NicaNotes: Nicaragua’s Success Threatens US Stranglehold on Latin America

Nicaragua's Success Threatens US Stranglehold on Latin America

By: Lauren Smith Published by TeleSur, Sept. 14, 2018

  • It’s imperative that President Ortega and Nicaragua be defended from covert imperialist aggression by the United States under its brand of fake ‘democracy,’ writes Lauren Smith.

The United States’ economic and geopolitical stranglehold on Latin America is threatened and they are running scared to put Nicaragua on the Security Council’s agenda, pass the repressive NICA Act and covertly fund mass disinformation campaigns and demonstrations, replete with mortar-wielding mercenaries, against the legitimate government of sovereign Nicaragua – a peaceful country the approximate size of New York State.

Washington’s bureaucrats not only fear favorable reports being released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank on the successful economic and social policies instituted by President Ortega because they undermine their disinformation campaigns to slander and discredit him, but even more importantly, because Nicaragua’s achievements inspire other developing countries. According to the IMF and World Bank reports, Nicaragua has sustained growth in GDP, improved its social indicators, expanded tourism, and provided regional leadership in public safety and sustainable energy. As such, the United States is in a race against time to undermine President Ortega before a tsunami of developing countries wanting success through his model of autonomy topples all its remaining puppet dictatorships.

Historically, the U.S. government justified imperial invasion and occupation by claiming its targeted country was ‘communist.’ Now that the spurious threat of communism has been largely debunked, the latest buzzword used to justify imperial aggression by the United States, when it’s not throwing around the word ‘terrorism,’ is ‘democracy.’ In doing this, the United States effectively lowered its justification bar further, because democracy is a nebulous concept at best. The United States conceals its imperialist aggression under the pretense of being the world’s democracy ‘policeman’ when in fact it is just the opposite. The United States functions as the world’s democracy criminal, overthrowing legitimate governments of sovereign nations to allow its puppet master transnational corporations to unabashedly steal without interference. 

Accordingly, the word ‘democracy’ merely provides cover for a pitiful and desperate attack against the rights of sovereign countries, such as Nicaragua and Venezuela, to self-determination and self-defense. Within this context, the word ‘democracy’ is dead and needs to be buried. Justice is autonomy over subservience! 

As long as President Ortega remains autonomous and just says no to the dictates of the U.S. government, Nicaragua will never be ‘democratic’ enough for Washington’s liking. The United States will always object to Nicaragua and President Ortega’s handling of national elections, foreign-funded anti-government news media, armed insurgents/mercenaries disguised as protesters, and nefarious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) intent on fomenting discontent. It’s a no-win situation because democracy is always a vague pretext.

President Ortega risks retribution when he openly defies U.S. restrictive trade and development prohibitions. In particular, President Ortega has threatened the United States regional pre-eminence with the planned development of a transoceanic canal, and has overturned U.S. hegemony by negotiating trade deals with countries the United States can’t control. 

The United States’ fear of autonomy spreading among successful developing countries is long standing, and it runs deep and dirty. Invasions and occupations by the United States into sovereign Nicaragua are not new and date back to the early 1900s. Besides the Banana Wars, which were largely to protect the foreign interests of the United Fruit Company throughout Latin America against unions formed by its Indigenous workers and aggrieved and displaced landowners, U.S. military interventions were used to stop nations, other than the United States, from building a transoceanic canal in Nicaragua.

 

Transoceanic Canal

Washington vehemently objects to President Ortega’s ongoing plan to develop a transoceanic canal with Wang Jing, a Chinese national. As such, it promotes the spread of environmental doomsday scenarios throughout the complicit news media, and it funds opposition groups, protests and thugs. The canal engenders a regional shift in power that is unfavorable to the United States’ expressed interests for three primary reasons. First, the transoceanic canal would lessen U.S. influence over Nicaragua, because the canal provides an alternate and independent funding stream to trade and lending – still largely dominated by the United States. Second, the transoceanic canal would allow China to gain strategic geographic access and control over the passage between two oceans. Reportedly, the depth of the canal, at 28 meters, is deep enough for Chinese submarines to quickly and covertly cross between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Third, the transoceanic canal would impinge upon the profitability of the Panama Canal, because it would subject it to competition from a new waterway designed to accommodate today’s larger shipping vessels. As an aside, not only does Panama remain a U.S. outpost, but the United States also enjoys a longstanding trade surplus with Panama. In 2017, the United States received US$6 billion in trade surplus from Panama.

 

Trade Between Nicaragua and the United States

In stark contrast to its trade surplus with subservient Panama, the United States, since 1995, has suffered an annual trade deficit with Nicaragua. In 2017, the U.S. trade deficit with comparatively tiny Nicaragua was approximately US$1.7 billion.

President Ortega’s success in trade is remarkable, especially given its restrictive trade agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States. The DR-CAFTA agreement was reached December 13, 2003, when President Ortega was not in office. While a US$1.7 billion trade deficit might seem relatively small compared to the United States’ overall trade deficit of US$568 billion, it nonetheless demonstrates Nicaragua’s strength in production, farming and in the marketability of its commodities. But, even more importantly, it reveals a growing negative trend against the U.S. plan for world domination. 

The Trump administration is particularly concerned with the U.S. trade deficit. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, President Trump has made reducing the U.S. trade deficit, which has expanded significantly in recent decades, a priority of his administration. Basically, trade deficits are supported by loans. If China calls in its loan, the United States would theoretically have to come up with US$1.18 trillion or default.

Yet despite the privilege the United States enjoys in being Nicaragua’s largest trading partner, it still discourages Nicaragua from having other trading partners, especially those it can’t control, such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Algeria, Libya, China and Russia. However, diversification in trading partners is essential for Nicaragua’s autonomy, because the United States has a history of instituting protectionist measures and leading trade embargos that also involve Canada and the European nations.

 

Trade Between Nicaragua and Iran

Trade between Nicaragua and Iran has really taken off since President Ortega’s election in 2007. Of course, this defies Washington, since Iran is still considered by the United States to be part of the ‘axis of evil.’ Although this hyperbolic designation sounds silly, it isn’t because it carries in part with it the justification necessary for Washington to declare unilateral war.

Additionally, to the chagrin of the United States, Nicaragua remains a stalwart defender of Palestine and of a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Korean Peninsula in the United Nations. 

In conclusion, Nicaragua remains a beacon of light and hope for the Non-Aligned Movement. As such, it’s imperative that President Ortega and Nicaragua be defended from covert imperialist aggression by the United States under its brand of fake ‘democracy.’ The time to rise up with Nicaragua in its fight for autonomy is now!

Lauren Smith, author of historical fiction, has a BA in Politics, Economics and Society from SUNY at Old Westbury and an MPA in International Development Administration from New York University.  Her novel on Nicaragua’s 1979 revolution is due out in 2019

 

BRIEFS

  • As part of the National Police investigations into serious crimes committed during the failed coup since April 18, police spokespeople announced last week four arrests in Managua. The detainees were charged with crimes such as attempted murder, illegal possession of arms and ammunition, aggravated robbery, and destruction of public and private property. “Two shotguns, 23 AK rifle cartridges and three mortar launchers were seized during the detention of the terrorist group,” the police announced. Two people were arrested in Chontales Department last Sept. 7. “The arrested criminals were involved in murders, kidnappings, robberies, erecting of barricades and destruction of public and private property. Our Institution reiterates its firm commitment to continue the investigation to arrest and bring to justice the terrorists who endanger the safety and wellbeing of Nicaraguan families,” Deputy Director of the Judicial Investigative Department of the National Police Farley Roa stated. He also announced the arrest of four people in Leon and Chontales Departments. “The arrested criminals were involved in kidnappings, robberies, erecting of barricades and destruction of public and private property.  The detainees were remitted to competent authorities to be investigated and face justice for the crimes they committed,” Commissioner Roa said. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 7, 10, 12)
  • The US Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) reported that purchase of Nicaragua manufactured textiles totaled US$876 million during the first seven months of this year, 5.1% above the amount registered in the same period of 2017. In terms of volume, 319.1 million square meters of textiles was exported, 1.5% above the amount recorded in the same period of 2017. (Nicaragua News, Sept 12)
  • The Nicaragua Central Bank (BCN) reported that remittances entering the country surpassed US$ 849 million dollars during the first 7 months of this year, 8 % above the amount reported in the same period in 2017. The United States (55.6%); Costa Rica (19.5%); and Spain (11%) were the main sources of these remittances. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 13)
  • In an exclusive interview with the German Television Network DW, President Daniel Ortega said the interventionist policy of the United States has caused violence, death and destabilization in Nicaragua. “This coup attempt, encouraged and financed by the United States, resulted in 22 policemen murdered and 350 wounded by bullets. If the Government of the United States really wants to contribute to peace in Nicaragua and the region, they must respect us and put an end to the policy of constant conspiracy against legitimately elected governments,” President Ortega said. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 10)
  • The Taiwan Embassy in Nicaragua announced that a seafood business conference will be held in Managua next Wednesday. “Taiwanese entrepreneurs are keen to promote business opportunities and establish strategic alliances with seafood suppliers in Nicaragua to increase export of products such shrimp, lobster, sea snail, among others,” the Embassy announcement stated.  (Nicaragua News, Sept. 10)
  • The Dutch Development Bank (FMO) announced the approval of a US$15 million loan for the BANPRO Líneas Verdes Program. The loan will be used to support projects in Nicaragua in areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, solid waste management and sustainable agriculture. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 10)
  • In remarks during the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the founding of the Nicaragua Police, President Daniel Ortega paid a posthumous tribute to the 22 police officers murdered in the attempted coup. “The death of these policemen and the suffering of their mothers has been ignored by human rights organizations of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Today we want to honor these mothers and the legacy of the officers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty”, President Ortega said. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 11)
  • National Police Chief Francisco Diaz highlighted the successful results of the Firewall Strategy against drug trafficking and organized crime in remarks during the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the founding of the National Police. “Four and a half tons of cocaine, 2.2 tons of marijuana and 165 firearms were seized during this period”, First Commissioner Diaz said. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 11)
  • Commissioner Sergio Gutiérrez, deputy director of the Managua Police, announced that 43 firearms were seized in police operations carried out last week. He also noted that 9 individuals involved in drug trafficking were arrested and 13 motorcycles were seized in the successful police operations. (Nicaragua News, Sept 12)
  • Nicaragua Vice President, Rosario Murillo, announced that more than 5,000 property titles will be delivered to Nicaragua families this month. The Vice President noted that most of the titles will go to female heads of household, who will benefit from the strengthening of legal certainty and property rights. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 6)
  • President Daniel Ortega called for peace and respect among all Nicaraguans in remarks during the National March for Justice and Life held in Managua last Sept. 5. “We have to learn to live in peace and respect each other. In Nicaragua there is complete freedom to organize demonstrations and we have nothing against that, but it is important that this be done in a peaceful and civil manner, without destruction or burning of police vehicles,” President Ortega said. (Nicaragua News, Sept. 7)