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Nicaragua: News & Updates
Nicaragua was ruled by the Somoza dictatorship, backed by the US, for 30 years. After the Sandinista Revolution took control in 1979, the US assembled former Somoza National Guardsmen into a counterrevolutionary force that, for the next decade, terrorized the civilian population in an attempt to weaken popular support for the Sandinistas. The “contra war” left 30,000 people dead and forced more than 100,000 to seek refuge in the US.
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November 7, 2021
On Sunday, November 7, 2021, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) will hold a special online gathering to mark the 41st anniversary of the ultimate sacrifice made by two Cleveland women in El Salvador (Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel of Cleveland), along with Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke. The four women paid with their lives for their decision to stay in solidarity with poor, marginalized victims of the US-sponsored armed violence, which eventually claimed the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans and the led to the mass exodus of 1 million refugees. IRTF was founded by people of faith and conscience to honor their powerful witness and carry forward their legacy of solidarity. Please join our guest speakers from Honduras as we celebrate IRTF’s four decades of solidarity with the people of Central America and Colombia: promoting peace, justice, human rights, and systemic transformation through nonviolence.
September 16, 2021
The RENACER Act would place more unilateral coercive economic measures (aka Sanctions) on Nicaragua, facilitate greater coordination of the US’ economic war on Nicaragua with Canada and the European Union, create stricter oversight of financial institutions doing business with Nicaragua and impose greater visa restrictions.
September 7, 2021
From the September 2021 newsletter of Jubilee House/Center for Development in Nicaragua: The first Sunday in November Nicaragua will have its general elections. If you keep up with international news you may be reading a great deal of misleading information. After the attempted coup in 2018, everyone who had been arrested - whether it was for vandalism, looting, demonstrating without a permit, blocking roads, torture, or even murder - was granted provisional amnesty. The provision was that if they broke the law again, they would be arrested and stand trial. That seems logical…and generous…and yet many of these people who committed crimes before and were released are now breaking the law again and as a result are being arrested, while the international press continues to scream “repression.” Of course we do not know all the people arrested. We do not know all the crimes they are charged with, but we do know that the United States State Department had a paper leaked in 2020 that outlines how the State Department plans to disrupt the elections here and if the Sandinistas are elected again how the U.S. plans to create violence and havoc attempting to accomplish another coup since the one in 2018 failed.
August 25, 2021
The capital city of Managua is a good lens through which to view Nicaraguan history. Its expansive views, shaded buildings, and streets with no name give us physical places to anchor our stories of colonization, inequality, insurrection, revolution and resilience. After the Sandinista government was pushed out of power by elections forced by the US in 1990, the new neoliberal government worked to erase the revolutionary history of Nicaragua, of the Sandinista movement in particular. After the elections in 1990, Nicaragua went into a kind of societal depression and the vast majority of families were crippled by extreme poverty, unable to plan beyond the next meal. While the country was incapacitated, the somocistas who had supported the former dictator oozed back into the country and violently stole back properties they had forfeited when they had fled Nicaragua a decade earlier. Violeta Chamorros’s government quietly erased the social gains of the Revolution, selling nearly all public enterprises at concessionary rates and effectively privatizing health care and education. She welcomed the World Bank and IMF and followed the letter of their structural readjustment programs, refusing to raise wages for teachers, police, or any public worker. She all but erased cooperatives by taking away their access to financing – when they could no longer work, they began to fold, and as those in the countryside lost their land they began to move into the cities looking for work. Gangs took hold in the cities, and crime rates – which had been all but nonexistent in the ‘80s – skyrocketed. The poor got poorer and the rich got richer until Nicaragua became one of the most unequal societies in the world. Desperate to find a way to earn a living, people began to leave in droves to Costa Rica and the U.S. until this small country had nearly 1 million citizens living outside its borders...And yet, not everyone forgot. In hidden neighborhoods around Managua, the people kept watch over their Revolutionary murals at night, saving them from Alemán’s gray brush. Concealed from the public eye, new murals were born inside walls where they could stay safe. We’ll find some of these murals on our next Managua tour.
August 19, 2021
Sovereignty is not argued about It is defended Augusto Cesar Sandino It is an irrefutable fact that the United States orchestrated, financed and unleashed the violent coup attempt in 2018 against the democratically elected FSLN government. Spokespeople of the U.S. establishment, from former president Trump, extreme right wing senators and deputies, all the way down the food chain of its formidable ‘regime change’ machinery, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and, of course, USAID, repeatedly stated their aim was to bring about ‘regime change’ in Nicaragua. In this connection, the significance of U.S. Nicaraguan proxies is ephemeral and purely utilitarian (does anybody remember Adolfo Calero, Miami-based Contra leader?). Such proxies are activated to sow chaos, violence and confusion to facilitate a U.S.-driven ‘regime change’ intervention, but for the huge U.S. democracy-crushing machine, when plans do not work, its proxies are disposable human assets. In the 2018 coup attempt, the operatives on the ground, disguised as civil society bodies committed to the rule of law, democracy, civil liberties, human rights and other fake descriptions, were in fact U.S.-funded proxies entrusted with the task to bring down the FSLN government by means of violence. The resistance of the Nicaraguan people defeated the coup and thus the nation will go to polls in November 2021, prompting the U.S. ‘regime change’ apparatus to launch, in despair, an international campaign aimed at demonizing the electoral process itself.
August 9, 2021
Individuals can now sign on to the Nicaragua Solidarity letter! Over 100 groups have signed on to the organizational sign-on letter. Now you can sign your name as an individual to oppose US interference in Nicaragua's elections. Brief background: In July 2020, a USAID document leaked from the US Embassy in Managua outlined an orchestrated plan, RAIN or Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua, financed by the United States to launch a government transition in Nicaragua over the next two years. Right now, the Renacer Act is moving quickly through the US Congress with the explicit intent to interfere in Nicaragua elections, as stated in the title: Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021. The Renacer Act ramps up economic sanctions. It threatens Nicaraguan voters to vote for an opposition candidate if they do not want to suffer serious privation over coming years.
August 6, 2021
Biden administration looks to sanctions against Nicaragua, an approach that has historically had mixed results. The NICA Act’s targets may have been government ministers, but its victims were Nicaragua’s poorest communities.The NICA Act’s targets may have been government ministers, but its victims were Nicaragua’s poorest communities. The World Bank, having praised Nicaragua’s use of international funds to relieve poverty and having financed over 100 successful projects since the Sandinistas first took power in 1979, suddenly halted funding in March 2018. It did not resume work for nearly three years, until late 2020, when the bank belatedly helped respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and two devastating hurricanes. The Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund similarly stopped funding large projects, and their help in response to the pandemic and the hurricanes was also delayed. Not surprisingly, opinion polls show that over three-quarters of Nicaraguans oppose these sanctions, and even the Organization of American States described the NICA Act as “counterproductive.”
August 5, 2021
As high schoolers, most of us learned about the Monroe Doctrine. Many people assume that the Monroe Doctrine is U.S. law, and possibly even international law. It isn’t either of these. President Monroe proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, in his State of the Union Address. Now, almost 200 years later, we still use the Monroe Doctrine to justify our interference in the internal affairs of other countries in the Western Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine has symbolized the United States’ self-proclaimed right to run roughshod — whenever and wherever we please — over sovereign nations to our south. The U.S. has invaded and occupied many countries. For some of them, like Nicaragua, we’ve done this more than once.
July 18, 2021
Aviva Chomsky, author most recently of Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration, points out that the president’s new plan for Central America, supposedly aimed at the “root causes” of migration to this country, is the disappointing equivalent of ancient history even when solutions are actually available. He’s once again offering that region the kind of “aid” that helped create today’s “migrant crisis.” As it happens, more military and private development aid of the Biden’s plan calls for won’t stop migration or help Central America.
July 13, 2021
In the pursuit of addressing the ‘root causes’ of migration from Central America to the U.S. southern border, the United States is motivated by a foreign policy built on seeking to improve conditions in Central America countries. However, this policy fails to fully grasp the extreme conditions that now mark contexts of forced displacement.