Nicaragua has been experiencing a political crisis since mid-April 2018 when a reform of the Social Security system unleashed a pro-U.S. violent protests against President Daniel Ortega. His initiative for pension reforms lit the fuse for major protests that continued even after Ortega withdrew the reform just days ago to pacify the country. However, the protests not only continued, but intensified.
The ruling party detected and denounced the violent acts by rioters whose sole purpose is to destabilize the country, in conjunction with Washington escalating its pressure against Nicaragua. Dialogue processes were initiated and suspended in the absence of progress. The problem is that those who requested dialogue came to ask for power and since it was not permitted, they claimed to international media that the ruling government were not flexible in their negotiations. In the search for a negotiated exit to the crisis, the opposition called for early elections, changes to the electoral law and a new conformation of the Supreme Electoral Council.
The Nicaraguan leader explained that the hand behind the “crisis” was coordinated by the opposition and some private media outlets. The opposition wants to show that there are large demonstrations, but they are small and lowkey. The most conservative media in the country, which covered the protests biasedly, are paying the price by losing advertisers and readers. This led to El Nuevo Diario announcing that it stopped circulating, along with another newspaper that would stop publishing a humorous supplement
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday extended a national emergency declaration for Nicaragua for a year due to the “dismantling and undermining of democratic institutions” by the Government of the Central American country and the alleged repression of activists.
“The situation in Nicaragua, including the violent response by the Government of Nicaragua to the protests that began on April 18, 2018, and the Ortega regime’s systematic dismantling and undermining of democratic institutions and the rule of law, its use of indiscriminate violence and repressive tactics against civilians, as well as its corruption leading to the destabilization of Nicaragua’s economy, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” said the president in a statement sent to Congress.
The notice extends for one year the emergency declared on November 27, 2018. The national emergency is intended to broaden the presidential powers to invoke a dozen relevant U.S. laws, however, it is not clear how the declaration would apply to Nicaragua. Trump used a similar emergency statement regarding the U.S.-Mexico border to invoke existing laws that, according to the administration, allow the diversion of money from government programs to build a border wall.
But why has Trump decided to do this?
Nicaragua has long been a thorn for U.S. hegemonic designs on Latin America. In one of the most recent examples, Nicaragua was one of the very few Latin American countries that rejected the resolution of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), a mostly conservative U.S.-puppet alliance, to demand new elections in Bolivia, as it avoids the rupture of the constitutional order that persists in that Andean nation.
However, Nicaragua’s defiance of the U.S. goes much further back, especially if we consider Daniel Ortega’s brother, Humberto, telling his military officers in 1981: “Our revolution has a profoundly anti-imperialist character, profoundly revolutionary, profoundly classist: We are anti-Yankee, we are against the bourgeoisie, we are inspired by the historic traditions of our people […] we are guided by the scientific doctrine of the revolution, by Marxism-Leninism.” Ortega’s rhetoric has always been against “imperialists” and “global capitalism’s tyrannical dictatorship.”
The old “Red Terror” threat of the bygone Cold War era appears to still haunt Washington, leading to Trump ludicrously claim days ago that Nicaragua is a “national security threat” just weeks after he encouraged and orchestrated the right-wing coup against former Bolivian President Evo Morales. Of course, Trump gave no explanation how Nicaragua could ever possibly be a security threat to the U.S.
The main U.S. foreign media mouthpiece, Voice of America (VOA), gave insights into what we can expect in the future, stating: “Nicaragua, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is one of the Latin American countries whose government Trump has made a priority to put diplomatic and economic pressure on to bring about regime change.” The VOA article also revealed that “The pressure against Nicaragua is going to continue” through economic means – sanctions., Trump’s preferred method of destroying countries, such as Venezuela.
VOA has always been an insight into Washington’s plans and ideas, and with it stating that Nicaragua, alongside Cuba and Venezuela, is a priority state for the U.S. to destroy, it can be expected that more reactionary violence will occur and poverty will significantly increase in the country. It is for this reason that the head of the Latin American department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Aleksandr Schetinin explained that over the past few years, the U.S. has had the idea of making Latin America “more manageable.” This was preceded by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explaining that the “U.S. attempts to reshape the Latin American political landscape to its own extent” and uses “force wherever it wants to overthrow governments.”
There can be little doubt that in the coming weeks we can expect the violence, escalation and propaganda against Nicaragua to intensify. With the success of the Bolivian coup, this could begin to inspire the same model being implemented against anti-U.S. states in the Western Hemisphere. It appears that Nicaragua will be the U.S. next major target to be destroyed until U.S. business interest in the impoverished Central American country is restored.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.