Tag: FSLN

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution is still thriving, after 40 years

The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal reports from Managua, Nicaragua on the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, which toppled a US-backed dictator.

Video by Ben Norton

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How Nicaragua’s ‘Left-Wing’ Opposition MRS Are NGO Opportunists Lobbying the West for Regime Change

The Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) is the intellectual, left-sounding arm of reactionary politics in Nicaragua. Its popular base is minuscule, but it has been adept at courting Western support.

By Max Blumenthal and Nils McCune

On a recent episode of my Moderate Rebels podcast with Ben Norton, I asked Nils McCune about the role of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista – MRS) party in marketing the recent coup in Nicaragua as a progressive popular mobilization.

McCune, a longtime resident of the Nicaraguan city of Tipitapa, has worked closely with the country’s rural campesino movement and observed the coup from the ground. He is also an astute observer of the country’s politics and history.

Below is audio of our discussion and a transcript of McCune’s comments on the MRS, its collaboration with right-wing elements inside Nicaragua, and its importance in selling the coup to the Western liberal-left.

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An Exclusive Interview with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Daniel Ortega claims his Sandinista government has just defeated a US-backed coup. In a candid and lengthy discussion with me in Managua, he discussed the violent unrest and the factors behind it.

By Max Blumenthal

Since the sudden outbreak of protests and violence last April, an uneasy calm had fallen over Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government have claimed victory over what they call a coup attempt, but they now face condemnation from the US and its allies, who accuse them of unleashing lethal violence against peaceful protesters.

I spent much of July inside Nicaragua, speaking with supporters of the government and their opponents. I learned that Washington’s narrative of a despised dictator mowing down unarmed demonstrators wasn’t exactly accurate. Across the country, I observed widespread support for Ortega and the Sandinista movement. It also became apparent from the moment I arrived that Western media had covered up the brutality of the opposition, as well as its anti-democratic agenda.

In the midst of what seemed to be a misinformation campaign reinforced by right-wing members of Congress and the Organization of American States, I approached the Nicaraguan government for a chance to hear Ortega’s side of the story. He agreed, granting me one of his first interviews in eleven years.

Here are 13 takeaways from our wide-ranging discussion on July 25 in Managua:

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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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