by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, November 10, 2021
Nicaragua has been a target of U.S. aggressions since the 1850s. The Biden administration’s attack on the newly elected government is the latest chapter in a long and sordid history. Eyewitness accounts of the electoral process reveal the manipulations and lies concocted by the U.S. and its corporate media partners in this latest regime change effort.
The United States has continuously carried out acts of aggression against Nicaragua and its people for more than 150 years. Joseph Biden’s effort to undermine that country’s sovereignty is part of a long history of invasions, coups, and support for U.S. puppets.
The Biden administration declared the recent election fraudulent before it had even taken place. The corporate media repeated lies about an “authoritarian dictatorship” that came straight from the State Department’s script. The United States congress voted overwhelmingly to pass the RENACER Act, a regime change plot featuring the imposition of sanctions meant to create misery for Nicaraguans. Sanctions are war by other means, the modern-day version of sending the marines.
The U.S. has done just that, occupying the country from 1912 to 1933. But that was not the first time that U.S. forces were sent to undermine Nicaraguan governments. In 1856 an American named William Walker invaded the country with a mercenary army and declared himself president. Walker was supported by the American slavocracy and sought to create new slave holding nations in the region. During his year long reign, he revoked Nicaragua’s abolition law and he was recognized as president by the Franklin Pierce administration.
The next bout of American aggressions began with an occupation by the U.S. marines in 1912 which lasted until 1933. Augusto Cèsar Sandino fought a guerrilla war against the occupation before being executed under orders of Anastasio Somoza. The Somoza family ruled until 1979 and always with the backing of the United States.
The Sandinista movement (which took its name after Sandino) emerged triumphant in 1980 against Somoza’s regime and quickly came under attack from the Ronald Reagan administration. The opposition groups known as “contras” were given millions of dollars and were assisted in fund raising through the sale of cocaine in the United States. The crack cocaine epidemic began as part of a U.S. imperialist plan. The war waged in Nicaragua was also carried out against communities of color in this country too.
President Daniel Ortega was re-elected on November 7, 2021 and Washington once again declared war on his nation. The RENACER Act passed by a vote of 387 to 35 in the House of Representatives, a huge majority indicative of bipartisan support for war by other means.
The Biden administration acted quickly in denouncing the election before it took place, and repeated their claims of a “pantomime election ” on the day that Nicaraguans went to the polls. They followed up by orchestrating an Organization of American States (OAS) rejection of the Nicaraguan people’s electoral decision.
As a member of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) delegation in Nicaragua, this columnist witnessed the determination of Nicaraguans to choose their own government without interference. More than 200 representatives from 27 nations, were designated as acompañantes, companions, to the electoral process.
The BAP delegation traveled to the Caribbean coast city of Blue Fields where African descended Garifunas and Creoles reside with Mestizos and the Miskito, Rama, and Olwas indigenous communities. Voters from all these groups came out to well managed polling places, where all presidential candidates were listed on the ballot. The process was transparent and orderly, unlike the voting process in the United States, where eligible voters can be stricken from the ballot or be forced to wait for hours to cast their votes.
Despite what the white house and the corporate media claimed, opposition parties were able to campaign freely. Their signage and literature were quite visible, and no one can truthfully say that the public were unaware of the variety of electoral choices.
The Frente Sandinista para Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) emerged triumphant because they endeavor to meet popular needs. The Afro-descended citizens of the Caribbean coast were recognized as a group with distinct needs that were enshrined in the FSLN constitution. That region was excluded and quite literally isolated from the rest of the country without access to transportation and lacking basic infrastructure such as electricity and clean water. BAP delegates heard the consistent message that support for the FSLN is a result of concrete improvements in people’s lives. Despite the determination of the U.S. to undermine them, the FSLN now provide free health care and increased educational opportunities throughout the nation.
The 19th century Monroe Doctrine is alive and well in the 21st century. Whoever is in power in Washington considers other nations in this hemisphere to be its “backyard.” Nicaragua’s population of 6.5 million is smaller than that of New York City. Yet those few people are not allowed to exercise their rights to self-determination without raising Uncle Sam’s ire. Nicaraguans are not the first to feel imperialist vengeance. Tiny Grenada was undermined and invaded when it sought to determine democracy for itself. Venezuela is also under the sanctions hammer and Haiti is allowed to do nothing that Washington doesn’t approve.
The corporate media may be under the dictates of the state, but the people have no reason to follow suit. The presence of companion delegations in Nicaragua was an important step in revealing how the hybrid warfare playbook is put into practice.
Nicaraguans are well aware of their history. The lies are intended for a different audience. The United States seeks to fool its own people and thereby gain support for whatever form of aggression that it may choose. The plan is a consistent one which starts with media amplifying narratives that will gain support for interference. Creating falsehoods of human rights abuses is a reliable ruse to keep Americans complacent about their government’s activities.
The collusion between government and media explains why “trolls” are active on social media, attacking anyone who questions what Washington says. Facebook continued its work on behalf of the state by removing accounts expressing any support for Nicaragua’s sovereignty. The marriage of big tech companies and the Democratic party showed itself once again, proving that claims of freedom and democracy in U.S. politics are indeed an elaborate “pantomime.”
It may seem odd that a small nation can be the focus of so much determination to destroy its independence. But it isn’t hard to understand that Nicaragua threatens the U.S. should it be allowed to determine its own fate. The people who think they live in a democracy do not. They do not have access to free health care and are told they cannot expect to ever have it. Nicaragua is an example of what people in the U.S. could have if they were as free as they like to believe.
The drive to subjugate is as old as the republic, with the United States acting as a hegemon around the world, creating conflict and great suffering. The evil commitment to destroy Nicaraguan democracy is not unexpected but it must be vociferously opposed. Doing so is a litmus test which determines who is really on the left and who is not. There can be no compromise on the anti-imperialist stance. The human rights of people around the world must be respected and any United States government effort to violate them must be met with equivalent resolve.
*Featured Image: Reuters (9/2/21) reported that in 2018–19, “repression of opposition protests against Ortega left at least 300 people dead.” In 2019, a truth commission set up to investigate protest-related violence counted 253 fatalities—31 of whom could be identified as supporters of the opposition, vs. 48 as probable or actual Sandinista supporters, while another 22 were police officers (Two Worlds, 8/26/19).
Margaret Kimberley’s column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She 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.