When Kamala Harris finally traveled to the U.S./Mexico border last week, she met several young women asylum seekers. The vice president likely saw Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans who were fleeing from violence and extreme poverty. But she probably did not see any Nicaraguan asylum seekers, who are few and far between. Nicaragua and Honduras are considered the two poorest nations in Latin America. Honduras is a corrupt, failed, violent country, whose government is backed by the U.S. Nicaragua has free healthcare and education, and is considered the safest country in Central America. Since Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front won the Nicaraguan election in 2006, they have made remarkable gains, dramatically reducing poverty and extreme poverty.
Violent protests have been going on since April of this year, forcing residents to stay indoors. While the corporate media and an army of online trolls have been making false claims about the Ortega government, the reality is exactly the opposite. We speak with Stephen Sefton, who lives in Nicaragua and is a founder of Tortilla con Sal. He names the names behind the violence and describes what is really happening. We also discuss recent news and upcoming events.
Nicaragua’s opposition paramilitary intimidation and media terror campaign have brought fear, insecurity, and hardship to around 30 of Nicaragua’s 153 municipalities. Only President Daniel Ortega’s commitment to peace has prevented an even worse conflict. Almost as disturbing as the extreme sadism of the opposition paramilitaries in Nicaragua is how their supporters and media displace opposition crimes by attributing them to the government. On June 14th Nicaragua’s Commission for Truth Peace and Justice, sworn in by the country’s National Assembly, reported 168 people dead and over 2100 injured.
As Nicaraguan student protest leaders meet with neoconservatives in Washington, DC, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), boasts of spending millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” against Daniel Ortega. The Nicaraguan students’ junket to Washington was paid for by Freedom House, a US government-funded NED partner whose agenda typically aligns with the neoconservative wing of the American foreign policy establishment. Freedom House crafted an itinerary for the students that culminated with a photo-op with some of the most hawkish Republicans in Washington: Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.