leftists have to say. The facts are on the side of the Nicaraguans. There were no presidential candidates jailed before the election. There were golpistas, the coup makers, who defied their government’s amnesty and legitimate legislation requiring that they disclose foreign funding.
Be that as it may, anti-imperialists in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world must defend the rights of self-determination for Nicaraguans and all other people. Their choices and their struggles are their own and no one here in the empire has a right to judge what they say are “mistakes.” Nicaragua’s human rights record is head and shoulders above that of the U.S.
Joe Biden presided over mass incarceration as a senator. He enthusiastically supported wars of aggression against Iraq and Libya. Nicaragua has no reason to explain itself to him or to liberals who happily take on propaganda points and in so doing make common cause with claims of American exceptionalism.
A classic regime change trope is to refer to the targeted country as “isolated,” which means nothing more than being in U.S. crosshairs. As a member of a Black Alliance for Peace delegation in Nicaragua, this columnist saw the presidents of Venezuela and Cuba, and diplomatic representatives from Russia, China, Angola, India, Sudan, Vietnam, Japan, Syria, Libya, and Palestine among others, in attendance at the presidential inauguration. Billions of people from every continent were represented there and prove that U.S./NATO/EU opinions carry little weight elsewhere.
Nicaragua does not have to suffer insults at the hands of the Organization of American States (OAS), Washington’s creation and vassal. It made the principled decision to leave the OAS and expose the group for the sham that it is. Nicaragua is represented in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an independent organization working in consensus on behalf of millions of people.
The United States is still a military and economic power. But that power has its limits, which is why the need to undermine a small Central American country with a population of only 6.5 million people is given such a high priority. Every victory against U.S. authoritarianism is significant. Just consider how much effort is put into marginalizing those countries that do manage to exist outside of U.S. influence. The world is multi-polar and Nicaragua’s continuing efforts to shape its own destiny is proof.
Shelly Scribner, ¡Presente!
The Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice has recently learned of the death of board member Shelly Scribner who passed away on Nov. 6th of last year at age 79. We will miss her commitment and sense of adventure. Shelly was named by the California Nicaragua Network committees to represent them on the executive committee of the Nicaragua Network and she stayed on as one of the Nicanet members of the board of the Alliance for Global Justice. She was active in the Merced-Somoto Sister City Committee and was on the board of the Modesto Peace-Life Center. Shelly trained as a special education teacher and also worked with babies with special needs. Shelly Scribner, ¡Presente!
By Nan McCurdy
University in the Countryside Program Growing
Four thousand new spots will be offered by the University in the Countryside Program in 2022, since new career programs are being offered, according to the president of the National Council of Universities, Ramona Rodríguez. The National Agrarian University will open three new careers paths in Juigalpa, San Francisco Libre, and Rio San Juan, places where there is a high demand for careers such as veterinary medicine. Rodriguez said that the University in the Countryside Program is expected to serve a total of about 10,000 high school graduates some of whom are already pursuing careers like medicine, agro-ecology and others. (Radio La Primerisima, 17 Jan. 2022)
Over 63,000 Jobs in New Small Businesses
Vice President Rosario Murillo reported that, in 2021, 12,789 new small businesses were established, creating 63,540 jobs. She also presented her monthly report noting that 809 new businesses were created between December 16, 2021 and January 15, 2022, generating 4,045 new jobs. These businesses are in sectors such as transportation services, sale of food products, small stores, remittances, mechanical and carpentry workshops and others. (Nicaragua News, 18 Jan. 2022)
ALBA Condemns Sanctions
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America—Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) in a Jan. 12 statement, strongly rejected the announcement of unilateral coercive measures in violation of international law by the US government and the European Union Council against Nicaraguan citizens and institutions. The ALBA countries ratified their solidarity and support for the Nicaraguan people and the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity. “The Alliance condemns this type of action that violates the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter. These unilateral coercive measures demonstrate the interventionist nature of certain states that violate the provisions of public international law and human rights.” (Nicaragua News, 13 Jan. 2022)
Russian President Congratulates Daniel Ortega
In a phone conversation where issues of interest between both nations were discussed, Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly congratulated President Daniel Ortega on his recent inauguration and reaffirmed Russia’s continued support for Nicaragua’s efforts to guarantee its national sovereignty. The Russian leader expressed his willingness to continue contributing to the socio-economic development of Nicaragua. They discussed current issues of bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly in the field of transport and agriculture. They also discussed effective collaboration in the fight against Covid-19, including the supplying of Russian vaccines to Nicaragua and their joint production in Nicaragua. Ortega and Putin stressed the importance of continuing close coordination in the international arena, in line with the Russian-Nicaraguan strategic partnership. (Radio La Primerisima, 18 Jan. 2022)
2021 Consolidated Reserves US$4.599 Billion
The Central Bank reported that the Gross International Reserves are US$4.04 billion, an increase of US$46 million with respect to November, while the GIR of the financial system reached a balance of US$552.9 million, such that consolidated reserves reached US$4.6 billion. (Radio La Primerisima, 15 Jan. 2022)
The 102nd Women’s Police Station Opened in Belén
The Judith Ocampo Women’s Police Station, was re-launched in the municipality of Belén, Department of Rivas, where more women will be able to receive attention for situations of violence. There are now 102 Women’s Police Stations in the country. This office will attend the population of 10,000 women. (Radio La Primerisima, 13 Jan. 2022)
PARLACEN Deputies Sworn In
The President of the Supreme Electoral Council, Brenda Rocha, swore in the elected deputies and alternates for the 2022-2027 legislative period for PARACEN, the Central American Parliament. The bench is composed of ten women and ten men and their respective alternates. Rocha highlighted the broad popular participation in the elections held on November 7, 2021, their profound civic character and democratic spirit, and their adherence to Constitutional principles. The United Nicaragua Triumphs Alliance headed by the FSLN has 15 deputies in the PARLACEN; the Constitutionalist Liberal Party has two; the Alliance for the Republic Party and the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance and the Independent Liberal Party have one deputy each. (Radio La Primerisima, 15 Jan. 2022)
Growth in Free Trade Zone
More than US$70 million were invested during 2021 in the free trade zone sector with seven new companies in the departments of Estelí, Managua and Matagalpa. The vice president of the National Commission of Free Trade Zones, Alfredo Coronel, explained that one of the companies that was established is of US capital and will be dedicated to the manufacture of quilts. The free zone sector exported US$3.5 billion, US$885 million more than in 2020. Coronel said that the free trade zone companies should generate 13,000 new jobs this year, of which 11,000 are from expansions that are being made in the industrial parks. (Radio La Primerisima, 17 Jan. 2022)
Nicaragua in CABEI: Evidence of the of the Quality of its Members
Nicaragua made the payment of US$6.4 million, its second capital installment related to the capital subscription within the framework of the VIII General Capital Increase of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration CABEI. This is the second of eight annual, equal and consecutive installments derived from the subscription of 20,000 series “A” Shares, made within the framework of the capital increase. CABEI Executive President, Dr. Dante Mossi, pointed out that this is evidence of the quality of CABEI’s members, who demonstrate their commitment to strengthening the Bank’s financial and credit profile. In 2020, CABEI officially increased its authorized capital from US$5 billion to US$7 billion. This was the Bank’s VIII General Capital Increase; the second in less than ten years, which confirms the high value of the CABEI and the support of its partners, as well as its relevance for the region as the main channeler of financial resources. Nicaragua’s loan portfolio is US$1.722 billion. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) finances programs, projects and initiatives in Nicaragua with a strong emphasis on sectors that have a direct impact on social and humanitarian issues, such as hospital infrastructure, energy, water and sanitation, and road infrastructure, among others. (Radio La Primerisima, 15 Jan. 2021)