Tag: Daniel Ortega

How Washington and Soft Power NGOs Manipulated Nicaragua’s Death Toll to Drive Regime Change and Sanctions

Did Nicaragua’s Sandinista government really kill 300+ peaceful protesters? A forensic analysis of the death toll exposes the claim as a dangerous lie.

By Max Blumenthal

A detailed study of the death toll that has been recorded in Nicaragua since a violent campaign to remove President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government shows that at least as many Sandinista supporters were killed as opposition members. The study, “Monopolizing Death,” demonstrates how partisan local NGOs conflated all deaths that occurred since April, including accidents and the murders of Sandinistas, with killings by government forces. Washington has seized on the bogus death count to drive the case for sanctions and intensify pressure for regime change.

The manipulated death toll was the centerpiece of a July 25 harangue by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on the House floor. While drumming up support for a bipartisan resolution condemning Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for supposedly ordering the massacre of demonstrators, Ros-Lehtinen declared, “Mr. Speaker, four hundred and fifty! That is how many Nicaraguans have been killed by the Ortega regime and its thugs since April of this year.”

The congresswoman’s portrayal of a dictatorial regime gunning down peaceful protesters like helpless quails in a canned hunt was designed to generate pressure for an attack on the Nicaraguan economy in the form of sanctions packages like the Nica Act. Her narrative was reinforced by Vice President Mike Pence, who condemned Nicaragua’s government for “350+ dead at the hands of the regime,” and by Ken Roth, the long-serving executive director of Human Rights Watch, who also suggested that Ortega had personally ordered the killing of “300 demonstrators against his corrupt and repressive rule.”

Throughout the past two weeks, I have been in Nicaragua interviewing scores of victims of the US-backed Nicaraguan opposition. I have met police officials who saw their colleagues gunned down by well armed elements while being ordered to stay in their stations, Sandinista union leaders whose homes were burned down, and average citizens who were kidnapped at tranque roadblocks and pulled out of their homes to be beaten and tortured, sometimes with the assent of Catholic priests. It was clear to me that the Nicaraguan opposition was anything peaceful in its bid for regime change.

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An open letter to The Guardian on its wildly inaccurate coverage of Nicaragua

This Guardian’s editor-in-chief received the following letter but has refused to publish it, even in shorter form.

For the past three months, there has been a political crisis in Nicaragua, with opposing forces not only confronting each other in the streets but fighting a media war. The Guardian should be at the forefront of balanced and well-informed reporting of these events. Instead, despite plentiful evidence of opposition violence, almost all your 17 reports since mid-April blame Daniel Ortega’s government for the majority of deaths that have occurred. One of your most recent articles (“The Nicaraguan students who became reluctant rebels”, July 10) leaves unchallenged an opposition claim that theirs is “a totally peaceful struggle.” Only one article (July 4) gives significant space to the government version of events.

While most of the recent violence is associated with opposition barricades erected across the country, you still refer to a “wave of violence and repression by the government” (June 24). Not once do you refer to the numerous deaths of government supporters or the 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries suffered by the police, including the killing of four policemen observing a “peace” demonstration on July 12. Nor did you report the only attack on a member of the “national dialogue” set up to try resolve the crisis, when student leader Leonel Morales was shot and left for dead on June 12; he is a government supporter. Your report from Masaya (June 12) failed to mention that the protestors had burnt down public buildings, ransacked shops and destroyed the homes of government officials. Nor did you record the kidnapping of hundreds of long-distance lorries and drivers, who spent a month in effective captivity despite efforts by their ambassadors and international mediators to secure their release (eventually achieved by the government on July 8). Your report of the shooting of a one year-old boy in “the latest round of government repression” (June 25) does not mention video evidence that he was killed by opposition youths.

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.

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Maquinaria injerencista del gobierno de los EE.UU. se jacta de ‘preparar el terreno para la insurrección’ en Nicaragua.

Mientras los líderes de las protestas estudiantiles nicaragüenses se reunían con neoconservadores en Washington DC, una publicación financiada por el brazo del gobierno estadounidense encargado en los cambios de régimen, la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED por sus siglas en inglés), se jacta de gastar millones de dólares “preparando el terreno para la insurrección” contra Daniel Ortega.

Por Max Blumenthal

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US Gov. Meddling Machine Boasts of ‘Laying the Groundwork for Insurrection’ in Nicaragua

As Nicaraguan student protest leaders meet with neoconservatives in Washington, DC, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), boasts of spending millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” against Daniel Ortega

By Max Blumenthal

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While some corporate media outlets have portrayed the violent protest movement gripping Nicaragua as a progressive grassroots upswell, the country’s own student leaders have suggested otherwise.

In early June, Nicaragua’s leading young activists went on a junket to Washington, DC, on the dime of the US government-funded right-wing advocacy group Freedom House. The Nicaraguan student leaders were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing US government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

On the excursion to the US capital, the young activists posed for photo-ops with some of the most notorious neoconservatives in the US Congress: Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Nicaraguan student leaders were also shepherded to meetings with top officials from the State Department and the US government soft power organization USAID. There, they were reassured that they would have Washington’s full-throated support.

A month before the student protesters’ meetings with ultra-conservative lawmakers in Washington, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), bluntly asserted that organizations backed by the NED have spent years and millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” in Nicaragua.

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