Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?

| Educate!

Above: A massive peace march was held on July 8, 2018, in Managua showing support for the Nicaraguan government. Source UK Morning Star.

There is a great deal of false and inaccurate information about Nicaragua in the media. Even on the left, some have simply repeated the dubious claims of CNN and Nicaragua’s oligarchic media to support the removal of President Ortega. The narrative of nonviolent protesters versus anti-riot squads and pro-government paramilitaries has not been questioned by international media.

This article seeks to correct the record, describe what is happening in Nicaragua and why. As we write this, the coup seems to be failing, people have rallied for peace (as this massive march for peace held Saturday, July 7 showed) and the truth is coming out (e.g., the weapons cache discovered in a Catholic Church on July 9th). It is important to understand what is occurring because Nicaragua’s is an example of the types of violent coups the US and the wealthy use to put in place business dominated, neoliberal governments. If people understand these tactics, they will become less effective.

Sandinistas and followers of President Daniel Ortega wave their Sandinista flags in a march for peace, in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday. From The Morning Sun.

Mixing up the Class Interests

In part, US pundits are getting their information from media outlets, such as Jaime Chamorro-Cardenal’s La Prensa, and the same oligarchical family’s Confidencial, that are the most active elements of the pro-coup media. Repeating and amplifying their narrative delegitimizes the Sandinista government and presents unconditional surrender by Daniel Ortega as the only acceptable option. These pundits provide cover for nefarious internal and external interests who have set their sights on controlling Central America’s poorest and yet resource-rich country.

The coup attempt brought the class divisions in Nicaragua into the open. Piero Coen, the richest man in Nicaragua, owner of all national Western Union operations and an agrochemical company, personally arrived on the first day of protests at the Polytechnical University in Managua, to encourage students to keep protesting, promising his continued support.

The traditional landed oligarchy of Nicaragua, politically led by the Chamorro family, publishes constant ultimatums to the government through its media outlets and finances the roadblocks that have paralyzed the country for the last eight weeks.

The Catholic Church, long allied with the oligarchs, has put its full weight behind creating and sustaining anti-government actions, including its universities, high schools, churches, bank accounts, vehicles, tweets, Sunday sermons, and a one-sided effort to mediate the National Dialogue. Bishops have made death threats against the President and his family, and a priest has been filmed supervising the torture of Sandinistas. Pope Francis has called for a peace dialogue, and even called Cardinal Leonaldo Brenes and Bishop Rolando Alvarez to a private meeting in the Vatican, setting off rumors that the Nicaraguan monseñores were being scolded for their obvious involvement in the conflict they are officially mediating.  The church remains one of the few pillars keeping the coup alive.

A common claim is Ortega has cozied up to the traditional oligarchy, but the opposite is true. This is the first government since Nicaraguan independence that does not include the oligarchy. Since the 1830s through the 1990s, all Nicaraguan governments– even during the Sandinista Revolution– included people from the elite “last names,” of Chamorro, Cardenal, Belli, Pellas, Lacayo, Montealegre, Gurdián. The government since 2007 does not, which is why these families are supporting the coup.

Ortega detractors claim his three-part dialogue including labor unions, capitalists, and the State is an alliance with big business. In fact, that process has yielded the highest growth rate in Central America and annual minimum wage increases 5-7% above inflation, improving workers’ living conditions and lifting people out of poverty. The anti-poverty Borgen project reports poverty fell by 30 percent between 2005 and 2014.

The FSLN-led government has put into place an economic model based on public investment and strengthening the safety net for the poor. The government invests in infrastructure, transit, maintains water and electricity within the public sector and moved privatized services. e.g., health care and primary education into the public sector. This has ensured a stable economic structure that favors the real economy over the speculative economy. The lion’s share of infrastructure in Nicaragua has been built in the last 11 years, something comparable to the New Deal-era in the US, including renewable electricity plants across the country.

What liberal and even leftists commentators overlook is that unlike the Lula government in Brazil, which reduced poverty through cash payouts to poor families, Nicaragua has redistributed productive capital in order to develop a self-sufficient popular economy. The FSLN model is better understood as an emphasis on the popular economy over the State or capitalist spheres.  

While the private sector employs about 15% of Nicaraguan workers, the informal sector employs over 60%. The informal sector has benefitted from $400 million in public investments, much of it coming from the ALBA alliance funds to finance micro loans for small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises. Policies to facilitate credit, equipment, training, animals, seeds and subsidized fuel further support these enterprises. The small and medium producers of Nicaragua have led the country to produce 80-90% of its food and end its dependence on IMF loans.

As such, workers and peasants– many of whom are self-employed and who accessed productive capital through the Sandinista Revolution and ensuing struggles– represent an important political subject of the stable, postwar social development of the last decade, including the hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers who have received land title and the nearly one-quarter of the national territory that has been given collective title as territory of indigenous nations. The social movements of workers, peasants, and indigenous groups were the base of popular support that brought the FSLN back into power.

Land titling and assistance to small businesses have also emphasized equality for women, resulting in Nicaragua having the lowest level of gender inequality in Latin America and ranked 12 out of 145 countries in the world, just behind Germany.

Over time, the FSLN government has incorporated this massive self-employed sector, as well as maquiladora workers (i.e. textile workers in foreign-owned plants located in free trade zones created by previous neoliberal governments), into the health care and pension system, causing the financial commitments to grow which required a new formula to ensure fiscal stability. The proposed reforms to Social Security were the trigger for the private sector and student protests on April 18th. The business lobby called for the protests when Ortega proposed increasing employer contributions by 3.5% to pension and health funds, while only slightly increasing worker contributions by 0.75% and shifting 5% of pensioners’ cash transfer into their health care fund. The reform also ended a loophole which allowed high-income individuals to claim a low income in order to access health benefits.

This was a counter-proposal to the IMF proposal to raise the retirement age and more than double the number of weeks that workers would need to pay into the pension fund in order to access benefits. The fact the government felt strong enough to deny the IMF and business lobby’s austerity demands was a sign that the bargaining strength of private capital has declined, as Nicaragua’s impressive economic growth, a 38% increase in GDP from 2006-2017, has been led by small-scale producers and public spending. However, the opposition used manipulative Facebook ads presenting the reform as an austerity measure, plus fake news of a student death on April 18th, to generate protests across the country on April 19th. Immediately, the regime change machine lurched into motion.   

The National Dialogue shows the class interests in conflict. The opposition’s Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy has as its key figures: José Adan Aguirre, leader of the private business lobby; Maria Nelly Rivas, director of Cargill in Nicaragua and head of the US-Nicaragua Chamber of Commerce; the private university students of the April 19th Movement; Michael Healy, manager of a Colombian sugar corporation and head of the agribusiness lobby; Juan Sebastian Chamorro, who represents the oligarchy dressed as civil society; Carlos Tunnermann, 85-year-old ex-Sandinista minister and ex-chancellor of the National University; Azalea Solis, head of a US government-funded feminist organization; and Medardo Mairena, a “peasant leader” funded by the US government, who lived 17 years in Costa Rica before being deported in 2017 for human trafficking. Tunnermann, Solis and the April 19th students are all associated with the Movement for Renovation of Sandinismo (MRS), a tiny Sandinista offshoot party that nonetheless merits special attention.  

In the 1980s, many of the Sandinista Front’s top-level cadre were, in fact, the children of some of the famous oligarchic families, such as the Cardenal brothers and part of the Chamorro family, in charge of the revolutionary government’s ministries of Culture and Education and its media, respectively. After FSLN’s election loss in 1990, the children of the oligarchy staged an exodus from the party. Along with them, some of the most notable intellectual, military and intelligence cadre left and formed, over time, the MRS. The new party renounced socialism, blamed all of the mistakes of the Revolution on Daniel Ortega and over time took over the sphere of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nicaragua, including feminist, environmentalist, youth, media and human rights organizations.

Since 2007, the MRS has become increasingly close with the extreme right-wing of the US Republican Party. Since the outbreak of violence in April, many if not most of the sources cited by Western media (including, disturbingly, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!), come from this party, which has the support of less than 2% of the Nicaraguan electorate. This allows the oligarchs to couch their violent attempt to reinstall neoliberalism in a leftist-sounding discourse of former Sandinistas critical of the Ortega government.

It is a farce to claim that workers and peasants are behind the unrest. La Vía Campesina, the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers, the Association of Rural Workers, the National Workers’ Front, the indigenous Mayangna Nation and other movements and organizations have been unequivocal in their demands for an end to the violence and their support for the Ortega government. This unrest is a full-scale regime change operation carried out by media oligarchs, a network of NGOs funded by the US government, armed elements of elite landholding families and the Catholic Church, and has opened the window for drug cartels and organized crime to gain a foothold in Nicaragua.

Nicargua meeting of the National Dialogue for Peace by Óscar Sánchez.

The Elephant in the Room

Which brings us to US government involvement in the violent coup.

As Tom Ricker reported early in this political crisis, several years ago the US government decided that rather than finance opposition political parties, which have lost enormous legitimacy in Nicaragua, it would finance the NGO civil society sector. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) gave more than $700,000 to build the opposition to the government in 2017, and has granted more than $4.4 million since 2014. The overarching purpose of this funding was to “provide a coordinated strategy and media voice for opposition groups in Nicaragua.” Ricker continues:

“The result of this consistent building and funding of opposition resources has been to create an echo chamber that is amplified by commentators in the international media – most of whom have no presence in Nicaragua and rely on these secondary sources.”

NED founding father, Allen Weinstein, described NED as the overt CIA saying, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” In Nicaragua, rather than the traditional right-wing, NED funds the MRS-affiliated organizations which pose left-sounding critiques of the Sandinista government. The regime change activists use Sandinista slogans, songs, and symbols even as they burn historic monuments, paint over the red-and-black markers of fallen martyrs, and physically attack members of the Sandinista party.

Of the opposition groups in the National Dialogue, the feminist organization of Azalea Solis and the peasant organization of Medardo Mairena are financed through NED grants, while the April 19th students stay in hotels and make trips paid for by Freedom House, another regime change organ funded by NED and USAID. NED also finances Confidencial, the Chamorro media organization. Grants from NED finance the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP), whose Executive Director, Felix Maradiaga, is another MRS cadre very close to the US Embassy. In June, Maradiaga was accused of leading a criminal network called Viper which, from the occupied UPOLI campus, organized carjackings, arsons and murders in order to create chaos and panic during the months of April and May.

Maradiaga grew up in the United States and became a fellow of the Aspen Leadership Institute, before studying public policy at Harvard. He was a secretary in the Ministry of Defense for the last liberal president, Enrique Bolaños. He is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and in 2015, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs gave him the Gus Hart Fellowship, past recipients of which include Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez and Henrique Capriles Radonski, the Venezuelan opposition leader who attacked the Cuban embassy during the coup attempt of 2002.

Remarkably, Maradiaga is not the only leader of the coup attempt who is part of the Aspen World Leadership Network. Maria Nelly Rivas, director in Nicaragua of US corporate giant Cargill, is one of the main spokespersons for the opposition Civic Alliance. Rivas, who currently also heads the US-Nicaragua Chamber of Commerce, is being groomed as a possible presidential candidate in the next elections. Beneath these US-groomed leaders, there is a network of over 2,000 young people who have received training with NED funds on topics such as social media skills for democracy defense. This battalion of social media warriors was able to immediately shape and control public opinion in Facebook in the five days from April 18th to 22nd, leading to spontaneous violent protests across the country.

Protesters yell from behind the roadblock they erected as they face off with security forces near the University Politecnica de Nicaragua in Managua, Nicaragua, April 21, 2018. Source: Voice of America

On the Violence

One of the ways in which reporting on Nicaragua has ventured farthest from the truth is calling the opposition “nonviolent.” The violence script, modeled on the 2014 and 2017 guarimba protests in Venezuela, is to organize armed attacks on government buildings, entice the police to send in anti-riot squads, engage in filmed confrontations and publish edited footage online claiming that the government is being violent against nonviolent protesters.

Over 60 government buildings have been burned down, schools, hospitals, health centers attacked, 55 ambulances damaged, at least $112 million in infrastructure damage, small businesses have been closed, and 200,000 jobs lost causing devastating economic impact during the protests. Violence has included, in addition to thousands of injuries, 15 students and 16 police officers killed, as well as over 200 Sandinistas kidnapped, many of them publicly tortured. Violent opposition atrocities were misreported as government repression. While it is important to defend the right of the public to protest, regardless of its political opinions, it is disingenuous to ignore that the opposition’s strategy requires and feeds upon violence and deaths.

National and international news claim deaths and injuries due to “repression” without explaining the context. The Molotov cocktails, mortar-launchers, pistols, and assault rifles used by opposition groups are ignored by the media, and when Sandinista sympathizers, police or passers-by are killed, they are falsely counted as victims of state repression. Explosive opposition claims like massacres of children and murders of women have been shown to be false, and the cases of torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions by police forces have not been corroborated by evidence or due process.

While there is evidence to support the opposition claim of sniper fire killing protesters, there is no logical explanation for the State using snipers to add to the death toll, and counter-protesters have also been victims of sniper fire, suggesting a “third party” provocateur role in the destabilizing violence. When an entire Sandinista family was burned to death in Managua, the opposition media all cited a witness who claimed that the police had set fire to the home, despite the house being in a neighborhood barricaded off from police access.

The National Police of Nicaragua has been long-recognized for its model of community policing (in contrast to militarized police in most Central American countries), its relative lack of corruption, and its mostly female top brass. The coup strategy has sought to destroy public trust in the police through the egregious use of fake news, such as the many false claims of assassinations, beatings, torture, and disappearances in the week from April 17th to 23rd. Several young people whose photos were carried in opposition rallies as victims of police violence have turned out to be alive and well.

The police have been wholly inadequate and underprepared for armed confrontations. Attacks on several public buildings on the same night and the first major arson attacks led government workers to hold vigils with barrels of water and, often, sticks and stones, to fend off attackers. The opposition, frustrated at not achieving more police conflicts, began to build roadblocks across the country and burning the homes of Sandinistas, even shooting and burning Sandinista families in atrocious hate crimes. In contrast to La Prensa’s version of events, Nicaraguans have felt the distinct lack of police presence, and the loss of safety in their neighborhoods, while many were targeted by violence.

Since May, the strategy of the opposition has been to build armed roadblocks across the country, closing off transport and trapping people. The roadblocks, usually built with large paving stones, are manned by between 5 and 100 armed men with bandannas or masks. While the media reports on idealistic young people running roadblocks, the vast majority of roadblocks are maintained by paid men who come from a background of petty crime. Where large areas of cities and towns are blocked off from government and police forces, drug-related activities intensify, and drug gangs now control many of the roadblocks and pay the salaries.  

These roadblocks have been the centers of violence, workers who need to pass through roadblocks are often robbed, punched, insulted, and, if suspected of being Sandinistas, tied up, stripped naked, tortured, painted in blue-and-white, and sometimes killed. There are three cases of people dying in ambulances unable to pass roadblocks, and one case of a 10-year-old girl being kidnapped and raped at the roadblock in Las Maderas. When organized neighbors or the police clear roadblocks, the armed groups run away and regroup to burn buildings, kidnap or injure people in revenge. All of the victims that this violence produces are counted by the mainstream media as victims of repression, a total falsehood.

The Nicaraguan government has confronted this situation by largely keeping police off the streets, to prevent encounters and accusations of repression. At the same time, rather than simply arrest violent protestors, which certainly would have given the opposition the battle deaths it craves, the government called for a National Dialogue, mediated by the Catholic Church, in which the opposition can bring forward any proposal for human rights and political reform. The government created a parliamentary Truth and Peace Commission and launched an independent Public Ministry query.

With the police out of the streets, opposition violence intensified throughout May and June. As a result, a process of neighborhood self-defense developed. Families who have been displaced, young people who have been beaten, robbed or tortured, and veterans of the 1979 insurrection and/or the Contra War, hold vigil round the Sandinista Front headquarters in each town. In many places, they built barricades against opposition attacks and have been falsely labeled paramilitary forces in the media. In the towns that do not have such community-organized barricades, the human toll from opposition violence is much greater. The National Union of Nicaraguan Students has been particularly targeted by opposition violence. A student delegate of the National Dialogue, Leonel Morales, was kidnapped, shot in the abdomen and thrown into a ditch to die in June, to sabotage the dialogue and punish him for challenging the April 19th students’ right to speak on behalf of all Nicaraguan students.

There have been four major opposition rallies since April, directed toward mobilizing the upper-middle class Nicaraguans who live in the suburbs between Managua and Masaya. These rallies featured a whos-who of high society, including beauty queens, business owners, and oligarchs, as well as university students of the April 19th Movement, the moral high-ground for the opposition.

Three months into the conflict, none of the mortal victims have been bourgeois. All have come from the popular classes of Nicaragua. Despite claims of total repression, the bourgeois feels perfectly safe to participate in public protests by day — although the last daytime rally ended in a chaotic attack by protesters against squatters on a property of, curiously enough, Piero Coen, Nicaragua’s richest man. The nighttime armed attacks have generally been carried out by people who come from poor neighborhoods, many of whom are paid two to four times the minimum daily wage for each night of destruction.    

Unfortunately, most Nicaraguan human rights organizations are funded by NED and controlled by the Movement for Sandinista Renovation. These organizations have accused the Nicaraguan government of dictatorship and genocide throughout Ortega’s presidency. International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have been criticized for their one-sided reports, which include none of the information provided by the government or individuals who identify as Sandinistas.

The government invited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS, a Washington-based entity notoriously unfriendly to leftist governments, to investigate the violent events of April and determine whether repression had occurred. The night of a controversial skirmish in the highway outside the Agrarian University in Managua ended a negotiated 48-hour truce, IACHR Director Paulo Abrao visited the site to declare his support for the opposition. The IACHR ignored the opposition’s widespread violence and only reported on the defensive violence of the government. Not only was it categorically rejected by Nicaraguan chancellor Denis Moncada as an “insult to the dignity of the Nicaraguan people,” a resolution approving the IACHR report was supported by only ten out of 34 countries.

Meanwhile, the April 19th Movement, made up of current or former university students in favor of regime change, sent a delegation to Washington and managed to alienate much of Nicaraguan society by grinning into the camera with far-right interventionist members of the US Congress, including Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz. M19 leaders also cheered Vice-President Mike Pence’s bellicose warnings that Nicaragua is on the short list of countries that will soon know the Trump Administration’s meaning of freedom, and met with the ARENA party of El Salvador, known for its links to the death squads that murdered liberation theologist Archbishop Oscar Romero. Within Nicaragua, the critical mass of students stopped demonstrating weeks ago, the large civic protests of April and May have dwindled, and the same-old familiar faces of Nicaraguan right-wing politics are left holding the bill for massive material damage and loss of life.

Nicaraguan students meet with right-wing Republicans, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen  in Washington, DC. Source Twitter Truthdig.

Why Nicaragua?

Ortega won his third term in 2016 with 72.4 percent of the vote with 66 percent turnout, very high compared to US elections. Not only has Nicaragua put in place an economy that treats the poor as producers, with remarkable results raising their standard of living in 10 years, but it also has a government that consistently rejects US imperialism, allying with Cuba, Venezuela, and Palestine, and voices support for Puerto Rican independence and a peaceful solution to Korean crisis. Nicaragua is a member of member of Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, a Latin American alternative to the OAS, neither include the US or Canada. It has also allied with China for a proposed canal project and Russia for security cooperation. For all of these reasons, the US wants to install a US-friendly Nicaraguan government.

More important is the example Nicaragua has set for a successful social and economic model outside the US sphere of domination. Generating over 75% of its energy from renewable sources, Nicaragua was the only country with the moral authority to oppose the Paris Climate Agreement as being too weak  (it later joined the treaty one day after Trump pulled the US out, stating “we opposed the Paris agreement out of responsibility, the US opposes it out of irresponsibility”). The FMLN government of El Salvador, while less politically dominant than the Sandinista Front, has taken the example of good governance from Nicaragua, recently prohibiting mining and the privatization of water. Even Honduras, the eternal bastion of US power in Central America, showed signs of a leftward shift until the US-supported military coup in 2009. Since then, there has been massive repression of social activists, a clearly stolen 2017 election, and Honduras has permitted the expansion of US military bases near the Nicaraguan border.

In 2017, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act), which if passed by the Senate will force the US government to veto loans from international institutions to the Nicaraguan government. This US imperialism will cripple Nicaragua’s ability to build roads, update hospitals, construct renewable energy plants, and transition from extensive livestock raising to integrated animal-forestry systems, among other consequences. It may also signify the end of many popular social programs, such as subsidized electricity, stable bus fares, and free medical treatment of chronic diseases.

The US Executive Branch has used the Global Magnitsky Act to target the finances of leaders of the Electoral Supreme Court, the National Police, the city government of Managua and the ALBA corporation in Nicaragua. Police officers and public health bureaucrats have been told their US visas have been revoked. The point, of course, is not whether these officials have or have not committed acts that merit their reprimand in Nicaragua, but whether the US government should have the jurisdiction to intimidate and corner public officials of Nicaragua.  

While the sadistic violence continues, the strategy of the coup-mongers to force out the government has failed. The resolution of the political crisis will come through elections, and the FSLN is likely to win those elections, barring a dramatic and unlikely new offensive by the right-wing opposition.

Latin American Presidents Zelaya (Honduras), Correa (Ecuador), Chavez (Venezuela), Ortega (Nicaragua), and Morales (Bolivia) celebrate Correa’s inauguration for a second term, in Quito, Ecuador. (Prensa Presidencial)

An Upside Down Class War

It is important to understand the nature of US and oligarch coups in this era and the role of media and NGO deception because it is repeated in multiple Latin American and other countries. We can expect a similar attack on recently elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico if he seeks the changes he has promised.

The US has sought to dominate Nicaragua since the mid-1800s. The wealthy in Nicaragua have sought the return of US-allied governance since the Sandinistas rose to power. This failing coup does not mean the end of their efforts or the end of corporate media misinformation. Knowing what is really occurring and sharing that information is the antidote to defeating them in Nicaragua and around the world.

Nicaragua is a class war turned upside down. The government has raised the living standards of the impoverished majority through wealth redistribution. Oligarchs and the United States, unable to install neoliberalism through elections, created a political crisis, highlighted by false media coverage to force Ortega to resign. The coup is failing, the truth is coming out, and should not be forgotten.

Kevin Zeese is an attorney who co-directs the US-based Popular Resistance. Nils McCune is on the Technical team of IALA Mesoamerica (Agroecological Institute of Latin America in Nicaragua) and a research fellow at the University of Michigan.

 

  • kathlenow

    The revolution must stay alive.

  • subcomandante Felix

    Thanks Kevin & Nils. Truth is a force but as we know so well from Venezuela, Ukraine, Nicaragua et al. fake news, the skillful blend of lies, half-truth and facts out of context is a powerful force too. I remember too, how NATO affiliated snipers were decisive in provoking regime change in Ukraine.

  • kevinzeese

    Similar tactics of violent revolts have been used in US coup and coup attempts in Venezuela and Ukraine where the US allied with oligarchs and in Syria where the US allied with Islamists. It is good to be aware of how the US uses violence, media manipulation and bought of NGOs and human rights groups in their modern regime change coup efforts so people do not fall for them in the future, as many have done in Nicaragua and some of these previous efforts.

  • Richard Burrill

    Thanks so much Kevin and Nils. If only the U.S. populace could learn the real truths of which you report. I’m certain that most U.S. citizens know little of what our government has been doing decades in all of Latin America and much of the rest of the world. Our government wants only dictators running these countries, since it makes it far easier to deal with them so that big corporations can rape the countries of their natural resources. However, our media, as you wrote, does not tell us these real reasons.

  • subcomandante Felix

    As we approach the 100th anniversary of the execution of the Romanov family – July 17, 1918, both Nicaragua and Venezuela raise the question of whether any socialist revolution can succeed without class (civil) warfare? It seems that both these revolutions have gone as far as they can without one class suppressing another and one economic system replacing another. While nonviolence and truth force are powerful in creating the conditions for revolution, does there eventually come a time when violence is necessary? It will be interesting to see what happens in Mexico and hopefully in the U.S. in this regard.

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

  • reardenmetal

    can you sell me some of what you guys are taking?

  • kevinzeese

    The article contains lots of links. What we are taking are called “facts” to try to correct the false narrative in the corporate media and the oligarchic owned Nicaraguan media.

  • reardenmetal

    have you ever set foot in Nica?

  • kevinzeese

    My co-author lives there.

  • reardenmetal

    so the answer is no. i have a home here. what i see is 180 degrees from your “facts”

  • kevinzeese

    Tell me what you think is inaccurate. This article was reviewed by many people living in Nicaragua before it was published. We wanted to make sure we got the story right because there has been so much misinformation. I have been in contact with people in Nicaragua every day for the last month, multiple times a day, and reading their responses to the false news reports. This is not a made up response which is why we included so many links. We knew there would be people like you, who are probably anti-Ortega, who would criticize the report which is why it was vetted by about two dozen people before it was published.

  • reardenmetal

    a link to a bunch of people yelling in a church? glazing over ortegas manipulating the constitution to do away with term limits and then naming his wife as VP? the first peaceful protest was met with armed violence by…let me guess..the people who have the guns. you say there was a coup attempt..wow talk about an ortega talking point…you may have a few facts in there but theres a difference between facts and true knowledge kinda like knowing a tomato is a fruit, but you dont put it in a fruit salad. your article is extremely slanted to mirror your anti capitalistic views. Rubio far right? a link from Ortega saying the US is engaging in imperialism? oh and remind me how many “government peace marches” were ended by paramilitary intervention? admit it..ortega has become somoza no better than castro or chavez/maduro

  • Keith Gargus

    I live in Nicaragua, have for five years. While I give credit to the FSLN for early reforms, The last couple of years they’ve lost their way. Your article is light on facts, and heavy on propaganda. The Ortega regime is no longer a leftist government any more than Putin is a communist. Almost all violence so far is caused by Ortegas paramilitary. You are FAKE NEWS.

  • Raquel HU

    How would you, your co-author and 24 nicaraguans label the “falsely labeled paramilitary forces”? And how is this “media conspiracy” even possible when the government owns all local TV channels? The US just like all post-revolution sandinista leaders have destroyed Nicaragua in too many ways because all they know is war. If you want to raise awareness against corporations don’t do so by making assumptions on what other countries need / don’t need. Speeches like yours breed only hate in times when Nicaraguans must stay united against all forms of opportunism.

  • kevinzeese

    You should read the article. There are no paramilitary forces. There are community groups defending themselves against violent protesters. It is evident you did not read the article or you are just a troll out doing your job putting out false information.

  • kevinzeese

    The amusing thing about your comment was this revolt started because Ortega and the FLSN stood up to the IMF and a Nicaraguan business group who wanted to cut social security. Ortega proposed instead a tax on business and a small tax on people. The business group called for the protests in response to the tax plan. He was fighting agiainst neoliberalism and that is what started the protests. The business group was joined by the NED funded students and NED funded NGO’s. This was an oligarch, US attempted coup against Ortega for saying ‘no’ to neoliberalism.

    The article goes through economic statistics showing how his government has lifted people out of poverty, provided free schools and healthcare, provided microloans to entrepreneurs and small businesses, gave land titles to the indigenous, who now own nearly 1/3 of the land, as well as to peasants with emphasis on women. Nicaragua now is the least unequal country in Latin America when it comes to women, and near the top in the world, just behind Germany. The FSLN continues to do a great deal to build the economy from the bottom up and lift up the poor and working class.

    The business community and US are using a coup, with violence as their strategy, because they cannot win elections and are unpopular. Neoliberalism is not what the people want. Being a vassal state of the United States, is not what the people want. That is why they are resorting to a violent coup, which seems to be failing.

  • Raquel HU

    You should come visit and see their FSLN flags “spreading love” with AK47’s. You should also listen to press statements justifying the use of auxiliary forces despite their illegal nature. Funny how try to correct the record with a one-sided version.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    This article reproduces faithfully the talking points of the Ortega/Murillo government – that the opposition is almost already defeated; that they are all “coup mongers” (golpistas) entirely made up of oligarchs funded by the US and have no popular backing; that the majority of the “sadistic violence” is from violent protesters, and the many dozens of young men who have been killed by snipers were either killed by a mysterious armed of “third party provocateurs” or neighborhood “self defense groups” – both unrelated to the police or the army. It is clear that your main sources of information are either the mainstream media in Nicaragua (all own by the Ortega family), or from the government itself, as there is no independent evidence for any of these claims. There are multiple errors of facts and interpretation in your article, and I can’t address them all here (including the FLSN support for gender equality – I have written dozens of scholarly articles on this based on my primary research and could take this on at another time) – but the first claims are the most dangerous – I say dangerous with good reason, as two of the civic leaders you denounced in your article have already been attacked or detained – Felix Maradiaga, was just badly beaten up in Leon, and Medardo Medina from the anti-canal movement was arrested on trumped up charges this morning. So here we go… First of all- the claim that the opposition has been defeated and is made of exclusively of right wing oligarchs – I will try to embed the photos of the gigantic peaceful demonstrations in Managua yesterday – they make the FSLN demonstration (which state employees are required to attend) look like Trump’s inauguration crowd compared to Obama’s. Then, take a look at the numerous photos of the city emptied out today in support of the national strike. This does not look like the work of a tiny group of bloodsucking parasites, as Rosario Murillo has called them, and it would take a lot more than 1 million dollars, which according to Grayzone, is the amount the NED has channeled into Nicaraguan ngos to mobilize hundreds of thousands of protesters, and to get them to stop their economic activities – since you rightly point out that most of the economy is based on the informal sector. What would be their motive, if they didn’t truly believe that Ortega/Murillo are behind the repression of Nicaragua and have to go? Second, the idea that the masked men and snipers who are appearing all over the country, and responsible for a huge proportion of the murders, are a mysterious third party is ridiculous. At the OAS Special Session on Nicaragua on Tuesday, Chancellor Denis Moncada read a long list of the civilians just killed in the “clean up operations” in Jinotepe and Diriamba, and attributed them to terrorists and drug traffickers connected to the resistance movement. This might have been plausible, if only most Nicaraguans weren’t armed with cell phones and weren’t filming everything and posting onto social media. Take a look at the clips of caravans of dozens of state and police owned masked men, including masked police waving their guns and shooting into the air in Matiguas and Diaramba this week. Even the FSLN External Relations secretary Jacinto Suarez, admitted in an interview last week in El Salvador that the masked men are retired military who are helping out the police . Many sources also argue that there are plenty of gang members who are in the para police forces for pay. The clip you embedded that supposedly shows a weapons cache found in a church is actually an edited piece of a longer video showing the masked thugs beating up the Cardinal and Bishops of Managua, including the Papal Nuncio in the Basilica of Diriamba (since this amounts to an international incident, they also stole many of the cameras of journalists filming, but several videos got through). The police were outside the church watching and literally hundreds more masked men were hanging around outside – no weapons were found but the church was desecrated and first aid materials and church benches were thrown outside and burned up. I think it is safe to say that the Pope is not primarily mad at the clerics, as you imply. About the supposedly “biased” and partial work of the IAHRC. They have carried out thousands of interviews with family members of the dead, detained, as well as government officials, and reviewed hundreds of hours of video recordings and documents. They have documented their methodology meticulously, so to say that they were biased and didn’t interview pro-government forces, is simply false. They have not been given full access to many sites, including the jails, but much of the violence has actually happened while the Commission, and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) were actually in the country, so they witnessed much of the violence with their own eyes. The members of the GIEI are internationally known human rights defenders, such as Claudia Paz y Paz, who was the Attorney General in Guatemala who prosecuted Rios Montt. They can hardly be credibly called tools of imperialism. Many of the family members of the individuals killed, including the family who was burned alive, have clearly accused the Government of the killings. According to the only surviving members of the incinerated family who escaped the fire, armed masked men burned down their house with everyone in it because they would not open the door to snipers. The mother of the policeman Faber Lopez, who was killed in Jinotepe last week, said that her son had tried to leave the police after last weeks’ repression in Sutiava, and was told that if he did, the whole family would be killed. One week later he is dead. Who is more likely to lie about this – his mother or the Police? Denis Moncada points out that many of the killed, including the journalist Angel Gahona, were Sandinistas. But that’s exactly the point – many people in the opposition, and I know hundreds of them, do consider themselves Sandinistas, as do i. We are just not Danielistas because we’ve seen the enormous corruption and authoritarianism of the government. This FSLN government is absolutely not the leftist government of the 80’s and it not just the oligarchy and right wing who are against Daniel and Murillo – there is not a single original member of the National Directorate of the FSLN who is still with the party. At this demonstration he was absolutely alone, except for Rosario, – and in the last one he brought along the historic Comandante Victor Tirado, who suffers from Alzheimers and who had completely repudiated Ortega before he descended into dementia. If that’s the best Ortega can do for public support, does that sound like a party that has kept its historic values? Not all of the historic leaders of the FSLN are from the oligarchy, and they can’t all be pawns of US imperialism.
    Yes, the Nicaraguan police has always been a shining example of integrity and incorruptibility and it is truly heartbreaking for those of us who have always admired the police to see how they have been turned into a murderous machine. This masked parapolice force only starting appearing at the beginning of the protests – it seems like a way for the government to avoid taking responsibility for the murders – and by suggesting that they belong to neighborhood defense groups or third parties, you are being accomplices to the violence. A final point – you insist in the article that it is not possible that this resistance movement is home grown – it’s true that everyone was surprised at how quickly things escalated. The INSS demonstration was not the cause – there had been plenty of other demonstrations by the anti-canal farmers, the women’s movement and environmentalists, and they were always repressed quickly by the police and the Sandinista Youth and didn’t gain much traction. This difference this time was the brutal repression that went through social media like wildfire. It was the last straw, and people were simply fed up and lost their fear. Remember, this is a people who put down a brutal dictator 40 years ago against all odds. They have never been pawns of other governments, and although the US government is obviously delighted and will try to gain leverage within the civil alliance through the oligarchs, it is a very diverse group, and you can’t paint everyone with the same brush. If we really care about social justice, then those of us on the left must demand that the Ortega Government stop the state sponsored repression, enter the national dialogue in good faith, and implement the recommendations of the IACHR. In Peace, Mary Ellsberg

  • Mary Ellsberg

    BREAKING NEWS

    For those who really want to understand what going on right now in Nicaragua, there are two sets of videos from this afternoon that are blowing up on Facebook. One is of a group of 7 unarmed students who are hiding behind the barricades at UNAN Managua while the police are shooting at them with live ammunition. In the video they are crying and saying goodbye to their family members and saying “I don’t regret anything.” In another video a mother has shown up to be with her son and they are holding each other and crying while you can hear the shots. In a third video, down the street, on the road to UNAN by the roundabout, a young woman is begging a group of police who are standing around to stop the attack on the students. According to the person who posted, she has been detained. The IACHR and head of MESENI is pleading publicly to be allowed to go onto the campus to rescue the students. In a completely parallel universe Ortega and Murillo have just arrived in a caravan of bullet proof cars to Masaya for the anual Repliegue, which they couldn’t do earlier in the week because Masaya was taken over by the protesters. You can see them driving down empty streets for about 10 minutes. No one is greeting them except for a handful of supporters on the corners. All the houses have their doors closed and no one is coming out. This is surreal, because Masaya has always been a stronghold for the FSLN, especially Monimbo, and the Repliegues for the last 40 years have always been gigantic celebrations. They arrive at the police barracks and start hugging and taking pictures and selfies with a bunch of armed men in black with bullet proof vests and black masks covering their faces. Why are the police wearing masks inside the barracks? Try watching both of these videos and then decide who the popular resistance is and if it seems to be over.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    This is very odd. This afternoon I posted a very detailed commentary on this article, expressing my view that it is dangerously misleading. After only a few hours it seems to have disappeared. Was this a mistake, or is dissent not allowed on this website? I’ll be interested to see how long my other comment and this one last.

  • kevinzeese

    None of your comments were removed. Are you spreading more false information?

    Your comments are absurd, so why would we take them down. FOr example on gender disparity, the article links to a report that shows gender disparity has decreased and is now the smallest in Latin America and among the smallest in the world. You commentary is ripe with falsehood.

    I guess that is not surprising since you receive funding from USAID and from Australia and the UK — you are part of the misinformation problem – and you are paid to be part of the problem. We want people to see your falsehoods so know, nothing of yours was removed, not sure why you are making that false claim.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Ok, sorry if I’m mistaken, but where is the comment? I can’t see it anymore. About the ranking of Nicaragua on a gender equality index – this ranking is largely based on historical trends that have nothing to do with policies of the current Ortega government. And it is missing some key indicators, such as domestic violence, which is now considered the main gender equality indicator for the Sustainable Development Goals. I carried out a prevalence study of domestic violence in Nicaragua in 1995, which was used as the basis for the first domestic violence law in 1996. We found that 50% of women had been beaten or raped by their partner, one of the highest figures in Latin America, despite the apparently progressive discourse of the Sandinista revolution (domestic violence is not During the 90’s and the beginning of the 2000s, the women’s movement made enormous efforts to raise awareness around domestic violence, and to improve laws and services for survivors of violence. Once Ortega and Murillo took over the government, programs such as the specialized police stations for women and children were systematically dismantled. Rosario Murillo has explicitly promoted “family values” over women’s rights. The FSLN introduced a law to ban therapeutic abortion just before the elections to curry favor with the Catholic Church, which has led to the deaths of untold numbers of women. I’ve been part of the Nicaraguan women’s movement for over 30 years, and just finished a two year study in Nicaragua reviewing progress on violence against women laws and policies over the last 20 years, and there is almost nothing left of the original programs that were set up as a result of the efforts of the women’s movement. I’d be happy to send you copies of the report. We were going to present the findings last month but obviously that got put aside for the moment.

    One of the reasons that Nicaragua scored high on gender equality is the number of women in parliament and in ministry positions. I can assure you that this did not come about as a result of FSLN leadership. National party and state leadership was overwhelmingly male dominated in the 80s until about 1992, when a group of women that I belonged to, called ironically the autoconvocadas, under the leadership of Comandante Leticia Herrera, who was the head of the Women’s Commission in Parliament for the FSLN, wrote a manifesto demanding 30% quotas for women in all party and government positions. We presented it to each member of the National Directorate, and only Luis Carrion was supportive. Everyone else ignored it. However, we also did a lot of grass roots organizing and at the FSLN Congress, the women delegates got the measure passed. That is how women got on the National Directorate for the first time, and after that, most parties followed suit. So, although gender disparity is generally low in Nicaragua, it would not be accurate to cite this as an achievement of the last 10 years of Ortega’s Government. Hope that helps clear things up.

  • miralamira

    “community groups defending themselves against violent protesters”

    Community groups?!?! Are you kidding me? Who are these community groups and how do they have unlimited access to trucks and weapons? And how is it possible that the vast, vast majority of those who have died are from the “derecha vandalica”??? If the protesters are the violent ones, how come so many of them are dying?
    Yes. I read your article. Regardless of how or why this started, I needed to see nothing other than the group of Juventud Sandinista attacking protestors in Camino de Oriente to know that the government is suppressing any opposition. How anybody can justify the violence and government tactics is absolutely beyond me. Shame on you for being part of it.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    An important clarification is needed here. The reason people were so incensed about the changes in social security benefits is that the Social Security funds were bankrupted through mismanagement and corruption. They doubled the administrative costs – putting twice an many people on the payroll in recent years, and used the funds to give out long term high risk loans to business ventures of friends and family members of the party. Even Bayardo Arce, Ortega’s economic advisor, and the only other original FSLN Comandante in the government, admitted this in a press conference early on in the crisis, but defended it as a sound investment strategy. Trying to make up for this by reducing benefits of pensioners and increasing payments of workers (which also affects students, many of whom work to put themselves through school) is what detonated the opposition. If I can figure out how to embed links into comments I will add the sources for this.

  • kevinzeese

    *@KBZeese*
    *Build power and resistance*
    *Popular Resistance*
    *www.PopularResistance.org *
    *Shift Wealth:** Economic Democracy*
    *Its Our Economy *
    *www.ItsOurEconomy.US *

    *Democratize the MediaClearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
    Radio http://www.ClearingTheFOGRadio.org *

  • kevinzeese

    You really a propagandist for regime change, I see why your program is funded by USAID and imperialist allies the UK and Australia.

    It is not mismanagement and corruption, it is expansion of social security to cover more people. As a result the fund needed to be revised financially. Your allies, the oligarchs and the IMF wanted to cut benefits, Ortega responded with a tax on business and a smaller tax on people to stabilize the fund. Ortega was responsible in his actions caring about the people, the regime changers wanted to make poor people suffer in their old age.

    It is unusual for a business group to call for protests, but that is what they did in response. Why? Because their neoliberal program is unpopular and they cannot win elections. Ortega is popular because his government has promoted lifting up the poor and workers. People see their lives improving with poverty decreasing and access to healthcare and education becoming more available.

    Ortega has not included any of the oligarch families in his government — a first in Nicaraguan history. They are losing power so they had to resort to a violent coup along with the US funded NGO and private university student group.

  • kevinzeese

    Those rankings regularly change. Historically under the oligarchs and neoliberals women were treated poorly economically. Ortega has been changing that reality. It is amazing that Nicaragua is now ranked just behind Germany in rankings for gender equality. I realize giving credit to Nicaragua for these changes is inconsistent with your regime change goals and might jeopardize future funding from USAID.

    Do you deny that the Ortega government has provided microloans to small businesses and start-ups with an emphasis on women. Training to those entrepreneurs? Or, that land titles have been given to peasants, the Indigenous and workers, again with an emphasis on women.?There are real policies the Ortega has put in place that have lifted the lives of women and the poor, that is why he was re-elected so easily and your allies who want a coup cannot win elections. And, they are losing their coup as well as their violence has become evident and the people hate it. You are on the wrong side of history, but at least you are well-funded by USAID, the UK and Australia — the imperialist team!

  • kevinzeese

    I shared your propagandist comment with people in Nicaragua, I realize you are not there. Here is their response:

    so another fake staged video where we are told we “hear the shots” that could be the delinquents at the UNAN firing

    these are the criminals that burned down a couple of modules at the UNAN and wounded nine people

    so we are supposed to believe “the person who posted” and we learn that Paulo Abrau and another of the OAS team have been “pleading publicly” to go save the students, Abrau has already publicly disqualified himself as an independent observer – he and his team are a public relations outfit not a serious investigative body

    it remains to be see what the independent experts working with the Truth Commission report

    Ellsberg’s report on Masaya leaves out the massive participation in the caravan – as a true propagandist she omits the obvious fact that in the circumstances the usual format of the Repliegue was impossible thanks to the murderous violence of the opposition she supports

    how does she know the vehicles were bullet proof?

    and she objects to Daniel and Rosario saluting the women and men who staved off her murderous opposition buddies for over a month and who are obliged to hide their faces because the criminals she supports will target them?

    and from Washington she’s telling us here “what’s really going on right now in Nicaragua”….

  • Mary Ellsberg

    A
    5% decrease in benefits or increase in SS taxes is not small if you only make 200$ a month. These changes disproportionately affected the poor, not the oligarchs. The first protesters in front of the INSS, like Ana Quiros, who had her head cracked open by the Sandinista Youth thugs on national tv, were from social movements, including the feminist movement, which is not a cover for the US or oligarchs. This focus on oligarchs and business interests totally ignores the existence of strong social movements in Nicaragua for decades.

  • kevinzeese

    It sounds like you are confusing the violent opposition with others. All the questions you ask about where do they get the guns and other weapons, the funding for their blockades, trucks etc. is true of the violent opposition. The answers – they are funded by the oligarchs, NGOs associated with NED and drug gangs. That is who is pushing regime change and using violence to do so.

  • kevinzeese

    The NGOs — like yours — are funded by the US government. You get USAID funding. Why no financial reports on your website?

    As to funding of women’s groups in Nicaragua, sadly captured by the regime change operation National Endowment for Democracy, over $300,000 in just one year:

    https://www.ned.org/region/latin-america-and-caribbean/nicaragua-2017/

    Raising the Voice of Women Entrepreneurs

    Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

    $239,571

    To enhance women entrepreneurs’ ability to advocate for economic and social reform, and to amplify public and private sector support for policies that improve women’s economic empowerment. The center and its partner network will advance an advocacy agenda to reduce gender disparities in the economic sphere by organizing a series of workshops to enhance women’s advocacy capacity and leading specific advocacy efforts through social and traditional media, working groups, and meetings with public and private sector representatives.

    Strengthening the Role of Women in Defense of Nicaraguan Democracy

    Rule of Law

    $74,794

    To promote democratic values and human rights among women in Nicaragua. The capacity of women will be strengthened to defend their rights and Nicaraguan democracy. Reports on the human rights situation of women in Nicaragua will raise international and domestic awareness.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    I am in constant contact with people in Nicaragua, as are you, just not the same ones. I have close relatives as well as colleagues I’ve worked with for the last 40 years during the revolution, and ever since, in the feminist movement. I was up all night long, watching the vigil of students in front of the police barricades, and the desperate messages of the students, trapped inside a church, together with a washington post journalist, which is probably why they are still alive. Maybe you slept through it, but hard to imagine how all of these video streams could have been simultaneously faked.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    It is most definitely not the women entrepreneurs who are in the streets right now. Nicaragua has the largest, most diverse, women’s movement in the world – and although it was started by Sandinista women, it has been autonomous from the FSLN and any other political party since the 90s, particularly after Daniel Ortega’s step daughter, Zoilamerica Narvaez, disclosed that he had been raping her since she was a child. which was taken up by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in 2000, way before her became President again. This was a very credible claim, known by most high level Sandinistas, who swept under the carpet in the interests of regaining power. No wonder Ortega doesn’t like the IACHR. The Nicaraguan Network of Women against Violence, which has led the campaigns against domestic violence and femicide, does not receive any funding from USAID. Also, any group that promotes safe abortion, as all Nicaraguan feminist groups do, is ineligible for US funding under the Gag Rule, so that claim doesn’t stand up. Yes, I live in the US, but I lived in Nicaragua for 20 years, fought for the revolution on the Atlantic Coast throughout the 80’s and have visited several times a year ever since. The research I am doing in Nicaragua right now is funded by the South African Medical Research Council, not exactly an imperialist lackey – not everything fits into your anti-imperialist narrative.

  • miralamira

    Then why is the violent opposition attacking the opposition (students, marches, etc)?

    Did you see the video of the violence on one of the first days at Camino de Oriente? The opposition had just started its protest and was attacked by throngs of people in Juventud Sandinista tshirts…exactly what Ortega does every time the opposition announces a march or rally.

    I truly don’t understand your explanation.

  • miralamira

    Follow up question, who attacked Felix Maradiaga in Leon?

  • miralamira

    Why did the police block off access to la UNAN? Why did police detain Katherine Urbina for asking why they weren’t helping the students at la UNAN?

  • miralamira

    Another thought, why are the police so often seen with the paramilitary groups?

  • kevinzeese

    This is on la Primerísima explaining about the false videos from the UNAN

    http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/general/246337/videos-de-la-unan-son-falsos/

  • Mary Ellsberg

    I know that Kevin said that my original comment was not removed – but I still don’t see it, so apologies if others can see it and this is a duplicate. I won’t add any links to back up my statements because apparently they don’t post well – I tried to post an article twice that shows that income inequality has increased in the last 10 years, and that the economic programs, while benefitting the poor, actually disproportionately benefit the oligarchy. Both times the post was rejected by the moderator. Here is my post from yesterday afternoon – please note that a lot has happened since then, which is discussed in other threads.

    I have read this article carefully and consider it to be dangerously misleading I posted some comments about this article on Facebook already and was inundated by personal attacks accusing me of being imperialist scum and worse. So let me say first of all that I consider myself a Sandinista, as do many of my comrades who are currently resisting the Ortega/Murillo regime. I have spent most of my life working for peace and social justice in Nicaragua. I went to Nicaragua in 1979 and lived there for 20 years. I participated in the Literacy Crusade, and then worked for the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health on the Caribbean Coast during the war and fought against the Contras and US intervention in the popular militias. I have been involved with the women’s movement in Nicaragua for almost 30 years, and carried out research on domestic violence that was used to pass the first domestic violence law in 1996. Since moving back to the US, I travel to Nicaragua several times a year, and recently finished a two year study on domestic violence that involved interviews with 1500 community women, women’s rights activists, and dozens of government officials, including police, judges and health providers. Besides that, I have four children and dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins in Nicaragua, so I am paying very close attention to what is happening in Nicaragua and reading everything that comes out of it, including articles like this and other government sponsored media channels to try to make sense of an incredibly complicated situation.

    This article reproduces faithfully the exact talking points of the Ortega/Murillo government – that the opposition is almost already defeated; they are all “coup mongers” (golpistas) entirely made up of oligarchs funded by the US and have no popular backing; that the majority of the “sadistic violence” is on the part of violent protesters, and the many dozens of young men who have been killed by snipers were either killed by a mysteriously armed “third party provocateurs,” or “neighborhood self defense groups” – both unrelated to the police or the army. I can’t address all of the “alternative facts” in the article – there are too many, but the first claims are the most dangerous – I say dangerous with good reason, as three of the civic leaders mentioned have been attacked this week – Felix Maradiaga was beaten up in Leon, and Medardo Mairena, from the anti-canal movement was arrested on trumped up charges this morning. A third civic leader, Sandra Ramos (who is not an oligarch, she is a grass roots leader of women workers) had her house taken apart last night by the paramilitaries looking for non-existent weapons.

    First – about the claim that the opposition has been defeated and is made of exclusively of right wing oligarchs – I would love to embed the photos of the gigantic peaceful demonstrations in Managua on Thursday – they make the FSLN demonstration (which state employees are required to attend) look like Trump’s inauguration crowd compared to Obama’s. Then, you can take a look at the numerous photos of the city emptied out on Friday in support of the national strike. This does not look like the work of a tiny group of bloodsucking parasites, as Rosario Murillo has called them, and it would take a lot more than 700,000 dollars, which, according to Grayzone, is the amount the NED has channelled into Nicaraguan ngos, to mobilize hundreds of thousands of protesters, and to get them to stop their economic activities – since you rightly point out that most of the economy is based on the informal sector. What would be their motive, if they didn’t truly believe that Ortega/Murillo are behind the repression of Nicaragua and have to go?

    Second, the idea that the masked men and snipers who are appearing all over the country, and by all accounts are responsible for a huge proportion of the murders, are a mysterious third party is ridiculous. It might have been plausible, if only Nicaraguans didn’t all have cell phones and weren’t filming everything and posting onto social media (I don’t know that much about IT, but with all the accusations of fake news, how easy is it really to alter multiple live streaming videos of the same event?) Take a look at the clips of huge caravans with dozens of state and police owned trucks with masked men, including police, waving their guns and shooting into the air in Matiguas and Diaramba this week. The clip that the article links to supposedly showing a weapons cache found in a church is actually an edited piece of a longer video that has been widely disseminated showing the masked thugs beating up the Cardinal and Bishops of Managua, including the Papal Nuncio in the Basilica of Diriamba (since this amounts to an international incident, they also stole many of the cameras of journalists filming, but several videos got through). The police were outside the church and literally hundreds more masked men were hanging around outside – no weapons were found, but the church was desecrated and first aid materials and church benches were thrown outside and burned up. I think it’s safe to say that the Pope is not primarily annoyed with the clerics, as the article suggests.

    At the OAS special sessions held this week to present the second report of the Inter American Human Rights Commission Report (IACHR), the Executive Secretary Paulo Abrao noted that the violence has escalated in the month since the first report was presented, and there are now at least 300 dead, the great majority civilians. Nicaraguan Chancellor Denis Moncada read a long list of the civilians killed in the “clean up operations” in Jinotepe and Diriamba, and attributed them to terrorists and drug traffickers connected to the resistance movement. He pointed out that many of them are Sandinistas – including Angel Gahona, the journalist shot by a sniper in Bluefields while reporting on the protests. Again, that is the point – many of the protesters are Sandinistas who have been horrified by the brutality of the government’s response and have joined the protests against Ortega. The IAHRC carried out thousands of interviews with family members of the dead, released prisoners, government officials, and reviewed hundreds of hours of video recordings, documents and forensic reports. To say that they were biased and didn’t interview pro-government forces, is simply false. They have not been given full access to many sites, including the jails, but much of the violence has happened while the Commission, and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) were actually in the country, so they witnessed it with their own eyes, including the family who was incinerated (according to the only two survivors who escaped the fire, the house was burned down because they would not open the door to allow the snipers in.) I noticed that the link to the Telesur actually acknowledges that the family members accuse the government, but they don’t consider that credible. The members of the GIEI are all distinguished human rights experts, including Claudia Paz y Paz, who was the Guatemalan Attorney General who prosecuted Rios Montt – she can hardly be considered a tool of imperialism.

    The idea that these masked thugs who are killing peaceful protesters in marches, and attacking the barricades with heavy artillery are simply gang members and protesters who are shooting at themselves in order to make the government look bad, makes no sense. Even Jacinto Suarez, the External Relations Secretary of the FSLN admitted a few days ago in an interview in El Salvador that the police needed help, so they recruited retired Sandinista combatants to help repress the demonstration.

    This brings us to the issue of US involvement in supporting the opposition. Clearly Trump, and the US right wing have thrown their weight behind the oligarchs in the civil alliance, and would absolutely be delighted to replace Ortega one of their pawns. And yes, the opposition is extremely diverse, and there are many different agendas reflected. The only thing they have in common is a fierce desire for peace, and a belief that Ortega and Murillo must leave for that to be possible. That is precisely why progressives need to show our solidarity with the authentic resistance movement, made up of the women’s movement, most of the student groups (there are 5 of them, and most did not agree with the visit to the US and Rubio), environmentalists and anti-canal farmers movement (anyone who would call their leader, Francisca Ramirez of Nueva Guinea an oligarch has clearly not met her.)

    It is monstrous and heartbreaking to think that the Ortega government could be murdering their own people just to stay in power, particularly to those of us who gave our lives to the Sandinista revolution. Having worked for the Ministry of Health during the revolution, I would never have believed a few months ago that protesters could die because the public hospitals refused to admit them. But that is EXACTLY THE POINT – What is happening right now is monstrous, and Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo could stop this bloodbath TODAY if they wanted to, by disarming the paramilitary forces and engaging in good faith in the National Dialogue. Otherwise, this bloodbath is certain to get worse, and the Nicaraguan people on both sides will be paying the price.

  • Will Yayo

    Thank you. As a Nicaraguan, this is the truth!!! 100%

  • Will Yayo

    All these anti sandinista or/and anti Ortega have virtual no REAL ARGUMENTS.

  • lawrencera

    … Yep, and he sports his blood-stained bandanna when he attends his neighborhood associations meetings, very late at night. Ahhh yes, a true voice of reeeezon…

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Hi Kevin, I’d post this privately but don’t see a way to communicate directly with the moderator. I’ve figure out why some of my posts do not appear on the page – in Disqus it says that the comments were “detected as spam.” According to Disqus it says that only the moderators can approve the comment. Since I posted multiple times trying to get it to appear, you can eliminate all the older posts and keep only the newest one. Thanks!

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Thanks for posting – this is very interesting, and disturbing if it is true. On the other hand, Joshua Partlow, of the Washinton Post was trapped in the church with the students and describes the 15 hour siege in detail, as he tweeted all night. There are photos of the Iglesia de la Divina Misericordia with lots of bullet holes and broken glass – and reportedly 4 students are dead. The same number of students as were killed at Kent State, only this is on top of the 50 plus students that were killed in the first four days of the crisis, and many of the 300 plus dead overall, who were also students.

  • kevinzeese

    There continues to be a lot happening in Nicaragua and there continues to be a lot of false reporting on what is occurring. Below in these comments you will see we attracted people who oppose the Ortega government and seek regime change. I am going to post a few articles that respond to them rather than respond individually.

    http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/3543

    With cynical theater Nicaragua’s opposition conceal their crimes to facilitate US intervention
    Submitted by tortilla on Dom, 15/07/2018 – 08:56
    Tortilla con Sal, July 15th 2018

    Events in Nicaragua over this weekend of July 13th-15th show how refined the techniques of psychological warfare have become with the political opposition here using social media to create events that never happened and erase their own criminal terrorist attacks. The crisis in Nicaragua began with a fake “student massacre” that never happened. Now Nicaragua’s opposition have faked a non-existent assault on a church in Managua dutifully reported as a government attack by the Washington Post and turned a relatively incident free evacuation of opposition gangs from the National Autonomous University into a pitched battle that never happened. Both those incidents have served as cover to ensure the opposition’s terrorist crimes get zero coverage.

    The rest of the article at the link above.

  • kevinzeese

    This article responds to a series of false reports. It provides the false report then a link to the full story.

    http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/3529

    Nicaragua – We can assume almost anything . . .
    Submitted by tortilla on Vie, 13/07/2018 – 18:14
    Barbara Moore, July 13th 2018

    We can assume almost anything . . .

    Let’s assume that what is generally referred to as ‘the opposition’ can still be called the ‘student-led’ opposition.

    Let’s assume that on April 18th the students were misinformed on the Ortega solution to the Social Security shortfall as that is the easiest way to explain why they continue to misrepresent the issue unless a more general tangle is at play such as the difference between progressive and regressive.

    Let’s assume the private sector had no hand in the unwarranted exuberance of the students regarding an incremental, less than 1% increase in worker contribution and the 3.5% increase on the part of the private sector, not forgetting the students themselves would not be affected by the changes for years to come and despite the following; it was the private sector which had abandoned the negotiations, it was the private sector which favored far more drastic cuts and it was the private sector who favored raising the retirement age and privatization of the healthcare system.

    Let’s also assume the students were unaware that the modest adjustments had been accepted by the pensioner union.

    Let’s assume the concern of the students over the indio-maiz fire was genuine even though it didn’t stop them from participating in the burning and destruction of buildings belonging to the national heritage; the old market in Masaya, the CUUN in Leon, the Alcadia in Granada, to name just a few. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QHhLSCMalo

    Read the rest at the link above.

  • kevinzeese

    This interview with Interview with Carlos Fonseca Terán, vice-secretary of International Relations of the FSLN, published in GARA explains what is happening in Nicaragua, who is behind it, how it was triggered and the government’s response.

    http://www.redvolucion.net/2018/07/14/carlos-fonseca-teran-hemos-estado-a-la-defensiva-porque-no-queremos-mas-violencia/

    Carlos Fonseca Terán: «We have been on the defensive because we do not want more violence»
    read it at the link above.

  • kevinzeese

    Cuba is a country that understands US coup attempts, attempted assassination of leaders and economic warfare by the United States. In this article Granma puts the US/oligarch attack on the Nicaraguan government in the context of US regime change operations and US imperialism.

    http://en.granma.cu/mundo/2018-07-13/nicaragua-is-now-the-target

  • Raquel HU

    Opposition is the proper term. Real Nicaraguans stand behind a government looking after the people and not political parties or their anti-imperialism BS. TRUE FACT is that power trippers are out of style and so are their followers, whatever flag they use. If they were as popular as they claim to be, they wouldn’t be so scared to play the democracy game after recent incidents.

  • Raquel HU

    Non-violent protests against SS reforms were met by Sandinista Mobs guarded by police and wearing party shirts. Who funded that? Or why is it sooo punishable wrong to disagree with reforms when SS has never been transparent in their “transactions”?

  • kevinzeese

    The opposition is relying on a coup, and creating chaos through violence, because they cannot win elections. People do not want their neoliberal, oligarch policies. They do no want to be a vassal of the United States and IMF.

  • kevinzeese

    Finally, research is being produced on the deaths in Nicaragua. The reality turns news reporting on its head. The deaths are primarily caused by the violence of the opposition protests. This is not surprising since creating chaos with violence is their tactic. http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/3546

  • Mariano Salazar

    Hi , Let me say that you are completly wrong. I am a Nicaraguan and I have seen first hand what the butcher Ortega is doing. Ortega is brutally represing peaceful protest killing 400 until today, kidnapping, tourturing and jailing hundreds. So do not disrespect the fight for freedom that our people are doing know by implying these are fake news. If you want to know what is happening go to Nicaragua and talk the people in Moninbó, Sutiava , La Trinidad , Managua, etc. Do you know that even the singers that made the songs of the revolutions are rejecting Ortega brutal goverment. Just Google it , you cannot make this up.

  • Peter

    Thank you Mary for your persistence in standing up to this fake news. The more than 350 deaths require us to hold the line against this whitewash of ruthless government terrorism. I also worked most of my life in support of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. At this point Ortega is a liability to his party, and the progressive forces within the opposition need our support if there is any future for the spirit of the revolution which Ortega and Murillo are ruthlessly destroying as part of a family power grab

  • Peter

    Yes, and it’s Ortega who’s killing it, along with his ruthless massacre of students and other overwhelmingly nonviolent mass public opposition

  • Raquel HU

    Assuming your coup theory is true, how many nicaraguans in your contacts list prefer to be killed, robbed and kidnapped by POLICIA NACIANAL when daring to oppose the government for a number of reasons? How about being a vassal of China for years to come? Or being forced to participate in party rallies as a public employee? The progress scenario pictured in your article is nice compared to previous years but does not make up for this poorly handled crisis. Let’s tour our public hospitals and write an article about that. I’m a born-raised nicaraguan who can assure you this is not what we signed up for.

  • Raquel HU

    How do you know the students were burning down these buildings? Aren’t you supposed to wait for the indepentent investigations? Responsible journalism doesn’t speculate or link to informal websites “tortillaconsal”?? Such a joke.

  • kevinzeese

    People are relying on social media, but social media is being manipulated. This article shows video of students rehearsing a social media video that put out false reports of students under attack by the government. We have to be very skeptical of what we are being told because there is an orchestrated plan of misinformation. The US National Endowment for Democracy trains people, usually youth, on how to use social media as part of their regime change campaigns. See These false videos are being exposed. Here is another report exposing one of them by people on-the-ground in Nicaragua.

    http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/3548

  • kevinzeese

    This is the classic type of misinformation we get from anti-Ortega contingent in Nica. Ortega has not killed 400 people, the violent opposition protests are the source of the killings. This is now being documents after numerous false clams like this one. Here is a report reviewing all of the dead. Violence is a tactic of the opposition. They use it to create chaos and force the government to respond, trying to entice the government to use violence. We saw the same in US regime change efforts in Venezeula, Ukraine and Syria. It is becoming the new tactic of US imperialism. See http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/3546

  • Will Duarte

    Stfu , it is true, it is a coup, camouflaged in a HR campaign. using my nicarguanese people as pawns in this physiological warefare. Where do you think the families have the contras and somocitas went, not all went to Miami. Nobody wants these fucking ” barricades”, pinoleros want to work and go to school. They dont support their counter revolution, most have BEEN ANTI SANDINISTAS. I know my country history very well, so miss me with that shit. Simply like this you shoot as cops your gonna get shot back! If you start war against police, and basically hold neighborhoods hostage, the police are going to come and take those forts out. People have been feeling hostage in their own homes, not being able to work go Grocery shopping or nothing. Bet your family most likely are upper class huh? Your reality is NOT MINE. LONG LIVE NICARAGUA!! AND LONG LIVE THE SANDINISTAS

  • Will Duarte

    You say your from Nicaragua, what you think about are MASSIVE pro-sandinstas marches where been having in EVERY CITY. Not like the opposition were you can only have some support in MANAGUA, AND MASAYA. We have support in EVERY CITY in Nicaragua. You believe a popular ressuraction like the sandinista movement would disappear, LOL, we been the majority, and we will continue being the majority, every corner and every city of Nicaragua you will find a SANDINISTA. Your movement is already dying…

  • Will Duarte

    lmao, YOU ARE THE OPPORTUNIST!! YOUR the one jumping on this bandwagon, were all corporate mainstream media is against us. Speak about local TV station own by us. Yes we own some, battling Worldwide CNN, AND FOX AND UNIVISION AND TELEMUNDO. Even your fake student protester are in bed with right wing Republicans in amerikkka. Felix mariadaga , another us raised Nicaraguan, who has close ties to them , a long known somocitas. The FLSN is literaly the only political parties who has haven a shit about the working class and poor.

  • Will Duarte

    Lmao, we are willing to die for our Pueblo sandinistas by any means. The police are getting killed left and right, you want me to send you pictures of the 80 plus sandinistas murder plus police officers. They speak on repression, when Nicaragua has been one of the safest countries in the latin america, with virtual no refugee immigration crisis. With opposition forces bombing OUR RADIO STATION AND burning down police stations, as well as corner them. I read on both, dont bring your hypocrisy here, when sandinistas are getting killed on the daily. You choose what you want to believe.

  • Raquel HU

    Hello Will. I think you meant “psycological campaign”. Some of us don’t need to use f* words to make a point but that doesn’t proove us wrong. You seem to be very informed on the current situation and agree that it’s difficult for everyone, especially the poorest, but we can’t solve the problems by pretending they don’t exist. Sorry to point out that our problem as a country is more social than political, and you are part of the problem if you only see political colors in people. If you decide to worship a couple who does not represent the FSLN values anymore that is up to you, but it wouldn’t hurt to question your own principles like many of us have. The mainstream media is mainstream media, no less propagandist than this article.
    Saludos!

  • Raquel HU

    You own some? Good for you. I don’t own CNN or FOX or UNIVISION or Telemundo. I don’t own students either. Ortega’s government had the opportunity to keep doing great things for Nicaragua but failed to see that it is not possible under the dictatorship model. Not until recently international media paid attention to our crisis, so let’s not be fooled.

  • Raquel HU

    The Sandinista movement won’t disappear. The Sandinista movement IS Nicaragua and belongs to the PEOPLE. Ortega’s goverment was supported by 37% of nicaraguans, which is not the majority and was then re-elected after shady alliances using the FSLN flag to manipulate the less educated people / those who bought the reconciliation fairy tale.

  • cyberstreets

    So do you LIVE there or do you just own a lot of homes?

  • kevinzeese

    There was nothing unconstitutional about being elected to a third term or his wife becoming vice president. She is an accomplished women.

    Just because you oppose Ortega does not mean you can make things p.

  • kevinzeese

    All comments are automatically approved. If they have a link in them they need to be reviewed in order to prevent spam and commercial advertisements, otherwise everything is approved.

    If someone is racist, prejudiced or threatens violence we will consider blocking them. We do not advocate violence as a form of protests so we do not want that confusing our website or the discussions in the comment sections.

    If people are writing false information and the inaccuracy is pointed out we may consider blocking that as well, but I do not recall that happening.

  • kevinzeese

    So true, what we are seeing in some of these comments are the typical misrepresentations made by the opposition which is resorting to violence and chaos creation because they cannot win elections. The people know neoliberalism and cuts to benefits to people are not what they want. They also know they do not want to be under the rule of US empire. The Ortega government has approved the lives of Nicaraguans. It has been a peaceful and secure country until these protests so the people overwhelmingly support him. He is no dictator. He is a popularly elected president. Now, people are seeing the violence is coming from the opposition and they will be even weaker politically. We saw this in Venezuela, almost the exact same tactics and it had the boomerang effect on the opposition, weakening them. They were already unpopular and will become less popular if they continue violent chaos-inducing protests.

  • kevinzeese

    Thank you, Will. The views you express are the views I hear from Nicaraguans, except for those in the wealthy class who are out of power and are desperate to take power. Their violent protests creating chaos and undermining the economy will be counterproductive. They will be even less popular and less able to win elections.

  • kevinzeese

    A dictator who won the last election by 70% and a legislature that wants him as their leader so they removed term limits. That is not dictatorship that is a popular democracy. Ortega is popular because he has lifted the poor out of poverty, funded small businesses with micro-loans, given property titles to peasants, Indigenous and workers with a special emphasis on women. People’s lives are better because they have healthcare, education, subsidized food, electricity and water. Ortega is popular because he is shifting wealth from the oligarchs to the poor and working classes. Those realities are why Ortega is winning elections easily.

    These violent chaos-inducing protests are going to weaken the wealthy, NGOs and business communities even more. They will be less popular because the people in Nicaragua know they are the source of the roadblocks, violence and disruption of their lives. They see Ortega seeking peace through a National Dialogue and Truth and Reconciliation process. The people see who is on the side of nonviolence and lifting the poor. The oligarchs and US funded groups are failing. Let’s hope they do not increase their violence, but accept the reality of politics in Nicaragua and back away from their coup.

  • kevinzeese

    Typical of the lies of the opposition. Sad they get away with this nonsense. The truth is coming out. In the end the oligarchs, Catholic Church, US and US-funded NGOs will become even less politically acceptable to Nicaraguans.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    From the Disqus site, it appears that comments can automatically be flagged as spam, either because they have embedded links, or too many spaces, or something else. In that case, they need to be approved by the moderator to post. They showed up on the site when I first posted them, but then disappeared. In my Disqus account they show up as “detected as spam – pending approval by the moderator.” If you can’t see them on the admin site for Disqus, I can send by email. There was no violence advocated for in the comments.

  • Margaret Flowers

    You are correct. They were there.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Thank you!

  • Raquel HU

    The legislature is bribed and monopolized FYI. Emphasis on women – do you mean impunity for domestic abusers? Are women marches also funded by the US? Have you looked into the SS protests when liberal party was ruling? Were they peaceful? Were they attacked with brutal force?

    Nicaragua had not seen a better economic scenario before the revolution. Nicaragua did not settle for crumbs then and will not settle now when there are thousands of $$$ coming from Venezuela and foreign investment while the healthcare system is lame. Trust me, I live here.

  • Raquel HU

    If you lived in Nicaragua you would know exactly where the violence is coming from. The pro-government groups have no shame, even worse, they are proud to be violent and kill for “peace”, but really they are just cowards with guns. The future is not looking very promising for our country whoever wins elections, but our crisis is not one to be betted on by outsiders like you who are comfortably free to speak their mouths without being threaten…making assumptions based on a mediocre blog called tortillaconsal (???).

  • Raquel HU

    I don’t see any views or REAL ARGUMENTS just cursing all around and claims of popularity as if the regime’s massacre is something to ignore. BTW, do you know when I can expect my CIA check?

  • Will Duarte

    Worship?, my family has been very critical of Ortega. But you dont throw Nicaragua progression under the rug. The movement is sketchy as fuck, with every known piece of shit supporting this coup, from former somozacita felix maridagana to those right wing private school students who just met with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. To the MRS, who has degrasefully, just became ultra Republican and literaly lost all their socialist ideals. The fact is the FSLN IS STILL and only is the party of the party of the people, the working class, and poor. No revolution is perfect, they are the only party equipped to help the people.

  • Will Duarte

    You should look up on how a guy named Viper, is spilling the beans on opposition little pact on to destabilize Nicaragua. Dora tellez(MRS), the catholic church, Felix mariadanga. And how their taking advantage of this situation. We sandinistas dont need to get paid to fight for our people. Respect our elections and respect the people who want to work or go to school. Dont speak on repression and then go around burning down our radio stations. Their pushing their own agenda while manipulating people.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Do you honestly consider Granma, Telesur, Daniel Ortega’s son, and official FSLN representatives to be more independent and credible sources on the subject of FSLN and government abuses than the entire international press corps, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the combined nations of the OAS and the IACHR? You don’t have to be a “coup monger” to see how weak that sounds. So Joshua Paltrow from the WP faked being trapped in a shootout all night, as well as the videos of the wounded medical student that the police would not allow to be evacuated for hours? And the reporter for 100%Noticias who was there also faked a live stream report from inside the church for at least 10 hours? And then on the outside, hundreds of Nicaraguans fake live-streamed vigils on different roads in front of the police roadblocks all night long? And then the next day the priests destroyed their own church and broke the stained glass and poured blood everywhere just to make the Sandinistas look bad? That would be an amazing technological feat, not to mention an extraordinary effort of coordination. I have a feeling that you have not actually watched most of the footage I’m talking about. The video mentioned in the article on the “faked” UNAN attack is only a small fraction of the documentary evidence available. Do you even speak Spanish or do you get all your information from the translations provided by the government sources? Since you are in the US and your co-author lives in Nicaragua, I’ve been wondering why you are the only one to respond? Surely he is closer to what’s going on?

  • kevinzeese

    It is amazing you and other regime change advocates rely on the OAS report. Here is the paragraph we wrote about that report. Even the OAS members did not support the report. Only the closest US allies in the region believed it. It was not credible – even for the OAS which the US tends to dominate. It was one-sided and biased. It failed to mention the violence of the opposition, even though it was widespread and intentional. Violence is the tactic of the regime change chaos they are trying to create. The director of the OAS human rights commission even said he was on the side of regime change. How can they be trusted.

    I could go through your other points and explain each, but yes I do not believe the corporate media or the oligarch media in Nicaragua which are the root of the falsehood. Their reports need to be balanced with other sources. We need to look at a variety of sources to understand what is going on when misinformation is one of the tactics of the regime change operation. They are intentionally misleading people.

    I am not surprised you believe them or if you do not, restate them here anyway. You are a USAID grantee who is an advocate of regime change. I am sure you make an excellent salary with your grants from the United States and other imperialist nations. You are part of the problem and are continuing the misinformation of the regime changers on this list. People are not buying it. People in Nicaragua are especially not buying it. Your allies in Nicaragua are losing political power every day their violent protests continue. They cannot win elections now and will have less ability to win them in the future after their obscene violence and false information. People in Nicaragua will know they cannot be trusted and that they want to install a neoliberal economy that helps the wealthy and hurts everyone else. The people oppose them, that is why they lose in landslide elections.

    Here is the paragraph about the OAS report from the IACHR. You can read the links above:

    “The government invited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS, a Washington-based entity notoriously unfriendly to leftist governments, to investigate the violent events of April and determine whether repression had occurred. The night of a controversial skirmish in the highway outside the Agrarian University in Managua ended a negotiated 48-hour truce, IACHR Director Paulo Abrao visited the site to declare his support for the opposition. The IACHR ignored the opposition’s widespread violence and only reported on the defensive violence of the government. Not only was it categorically rejected by Nicaraguan chancellor Denis Moncada as an “insult to the dignity of the Nicaraguan people,” a resolution approving the IACHR report was supported by only ten out of 34 countries.”

  • Mary Ellsberg

    That was in June. Did you watch the last two special sessions of the OAS on NIcaragua last weeK? Every single country except Venezuela completely ignored Moncada’s protest and strongly endorsed the report and urged the Nicaraguan government to disarm the paramilitary forces and to end the disproportionate use of force. Even Almagro, who has been absolutely reluctant to criticize Ortega finally joined the call. Argentina has presented a new resolution that will be voted on soon. In a press conference at the OAS Moncada said he really couldn’t say how many have died, or who the mysterious masked men were. Quoting Moncada doesn’t make it true. You should feel free to insult me as often as you wish. I’ve been called much worse, including when I was getting arrested last week for closing down the Hart Senate Building with 600 women activists to protest family separations. I have to say that this week is the first time I’ve been accused of being an agent of the US government. My father is finding this very amusing.

  • cyberstreets

    This is really deep! First of all, it is so fake because what people who are scared of gunfire find the most exposed area possible to cry in? Then the camera view expands and shows the video cameras and it is like, oh, they are trying to film them in the area with the most light, even though it is ridiculous that they would actually be in that area if there were actual gunfire. And secondly, people. c’mon, identify the long haired fellow who is NOT wearing a mask in front of the arson attack–who is this people? Let’s identify all these arsonists & fake-video-news makers.

  • kevinzeese

    THis has been a violent protest since the beginning. Where are the students getting this huge cache of weapons from? Oligarchs? CIA?

    Nicaraguan police find huge cache of arms in revolting student’s university
    By Steve Sweeney

    HUGE cache of arms has been found at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) as the Sandinista government launched an offensive against armed right-wing terrorists over the weekend.

    The stash included bomb-making equipment and other weapons as those occupying the university confirmed their determination to topple the democratically elected government of President Daniel Ortega.

    Today saw government forces move in to dismantle barricades in Masaya, which has been one of the centres of anti-government protests.

    “Operation Clean-Up” came following a wave of government-backed demonstrations for peace across the country, many of which were attacked by right-wing opposition groups.

    Peace talks aimed at resolving the crisis were also attacked by the opposition groups, who insist Mr Ortega and the Sandinista government must resign.

    A siege at the university ended yesterday after the intervention of the country’s Catholic church when the weapons cache was discovered.

    A resident of Masaya, who did not wish to be named, told the Morning Star: “Today the police are entering Monimbo to try to get rid of the barricades which have dominated our lives for three months.

    “At all of these barricades, the protesters now have serious weapons such as AK47s. That is the reality of the ‘peaceful’ protest.”

    He warned that the opposition gangs were winning the media war — portraying them as peaceful protesters being repressed by the government.

    But he explained that last week four police officers and a teacher were killed in the small town of Morrito when a “peaceful” opposition march was used as cover.

    “The pictures of the dead police make it clear they were unprepared for combat yet the opposition initially said it was the police who opened fire on the march and some marchers who happened to have weapons fired back,” he said.

    The story changed after questions were asked as to why supposedly peaceful marchers were armed when opposition groups then claimed workers from the town hall fired on their colleagues, according to the source.

    “Nine police were kidnapped after the killings and taken away by the attackers, only for some of them to be mysteriously videoed confirming the opposition’s version of events while they were being held captive and no doubt being threatened,” he explained.

    The opposition groups are backed by the US, with Mr Ortega warning against their plans for regime change after demonstrations started in mid-April over planned pension reforms.

    https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/nicaraguan-police-find-huge-cache-of-arms-in-revolting-student-s-university

  • kevinzeese

    Another priest caught on video torturing Sandanistas. The Catholic Church has been allied with the oligarchs forever. Now, they are involved in torture. Pope Francis better reign his Nicaraguan Catholic leadership in. They are getting caught too often. This could become bigger than the scandal of priests having sex with young boys

    https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:79096-cura-es-complice-de-terroristas-que-asesinaron-a-sub-oficial

  • Raquel HU

    All stories make sense to those who make them up. You decide where to look at while people – civilians mostly – including kids – are being killed like flies. To justify such genocide in the name of the revolution is simply wrong. Makes me sick and I realize that conspiracies on BOTH sides are secondary. This is a game for politicians. Don’t play their game.

  • Lillian Marie Hall

    Sorry, but this is not what’s happening in Nicaragua. I lived in Nicaragua from 1984 to 2012 and worked with the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Reform during the revolution. I also just happened to be in Nicaragua this past April (as I got back twice a year) and saw the protests begin and get crushed by police and anti-riot forces. The situation is much more complex than simply the US is behind everything and Daniel is our man. The FSLN stopped being a revolutionary party in 1990 with the infamous pinata when party leaders divided up the state assets and became millionaires. It’s been down-hill from there. There are many, many people on the streets who still consider themselves Sandinistas and they are risking their lives to protest. One cannot simply discount the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who have participated in marches and protests as CIA dupes or on the payroll of the Right. Yes, the US is frequently behind destabilization efforts, but not in this case. Give the Nicaraguan people credit for knowing a tyrant when they see one.

  • Raquel HU

    The ones who threw progress and stability under the rug were Mr. & Mrs. Ortega. They lack vision for sustainable policies and look after their own interests just like every other political party. Sadly, Nicaragua is a corruption paradise and it’s up to us, the nicaraguan citizens to change that. Leave the past behind, see your neighbors as equals and don’t settle for a war-scarred country. That is the revolutionaries’ dream. We all want to feel at home.

  • Don Macleay

    Basically not true.
    Only a few pockets of Nicaragua do not have large opposition to Daniel.

  • Don Macleay

    This opinion piece is disappointing and does not face one basic fact: the government of Nicaragua is repressing dissent.

  • Raquel HU

    Thank you Mary. I read the Jacinto Suarez article too. They couldn’t make up anymore lies if they tried. BTW some of my comments also seem to “disappear”.

  • Will Duarte

    Whole lot of false flags going on, on the side of the opposition.

  • Will Duarte

    Look up who felix maridagana is?

  • Will Duarte

    Wtf? Where? I’ve seen large pro government marches in Leon, Esteli, Managua, and Maltagpala ,jinotega. While opposition marches elsewhere I have small as fuck, if it isnt in Managua or masaya.

  • Will Duarte

    Just sent a YouTube clip, on DORA Maria tellez. a former sandinista, who is in the MRS, splitter group of sandinista, no longer in the fsln, and are close to Republicans now here in the U.S., speaking on her plans to destabilize Nicaragua.

  • Will Duarte

    THE population about to mob the catholic church for ALLOWING THE TORTURE OF SANDINISTAS!! AT THEIR CHURCH Hp

  • Will Duarte

    Round of applause for your flase flags lmao

  • kevinzeese

    Here is an excellent compilation of videos a colleague put together that correct many of the falsehoods we are reading and who how the narrative we are being told is intentionally, falsely manufactured. The videos also show the popularity of the Ortega government:

    Below is a link to an interview with UNEN representative Veronica Gutierrez, who was present during the first days at the UPOLI and has taken part in the national dialogue. She gives her account of events from April 18th to April 22nd, talking about some of the deception which took place at the very beginning. Veronica is also a UNEN colleague of Leonel Morales, who spoke out on May 16 on the first day of the national dialogue, objecting to the demands of some other student representatives; as a result of his speaking out, he was tortured and shot, left for dead in a ditch – *not* by the government but by some persons in the opposition.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwnRM5we4As

    This is a video of the students play-acting at being attacked at the UNAN the other day:
    https://www.facebook.com/jorge.capelan/videos/10156409208141655/

    To illustrate the falsehood that most people support these opposition tactics like the roadblocks: Below are some links showing people’s joy that the government/ police had cleared the roadblocks in their area, and/or people helping the police to clear the roadblocks:

    Carazo:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl5IQ9w53Do
    Chontales:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ypS5Ot-4Sw
    Masaya:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juyadLUIWCo
    Leon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHESvKUJq8o
    Catarina:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21GOJLRz4qs
    Nueva Guinea:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=681Jz07qroo

  • Will Duarte

    They wear masks because the opposition are torturing any sandinista, and are killing cops.

  • Will Duarte

    The feminist movement is now close to the MRS.

  • Will Duarte

    100%%

  • Will Duarte

    I think its absolutely funny to believe that just because these neighborhoods are barricaded, Every resident there is suppose to support them. Your smoking crack, the protest in Masaya the other day proves that not the case. People in those neighborhoods actually feel scared to death to speak out against those opposition men. And they are constantly harassed and beat up. Their no honor in your counter revolution, just a bunch of vagos.

  • Will Duarte

    And to be completely honest, sandinistas are only getting mad at Daniel Ortega because they want him to Do MORE against these opposition hp. Because their are sandinistas getting killed for nothing.

  • Will Duarte

    Just last month they killed a Sandinista, then after a week later they had killed his father because he spoke out against them.

  • kevinzeese

    Thanks for reporting that. It was a story read about as well but is not covered by the corporate media or the anti-Ortega social media activists.

  • Will Duarte

    A little bit of northern lights, what about you? Crack? Lol 1 of my former friends who are in those barracides against the police, was a crackhead who would rob people. Lmao those are the people who are behind those barricades, the people who are easily manipulated and are opportunist.

  • Will Duarte

    Lmfao, dude im a fucking nicaraguense, with family all over nicargua. But Ok foh

  • Will Duarte

    The sandinistas people actually want Daniel Ortega to maintain order, and have more of an iron first believe or not. Why because their killing us and making it seem like their Angel’s. Anybody who sympathizes with the sandinistas movement are beating, tortured, and killed.

  • kevinzeese

    Another report came out today about the US funding the violent regime change protests in Nicaragua through USAID and NED.

    http://www.redvolucion.net/2018/07/16/500-millones-de-dolares-fueron-financiados-para-iniciar-una-campana-de-violencia-e-intento-de-golpe-de-estado-en-nicaragua/

    500 million dollars were financed to start a campaign of violence and attempted coup in Nicaragua
    pelona 5 hours ago 0 1,307 Less than 1 minute

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+
    The money route with details of the financing that several agencies received to initiate a campaign of violence and attempted coup in Nicaragua have already been discovered.

    After deceiving the people and saying that they were not financed by anyone, the IEEPP, FUNIDES, FIVE, Let’s Democracy and CPDH, received US $ 500 million from a US route, mainly from the United States System, the State Department and USAID.

    Félix Maradiaga (IEEPP), Juan Sebastián Chamorro (FUNIDES), Carlos Fernando Chamorro (CINCO), Luciano García (Let’s Make Democracy) and Marco Carmona (CPDH) planned that from April 18 there would be a wave of violent protests, where they constantly appeared. supporters of the MRS; Having a financing, they were never “autoconvocados”, they have always been paid with financing from abroad; first to start a campaign of violence in our country, destabilize the nation and achieve a coup d’état, which has been failed since its inception.

    Ver imagen en TwitterVer imagen en TwitterVer imagen en Twitter

    YoDenuncioNic
    @YoDenuncioNic
    Aquí están los detalles del financiamiento que recibieron estos organismos para iniciar una campaña de violencia e intento de Golpe de Estado en Nicaragua.

    19:57 – 16 jul. 2018
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  • kevinzeese

    This week on the Clearing the FOG radio show we cover Nicaragua, a source for a great deal of misinformation where the Forces Of Greed need to be cleared. We have as our guest Stephan Sefton of the Torilla Con Sal media collective which provides excellent information on Nicaragua. Listen to it here: http://clearingthefogradio.org/whats-really-happening-in-nicaragua/

  • Mary Ellsberg

    ??? What is a flase flag?

  • kevinzeese

    Telesur is reporting that the opposition coup led by oligarchs, the United States, the Catholic Church and NGOs funded by the United States has been defeated. They say it is in time for the July 19th celebration the 39th anniversary of the defeat of the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. Hundreds of thousands of people from across Nicaragua will converge on the capital Managua for the event, hopefully the opposition will not use that event to escalate their violence even further.

    https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Nicaragua-Defeats-The-Not-So-Soft-Coup-20180717-0019.html

  • kevinzeese

    Please send me a link showing that the OAS voted in favor of the IACHR report on Nicaragua. I cannot find such a record.

    Also, send a link to the financial reports of your organization for recent years so we can see how much money you have received from the United States, through USAID, NED or other sources, as well as from other imperialist nations. I could not find those on your website.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    I didn’t say they had voted. I said that Argentina read aloud a resolution that they are submitting and it will be voted on soon, and that all the countries who intervened after Moncada’s presentation endorsed the IACHR report. The whole session is online, but you don’t speak Spanish, do you? I’ve been wondering how you became such an expert on Nicaragua – your bio doesn’t mention anything at all about work in Nicaragua or Latin America, not even solidarity work in the 80’s.

    The Global Women’s Institute belongs to George Washington University and as such, our finances are included in the University’s financial reports. Since you’ve been on our website, you can see that we do epidemiological research and policy on violence against women, particularly in conflict settings. We currently have ongoing research in South Sudan, the Caribbean, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Lebanon, Uganda and Melanesia. We worked with grassroots women’s groups, as well as academics and UN agencies, including UN Women, UNICEF and WHO, where I am on numerous expert committees. I am also a professor of global health and international studies at GW. If you are interested, you can find my TEDX talk on my research in Nicaragua on youtube. I believe you know my father, Daniel Ellsberg, personally. You can watch my son, Julio Martinez Ellsberg tomorrow on Democracy Now being interviewed by Amy Goodman on Nicaragua. I have been speaking out publicly against US policies since the 80’s and continue to do so today. Since I’ve been at GW I’ve been arrested three times at the Capitol and the White House protesting immigration policies with my daughter who is a grass roots immigrant’s rights organizer (both children are Nicaraguan.) You are barking up the wrong tree by trying to make me look like a agent of the US.

  • Ana Martinez

    This is no longer about political parties, this is about a dictator that continues to murder its people. It is clear that human rights violations have occurred and you can find press releases on this by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, Washington office of Latin America (WOLA), Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH), and much more. You can also find personal testimonies from leaders and activist from the student, women and campesino (farmers) movement. Look up Francisca Ramirez, a well respected activist from the country side or Ana Quiroz from the women’s movement or Comandante Dora Maria Tellez. Who are you going to trust? Organizations that focus on human rights and the people that have dedicated their lives to social justice or these two authors that don’t have any credibility in Nicaragua. One of the authors doesn’t live there, and the other one is considered by people that know him as a lost American soul wondering in Nicaragua. I was raised as a Sandinista, but I cannot associate with a political party that its killing its people. Please get your sources straight and stop creating more damage to my country with your words.

  • Will Duarte

    🙂

  • Will Duarte

    You expect people to believe U.S. funded HR organizations.

  • Will Duarte

    A real revolutionary lol, uses its critical thinking, and sees through the bullshit, it’s not about fighting for ORTEGA, it’s about fighting for SANDINISTA PEOPLE AND revolution. The ones you keep forgetting are dying and numbers keep piling. As this right wing terrorist keep destroying our country. Especially when these so called peaceful protesters are allied and being supported by imperialist.

  • kevinzeese

    Thanks for clarifying that there has not been a vote in the OAS. The one time a vote was asked for the result was only the closest US allies voted to support the report. This is not surprising since it was a biased one-sided report that fails to mention any opposition violence, even though violence was essential to their strategy of creating chaos to force regime change.

    It looks like the coup is failing, the barricades are being removed (with lots of weapons found), and in the wake of all of this the opposition who could not win elections will have been exposed for their violence and very likely less popular, while Ortega organized a National Dialogue for peace. Which side will the people be on – -the neoliberal opposition using violent protests, or the government organizing a National Dialogue for peace? A rhetorical question, as the answer is obvious.

    So, you cannot provide a link to financials so we can all see who you have taken money from? We know from your history you have received money from USAID and other governments like Australia and the UK, allied with US militarism. I am not accusing you of being part of the coup, or a regime change agent, but I doubt you would speak out against a US supported coup as it would put future USAID funding in doubt. USAID would very much like the comments you have made on this page.

  • kevinzeese

    That report was biased. Search IACHR in the article above and you will see it was not supported by the OAS. When it was voted on only the closest US allies supported it. The report failed to report ANY of the violence of the opposition, even though violence was critical to their strategy. They needed to create chaos to force regime change.

    The good news is the violent coup is failing. The barricades are gradually being removed. Lots of weapons are being found in the opposition barricades. While the opposition used violence as a strategy, Ortega created a National Dialogue where all issues could be discussed that was working toward peace.

    The opposition which could not win elections before has been exposed as people who use violence and chaos and who are allied with the United States. I suspect they will have an even harder time winning elections in the future.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    If I was worried about receiving money from the US government, would I be committing civil disobedience to protest US policy? I just published an OpEd last month denouncing Jeff Session’s new policy of denying asylum to women fleeing domestic violence from Central America based on 20 years of pro bono work helping women gain asylum in the US. I think you would be better off trying a new line of attack.

    Plus, your arguments are out of step with the FSLN’s newest line of propaganda. Haven’t you noticed that the FSLN has stopped talking about imperialism, MRS and oligarchy and now says that the opposition is supported by drug traffickers, terrorists and organized crime? This is strategic because with the new anti-terrorism law that was passed yesterday they can arrest people as criminals and terrorists, as they have already started to do all over the country. If the opposition was led by political parties they couldn’t arrest them.

    You need to catch up – things are moving very fast in Nicaragua right now. Did you catch the message by Jose Mujica of Uruguay today apologising to Nicaragua for not having spoken earlier (Ernesto Cardenal wrote to him last month begging him to intervene with Ortega and he refused.) Today he said, “something that I understand now is that what used to be a dream has fallen into autocracy. Those who were revolutionaries yesterday have lost their reason, and it’s time to say I’m leaving.” This was accompanied by a letter from the Uruguayan Senate condemning Ortega. He may have destroyed the roadblocks in time for the 19 of july celebrations, but he has not destroyed the popular uprising.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Seriously? This is not a report – it’s an infographic. Why was Grayzone not able to discover this in their investigations on NED financing for these organizations? They came up with records of about $700,000 this year from NED, and 4.4 Million over 4 years. It looks like the designer added some pictures and a bunch of zeros and turned it into a investigative report.

  • justice

    You clearly don’t even know your facts.. 2 people died, as awful as this is they were NOT students, they were known pandilleros from their barrios. There is overwhelming evidence that they were heavily armed. Why on earth would it take a “genocidal” police 20 hours (according to the young woman who said the police started shooting at 12 pm Friday and didn’t stop until 8 am Saturday) to clear out the “students” with only two casualties? If the “students” were “Pacificos” this would not have taken 20 hours! USE LOGIC.
    IN WHAT country can a group of armed people take over a public university and attack people day and night, use the university as a motel/expendio, burn parts of it, rob it, destroy it? MILLIONS OF DOLLARS worth of equipment and infrastructure looted and destroyed. WHY did they not do this at the UCA or UAM? WHY did they do it to the University that gives the most scholarships in Nicaragua, and the University where most of the countries poorer students attend? You are choosing to see what you want, you even say in your facebook that you hate to “go out of your bubble”. The feminists groups are allies of the MRS and receive funding from US and EU groups that have worked tirelessly the past 11 years to discredit the FSLN. YOU talk about not supporting US intervention in any Latin American country, yet you support ALL the people that actively work for the US agenda.

  • justice

    You know what I find amusing? Every single comment claiming this article “lacks” facts, and is “based on lies”, comes from people who are known MRS supporters, or people who work or have worked for these US/EU funded NGO’s ..YOU GUYS are literally the opposition.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Hi “Justice” So you are saying that it can’t be true because not enough people died? What a perverse argument! You should definitely tell that to the mother of Gerard Vasquez, the UNAN student who was buried yesterday. My family lives in the neighborhood a few blocks away from UNAN and they could hear the shots all night long. Also, I don’t know where you got the 11 years bit – I lost my respect for Daniel Ortega in 1998 when I found out he had been raping his step daughter since she was 9.

    BTW, thanks for letting me know that you’ve been stalking me on FB; it reminded me to update my privacy settings!

  • Lillian Marie Hall

    So that offsets the hundreds of thousands of people who are not private sector or Right wing? Or do you think all those people are getting a paycheck from some think tank or the embassy? I think the people protesting are not being manipulated or paid by anyone (at least the people I know) and anyway you’d have to pay people an awful lot to get shot at, jailed, beaten, etc. Obviously in the crowds there are all kinds of people from all walks of life and ideologies who are simply fed up with the Ortegas (and many still consider themselves Sandinistas- not Danielistas). And one cannot say that the MRS or Maradiaga are the leaders of this uprising. There are no leaders- and that is why it will be hard for Ortega to crush it.

  • Will Duarte

    I invite everybody to keep an eye out for tomorrow FSLN march JULY 19TH, In managua!(The day we toppled somoza government)PROBABLY be one of largest in all of Latin America. If You want to really see who has the support of the majority of NICARAGUENSES..pinoleros, nicas. Nicoyas.. Decade after decades of trying to destroy sandinismo, we continue shining!! La lucha sigue!! Vive Los sandinista y pubelo nicaraguense!!!!

  • kevinzeese

    It is very risky taking money from the US government, especially an agency that has been so involved in regime change like the USAID. Of course, USAID does some good work but it is ruined by their regime change work. I left a very good organization because they applied for USAID money. It just pollutes the organization and for an advocacy group in particular, it is very damaging. It also did great damage to Save the Children when USAID money was used to help murder bin Laden. You are more of a research group, so it is less of a problem, but still a serious problem as your research will be questioned by everyone who knows you take USAID funding. It undermines you in the eyes of many, especially when you join in attacks on Ortega when the US is involved in a regime change operation. You come across as a parrot for US imperialism, even if you are not.

    On the changing narrative, I do not see it as a strategic shift but as the reality of a complicated situation. Gangs, drug dealers and criminals have been heavily involved in manning the roadblocks and in the violence of the opposition. They were being paid to do so by oligarchs, but are also paid by drug traffickers, at least those are the reports I am getting. And, the roadblocks were involved in horrible violence, that showed their gang and criminal nature. The opposition made a mistake aligning with them and using violence as the centerpiece of their strategy.

    There is no indication that the Nicaraguan government or President Ortega are moving away from their opposition to US imperialism and their alliances with Cuba and Venezuela along with other anti-imperialists in the region. They continue to be part of the alternatives to the US-dominated OAS which has lost great credibility in the last decade or so as people see it for what it is, a DC-based and dominated group trying to ensure oligarchs and foreign investors control the region. It shows how weak OAS is with their refusal to endorse the biased anti-Nicaragua report. They cannot even get their own reports approved by their members.

    I realize debate around Nica has gotten fierce and that is because the issues are of a great deal of importance. My hope is that now that the coup is failing and the barricades are being removed that people can calm down and take time to reflect.

    The bottom line for me is opposition to US imperialism and opposition to neoliberal capitalism of western finance and oligarchs. When the fog is cleared, that is what this coup attempt was about. There continue to be struggling masses in Nica and other countries in the region. They will not be lifted up by western bankers, the IMF or the oligarchs. They will only be lifted out of economic destitution by governments that build from the bottom up.

  • kevinzeese

    Here are a series of articles we have published about USAID’s role in US imperialism and regime change. The work of USAID has been destroyed by its close working relationship with the CIA and the Pentagon. Whenever I see USAID, it immediately raises questions about what is going on. One of my first steps to understanding Nica, when the news reports made no sense, was to look and see who USAID, NED and the National Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute were funding. That provides a road map of the opposition to Ortega. After that I started talking to people in Nica and people who have worked on Nica issues for years. The pieces of the puzzle quickly came together. See http://popularresistance.org/tag/USAID/

  • Mary Ellsberg

    I invite everyone to watch today’s Democracy Now, with Amy Goodman. My son, Julio Martinez Ellsberg, debated Camilo Mejia, who has been serving as the Nicaraguan face of the Danielistas supporters in the US. The are both about the same age, come from Sandinista families and spent part of their youth in the US. The difference is that Camilo joined the US Army (even though he bravely left later on as a CO) and has not returned to Nicaragua in the last 30 years by his own admission. In contrast, Julio returned to Nicaragua after college to serve his people and is there right now. There is also a very moving interview with a Nicaraguan mother whose son was killed by a paramilitary sniper. You can draw your own conclusions.

  • Will Duarte

    Opportunists, most were never real sandinistas to begin with. When Ortega came back into power, many people claim to be sandinistas, even people WHO DONT understand the ideology of sandinismo. Lmao every counter revolution is going to be with a bunch of sellouts. Even the revolution that’s toppled somoza, had involved conservatives and liberals, even though majority were sandinistas. It happens, you say it’s hard but I beg to differ, their movement has been crushed, and nobody believe their lies, you must not be Nicaragua.

  • kevinzeese

    You can watch the debate here: https://www.democracynow.org/2018/7/18/debate_on_political_crisis_violent_deaths.

    Democracy Now! has made a major improvement in their coverage with this debate. Thank goodness Camilo was on to counter the arguments of Ellsberg, who is allied with the NGOs and students, who are funded by NED. Ellsberg’s comments on the economy and the opposition to Ortega were way off base, but Camilo calmly responded and corrected the record on the Nica economy, the make-up of the opposition, the widespread support for Ortega, and the violent tactics of the failing coup. Amy and Juan tried to be neutral but they are still infected by the false media that surrounds all of us, so they leaned toward Ellsberg. Everything that Camilo said is documented, much of it in the article I co-authored in the article these comments are responding to as well as in some of the video and other content posted in these discussions.

  • Will Duarte

    As nicarguense not all my family are in FSLN. Some as are even protesting against them. Believe me when I say this, nobody understand the situation more than me. Shit even in the revolution we had family that were in the side of somoza as GUARDIA. That’s war , it happens, people believe in what they believe. It is what it is. My family were critical of Ortega, RAISED IN family full of intellectuals but you’ll never see us being SELLOUTS.

  • Will Duarte

    I think it sicking to have white people trying to push a civil war agenda in my country. If they are the majority like you say they are, then they can beat him in the 2021 elections. You telling him what your friend says means nothing to me, it’s like saying someone asking a “white person in Alabama in 50s about a person of color”, or gusanos saying che was racist. If they stopped the tranques and shooting at cops. Their won’t be another death.

  • Will Duarte

    We have video of what happen, the motherfucker got kicked one time and pulled a flop on us. Funniest shit ever. Lmk if u want the YouTube link

  • Will Duarte

    My point on the Alabama shit, is when you hate somebody for so long. You use anything to try to dehumanized a people and make them look evil. But everytime a Sandinista got tortured or burned alive these last 2 months, it must’ve been their fault their evil.. huh?

  • miralamira

    Yes. Please send me the link. I watched him being chased out of the restaurant. You also didn’t answer my questions. Who attacked him?

  • miralamira

    And who attacked all of the protestors in Camino de Oriente?

  • Mary Ellsberg

    Right, either they were infected by false media, or they found Julio more compelling, since he was speaking publicly for the first time from personal experience, instead of repeating well-rehearsed talking points like Camilo. What is the basis of Camilo’s expertise, or yours, for that matter, given that neither of you have set foot in Nicaragua in decades, if ever? He certainly does not get his information from his family in Nicaragua, as they are all fighting against the Ortega/Murillo regime. His father, Carlos Mejia Godoy, just released a new album of songs dedicated to the resistance, including a new homage to Monimbo, after it was attacked this week. It was interesting that Camilo did not answer the questions about his father.

  • Will Duarte

    Lol, you were never a real sandinista to begin with. Dora Maria tellez doesnt have the support of the working class or the poor. And has become a traitor to the people.

  • kevinzeese

    I wonder who is funding your son’s work or the NGOs and students he is working with? NED dominates NGO’s in Nica and has been funding and training with the small group of students involved in the opposition.

    Interesting they mentioned Camilo’s father twice but failed to mention Julio’s mother is funded by USAID. That would have completely undermined him.

    The telling moment was when Julio said “Have I missed any talking points” — talk about rehearsed.

  • Margaret Flowers

    Your son did a good job for his first time. But it’s funny that you raise talking points because he said on the show, “Did I hit all the talking points?” And I thought it was odd that Camilo’s familt was talked about but the fact that you receive money from USAID, which is an agent of US imperialism was not pointed out, nor was it mentioned who funds the student groups that your son is part of. Since we know that organizations like NED fund the student groups, are they involved in the groups that your son is in? This is important information to know what someone’s biases are.

  • Mary Ellsberg

    He was referring to whether he addressed all of Camilo’s “talking points.” I don’t know where you get this “I am funded by USAID nonsense.” Please point out a single publication of mine in the last 30 years that has any connection to the US government. If you think you can discredit me or my son with these veiled threats, knock yourself out. If you knew anything about the different student groups you would know that the group he is affiliated with did not participate in the trip to the US, and they receive no funding, US or otherwise. That is the case for every person I know who is engaged in the protests. And I would never have mentioned him at all had he not decided to accept this last minute invitation to participate in DN – I don’t want him to end up like any of the other protesters you have already smeared with your nasty innuendos who were beaten up or disappeared within days of your publication. They mentioned Julio’s grandfather together with Carlos Mejia for obvious reasons, because they are both very well known to the audience of Democracy Now – I believe Amy called my father, “the most important whistleblower in American History” and I can assure you that Julio has his grandfather’s values and his full support.

    I would really like you to answer the question I have asked several times, which is – what is your experience in Nicaragua – have you ever been there, do you even speak Spanish, and who is funding your work? You have never disclosed this, and I think it is important for readers to know this so they can assess your credibility. You have appeared out of nowhere as a self-appointed expert on Nicaragua. Why should anyone believe you at all?

    I’m sure you will be happy to hear that I am done here. The reason I have been so persistent in engaging with you and your readers was because I am convinced that the lives of my loved ones and comrades in the popular movements depend on people on the left learning the truth about what is really going on in Nicaragua. Many leftist parties in Latin America and Europe have already acknowledged their misplaced loyalties, like Pepe Mujica from Uruguay last night who apologised to the Nicaraguan people for taking so long to urge Ortega to leave. However, I do not wish to risk the safety of my son and my friends who are resisting Ortega’s murderous regime by continuing to waste my breath here. Peace, Mary

  • kevinzeese

    You include funding from USAID is in your CV. You even said in earlier comments that you worried that taking money from USAID would undermine your credibility. You are not denying it now, are you? https://elliott.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2661/f/downloads/Mary%20Ellsberg%20CV%20.pdf

    I know your father. I have been in a police van with him in handcuffs together and I respect him. The one area where we disagree is electoral politics. He is too much of a Democratic Party supporter for me as I reject both parties.The Democratic Party is too tied to Wall Street and war for me to support it. Your father and I have worked together on multiple issues including the release of Chelsea Manning and opposition to various wars and interventions. See these photos of me with your father and one with Margaret Flowers (the co-director of Popular Resistance) with him and Chris Hedges just before they got arrested protesting the Afghanistan War.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be1473a9f6a4a2c3d701c37e09bb394cd67f7d5a7335033bb6800faf4c9d9ad8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e5905445de19b369230ce994c23aff1ac1d75ec8ed824b72e1daa407b9c1568c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14627df1b7e9e0e0477a41f7a9aa1d26c560e2d92e6ce3da31f77ec064d83e46.jpg

    There is a spectrum of those who are left of center, e.g. liberals often support wars and interventions while people further to the left consistently oppose US imperialism. Some liberals support so-called “humanitarian wars,” I see that as an oxymoron. Some think that the US knows better than the poor people of countries like Nicaragua and Venezuela, or Cuba, or other nations. For me those people need to be empowered to create their own destiny without the bullying or buying off of them by the United States. I left working with an organization I supported because they applied for a USAID grant as I cannot see taking money from a government agency involved in regime change. So there is a spectrum, it seems you fall left of center (your son probably as well) but you do not seem to oppose US regime change in Nica or a violent coup attempt against a very popular, democratically elected government. So, we differ.

    I hope that as this coup winds down that there is an opportunity to reflect. It would be great if the NGOs in Nica who have taken money from NED and USAID realize that they have hurt their credibility by being aligned with the US government. They need to break from US financial relationships and stand with the sovereignty of Nicaragua. This entire episode of a violent coup attempt that create chaos and hurt so many, has further undermined those who are out of power in Nica. People and organizations in the regime change coalition need to rethink their political orientation and put Nicaragua first, especially the poorest in Nicaragua.

    Thank you for participating in the discussion. It has been appreciated.

  • Will Duarte

    I hope everybody tunes in today to our Sandinsita day of revolution, to remember the day we toppled the Somoza. And to out put a statement that we are millions and we are majority. P.S. they said Ortega lost MASAYA, just seen a video and looks like the WHOLE CITY CAME OUT TO SUPPORT THE FSLN AND ORTEGA. 🙂 Have a good day everybody

  • JMMorgan

    Thanks for the good research and the interesting discussion with Mary Ellsberg. I come down with you, but it is a good reminder of how people of good will can end up with quite different positions.

    One thing that seems obvious to me is that many more people in or from Nicaragua who have time, resources and English proficiency to comment on articles like this will be from the upper class. Same in the case of Venezuela.

  • d-Democrat

    Comparing what is written here to what the ‘other’ side is reporting’ . . . there is a clear difference. This article is lengthy and detailed and I have confidence that it is accurate [it confirms other reports from other sources] . . . the ‘other’ side appears to be a series of calculated attacks against the people in favor of the right-wing minority.

  • I greatly appreciate your providing this acquaintanceship with reality…it is getting seriously disturbing to see North American media feed misinformation, and it is also troublesome that progressive You Tubers will not discuss strategy on how to get solidarity organized in North America, in support of genuine self determination practices in Latin America.

    The success of the forces of repression in undermining many Latin governments that have been upholding people power over the first decade of this century, needs to be looked at as a strategic problem – and the answer, in my view, is to enable all the grass roots, democratically-oriented civil groups to band together in order to make the public interest be the focus of political action. I see the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as being the ideal template for achieving such action. It requires that we use the available organizing tools to get authentic rights-based thinking developed in policy circles. Some things that could be instrumental are 1] sharing goals for unity the people of the world on fair trade practice in places like the discussion page on the You Tube channel of the Sanders Institute https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMrRWT88JkbVs2rbVlr9K2Q/discussion. Canadians need to help build a strong common front for making the most of the 17 SDGs around the world in areas where progressive goals can be most readily achieved. 2] People can take the Hive Mind course from the Inter Council Network over the internet for free, which is a very valuable tool for understanding the requirements for transformative change and moving from surface framing of issues to deep framing. I urge all those who have came to the conclusion that the best way to checkmate the oligarchy is to unite the people of the world, to begin such communications. A link in Canada for the 17 SDGs is found at: bccic.ca/gecco.

    Thanks Kevin for running the Popular Resistance School with Dr. Flowers… this a great series!

  • JR

    What a crock of shit article. its this the peace rally you mention? lol fucking hilarious. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cc6be39eca58e8e7f0d8cce9273a3b88c47ca7eefdec0504e44331d0d13865a7.jpg

  • JR

    Yeah but @kevinzeese:disqus has no fucking clue what is happening in Nicaragua. I doubt he has a passport let alone leaves his computer to actually see what is going on. You in Masaya Kevin? Managua?

  • JR

    They want to be rid of a dictator. And the awesome thing is, this hatred for Otega spreads generations and demographic lines on multiple sides.

  • JR
  • JR

    Changing constitutions to allow for continual re-election is something authoritarian dictators do. nuf said.

  • JR

    Dude stop acting like you actually know what is going on. Your comments reek of 1st world privilege, as you sit at your desk hurling off demeaning comments to users, and the obvious fact that you are nowhere close to Nicaragua to actually comment on the subject.

  • JR

    It that all you’ve got? You’re definitely a birther….

  • JR

    No he has not lol.

  • JR

    exactly. you mean no.

  • JR

    This is nothing but propaganda is the inaccuracy.

  • JR

    Yes, he changed the constitution to do so, only authoritarian dictator douchebags do such.

  • Donna Cunningham

    Many here in the United States hear you and know the truth of this. We stand with you as we fight our battle here to stop this from happening within our borders. Thank you for this report.

  • Donna Cunningham

    Why???

  • Donna Cunningham

    I’ve been following all these comments and what comes to mind is that it all sounds like the Vietnam War that was all a lie. It’s the back & forth arguments that are hiding so much. No one is helping the cause. My question. Why would Ortega who when after elected went in and made the change to better his Country,
    Put the power back into the peoples hands, raise the middle class against the private sector Oligarchy. which is what we are trying to do here in the US against our Government and Oligarchy.
    Why would he out of the Blue sky suddenly decide to destroy it all.?????

  • Astr

    Okay, but regarding Ukraine, wasn’t the former corrupt pro-Putin oligarch even worse than the pro-EU one right now?

  • kevinzeese

    Is that a US decision? The reason for the coup was the US wanted to put in place a friendly government and did so. The current president was in Wikileaks State Department documents described as Our Man In Ukraine, and he was described as corrupt.

    The Prime Minister Yats, was described in a telepone call made public between Victoria Nuland of the State Dept and the US Ambassador to Ukraine as their selection for Prime Minister.

    The Finance Minister, was a long-time State Department official who moved to Ukraine after the Color Revolution. She then became the conduit for US funds to the opposition in Ukraine through an investment fund. On the day she was selected Finance Minister, Our Man In Ukraine, the president, made her a Ukrainian citizen so she could be Finance Minister.

    On the board of the largest private energy company in Ukraine were put Joe Biden’s son and a long-time friend and financial ally of John Kerry.

    It was a US takeover. The US hopes to get Ukraine in NATO to further the border militarism with Russia and they hoped to get the Russian Navy Base in Crimea, which has been part of Russia for hundreds of years, but Putin and the Crimean people would not allow that, so on that the US failed. Now Trump is arming Kiev, so the US has not given up on that goal yet.

  • Eli Pajuelo

    Thanks Kevin for your thorough work.

    I see people trying to discredit you for not being physically in Nicaragua. However, I don’t buy that argument. I remember living in Peru during the years of terrorism, but I don’t remember ever seeing a terrorist or a bombed place myself. Never saw a power line down in the ground. Just heard it from the news, saw the pictures published. It is impossible for somebody to witness each and every thing that happens in a locality. There is always the influence of the journalist, publisher, editor, with whatever bias they might have. The real culprits might not be uncovered directly by those reports. And nowadays we have the social media, together with the “social engineering” technology to make us believe on some “reality”.

    Thus, critical analysis of the information received from several sources is vital to corroborate facts. Who benefits, who has motives, who has the means to do it and cover it up, as Kevin Barrett would say, are important questions to be asked.

  • nikto

    Are you some kind of John Negroponte wannabe?

    Your dishonesty is visible from miles away.

  • nikto

    JR,

    You give scum a bad name.

  • Robert Jones

    I very much like reading articles from both sides of an issue. I believe that both sides have legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, it’s just impossible to know what exactly is the truth. Every single writer has bias one way or the other. It’s human nature. Facts can be manipulated or used to support a narrative. Facts can be omitted. Sources lie due to their bias. Sadly, 100% truth is unachievable. Personally, I find that pictures and videos along with articles from both perspectives provides the most clarity, albeit still quite foggy. From what I have seen firsthand living in Nicaragua, along with photos, videos and reading hundreds of articles, both sides have spread numerous lies about the situation. Both sides have been violent. There are without a doubt protesters that have been armed and violent. There have been attacks on sandinista homes in my area. There have also been pro gov para militaries that were attacking the tranques with weapons that are illegal but for the army. And this was right alongside the police forces. With all of the misinformation being fed through the media and it’s sources, it is just impossible for anybody, even an obviously intelligent and well educated person like Kevin Zeese, to know exactly what is happening behind the scenes. All governments have at least some minority group opposition that work constantly to undermine a current regime. And I know history shows that the US is all too ready to interfere in world affairs. All that said, sometimes all we can do to find some sliver of truth is read multiple reports from multiple, well reputed sources from more than country if possible. And right now, many of those outlets are reporting that the govt here in Nicaragua is repressing it’s people. As a US citizen, I was skeptical of what to believe from the reports, because many of the news outlets here are owned by either the government or wealthy families that are opposing the govt. However, the recent interviews that Daniel Ortega has granted have been quite enlightening. He has given different answers as to the origins of the parapoliciales. First he said they were financed by Nicaraguan political groups, then he said they were being assisted by the US, and most recently he said they were volunteer police and civilians defending themselves from attacks. Those comments do not make him look very good. So even though I may not agree with many of the points of this article, I do appreciate the efforts to give voice to another side of the story. Thanks, Kevin Zeese.

  • farabundomarti

    Bullshit… Just a quick search I saw one thing: Christian Emiliano Cárdenas – Burned inside of the CUUN, allegedly tortured. His nickname is Chino, a JS member that climbed on top of the CUUN building and Al Carbón which also burned with CUUN. The owner of CUUN shot at the guys who had climbed there to set fire to CUUN and Al Carbón and is there in the vide that you see him fall in. The building was already on fire and he burned to death. He was only recognized because of his belt. So, this asshole was a JS member sent there to burn the building and died in the process so fuck him and you for putting out such bullshit. Remember, there is video of this, you asshole.

  • Robert Jones

    The only thing missing in this article is the role the Illuminati is playing in the Nicaragua crisis and the effect that the property thievery is having on the unicorn population.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    I have lived in Nicaragua for the past 13 years and have watched perhaps 1,000 videos of the protests. This article is pure BS, as are your comments. This is not a coup and the US is not involved.

    The students are not right wing. The country – not just the students – protested cuts in the pension system that the IMF demanded because the IMF uses the social security money to repay their loans. People are expected to work longer and receive less. Does that sound like a right wing protest? Of course not.

    The police in the videos can clearly be seen protecting the paramilitaries as the paramilitaries set fire to buildings when they are not busy shooting and wounding. It is against the law to show those videos, but go La Prensa or 100% Notices and you can witness hundreds of videos that document the police and paramilitary brutality.

    In Nicaragua, it is now against the law to aid a protestor. Protestors are considered terrorists and if you help or spread information that goes against the official party line, you can be arrested and jailed for 15-20 years.

    This is a horrible situation. Innocents have been pulled form their homes, tortured and left for dead or killed for standing up for their basic human rights to determine their form of government. This BS articles frustrating because those of us who live and work here cannot respond without fear of reprisals from the government. You don’t know what the hell you are talking about. 80% of the country wants new elections and the intelligentsia form the Sandinistas (artists, writers, musicians, professors) have left the party in droves.

    Nicaraguans hate this BS propaganda. You don’t live here. You don’t know anything about the country or what fueled the protests, but ignorance has never kept idiots from sharing their opinions with the world.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    You do not know what you are talking about.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    You don’t live here, Are you being paid by Ortega to write this BS? because you for;r have the first clue about what is happening here or who has caused the problems.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    Shill. A paid troll for the government of Nicaragua.

    This is not a war against sth police. The police and paramilitaries have AK-47s. the protesters ahve flags, slingshots and non-deadly mortars.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    Go to the FSLN group created in April 2018. Look at the members, the majority of whom share some form of the name Sandiino, Che or Viva Daniel, all of whom created their FB pages within the past two months. The FSLN created thousands of fake accounts to make it look like there is more support than reality. Everyone living here knows that there is no support for the government, but since the government has killed over 400, injured more than 2,500, tortured hundred and disappeared a few hundred more while making it against the law to protest the government, you don’t hear their voices. Not that you would be cause you are paid shill.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    You offered no proof that “white people’ are pushing an agenda for Nicaragua other than claims by DO that it is outside influence. More than a million Nicaraguans have protested against the present government. How did a bunch of white people convince a million to march against Ortega?

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    How many people had to register with the party to get a job? how many people work for the government are not Sandinista party members?

  • Will Duarte

    Bitch I’m nicaraguense, gtfo with that shit, tell this piece of shit right wingers to stop killing my people. Nobody gets paid, I’m willing to die for my people for free. So miss me with that shit

  • Will Duarte

    Yeah and theirs millions of more sandinistas

  • Will Duarte

    No most people dont want to get tortured by your “peaceful protesters” or get their houses burnt down. So they try to conceal their identity because people like you like to turn a blind eye their brutality. And all the deaths of sandinistas these last months.

  • Will Duarte

    My great grandfather fought with sandino, your not even a pinolero, go back to america with that bullshit babosa

  • Will Duarte

    LMFAO!!! I’m from barrios monsenor lezcano babosa in MANAGUA!!!

  • Will Duarte

    They left because their sellouts, the working class like me support FSLN. you only speak for the upper class sandinistas who were rich n left to join the MRS, and betray us because they no longer support the cause, and have close ties to USA.

  • Will Duarte

    Your white, YOUR NOT EVEN NICARAGUENSE STFU!!! MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER WAS A NATIVE FROM MONIMBO, MASAYA. WHICH MEANS THIS HAS BEEN MY LAND FOR A WHILE. I SPEAK W.E TF I WANT. YOU ONLY SPEAK FOR THE OPPOSITION. SANDINISTAS ARE MILLIONS.

  • Will Duarte

    Lol

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    One’s ethnicity has nothing to do with this. you are using your all;aged Nicaraguan heritage as a truth barometer. If you know anything about Monibo, you know that the police are going door to door, pulling out young people accused of helping the protestors.

    The Sandinistas are not millions, either. What a load of crap. And even if they were, out does not justify killing someone whop wants to have their voice heard. Everyone oaths planet has a right to free speech and the freedom to choose their government.

    Ilf the government is killing people (448 officially), then they are afraid that their lies and corruption will be exposed. Who is it that Roberto Rivas had a plane and a key in the US, three sports cars worth over $100K in Costa Rica, a mansion in CR valued at over a million dollars, a $15 million mansion in sSpain and a huge compound in Pacific Marlin in SJDS? The guy works 4 months very fofive years. Do you think Sandinistas are happy wit that? No.

    You don’t speak for all Sandinistas. you are a barely literate poser being paid by the Nicaraguan government to right this bovine excrement. You don’t live here so maybe you should assume that your political family is lying to you since you are not actually here to witness the atrocities.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    Wy was the Sandinista mayor of Masaya hiding out in the US? Did you see the photos of the mayor and his wife as they were deported from the US after having their visas pulled?

    They didn’t leave because they were sellouts. they left because the gopvrnment made physical threats against them. They have a right to determine their own form of government, regardless of the party in power. That is out basic human rights. the Sandinistas do not grant human rights but the current party certainly seems bent own destroying them.

    How could you support a man who raped his step daughter for years?

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    The police killed two of the police who resigned to send a message. More than 1,000 police and paramilitary have put down their arms and resigned. Even Ortega’s brother told him to opt for early elections and leave.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    The videos clearly show the police protecting the paramilitary forces as they shoot down people and torch buildings. Why would the police not arrest some crazy dudes running around with machine guns if they were not working for the government?

    Did you see the video of the female doctor whose head was bashed in by the boot of a police officer?

    Did you see the videos of the police looting the stores?

    Did you see the videos of the police murdeing a journalist?

    The proof is out there. You look like a fool defending a lie.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    I saw the march! I saw the empty buses returning to Nicaragua because the FSLN couldn’t find supporters to bus in.

    How many of the handle of supporters on the 19th didn’t ahve a job with the government? Again, how many people who are not members of the Sandinista Party have employment with the government?

  • kevinzeese

    Your BS bias becomes obvious when you write:

    “Ilf the government is killing people (448 officially),”

    The government did not kill 448 people — give me a source for that.

    Most of the deaths were not due to the government but do to the violent protesters — and some of their murders were truly grotesque — torture and burning to death.

    See https://popularresistance.org/how-washington-and-soft-power-ngos-manipulated-nicaraguas-death-toll-to-drive-regime-change-and-sanctions/

    With that big lie of yours, it means you simply cannot be trusted. Without proof of your comments they should be doubted.

  • Will Duarte

    Bullshit.. lmao u seen one picture probably floating around.. I have videos, keep up the propaganda though.. good luck

  • Will Duarte

    Lol did you see the opposition burning down the banks,police station, and houses to every sandinsita. Did you see how they keep torturing sandinstas, did you see they keep killing sandinistas families for simply being a sandinista? Havbt over 20 police been killed? Havbt they been burning down government buildings? Are they not shooting at cops??? They aren’t the aren’t the majority like it or not. Show me evidence please REAL EVIDENCE

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    The government killed peaceful protestors upset with a pension decrease and tax increase demanded by the IMF. the government shot and killed peaceful protestors and thus the violence began. had the government not killed the peaceful protestors, there would be no violence and 448 known people (not to mention the disappeared and those killed but whose families are not allowed to announce it because not just makes the government look worse with every innocent death) have died. the government started this. the opposition is armed with slingshots and mortars.

    If i a protestor is walking around with a mask and an AK47, why are the police not arresting them? Would that not be against the law?

    There are thousands of videos that will be shown when there is a Truth Commission one day. That is the only way Nicaragua is ever going to heal from this, but them what happens to rabid Orteguistas when the party is over and the truth is splashed across the TV, papers and computer screens? Then what?

    Ortega served time in jail for robbing Bank of America branch. According to his stepdaughter , he rpaed her for two years when she was 13.

    The protestors are not asking for a change in government policies. They want financial transparency. If Ortega was allowed to run a second term because his human rights would be violated if he wasn’t allowed to run again, ten how is it that the Nicaraguan people do not have that human right to express themselves? / the same things the protestors are asking are the same words Danile used against Somoza. Now Ortega is repeating the same rhetoric from Somoza. Study history.

  • Will Duarte

    A fool , this is why you are NOT NICARGUANESE. BECAUSE you dont understand my people or culture and history. Your a visitor not a resident. So stay in your lane. SANDINISTAS ARE MILLIONS, MILLIONS.

  • Will Duarte

    Propaganda!!! Lol you swear like I dont have friends who are cops. Dont come at me with bullshit, were the evidence?? Str8 B.S.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    There are thousands of pictures of the failure to amass the fake Facebook Sandinistas, all of whom are named Sandino or Viva Daniel and whose accounts were created in April, May and June. Anyone can Google it and find proof from all directions that there was no enthusiasm and poorly attended. Also, what percentage of those attending the festivities on the 19th worked for the government? And how many non-Sandinistas work for the government? Any?

    You have no right to lie to other people to protect your delusions.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    Two of the police had resigned and they were immediately killed.

    The government has had to bring in Venezuelans and Cubans via Puerto Cabezas to serve as paramilitaries because so many good-hearted police said no to killing their brothers and sisters. One of the captured paramilitary admit dot being Cuban, Everyone knows the difference in accents. This is another reason they hide their faces,

    How many doctors have been fired now for trading injured protestors? Is it up to 48? Do you believe the female doctor who was protesting deserved to have the police kick her in the head, fracturing her skull? Did you see that video? It was viewed millions of times, so you must’ve seen it.

    No government has a right to limit a person’s speech. Human rights are more important than the wishes of bureaucrats.

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    There certainly seems to be a large discrepancy in the deaths of these supporting Ortega and thos against him. There are 10 times more dead protestors than Ortega supporters, not to mention the 2,500 protestors injured by the police.

    And given the video evidence of the police protecting the mercado and the mayor’s office while letting paramilitaries run toward the buildings behind them (while the Masaya mayor mysteriously flies to the US that day) and ignite them on fire, how is it that we are to believe that these are violent protestors instead of paid agitators to make the protestors look bad?

    You can lie to yourself all you want, but the videos e its and have been viewed by millions of people around the world.

  • Will Duarte

    Lmfao… hahahahhaha

  • Will Duarte

    Hahahahhaha

  • Will Duarte

    I need some more white privilege tearsss… more fascists crybabies.. mi vale Turka. What you say. You just admitted their aren’t peaceful.. have good life.. if a war started today you will lose. Keep spreading your FAKE PROPAGANDA. I will be in the side of the humble people of Nicaragua.

  • Will Duarte

    Hahahahhhahahahha

  • Will Duarte

    Hahahahhahahahahha

  • Will Duarte

    I dont need google sweetheart

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    What kind of sick person laughs his ass off about the deaths of other people?

    The list of 448 infused pro-Sandinista and opposition deaths. Amnesty International has the list. Care to see it?

  • Will Duarte

    I laugh at you

  • Kelly Ann Thomas

    So am I to take it that you are with the 80% of the humble people of Nicaragua who want Ortega removed and new elections? The protests were non-violent until the police started shooting at protestors. The videos do not lie. You do.

  • Will Duarte
  • farabundomarti

    And you are where? Are you in Nicaragua? Are you out there in the front lines? Are you wearing a bulletproof vest taking it all in and reporting on it?

    Didn’t think so.

  • farabundomarti

    They wear masks because they are cowards. One of my employees, en ex-military asked me for a raise. I said so and so he said that he needed more money and that the government was offering him 8000 Córdobas to go fight to “defend the revolution.” He knows I’m a leftist and that’s why he told me with details. He also told me that in these days it’s better to be on the side of the government, or else. They wear masks because they are ex-military paid mercenaries and they don’t want people to recognize them. So many of them are old guys with nothing to do who think war is the only way to win and who are having an orgasm because they were told the USA is involved. A dream come true.

  • farabundomarti

    Those people in Masaya, for the most part were not even Masayans, they were toma tierras who are promised stolen land by the government to go do what they do.

  • hollywoodjeff

    When was the last time you were in Nicaragua?

  • hollywoodjeff

    This post does not become you. Is this the only response you can make to Ellsberg’s lengthy detailed post on her experiences in Nicaragua? An earlier comment of your justifying Rosa Murillo being Ortega’s vicepresiden because she is “competent” seems to be an indication that you can only see this or any global situation through the same ideological filters that led so many well intentioned people to misread what was happening in the USSR and the East Bloc during the Cold War and then not bother to analyze why it all collapsed, not with a bang but a whimper.

  • hollywoodjeff

    Your smears are getting uglier. And since you are not there and may never have been there maybe a little humility on your part is in order. This isnn’t Hungary in 1956 or Prague in 1968..

  • hollywoodjeff

    I saw the DN! interview and was very impressed with Julio. You should be very proud of him. What I could never figure out at the time was what led Camilo Mejia to join the US Army in the first place.

  • hollywoodjeff

    I guess Kevin needed some backup in his smear campaign and you, naturally, was the first one he thought of.

  • hollywoodjeff

    I once respected you and no doubt will again because of your record as an activist but that you repeat the same smear repeatedly is a sign that Mary Ellsberg’s arguments are more telling than what you have put together second hand from people on the ground who have their own agendas or are, more likely, simply acting out of party loyalty without realizing that the party has drifted from its principles as most parties of the left have, unfortunately, tended to do.

  • kevinzeese

    Nils – the coauthor of this article lives in Nicaragua.

  • Excellent. I often present some of the same arguments, yet my critics keep using the ‘New Trumpian Offense’, “Prove It”. And then even with pictures, eye witness accounts they still say that is not enough. The opposition is strongly playing the ‘deaf and dumb card’ to keep their case alive.