This week’s NicaNotes blog addresses the issue of the deportation from Nicaragua of freelance journalist Carl David Goette Luciak with two pieces. The first is an essay by Nan McCurdy addressing the claim to the mantle of a journalist’s freedom of the press. The second is a letter-to-the-editors of The Guardian, Washington Post, and other media that used Goette Luciak’s “reporting.” The author of the second piece is a long-time friend who traveled with Goette Luciak to Nicaragua to, as he states, “use our friendships with Nicaraguan opposition figures to push for the end of the Sandinista government and create careers for ourselves…”
WHY DIDN’T CARL DAVID GOETTE-LUCIAK SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE TORTURE HE WITNESSED?
By Nan McCurdy, Popular Resistance https://popularresistance.org/
October 8, 2018
Note: There has been a great deal of inaccurate and biased reporting about Nicaragua written in support of regime change and presenting a false narrative of what occurred in the Nicaraguan uprising. The article below is about a self-trained reporter, Carl David Goette-Luciak, who was the source of consistently biased reporting which had an agenda — provide support for the violent US-funded coup. He regularly wrote for The Guardian, an outlet that continues to be consistently biased in its coverage.
Journalist Max Blumenthal first exposed the false and biased reporting of Goette-Luciak on September 26 in How an American Anthropologist Tied to US Regime-Change Became the MSM’s Man in Nicaragua. Today, we published an article by a long-time Nicaragua resident, Why Didn’t Carl David Goette-Luciak Say Something About The Torture He Witnessed? In another article, his close friend, Wyatt Reed, was interviewed and he described how Goette-Luciak was working with the opposition saying he was “closely aligned and working with groups that were very much against the Sandinistas.”
Earlier this year after trying to get a letter published in The Guardian people wrote an Open Letter to the Guardian about their poor reporting. The letter cited numerous instances of The Guardian failing to report the violence of the opposition and presenting an inaccurate narrative. Carl David Goette-Luciak was specifically mentioned in the Open Letter which stated:
“The author of several articles, Carl David Goette-Luciak, openly associates with opposition figures. On July 5 he blamed the police for the terrible house fire in Managua three weeks earlier, relying largely on assertions from government opponents. Yet videos appearing to show police presence were actually taken on April 21, before barricades were erected to prevent police entering the area.”
After the Open Letter was published the Guardian published a short version of the letter followed by a series of letters opposing the Nicaraguan government.
Even when Goette-Luciak was deported The Guardian took a one-sided view of the situation never mentioning the biased nature of his reporting, his ties to the violent opposition and they used his deportation to again falsely report the alleged “state of repression” of the Ortega government. Goette-Luciak, from Blacksburg, Virginia (the bible belt of rural Virginia) was suspected by people as working for the CIA (which his family denies) because his reporting always supported the attempted violent coup.
Goette-Luciak was lucky he was deported and not prosecuted criminally in Nicaragua as he arguably aided and abetted torture and bloodshed by not reporting on the perpetrators. The article below focuses on his failure to report torture.
Carl David Goette Luciak at a barricade.
The “Reporter” For The Guardian, Washington Post, BBC And NPR Was Not Interested In Objectivity
US citizen, Carl David Goette Luciak, was taken from his rented home in the Centro America neighborhood of Managua by Nicaraguan police midday October 1. He was driven directly to Managua airport where he was questioned. He then flew to El Salvador on Taca flight 397, and landed in Washington DC October 2. He had been expelled from the country.
Goette Luciak was a self-styled ‘reporter’, working for the Guardian and Washington Post, but he was never accredited as such by the Nicaraguan government, and he only held a tourist visa. For this reason alone he could have been deported from most countries, as for example happened to British journalist Elena Lappin in 2004 when she was expelled from the United States.
But there was more to it than that. Photos Luciak had captured depicting armed opposition terrorists began to circulate on social media in early September. The most disconcerting fact, was that Goette-Luciak had actively tried to hide these images and never reported on them. Sandinistas have been He originally came to Nicaragua in 2016 to live and work in the communities near the proposed interoceanic canal route to encourage opposition to it.
This photo by Goette-Luciak depicting a well-armed opposition gunman at a Masaya roadblock was recently deleted from the Edge of Adventure website.
Exactly a month before the April 18 coup d’état he and Azucena Castillo , a well-known member of the opposition party MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement), started a radio station, Radio Ciudadana. Castillo used to work at USAID-funded Radio Universidad also in Managua. Oddly, the new radio seems to do very little, and only has a few articles on its website. On Luciak’s Twitter account he lists himself as Director of Investigations for Radio Ciudadano and yet on the webpage this section has no information.
Goette-Luciak and MRS opposition leader Ana Margarita Vijil, pictured center. Photo | Facebook
Luciak has written a total of four articles since he began his career as a journalist in May, yet for The Guardian, The Washington Post and others, he quickly became their man on the ground in Nicaragua despite his open friendship and work with well-known opposition leaders. Photos of him with political leaders who openly call for the overthrow of a democratically elected president were posted on his Facebook Page.
The most disconcerting fact about Goette-Luciak is a video from June 30th during an opposition march in Managua called “March of the Flowers”. Amazingly, I had already seen this video – the opposition has tortured over a hundred Sandinistas that we know of, and we are aware of this because they take videos and post them on Facebook. In this video the terrorists are walking along torturing an old man who they accused of being a Sandinista – they call Sandinistas toads and cockroaches; they mark their homes and tell people not to buy at their businesses. And they kidnap, torture and kill them. Luciak was right there as the torture was taking place and he shows up in the video at various points.
If Luciak is an objective journalist, why didn’t he write about this torture episode he witnessed up close and personal in one of his articles? Everything he wrote was rabidly anti-Sandinista. Why would the Guardian, the Washington Post, the BBC and NPR print his work? There are many very knowledgeable journalists writing about Nicaragua but the mainstream media won’t print their work because they tell the truth – they don’t follow what has come to be the accepted narrative on Nicaragua in the “developed world.”
Max Blumenthal published a well cited article recently that revealed Goette-Luciak’s ties to the MRS (the opposition Sandinista Reform Movement).
Yesterday I read posts on Facebook from many Nicaraguan friends. The message I got from them was that with the video and photos they considered him to be supporting the coup. Non-Nicaraguans have never been allowed to be involved in Nicaraguan politics, much less in encouraging violence. Five people wrote: Gringo Go Home!
Nan McCurdy is from Puebla, Mexico and with the United Methodist Missionary. She was a resident of Nicaragua from 1984 t0 2014.
Following is a letter-to-the-editor written by Goette Luciak’s long-time friend Wyatt Reed who had traveled to Nicaragua with him. None of the publications that printed Goette Luciak’s articles as news have published Reed’s letter.
To the editor,
As a longtime friend and former collaborator of your correspondent with the Nicaraguan opposition, I feel compelled to make a few points clear in light of the recent media frenzy over the deportation from Nicaragua of Carl David Goette Luciak. I must be extremely clear: in the six months we lived and worked together in Nicaragua we were both very open about our plan to use our friendships with Nicaraguan opposition figures to push for the end of the Sandinista government and create careers for ourselves as journalists or consultants in the process. We were not CIA—but we were in many ways serving its same historical purpose.
I must stress that I wish no ill will on Carl David. I’ve known him since middle school, we were best friends for much of our lives, and I want only to set the record straight. Having already spent several years in Nicaragua, I had made connections with multiple prominent anti-government groups and figures at the time of our partnership. And since I introduced him to many of them, I feel compelled to state publicly that any notion we had of being impartial and objective journalists was simply a lie. We arrived together in Managua in January 2016 without prior journalistic experience but with a shared understanding that the Nicaraguan government represented a fundamental betrayal of socialist ideals, and the shared understanding that the ruling Sandinista party should be removed from power.
In the time since, I’ve come to understand that regardless of our personal feelings on the Nicaraguan president or government, any illusions we had of being uniquely capable of helping the Nicaraguan people achieve self-determination were ultimately founded in a kind of white savior complex. I left, realizing Americans cannot liberate the Nicaraguan people. Not thirty years ago, when the US government created the Contra army to fight a decade long war against socialist Nicaragua, and not now. Americans can only help destroy their government, and in the process hand power over to the same conservative neoliberals who seek to roll back the Nicaraguan safety net, privatize national resources, and undo a decade of improvements in poverty reduction and healthcare.
I have many disagreements with the Sandinista party. However, I do not feel that the violent overthrow of their government can in any way benefit working class Nicaraguans. I mourn with them the tragic deaths of the hundreds killed in the gunfights between police and armed opposition. But if the Sandinista government falls we must ask ourselves: how many tens of thousands more will die when the health clinics are closed? How many children will go barefoot, hungry, and uneducated if their welfare state is abolished? They can’t just fly back to the United States. Unlike them, the westerners who bring about “regime change” rarely have to stick around and suffer the consequences.
- Days of rain in Central America associated with Hurricane Michael have caused widespread flooding across the region including Nicaragua. The government and the media reported 4 dead as of Oct. 8, 13,800 homeless, and between 3,000-5,000 homes flooded depending on the source. The Nicaraguan army and navy assisted in rescuing flood victims and moving them to higher ground. (Nicaragua News, Oct. 8, El Nuevo Diario, Oct. 8)
- The Taiwan Ambassador in Managua, Jaime Wu, said his government has approved a US$1,000,000 donation to support the efforts by the Nicaragua Army in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. “I want to commend the Army for its strong efforts and achievements ensuring the safety of the Nicaraguan people. We want to continue to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the armed forces of our two countries,” Ambassador Wu said. (Nicaragua News, Oct. 5)
- Judge Gerardo Rodriguez Olivas, president of the Managua Court of Appeals affirmed that the judiciary is acting in accordance with the law and not as a political arm to punish people who oppose the government. He said, “The first thing the hearing judge does is to explain to the accused what he is accused of and the right he has to a lawyer of his own. It is not true that we are on a witch hunt and that the judiciary is being used to punish the people,” explaining that convictions are based on the facts and the evidence presented by the Prosecutor’s Office. Roberto Larios, director general of communications of the Supreme Court also denounced “the gross campaign of slander, false news and baseless attacks against the Judicial Power by some media outlets engaged in anti-government opposition.” He referred particularly to the death of Denis Madriz Obando whose murder, despite the denials of his family, is being portrayed as a political murder authored by the government. (Informe Pastran, Oct. 9)
- Despite the unrest during the spring and summer, foreign investment and growth in some areas of the economy continue to increase despite severe losses in other areas, most notably tourism. External Affairs Manager of British American Tobacco – Central America (BATCA), Gustavo Mercado said a US$4.5 million facility was inaugurated in Managua last Tuesday. “This investment ratifies our strong confidence in the country. BATCA has been in Nicaragua for more than 30 years and we will continue to invest in the country”, Mercado said. Minister of Agriculture (MAG) Edward Centeno reported that export of tobacco totaled US$26.2 million during the first 8 months of this year, 4.3% above the amount registered in the same period of 2017. “Tobacco production has maintained strong dynamism generating 12, 961 formal jobs,” Centeno said. His Ministry also reported that export of peanuts totaled US$84.2 million during the first 8 months of this year, 1.6% above the amount registered in the same period of 2017. In terms of volume, 1.5 million hundredweights were exported, 9% above the amount recorded in the same period of 2017. (Nicaragua News, Oct. 4)
- Minister of Energy and Mines (MEM) Salvador Mansell announced that US$60 million is being invested by the government in the construction of new electrical substations. “A public bidding for the construction of La Gateada-La Esperanza Substation will be opened in the coming months and progress is being made in the upgrade of the national electrical grid,” Mansell said. (Nicaragua News, Oct. 4)
- The Deputy Director of the Managua Police Delegation, Commissioner Sergio Gutiérrez, announced that 56 firearms were seized in police operations carried out last week. He also noted that 2 individuals involved in drug trafficking were arrested and 13 motorcycles were seized in the successful police operations. (Nicaragua News, Oct. 3)
- Three men accused of burning down the Radio Ya radio station while the staff was inside on May 28 during the height of the attempted coup, were found guilty by Judge Melvin Vargas in the Seventh Criminal Trial District last week. The prison sentences for Hansell Vasquez Ruiz, Kevin Rodrigo Espinoza and Marlon Fonseca Roman have not yet been announced. (Informe Pastran, Oct. 9)
- The Deputy Director of the Judicial Investigative Department of the Nicaragua National Police, Commisioner Farley Roa announced that 5 terrorists were arrested in Carazo Department last Monday. “The arrested criminals were involved in torture, kidnappings, robberies, illegal possession of weapons, 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, Oct. 2)
- The Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) condemned and demanded an investigation of the murder of one of their leaders, attorney Oscar Herrera who was killed Sunday, Oct. 7 by a man who walked into the Wiwili bar where he was drinking at 9:45am and shot him twice without speaking. Police recovered two 38-caliber shells at the scene and said they will continue to investigate. The PLC has the second largest caucus in the National Assembly and was not part of the attempted coup that began in April. (Informe Pastran, Oct. 9)