By Nan McCurdy
An orchestrated plan financed by the United States to launch a government transition in Nicaragua* over the next two years was leaked in a document from the US embassy and released July 31, 2020, by Nicaraguan journalist William Grigsby on his political analysis program “Sin Fronteras”, on Radio La Primerísima. Grigsby says the new coup plan is in response to the fact that the US realizes President Daniel Ortega will win the November 2021 elections. The 18 page document is RFTOP No: 72052420R00004, with the title RAIN or Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua.
While the document tries to portray the US intentions as peaceful and “democratic” and the description of the plans tries to paper over the violent intent of US policy, they are a shocking example of illegal interference in another nation’s internal affairs.
The document is one of “Terms of Reference” used to contract a US company to take charge of carrying out the planned removal of the government. The company chosen by USAID will head the plan to try to destroy public order and do other actions (violent and otherwise) before, during and/or after the 2021 elections.
The funds to implement this plan are or have been allocated through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which is also the US institution that has provided the most money openly in recent years to the Nicaraguan opposition for coup activities.
The document establishes three scenarios that they call “democratic transition in Nicaragua:”
“RAIN will pursue these activities against a variety of scenarios generally falling under three categories: 1. Free, fair and transparent elections lead to an orderly transition [the US candidate wins] 2. A sudden political transition occurs following a crisis [a coup leads to a US backed government] 3. Transition does not happen in an orderly and timely manner. The regime remains resilient in the face of domestic and international pressure. It is also possible that the regime may remain in power following electoral reforms and a fair election, but without changes to the rule of law or democratic governance [i.e. without changes that benefit US corporations].”
The document reveals that the U.S. government realizes it is a good possibility that the FSLN party will win the 2021 elections in a transparent manner that receives international approval.
It states that the purpose of hiring the company is to create the conditions for a “democratic transition” in Nicaragua involving the media, businessmen, nongovernmental organizations and students, just like the 2018 failed coup attempt.
Another section states that if the opposition were to win the elections that new government must immediately submit to the policies and guidelines established by the United States. This scenario includes persecution of Sandinistas, dissolving the National Police and the Army, among other institutions.
The document calls for the opposition to try to deepen political and economic problems taking into account the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March the US-directed opposition has focused 95% of their actions on attempting to discredit Nicaragua’s prevention, contention and Covid treatment. However this had more success in the international media than in Nicaragua and is now backfiring since it has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.
The document was written in March or April and it is clear the authors thought the COVID-19 Pandemic would cause great stress on the Nicaraguan health system and that this would be one way to bring about a “crisis” and exert “pressure.” “Once a great health, political and economic crisis is created in Nicaragua,” USAID intensifies its new programmatic strategy, which will lead to destabilizing the country. In other words their plan counted on the development of “unrest” in the population from COVID-19 that could be utilized.
Despite the US$31 million that the opposition received from the United States through the USAID from the end of 2017 up to May 1, 2020, the document laments that the opposition is not unified around a political party or candidate. The document also states that “conflicts often arise between peasant groups and the rest of the opposition, and students often distrust business leaders.”
USAID will fund activities to destabilize the country, using local partners, public opinion analysis, and social network monitoring to create false news. As it is clear to the US that in 2021 the FSLN may be victorious, USAID proposes a “delayed or unforeseen transition of government” where it seeks to create a political and economic crisis. And the plan contemplates abrupt changes and the ability to respond quickly to “install a new government.”
Confident that there will be a coup d’état in Nicaragua, USAID writes that the best option may be to have the opposition refuse to participate in elections [which is what happened in 1984 because of the US direction of the opposition].
The document states various times that it is possible that the government will win the elections even after electoral reforms, and that the elections could be seen as fair internationally. Under this type of situation, the company hired by USAID must be prepared to respond immediately in directing civil society to implement actions that destabilize the country.
The document also details the participation of the United States Embassy in Managua, which will be in charge of executing a series of diplomatic actions such as the creation of a commission to legitimize a new government imposed by a coup d’état.
Finally, the document makes it clear that the people of Nicaragua will be left without basic services as a result of the coup d’état orchestrated and financed by the United States, and “organized crime would increase.” Saying that the population would be left without basic services sounds as though at some point there could be a plan to blow up electric plants.
This written evidence of US plans to overthrow the government is very big news in Nicaragua and anywhere the press will cover it. Only more blatant was the CIA manual for the US-led Contra in the 80s that taught everything for overthrowing a government from torture and assassination to blowing up ports, electric lines, schools and health clinics. Whether the US public will ever hear of this plan and contact their representatives to ask for its termination is left to be seen.
The Company contracted by USAID is likely a descendent of Blackwater: Eric Prince “has also been active pitching projects in countries around the world, including Venezuela, where he floated a plan last year to deploy a private army to help the opposition topple President Nicolas Maduro, sources told Reuters.”
“Section C: Statement of Work,” Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua, United States Agency for International Development, RFTOP No: 72052420R00004.
Wiston López, “EEUU lanza descarado plan intervencionista para tumbar al FSLN,” Radio La Primerísima, July 31, 2020 http://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/287264/eeuu-lanza-descarado-plan-intervencionista-para-tumbar-al-fsln/
William Grigsby, “Sin Fronteras” radio/TV program, July 31, 2020, http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/sinfrontera/1529/
Aram Roston and Matt Spetalnick, “Blackwater founder Erik Prince held secret talks with top Venezuelan official: sources,” Reuters, December 13, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-erikprince/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-held-secret-talks-with-top-venezuelan-official-sources-idUSKBN1YH2BY
Hereward Holland, “Frontier Services Group Limited: Blackwater Founder Prince’s Company Enters Congo’s Insurance Industry,” Market Screener, March 10, 2020,
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By Nan McCurdy
IDB Ranks Nicaragua among Countries that Invest Most in Health
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ranked Nicaragua as the fourth country in Latin America in health investment. The IDB report “Latin America Post Covid-19,” details that Nicaragua invests 5.2% of its GDP in health, while Costa Rica spends 5.6%.
In the report, Nicaragua has one of the lowest public deficits, and is the second Latin American nation with the lowest public debt. The IDB says that its income depends mainly on the service sector, so it should bet on the reactivation of tourism to achieve economic recovery. After the service sector is agriculture and industry. The IDB indicates that the poverty rate reached 24.9% of the population in 2016, showing a drop of 4.7 percentage points compared to 2014. The middle class increased from 12.3% in 2007 to 21.1% in 2017. Radio La Primerisima, 1 August 2020
IDB Approves US$43 Million for Covid-19 Response
“In order to strength the health system’s response to Covid, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reiterates its support to the country through the Immediate Public Health Response Program to Contain and Control Covid-19 and Mitigate its Effect on Service Delivery in Nicaragua for $43 million,” the IDB said in a press release. The project will emphasize three lines of work: strengthening case detection and follow-up, supporting efforts to interrupt the disease transmission chain, and improving service delivery capacity. Fifteen laboratories will be strengthened with new equipment, and infrastructure will be adapted in four of them. Support will be provided to upgrade emergency rooms, hospitalization and intensive care units in 12 hospitals, including Rio San Juan and Siuna which provide services to indigenous and Afro-descendant populations. The project will finance the delivery of medical equipment and supplies to various parts of the country. Nicaragua is one of the countries least affected by the Covid-19, in Central America, and as of July 29 had 3,080 confirmed cases with 116 deaths, 2,731 recovered and 233 active cases. Radio La Primerisima, 3 August 2020
COVID-19 Strategy Presented at WHO Assembly
Health Minister Martha Reyes presented to the Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) the Nicaragua strategy being implemented for the management of Covid-19 based on its Family and Community Healthcare Model. The Minister stated that “Since January 21, the Government activated the Covid-19 Prevention and Management Protocol, including the designation and equipping of 19 hospitals for the care of possible cases and training of medical personnel by experts from the WHO.” Epidemiological surveillance at border posts was strengthened, requiring a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country, as well as medical controls and home confinement under MINSA monitoring. The population has been educated on prevention methods through home-to-home visits and public relations campaigns, along with disinfecting of public spaces, including transportation, carried out by municipal authorities and the Nicaraguan Army. Nicaragua News, 31 July, 2020
Electricity Coverage Grows by 44%
A report on the results of the National Program for Sustainable Electrification and Renewable Energy states that electricity coverage went from 54% in 2006 to 97.81% in 2020, benefiting 3.4 million people. In the last 13 years there has been a US$3 billion investment in 8,500 electricity projects, new and improved electricity substations, and transformation of the energy grid now based 77.15% on renewable sources. Nicaragua News, 4 August 2020
Nicaragua Offers Investment Incentives
Nicaragua provides facilities and incentives for national and foreign investment despite the consequences of the global pandemic. Laureano Ortega Murillo, Investment Promotion Advisor, detailed some of the incentives provided. He said that there has been dynamic growth of foreign investment and exports during the last few years despite the adversities. Nicaragua provides quality and speed – the construction of the Chinandega Departmental Hospital is a good example. In Nicaragua, it takes the least time in the region to open companies and to export products. Nicaragua also offers the best personal security and greater legal security. It has excellent telecommunications services as well as the best roads and road networks in the region. Port capacity is being tripled with new port construction in Bluefields and improvements in San Juan del Sur and Corinto.
Ortega Murrillo said that renewable energy and environmental projects, fishing and aquaculture are being promoted with incentives, and the Grand Canal project in Nicaragua is still underway. The agreement for the investment of US$400 million by a US company in a gas-based energy project has been signed. Nicaragua’s GDP is US$12.5 billion; the GDP per capita is US$1,940.09; exports are at US$5.647 billion per year; US$1.055 billion of income comes from foreign direct investment (FDI); the country has US$2.397 billion in gross international reserves; inflation is at 6.13%, and devaluation against the US dollar of the currency is regulated by law. Some of the facilities for foreign export are: free convertibility of currency, freedom to repatriate capital and profits, the power to have 100% foreign investment, equal treatment of both domestic and foreign investors, full protection of property rights. One hundred percent of the population has access to mobile telephony, and 85% to mobile internet, with 2.8 million smart phones.
Nicaragua has 52 industrial parks, with 187 companies that generate more than 122,000 jobs, and a workforce of 3.2 million people – 76% of the people are under 40 years old. Alfredo Coronel, Vice President of the Free Trade Zone National Commission said that these are “jobs that enjoy social security which is highly valued by the workers.” He went on to say, “And we from the Labor Ministry and the National Commission of Free Zones do follow-up and controls for worker welfare.” Most workers are unionized. Fifty-two percent of government spending goes into social investment, achieving overall poverty reduction since 2009 of 41.4% and extreme poverty reduction of 52.7%. 19Digital, 21 July 2020
Covid Deaths Slowly Going Down
The Health Ministry weekly report (August 4) which includes July 28 to August 3, shows 186 new cases of Covid for a total of 3,266 cases since March; 7 deaths for a total of 123 deaths since March, and a 182 people recuperated for a total of 2,913. Juventud Presidente, 4 August, 2020
Ortega on 41st Anniversary of Founding of Air Force
President Daniel Ortega, on the 41st anniversary of the Air Force’s founding with the head of the Army, General Julio César Avilés Castillo, dedicated a message to the members of the Army Air Force. Hurricane Joan in 1988 had winds of nearly 30 km per hour. It was a titanic task to save lives, starting with the Caribbean Coast population from Bluefields to Bilwi, Corn and Little Corn Islands. The rescue was carried out by the Army, the Air Force, other institutions, and the population in order to move everyone to safety further inland ahead of the arrival of the hurricane. Then the hurricane changed route and those further north also had to be evacuated. Ortega said, “And the most extraordinary thing I remember afterwards was to see thousands of trees from a helicopter, stripped and totally bare. It caused enormous damage to the entire Natural Forest Reserve.” 19Digital, 31 July 2020
WFP: Covid Strategy Guarantees Food Security
The World Food Program (WFP) presented a report July 28 on “Food Security in Nicaragua in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic,” which states that the Covid-19 management strategy is comprehensive, with priority focus on guaranteeing food security for the population.” WFP is supporting the work of the Nicaragua Ministry of Education in the implementation of biosafety protocols throughout the supply chain of the School Lunch Program that provides 1,200,000 daily meals nationwide. Nicaragua News, 29 July 2020
New Maternity Waiting Home in Carazo Department
See photos here of the new maternal wait home in La Conquista. https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:105899–asi-luce-la-casa-materna-blanca-arauz-del-municipio-de-la-conquista-carazo 19Digital, 2 August 2020
Cathedral Chapel Fire Was an Accident
On July 31 there was a fire in a small chapel of the Managua Cathedral that contains a wooden sculpture of Christ on the Cross known as “Sangre de Cristo”. It is part of Nicaragua’s cultural patrimony dating from 1638 when Nicaragua was part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala. On August 3 the National Police concluded the fire was an accident, the product of the vapor of 96% alcohol in a spray bottle and a lit candle as well as other easily combustible materials in the chapel like two plastic carpets, artificial flowers and the plastic that protects the sculpture. The alcohol was used to disinfect hands of visitors. “The mechanism of initiation and propagation originated when the alcohol vapors ascended to the ceiling carried by the air currents; the alcohol vapors accumulated inside the dome that mixed with hot air at a temperature of 36.1° Celsius (97° F) produced the fire which spread setting fire to the carpets … and the plastic covering, in addition to the lit candle.” The witnesses present at the time claim they saw no one else before they saw the fire. The witnesses are Xiomara de Jesús Castro, 57, who has been selling candles for 27 years, and parishioner Manuel Salvador Bravo Alvarado. The Catholic hierarchy and the opposition immediately claimed it was a terrorist attack and, unfortunately, this is what the international press has repeated. The police found no evidence of any kind of explosive device. But, also unfortunately, the priests had turned off dozens of security cameras. Informe Pastran 3 August 2019