By Jorge Capelán, Tortillaconsal.com
October 30, 2019
(Reprinted from Tortillaconsal.com and Popular Resistance)
When it is truly the people who rise up, you can tell from a mile away. When the protests are not organized by the powerful, the demonstrators do not look like soldiers or criminals. They have no mortars or home-made weapons, no contact bombs, much less pistols, shotguns and military rifles as the coup activists here in Nicaragua did.
Curiously, in the case of genuine popular uprisings, the most violent thing you see are stones, at most some Molotov cocktails, and generally those who get killed or wounded are the demonstrators, not the police.
In the protests in Chile, Honduras or Catalonia, not a single policeman was killed. In those protests the demonstrators did not torture people, nor did they strip them, paint them, tie them to poles or kidnap them, much less set other people on fire as happened here in Nicaragua. Here, during last year’s failed coup attempt, 22 policemen died and 401, one in five of all the people wounded, were policemen.
After the protests of the last few weeks in several countries, where is Michelle Bachelet? Where is the IACHR? Where is the European Union? They are all on the side of those countries’ governments, condemning the “violence” of the demonstrators.
Here in Nicaragua, the coup-supporting daily newspaper La Prensa sells itself by trying to portray the National Police as a repressive army, but its attempts to compare it with any other police force in the world are pathetic, especially those of the countries that say they are more “democratic” for having neoliberal governments who deploy armored vehicles, water trucks, tear gas in industrial quantities, rubber bullets, clubs of all sizes and shapes, even staffs made of titanium that can cause serious bone fractures. As if all that is not enough in those countries, the Army is then sent onto the streets with military weapons. No international body defends the protesters when all that is done by a neoliberal government.
The silence of Madam Michelle Bachelet, with her late-in-the-day condemnations of “inflammatory rhetoric” and “a call to all parties to dialogue” (but how, if the protests are not led by a political organization or any visible leadership?) are little more than pure hypocrisy. Because the protests in Chile are against neoliberalism and the country’s repressive political system tailor-made for the dictator Augusto Pinochet, a system which she, when she was president, didn’t know how to change, if in fact she ever wanted to change it.
Michelle Bachelet says she is “concerned” about the army’s violence against the protesters, but does not condemn it. When ten were already dead in Chile, the president, Sebastián Piñera, assured the population that the country was at war against a “powerful enemy.” Madam Bachelet, what rhetoric could be more inflammatory than that?
Sebastián Piñera, by the way, is one of Chile’s richest financiers. His brother José was one of the “Chicago Boys” who implemented Pinochet’s neoliberal reforms in the country, among other things by designing the private pension system against which people are now rebelling. In the end, what is true about the current protests in Chile, is equally so for the protests in recent weeks in Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Catalonia, France, Lebanon, Iraq and even South Korea: A corrupt system dominated by financial capital preying on human beings and the environment.
Europeans and Americans are very worried about not eating beef so as not to contribute to global warming, and they are right, since cattle farts produce the greatest amount of methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases. However, deep down they should understand that the most serious problem, which causes all the other problems, is a system that depends on devouring people in order to reproduce itself. There should be a protest movement against devouring people!
Rich countries, which concentrate 90% of the world’s wealth in just 10% of the global population, had a per capita average of more than 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions for 2014. In North America, per capita emissions were 16.4 metric tons. Low-income countries, on the other hand, averaged just 3.5 tons. Nicaragua, under the Sandinista governments, managed to enter the group of middle-income countries in 2016, with about 2,000 dollars of GDP per capita. However, thanks to Sandinista policies, it has very low emissions, just 0.8 tons of CO2 per person, according to the World Bank.
This low level of carbon emissions in Nicaragua, despite more economic development and higher per capita income, are linked, for example, to the change in the country’s energy matrix from just 20% clean energy generation in 2006 to 56.37% today. The expectation is to reach 70% clean energy generation soon, thanks to several renewable energy projects newly underway. This is despite the fact that the country’s electricity coverage will reach 97% by the end of this year, up from 50% in 2006.
Countries like Nicaragua promoting these kinds of policies of real democratization are catalogued as “dictatorships” by Western dominated international human right organizations. Against these countries the West promotes destabilization policies of all kinds, including “color revolutions” financed by NGOs nurtured specifically for that purpose. When these countries seek to defend themselves against such attacks, they are portrayed as “repressive tyrannies.”
Their governments are condemned for allegedly violating human rights, and the mercenaries who do the imperialist dirty work on the ground are described as “democracy activists”. But when pro-imperialist governments protecting the dictatorship of global finance repress legitimate uprisings by their peoples, they are described as “defending democracy”. That is the great hypocrisy of our time.
By Nan McCurdy
New Opinion Poll
The latest survey by M&R Consultores revealed that 73.6% of the population believes that the conflict the country has experienced since April 2018 should be resolved by Nicaraguans, while 62.2% disapprove of the interference of other countries in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. Further, 90.3% believe that in order for the country to be well, Nicaragua must be free to decide what it wants as a country without external interference. 66.5% of Nicaraguans say the conflict has been externally supported to in order to destabilize the country and prevent peace. 83% say that under no circumstances should they allow the country’s sovereignty to be placed under the tutelage of other international organizations or agencies. 64% condemn the fact that a group of countries headed by the United States formed a commission without Nicaragua requesting it to address the country’s political problems. 71% of the population disagree with the U.S. government’s Nica Act sanctions that prevent multilateral banks and organizations from granting loans to Nicaragua to finance development. More than 72% also disapprove of Nicaraguans who promote this type of international sanctions and 82.3% believe it affects democracy. 92.4% of Nicaraguans claim that international sanctions affect the entire population, and 71% say they know that this is interventionist behavior. (Radiolaprimerisima, 11/4/19)
Nicaragua Tourism Awarded
The Nicaragua Tourism Board (INTUR) reported that the “Agent Choice” honored Nicaragua with the “Environmentally Friendly Destination Award” last Friday. Organized by the British tourism publication “Selling Travel Magazine,” the winning destination is selected by travel agencies and tour operators in the United Kingdom. The award will be presented to INTUR Director Anasha Campbell during the World Travel Market Tourism Fair that will take place on November 5 and 6 in London. (Nicaragua News, 11/4/19)
Nicaragua Increased Renewable Energy from 26% to 62%
Nicaragua’s OAS Ambassador Ruth Tapia participated in the Panel on “Decarbonization of Development in the Americas,” held October 29 in Washington DC. In her speech, Ambassador Tapia said that Nicaragua has a firm commitment to environmental protection and has transformed its energy grid from 26% renewable energy in 2007 to 62% in 2019. The Ambassador added that Nicaragua has created an Emission Reduction Program that aims to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million tons between 2020-2025, reducing deforestation and forest degradation on the Caribbean Coast by at least 50%. She also stated that the forceful political commitment of member states is required to mitigate the effects of climate change and limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. The event was organized by the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) with the purpose of establishing a framework for collaboration between member states to facilitate exchange of best practices in decarbonization and setting energy efficiency standards. (Nicaragua News, 10/30/19)
Advances Highlighted During 40th Anniversary of Ministry of Government.
“In the penitentiary system we continue to improve the quality of respect for the human rights of prisoners; the penitentiary infrastructure has been expanded and improved, as well as the open and semi-open regime, tactical operations management, hydro-sanitary equipment, pavilions and complementary environments,” emphasized María Amelia Coronel, Minister of Government. She said that “from 2007 to 2019, 11,981 people who were incarcerated have been granted house arrest to be with their families. She also stated that in 2007 the country had 32 fire stations and now has 74. At the end of the year three more will be built in El Jicaral, Somotillo and Siuna, for a total of 77. Bluefields has the most modern fire station in the Central American Caribbean region. (Informe Pastran, 10/30/19)
2020 Budget Presented
On October 30, Minister of Finance and Public Credit Iván Acosta presented the 2020 General Budget which maintains prudent macroeconomic management, guarantees continued social investment and public spending, reduction of poverty with continuing work toward the elimination of extreme poverty. He stressed that “the country enjoys economic stability with strong monetary and exchange rate policies that generate good expectations for producers and the tranquility required by citizens to trust in a government committed to their aspirations.” The objective is to return to 5% growth per year.
In the 2020 budget, 56.7% will be earmarked for social spending. Of next year’s expenditures, 44.7% are for health, primary and secondary education and the universities. The 2020 budget amounts to US$2.34 billion, 82% of which will be financed with tax revenues. Expenditures of US$2.4 billion are projected, a1.1% increase over what is projected for this year. The following programs are also guaranteed: zero hunger; school meals; food packages; zero usury; healthy patio; love for the little ones; titling of property; subsidies for water and electricity for popular sectors; sustainability of social security and fight against poverty.
The head of the Treasury emphasized that Nicaragua reduced poverty in recent years from 48.3% to 24.5% and extreme poverty dropped to 6.9%, and that the difference between the Sandinista government and the economic policies of the three previous neoliberal governments is that the people now prioritized are the poor, the vulnerable sectors, not big capital. The country’s economic policy is consistent with the government’s commitments to promote a National Human Development Plan in which the economic subjects to be benefited are the micro, small, and medium producers, but also big business to bring sustainable development to the country. (Informe Pastran, 10/30/19)
Celebration of 32nd Anniversary of Autonomy Law
Vice President Rosario Murillo remembered the 32nd anniversary of Law 28, the Statute of Autonomy of the Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. “We are proud of this law that recognizes the ancestral rights of the original peoples, afro-descendants, and mestizos that inhabit the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. Since the enactment of the Autonomy Statute in 1987, Nicaragua constitutionally recognizes that it is a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural nation. In this new stage we have been promoting a greater deepening of those rights, accompanied by the indispensable advances in progress such as improving living conditions, infrastructure, health, education, roads for the communities of our Caribbean Coast,” she reiterated. A major advance in 2019 was completion of the road that connects the Pacific with the Caribbean Coast. Thirty-seven thousand square kilometers of ancestral lands have been recognized by the government after demarcating and titling indigenous and Afro-descendant communities’ lands for their use, joy and enjoyment. “In the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua 32 years ago we said Autonomy is Revolution and we continue saying it,” Murillo said. (El19Digital, 10/31/19)
Highest Enrollment of New Police Officers Ever
On October 31 the graduation ceremony for 776 police officers who completed the Basic Police Training Course was held yesterday in Managua. The Director of the Walter Mendoza National Police Institute for Higher Education, Commissioner Cairo Guevara said, “This course had one of the highest enrollments the Academy has ever had, with 776 police officers successfully completing the training program.” He noted that “223 members of the graduating class are women, reflecting the commitment of women to public service and national security.” (El10Digital, 11/1/19)
Mexico and Nicaragua Strengthening Cooperation
Yesterday, the Mexican Congress approved the creation of the Mexico-Nicaragua Friendship Group, comprised of members of the legislature from various political parties. Congressman Oscar González Yáñez, president of the group, said “This group is established with the mandate to design a working agenda that allows greater exchange and cooperation between Mexico and Nicaragua, which will be complementary to the existing cooperation efforts between both nations as it is important for us to know about the successful experiences Nicaragua has had on issues such as gender equality, security, healthcare and climate change.” (Nicaragua News, 10/31/19)
Nicaragua One of Top Producers of Textiles in Central America
The Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) reported yesterday that Nicaragua is among the top producers and exporters of textiles and garments. The report noted that in 2018 Central America exported US$8 billion dollars in textiles, 44% of which came from Honduras followed by Nicaragua with 23.2%, representing US$1.856 billion. (Nicaragua News, 10/31/19)
Hilton Opening Second Hotel in Managua
The Hilton Worldwide hotel chain will be opening a second hotel in Managua under the DoubleTree brand in early November. The new hotel will be powered by solar energy and will have two restaurants, Kyoto and Las Isletas, conference rooms, outdoor pool and 140 rooms with capacity to accommodate 400 guests. (Nicaraguan News, 10/30/19)