by Fabrizio Casari, Radio La Primerisima (Spain)
Trump, as he leaves the scene, has decreed new sanctions against Nicaragua. Totally in line with his profile, it must be said: illegitimate, in open violation of international law, and an offense to the system of international relations for its illicit interference in the internal politics of the Central American country. Although of little practical effect for the individuals affected who have no interest in the United States, from a general economic point of view they do make sense and serve to achieve two results.
The first result is economic. They frighten national and foreign investors, and so affect the movement of national and especially foreign capital. This slows down the generation of new companies and limits the trade network. Objective? This also slows down the economy’s systemic development and pushes the country more towards exclusive growth of the informal economy, thus reducing the country’s economic ambitions and modernization.
The second result is entirely political. In the case of Nicaragua, illegal coercive measures are part of the destabilization project that began with the attempted coup d’état in 2018. They show the will of the United States to subvert the country’s political and institutional order, and they feed the rhetoric of the political opposition that calls for such measures constantly. The shared project is to create a climate of adversity including violence, political chaos and economic boycotts as the menu for the latest season of subversion. The objective? To sabotage the elections planned for November 2021.
New coup plan
With funds from USAID and other organizations (that pretend to be neutral but, as they themselves recognize, are playing a practical role supporting the CIA) the coup promoters are working on a new coup plan to make the government use force and then call for international solidarity against the “repression”. Washington seeks to destabilize Nicaragua so it wants a volatile electoral campaign to which it is adding economic sanctions, diplomatic aggression, along with overtures of peace mixed with threats of war. The objective is for the country to reach November in chaos, such that voting will take place in a climate of little international confidence, with a scenario that media will immediately report as “civil war,” feeding coup-mongering lies of a generalized rebellion.
The response of the Sandinista government has complicated the joint operation between the coup promoters and the US, introducing a law that declares the “ineligibility of those who direct or finance an attempted coup d’état, alter the constitutional order, call for the invasion of the country, or welcome or call for sanctions, embargoes or military intervention against the country.” This directly invokes the country’s Constitution, which states “Independence, sovereignty and national self-determination are inalienable rights of the Nicaraguan people and nation.” Any foreign interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs or any attempt to undermine these rights is an attack on the lives of the people, such that it is the duty of all Nicaraguans to defend and preserve this right.
The law, now approved, applies this principle. And if anyone believes that this is merely legislative vindictiveness against the opposition, they need to know that it is not. In fact, identical terminology appears in Law 192, approved on February 10, 1995 by the neo-liberal government of Violeta Chamorro. The law, therefore, is by no means a political conspiracy, but rather a result of the political season and consistent with constitutional norms.
The law puts the finger on the incompatibility between institutional functions and an association with foreign interests. This means the following: those who promote an alternative political current, a strong criticism, a political project opposed to Sandinismo, have had and will have all the necessary space to propose it to the nation. But those who think they can operate as a fifth column or as an internal US front to destabilize the country will not get their way. The opposition coup mongers protest, but it is difficult for them to claim freedom of expression: in any country in the world, allying oneself with foreigners attacking your country is called colluding with the enemy.
Avoiding a year of horror
While waiting to see if, what and how US policy may change with the new Biden administration, the White House in the hands of Trump has proposed with the coup plotters in Nicaragua a plan similar to the one used for Venezuela that would be activated for the Nicaraguan elections in November. Basically, these are the steps: first, not recognizing the vote and the elected president; then raise the level of violence and chaos in the country and declare a political crisis; then set up a domestic legislative front that presents itself as an institutional counterweight and seeks international recognition while appointing an interim president in the United States who asks the international community to recognize them as de facto president with the support of the OAS and the EU. These bodies have already offered repeated expressions of political hostility towards the Sandinista government. A Nicaraguan Guaidó would be sought. These, in short, are the ingredients of the new coup attempt.
The new law intervened to nip this subversive plan in the bud. With it, the Nicaraguan legislature has warned the United States: you will not be able to elect your mercenaries to the National Assembly so that they can later use their institutional role as part of a new coup strategy.
In fact, the confirmation of independence and national sovereignty on the legislative level serves to eliminate the United States and its subversive initiatives from Nicaragua’s elections, thus protecting the electoral campaign as the focus of the national political argument, and respecting the legal and constitutional framework that regulates the country’s institutional integrity. Therefore, it is not only legitimate, but imperative, to prevent the appearance among the electoral candidates of those political subjects or forces conspiring with the United States in a coordinated and operational way while also depending on them both politically and financially.
Moreover, now that patience has run out with the coup promoters’ continued advocacy of a violent overthrow of Nicaragua’s governmental system, other responses are possible in the coming months. They will be responses of varying shapes, directly proportional to the threats.
It is easy to imagine that those who ask for coercive measures may suffer coercive measures in turn, that those who receive money to promote violence will find that their money and violence come to weigh on them. What is certain is that they will not be permitted to transform a fundamental exercise in the democratic life of a country into a subversive adventure, to alter the electoral campaign itself and then its outcome. With the rigor of the law and with force if necessary, tension and terror will not be allowed to affect the voting process. Sandinismo will guarantee that the electoral process is carried out in an orderly and peaceful manner and, as history has shown, will respect and the demand that everyone accepts the result of the ballot boxes.
The armchair gunslingers
Between their hors d’oeuvre and a sip of wine, the beautiful souls of the European Left, the armchair guerrillas and the cocktail strategists, will raise criticisms and doubts because they love the Left that loses, never the one that wins. But there is no room for debate on whether the new laws are appropriate or about their impact on the international scene. Any action to defend peace and legitimate political rivalry is necessary because the US, the OAS and the EU have already decided not to recognize Nicaragua’s democratic process, regardless of the course the electoral campaign may take. They want to delegitimize that electoral process, because doing so delegitimizes Nicaragua’s democratic system, something which is fundamental in order to set in motion an internationally acceptable coup d’état. The goal is not to win or lose an election, but to destroy Sandinismo, and they will leave nothing undone in order to achieve that.
The OAS condemned the enactment of the new Nicaraguan law in defense of national sovereignty, and that was to be expected. In a useless communiqué, it recalled the agreements of technical advice for changes in the electoral law, forgetting that the body’s political and technical credibility and the moral authority of its Secretary General lie dead and buried in Bolivia. The OAS is now an empty shell, a suffocating container of quisling subculture, a ventriloquist’s dummy of the region’s neocolonial leaders, its knees worn out with groveling at the feet of the Empire. It is not a place for dialogue and continental cooperation; it is a political body readily superimposed over the infamous Lima Group, that cabal of Latin American governments some of which are in the hands of the United States, others controlled by narco-traffickers and still others controlled by both.
If there are to be changes in the procedures and norms regarding the Nicaraguan electoral campaign, they will be the result of a sovereign decision to make citizen participation in the vote even more effective than it is already. No foreign power, through its employees, should be allowed to disturb the peace, the elections and the vote of Nicaraguans, the exclusive owners of their nation.
In the last days of 2020, the Nicaraguan National Assembly passed a law transferring the companies that operate the electricity network throughout the country to state ownership. With electrical energy in the hands of the community and no longer destined for private profit, the government’s solidarity and socialist model is further strengthened. And the program of handing over property to Nicaraguan families also continues; in 2020 alone, 26,000 property titles were given to their owners. In the same period, after being passed two months earlier, the law punishing cybercrimes came into force. It updates the list of crimes provided for in previous legislation. It is hardly out of the ordinary, since there are identical laws in force in 57 other countries, but it is an indication of a government that protects its population in socioeconomic terms, as well as the security of each citizen.
It is a further demonstration of how Sandinismo prioritizes political self-determination, economic growth and the extension of social rights. Sandinismo, in fact, is the affirmation of the Law against arbitrariness, of national sovereignty against foreign interference, protecting the country’s integrity against mercenary opportunism, of patriotism against collaborationism, of peace against terrorism.
The right of Nicaragua to give Nicaraguans the future they want is being reaffirmed with the necessary rigor and strength, built on the dream of overcoming hunger and impotence and erasing forever even the idea of surrender. These are dreams that have become principles, ground that is no longer negotiable. Because, for Nicaraguans, the pride of being Sandinistas has become a way of thinking, living and governing. And of winning against whatever enemy they may face.