Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua ‘National Security Threat’ And Targets Mexico

| Educate!

Above Photo: From Thegrayzone.com

After presiding over a far-right coup in Bolivia, the US dubbed Nicaragua a “national security threat” and announced new sanctions, while Trump designated drug cartels in Mexico as “terrorists” and refused to rule out military intervention.

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems.

Immediately after overseeing a far-right military coup in Bolivia on November 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018.

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to US national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments.

These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and US support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.

Trump admin declares Nicaragua a ‘national security threat’

A day after the US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, the White House released a statement applauding the military putsch and making it clear that two countries were next on Washington’s target list: “These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua,” Trump declared.

On November 25, the Trump White House then quietly issued a statement characterizing Nicaragua as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

This prolonged for an additional year an executive order Trump had signed in 2018 declaring a state of “national emergency” on the Central American country.

Trump’s 2018 declaration came after a failed violent right-wing coup attempt in Nicaragua. The US government has funded and supported many of the opposition groups that sought to topple elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and cheered them on as they sought to overthrow him.

The 2018 national security threat designation was quickly followed by economic warfare. In December the US Congress approved the NICA Act without any opposition. This legislation gave Trump the authority to impose sanctions on Nicaragua, and prevents international financial institutions from doing business with Managua.

Trump’s new 2019 statement spewed outlandish propaganda against Nicaragua, referring to its democratically elected government — which for decades has been targeted for overthrow by Washington — as a supposedly violent and corrupt “regime.”

This executive order is similar to one made by President Barack Obama in 2015, which designated Venezuela as a threat to US national security.

Both orders were used to justify the unilateral imposition of suffocating economic sanctions. And Trump’s renewal of the order paves the way for an escalated economic attack on Nicaragua.

The extension received negligible coverage in mainstream English-language corporate media, but right-wing Spanish-language outlets in Latin America heavily amplified it.

And opposition activists are gleefully cheering on the intensification of Washington’s hybrid warfare against Managua.

More aggressive US sanctions against Nicaragua

Voice of America (VOA), the US government’s main foreign broadcasting service, noted that the extension of the executive order will be followed with more economic attacks.

Washington’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, told VOA, “The pressure against Nicaragua is going to continue.”

The OAS representative added that Trump will be announcing new sanctions against the Nicaraguan government in the coming weeks.

VOA stated clearly that “Nicaragua, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is one of the Latin American countries whose government Trump has made a priority to put diplomatic and economic pressure on to bring about regime change.”

This is not just rhetoric. The US Department of the Treasury updated the Nicaragua-related sanctions section of its website as recently as November 8.

And in September, the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a “more comprehensive set of regulations,” strengthening the existing sanctions on Nicaragua.

Voice of America’s report quoted several right-wing Nicaraguans who openly called for more US pressure against their country.

Bianca Jagger, a celebrity opposition activist formerly married to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, called on the US to impose sanctions on Nicaragua’s military in particular.

“The Nicaraguan military has not been touched because they [US officials] are hoping that the military will like act the military in Bolivia,” Jagger said, referring to the military officials who violently overthrew Bolivia’s democratically elected president.

Many of these military leaders had been trained at the US government’s School of the Americas, a notorious base of subversion dating back to Operation Condor. Latin American media has been filled in recent days with reports that Bolivian soldiers were paid $50,000 and generals were paid up to $1 million to carry out the putsch.

Voz de América

@VOANoticias

🇳🇮No se ha sancionado el ejército de “porque tal vez tienen esperanza de que el ejército se va a conducir como el de Bolivia”, @BiancaJagger. https://bit.ly/35Gd97t 

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VOA added that “in the case of the Central American government [of Nicaragua], the effect that sanctions can have can be greater because it is a more economically vulnerable country.”

VOA quoted Roberto Courtney, a prominent exiled right-wing activist and executive director of the opposition group Ethics and Transparency, which monitors elections in Nicaragua and is supported by the US government’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Courtney, who claims to be a human rights activist, salivated over the prospects of US economic war on his country, telling VOA, “There is a bit of a difference [between Nicaragua and Bolivia] … the economic vulnerability makes it more likely that the sanctions will have an effect.”

Courtney, who was described by VOA as an “expert on the electoral process,” added, “If there is a stick, there must also be a carrot.” He said the OAS could help apply diplomatic and political pressure against Nicaragua’s government.

These unilateral American sanctions are illegal under international law, and considered an act of war. Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has characterized US economic warfare “financial terrorism,” explaining that it disproportionately targets civilians in order to turn them against their government.

Top right-wing Nicaraguan opposition groups applauded Trump for extending the executive order and for pledging new sanctions against their country.

Alianza Cívica Nicaragua

@AlianzaCivicaNi

Estados Unidos amplió por un año más la vigencia de la Declaración de Emergencia Nacional con respecto a la Situación en Nicaragua. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/text-notice-continuation-national-emergency-respect-situation-nicaragua/ 

Text of a Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Situation in…

On November 27, 2018, by Executive Order 13851, I declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extrao…

whitehouse.gov

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The Nicaraguan Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, an opposition front group that brings together numerous opposition groups, several of which are also funded by the US government’s NED, welcomed the order.

Trump dubs drug cartels in Mexico “terrorists,” refuses to rule out drone strikes

While the US targeting of Nicaragua and Venezuela’s governments is nothing new, Donald Trump is setting his sights on a longtime US ally in Mexico.

In 2018, Mexican voters made history when they elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in a landslide. López Obrador, who is often referred to by his initials AMLO, is Mexico’s first left-wing president in more than five decades. He ran on a progressive campaign pledging to boost social spending, cut poverty, combat corruption, and even decriminalize drugs.

AMLO is wildly popular in Mexico. In February, he had a record-breaking 86 percent approval rating. And he has earned this widespread support by pledging to combat neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy.

“The neoliberal economic model has been a disaster, a calamity for the public life of the country,” AMLO has declared. “The child of neoliberalism is corruption.”

When he unveiled his multibillion-dollar National Development Plan, López Obrador announced the end to “the long night of neoliberalism.”

AMLO’s left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations.

On November 27 — a day after declaring Nicaragua a “national security threat” — Trump announced that the US government will be designating Mexican drug cartels as “terrorist organizations.”

Such a designation could pave the way for direct US military intervention in Mexico.

Trump revealed this new policy in an interview with right-wing Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones and things like that?” O’Reilly asked.

The US president refused to rule out drone strikes or other military action against drug cartels in Mexico.

Bill O’Reilly

@BillOReilly

President @realDonaldTrump tells me he is 90 days into the process of designating Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations – which would give US forces more leverage in taking them out.

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Trump’s announcement seemed to surprise the Mexican government, which immediately called for a meeting with the US State Department.

The designation was particularly ironic considering some top drug cartel leaders in Mexico have long-standing ties to the US government. The leaders of the notoriously brutal cartel the Zetas, for instance, were originally trained in counter-insurgency tactics by the US military.

Throughout the Cold War, the US government armed, trained, and funded right-wing death squads throughout Latin America, many of which were involved in drug trafficking. The CIA also used drug money to fund far-right counter-insurgency paramilitary groups in Central America.

These tactics were also employed in the Middle East and South Asia. The United States armed, trained, and funded far-right Islamist extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s in order to fight the Soviet Union. These same US-backed Salafi-jihadists then founded al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

This strategy was later repeated in the US wars on Libya and Syria. ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani, to take one example, had been trained by the US military and enjoyed direct support from Washington when he was fighting against Russia.

The Barack Obama administration also oversaw a campaign called Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US government helped send thousands of guns to cartels in Mexico.

Mexican journalist Alina Duarte explained that, with the Trump administration’s designation of cartels as terrorists, “They are creating the idea that Mexico represents a threat to their national security.”

“Should we start talking about the possibility of a coup against Lopez Obrador in Mexico?” Duarte asked.

She noted that the US corporate media has embarked on an increasingly ferocious campaign to demonize AMLO, portraying the democratically elected president as a power-hungry aspiring dictator who is supposedly wrecking Mexico’s economy.

Duarte discussed the issue of US interference in Mexican politics in an interview with The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, on their podcast Moderate Rebels:

Now, a whisper campaign over fears that the right-wing opposition may try to overthrow President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is spreading across Mexico.

AMLO himself has publicly addressed the rumors, making it clear that he will not tolerate any discussion of coups.

“How wrong the conservatives and their hawks are,” López Obrador tweeted on November 2. Referencing the 1913 assassination of progressive President Francisco Madero, who had been a leader of the Mexican Revolution, AMLO wrote, “Now is different.”

“Another coup d’état will now be allowed,” he declared.

Andrés Manuel

@lopezobrador_

¡Qué equivocados están los conservadores y sus halcones!
Pudieron cometer la felonía de derrocar y asesinar a Madero porque este hombre bueno, Apóstol de la Democracia, no supo, o las circunstancias no se lo permitieron, apoyarse en una base social que lo protegiera y respaldara

Andrés Manuel

@lopezobrador_

Ahora es distinto. Aunque son otras realidades y no debe caerse en la simplicidad de las comparaciones, la transformación que encabezo cuenta con el respaldo de una mayoría libre y consciente, justa y amante de la legalidad y de la paz, que no permitiría otro golpe de Estado.

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In recent months, as fears of a coup intensify, López Obrador has swung even further to the left, directly challenging the US government and asserting an independent foreign policy that contrasts starkly to the subservience of his predecessors.

AMLO’s government has rejected US efforts to delegitimize Venezuela’s leftist government, throwing a wrench in Washington’s efforts to impose right-wing activist Juan Guaidó as coup leader.

AMLO has welcomed Ecuador’s ousted socialist leader Rafael Correa and hosted Argentina’s left-leaning Alberto Fernández for his first foreign trip after winning the presidency.

In October, López Obrador even welcomed Cuban President Díaz-Canel to Mexico for a historic visit.

Trump’s Operation Condor 2.0

For Washington, an independent and left-wing Mexico is intolerable.

In a speech for right-wing, MAGA hat-wearing Venezuelans in Miami, Florida in February, Trump ranted against socialism for nearly an hour, threatened the remaining leftist countries in Latin America with regime change.

“The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well,” he declared, adding that socialism would never be allowed to take root in heart of capitalism in the United States.

While Trump has claimed he seeks to withdraw from wars in the Middle East (when he is not occupying its oil fields), he has ramped up aggressive US intervention in Latin America.

Though the neoconservative war hawk John Bolton is no longer overseeing US foreign policy, Elliott Abrams remains firmly embedded in the State Department, dusting off his Iran-Contra playbook to decimate socialism in Latin America all over again.

During the height of the Cold War, Operation Condor thousands of dissidents were murdered, and hundreds of thousands more were disappeared, tortured, or imprisoned with the assistance of the US intelligence apparatus.

Today, as Latin America is increasingly viewed through the lens of a new Cold War, Operation Condor is being reignited with new mechanisms of sabotage and subversion in play. The mayhem has only begun.

  • eight.of.wands

    So, miniscule man’ana Nicaragua is suddenly and clearly “a threat” to THE MOST VIOLENT AND MENACING MILITARY APPARATUS THE WORLD HAS EVER SUFFERED???
    …this would be absurdly laughable on its face if it weren’t so hideously deranged!…..i would believe that there have got to be actual videos of Elliot Abrams, John Bolton and Pompeo circle jerking over this one…..kleptophilia porn, it’s ‘come’ to this…

  • RBluhm

    “…the three slogans of the Party:

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

    Welcome to “1984” + 35.

  • mwildfire

    And the new one,

    MILITARY COUP IS DEMOCRACY

  • ingamarie

    But where are all the Americans who despise Trump………and why isn’t this megalomaniacle plan to control the entire planet not more exposed for what it is? Who are the forces behind Trump, that this can go on, and for the most part, the western world acts as if it doesn’t know or care??

    How dare Democrats act as if its beyond the pale for other countries to interfere in American elections, when this kind of international bullying of little countries goes on and we all act as if it isn’t? Where’s the United Nations in this? Or are they out of money and on their way to being one more rubber stamp for this fascist regime that has set itself up in the heart of the ‘free’ world?

  • RD61

    Please step away from your Trump hate and do your homework. Daniel Ortega is a dictator who is killing his people. You appear extremely bias and I’ll informed.

  • Margaret Flowers

    Delete.

  • Nicaragua a threat to US national security?

    This is simply not possible – such tripe needs to be exposed and challenged for the propaganda that is surely is.

    Remember that when investigating US war crimes is considered a threat to US national security than the national security might just be the front that’s hiding the guilty party.

  • The U.S. establishment (government and corporate cohorts) has repeatedly disregarded international laws and its own domestic laws whenever convenient for its own ruling class’s aims. This has been normal operating procedure for decades but has become more blatant in recent years.

    Bottom line, no sovereignty is respected, no people are valued, no destructive device or tool is off the table for the U.S. establishment. The U.S. is a rouge state and the number one threat to all people and the emergence of global war.

    The U.S. government has rendered themselves, through their policies and actions, as illegitimate both internationally and domestically. This reality provides external nations and domestic citizens with motive and justification for the eradication of this cartel.

  • kevinzeese

    Obama declared Venezuela a national security threat to the US which escalated the illegal unilateral coercive measures (sanctions) that began under Bush. And, Trump escalated on top of Obama.

    The same will happen in Nicaragua.

    The US is losing control of Latin America. They are desperate to hang on so they do absurd things like claim nonthreatening countries are a national security threat in order to escalate conflict in a desperate effort to dominate.

  • Each successive administration proves to be far worse than their predecessors – There’s no end in sight. [and no oversight]

    Like a big powerful corporation gobbling up it’s smaller competitors so it can profit from the selling of it’s assets – Perpetual economic growth simply isn’t sustainable – Everything has it’s limits before it ultimately and fatefully slows and stops to increase in size and strenght.

    US foreign policy is dedicated to the pursuit of perpetual economic growth – It has since long ago merged with the financial agenda of the corporate world which is evident by that way that it is doing its bidding in that it act’s in a similar fashion that requires the overthrow of non aligned and still independent nations for profit and plunder and strategic territories.

    Absolutely anything that isn’t already being dominated by Neoliberalism is automatically deemed a target for destruction or takeover.

    The West or Wastington’s Economicly Submissive Territories are kept in line via a multitude of trade and defense agreements and all – by some mysterious circumstance – have been shifting to the far right – Which makes absolutely no sense to me at a time when the working class should be standing united against the financial elite.

    btw – Since Washington has it’s own constitution [it’s pretty long] how does that effect the US government in any way?

  • bccarver

    re tyee there are thousands of jobs going unfilled in Canada TODAY. Get off your fat ass and learn a skill that someone with money or a need and is willing to pay for.

  • ingamarie

    Not only is this apropos to nothing carver….but the rudeness with which you assume you know 1. the size of my ass, or, 2. how hard it has worked in its lifetime, is nothing more than a shameless bit of old patriarchal garbage.

    Learn some civility and try to stay on topic…times up for argument by insult.

  • ingamarie

    Gosh….I’ve been out of touch I guess……I remember him being the leader of the Sandinista resistance that got rid of the American backed Somoza dictator who was impoverishing his people…..more recently, I also had the impression that he won the last election, defeating a right wing government that had been in power previously. There are criticisms of his government, and concerns over his move to abolish term limits…..but he is still enjoying considerable popularity in the country…quite possibly because a move to the neoliberal right has no interest in benefitting the average citizen.

    Ideology is a poor substitute for historical accuracy………..but many in the modern world are aware of how much Americans prefer ideology to having to do any homework themselves….and whatever sins Ortega has committed, believing his country is a threat to America is a fantasy………some of us might like to believe it, but until Trump is less catered to around the world, it’s a hard dream to inhabit….lol, lol

  • RD61

    Like I said, do your homework ! Your history lesson it just that history.

  • bccarver

    so you rely on a ff funded pension, and now want to deny youth the opportunity to prosper off oil and gas like you did.
    You are so filled with hate i almost feel sorry for you
    you spew your socialistic nonsense on the tyee rag contributing tonnes of co2 hating the successful, white males, corporations, politicians and every one whi disagrees with your bs

  • RickW

    Ah – the old “work hard, save money, buy a house & car, raise a family with all that cash” – just like circa 1910……
    What a pathetic puppet you are.

  • RickW

    Likewise for yourself. Simple fact – China is winning the Cold War 2.0 with it’s BRI, and the US, instead of outspending China (as Ronnie did with USSR), choses to throw a trillion dollars a year at it’s military, instead of infrastructure.

  • ingamarie

    Oh my, how I love the fringe intellects……..history is just history???? Thanks for the edification…..er…or is that a tautology? (go ahead, look the word up……..and then get back to me, that illogic is just a word….lol)

  • ingamarie

    It seems to be you taking out the knife carver……..forgive the metaphor, but I have to inform you that you seem to be responding to me on the wrong feed……..this article is about Washington’s perpetual efforts to affect regime change in Latin America…….griping about my pension, which you can assume from other feeds, or my opposition to more climate destroying pipelines is off topic here.

    And as to hate? That’s just one more label the right wing fringe has earned due to some of their antics and ad hominem attacks on anyone they disagree with….but they don’t want it to stick to their angry old hides, so they hurl it at progressives. I’ve always stood with Leonard Cohen: Remember these lines from one of his songs:

    When Hatred, with his package came
    I refused delivery.

    Nice personification is it not…….hatred as a mailman bringing you a place to put all those nasty feelings of abandonment, exclusion, poverty and confusion?

    We must all do our best to refuse to sign for that nasty little package….it solves nothing, but can poison lives.

  • bccarver

    afraid of the hard work necessary to survive anywhere eh??Still relying on other people`s money for you pathetic existence,

  • bccarver

    Your pathetic efforts to bring Canada down to your level are as useless as your comments and play right into the hands of the one world elitists you despise. The vast majority of Canadians do not want to live in poverty , you strive for but want to raise a family of healthy citizens who do not rely on other people`s $$$$ but if that floats your boat .

  • RickW

    Appropriate name “bccarver” – carving up BC (aka looting it) to make a quick buck, and dump what remains. Indicates someone who’s afraid of making an honest buck by working for it. Sounds like you are like those who stole the Japanese properties on the pathetic excuse of “security risk”. When all it was, was hijacking.
    What a pathetic excuse you are for a citizen.

  • ingamarie

    Carver…….you’re talking like a registered banana….sorry the educational system failed you, but no need to spew vitriol and tell the recipient of your resentments its they who are being hateful. Consider yourself BLOCKED.

  • bccarver

    WRONG dickhead!!! Pay more in taxes than you earn

  • bccarver

    BYe BYe DOUCHEBAG>

  • RickW

    Least you can do after ;looting and raping is to spread a little around.
    Can you touch $800G a year in taxes, pirate?

  • RickW

    Hurts to be called out as a pussy, ain’t it?

  • bccarver

    i like pussy,
    you like assholes

  • bccarver

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. welfare pays <$1g