It is now Nicaragua. Rightists-induced extremist violence and death, armed gangs-triggered bloody strikes, and imperialism-imposed sanctions have gripped Nicaragua for months. All of these are part of imperialist intervention in the Latin American country defying the world imperialism. Imperialist intervention is an already-turned-old game currently going on in a number of countries.
The imperialist operation is moving in full swing as Daniel Ortega, the democratically elected president in 2006, is facing weeks of rightists’ violent acts, which have almost paralysed the economy. Immediate payment for this interventionist act is being paid by the Nicaraguan people: the death toll resulting from the violence has crossed the number 300. Is it a threshold number? Interventionists know the answer. Intervention is a bloody job. It takes a lot from people in lands.
The armed gangs have torched classrooms in a university days ago. A medical centre was also torched by the gang.
Francisco Martinez, a student leader in these acts of violence confidently declared: “We will not abandon the streets.” They will continue with their acts as they are fuelled by their masters.
There is a fat money bag for them. There are arms, home-made mortars and incendiary materials for them. There is training for them; and there are the ever-faithful mainstream media.
Imperialist masters have arranged all necessary equipment – well-designed banners, attractive slogans, national flags, candle sticks, petrol and petrol bombs, wires, communication equipment, and arms – for them over a long period of time. It was a long phase of preparation. The training was imparted on the use of online social media, mobilisation tactics and formation style.
To any careful observer, there are many elements of the colour “revolutions” imperialism organised in a number of countries. There are similarities with imperialism-organised months-long violence in Venezuela. Any careful observer will find the same in some other countries.
Students, a community, not a class, were the leading operatives in Venezuela. The same social element is there in Nicaragua. A few other countries will find the same social elements in political actions in guise of some other slogan – seemingly democratic and upholding interests of a smaller section of society – hollow and sectarian, in essence. The smaller part is neither the toilers nor the producers.
And, there are pretexts; and pretexts are fabricated. History of imperialism carries witness of fabricated pretext. The following facts, cited from Holly Sklar’s Washington’s War on Nicaragua (South End Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, 1988), of fabrication are related to Nicaragua:
“US Marines have intervened in Nicaragua numerous times since the 1850s […] In 1909, General Juan Estrada, the governor of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, led a revolt against Liberal President Jose Santos Zelaya, a nationalist modernizer. Backed by US investors and Conservative Party leaders […] Estrada established a provisional government at the port of Bluefields.
“New Orleans was Estrada’s base of supply for arms and recruits. American mercenaries […] instructed the rebels in the use of machine guns and commanded troops in combat. The Taft administration turned up the heat by breaking relations with the Zelaya government. Hoping to preserve Nicaraguan sovereignty, Zelaya resigned the presidency in December 1909 in favour of Jose Madriz. The US-backed rebellion fared poorly. By May 1910, Nicaraguan government forces recaptured El Bluff, at the entrance of Bluefields Harbour.
“The US Navy declared Bluefields a ‘neutral zone’ and landed marines to deter Madriz from retaking the port. Smedley Butler [a legendary US marine general exposing a fascist conspiracy to stage a coup against president Franklin D Roosevelt, and author of the classic War is a Racket] provided this first-hand account: ‘Near Bluefields was the property of a large American gold mine, whose stock was owned mainly by Pittsburg financiers and partly by the then Secretary of State, Philander C Knox. President Madriz refused to recognize the validity of the gold mining concession and 225 marines immediately were dispatched to Bluefields to “protect American lives and property”. I commanded those marines and in order to be sure that there was an American life to protect in Bluefields I made certain the local consul was on the job. There wasn’t another American in miles. The technique of raping this country for American financiers demanded that the revolutionists have the true cause of patriotism on their side. Consequently, we marines soon developed the puppet revolutionary candidate for President, Juan J Estrada, into another George Washington […]
“‘The marines bluffed the government forces out of Bluefields and with 367 revolutionists held the town. The government forces outside the city wanted to attack. I called upon the government generals to forbid them to shoot at the city. American lives would be endangered […]
“‘Naturally the government forces gave up in disgust and retired to the town of Rama some miles down the trails of Bluefields. [….]
“‘Finally the revolutionists were convinced that they should attack Rama and defeat the government forces. We sent an American beachcomber on ahead to Rama to be sure there would be another American life to protect and then re-enacted the farce of Bluefields. The government forces were bluffed out of the town […] We forbade shooting by the government forces and they finally melted away, convinced of the hopelessness of opposing the revolutionists backed by the marines. [….]’
“Madriz fled the country. ‘Everybody was happy’, wrote Butler. ‘The gold mines and fruit companies operated unmolested […]’.”
This narration is from the general protecting US “life” and property – not a single American in miles, but the local American consul, and a lone American beachcomber. One was searched out while another was sent in advance. The pretext to protect life was made – a fabrication.
Almost the same was found in Grenada while Reagan led invasion in the small country: American students in a medical school there.
Other countries including Bangladesh have had similar experiences of fabricating/staging “logic” for intervention. Imperialism sent a fleet towards the Bay of Bengal in 1971 while the Baangaalee people were nearing the final victory in their War for Liberation. Imperialism created “logic” at that time. It was the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that thwarted the “logic” as it sent one of its nuclear-powered submarines towards the Bay.
Cuba has the experience on the beach of the Bay of Pigs, which now stands as a historical humiliating ground for imperialism.
In Vietnam, one after another logic including in the name of another bay was constructed.
There are Iraq, Libya, Syria, and many, not less than dozens, instances of imperialist “logic” and “rationality”.
All those logic were tainted with nice terms: “democracy”, democratic rights”, “humanity”, human rights”, “constitution” “constitutional rights”.
After these dramas, should anyone trust imperialism? Should anyone pay heed to imperialist media? Its credibility is zero to any person aware of history. In the case of Nicaragua, it is the person concerned to decide – to which side the person is on.
The mainstream media is uber-active with its high-pitched voice: “There’s violence, there’s death, there’s death of democracy in Nicaragua, down with the Sandinistas”. But the mainstream media does not properly cover acts of violence perpetrated by the rightists.
The voices of “democracy” are saying: Ortega is ruling in an authoritarian manner.
The voices of “human rights activists” are accusing Ortega’s security forces for all the incidents of gunning down people, for “alarming number of deaths”.
The US government announced new sanctions in early July against three Nicaraguan individuals in connection with the “violence and corruption”. The actions are, said a senior US official, “in connection with the horrific activities that we are seeing in Nicaragua.” The official said: “The United States is deeply concerned about the on-going crisis in Nicaragua and the violence perpetrated by security forces against demonstrators.”
The measures are, according to the US claim, “part of” the country’s “on-going effort to curtail human rights abuse and corruption across the globe through the strategic use of our sanctions authorities.”
In June, the US imposed visa restrictions on a number of “individuals responsible for human rights abuses or undermining democracy in Nicaragua.”
The pretext is there now as it was more than 100 years ago. It is now “human rights”, “violence”, “democracy” and “corruption”. More than a century ago, it was “American lives and property”. So, the empire “has” all rights to act in defence of “rights” and “constitution”.
Who indulged in violence? Groups of persons were found engaged in acts of violence. At the beginning, it was a peaceful protest. The protesters were opposing increase in social security contributions. The protest turned violent within hours as criminal gangs joined the protesters. Gradually the sphere of violence was widened with trails of deaths and devastation.
Widespread vandalism, loot, and organised assaults on government offices, hospitals, clinics, university class rooms and ambulances were carried on. Homes, private business offices and vehicles were not spared by the violent-performers. Hundreds of establishments were destroyed.
The proposed increase in the social security contribution is a part of reforms of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS). The objective of the reform was to adjust the INSS deficit, and to make the INSS sustainable in the medium- and long-terms.
The government reversed its plan to reform the INSS. It even called for dialogue to find out ways to meet the deficit.
But this positive measure was reciprocated with violence, and imperialism found “rights” in the acts of violence.
Leaders of the violent protests declared that they would not stop their actions. Violeta Granera, one of the leaders of the violent protest, said: “Social security is no longer the issue, but freedom of expression, corruption, and many others.” Now, the “civilian” warriors’ demand is related to the presidential election, which is scheduled for 2021. They demand: Hold the election in 2019. From “non-politics” to politics; a trajectory, indeed!
The empire formulated its logic: the Nicaragua government should allow carrying on acts of violence and killings, and should twist constitutional arrangement.
Shall any country allow this? Shall the empire allow this in its land? Shall the empire allow blocking of roads and acts of violence in its own country? The mainstream media and the “conscience” of the country – the so-called civic leaders – forget to raise this question, as they don’t take into account the question of imperialism!
The empire’s answer: “A few should, and a few should not, depending on who is within my sphere.”
There are questions regarding the violent protests: (1) Who/how it was organised? (2) Who/how it is being financed? (3) From where came the arms, home-made mortars, incendiary material and communication equipment being used? (4) In which forum the “contribution issue” was discussed, and how the forum was organised? Photographs of money-transfer to the protesters have already surfaced.
These questions arise, as a seemingly peaceful protest doesn’t turn violent overnight. Without organisation, planning and guidance such protests can’t be continued.
Anti-imperialist forces claim: There is imperialist plan to destabilise Nicaragua, as the country is not within imperialist sphere. It is not possible for the empire to accept this loss. The right-wing, reactionary forces are working as the empire’s tools.
The anti-imperialist forces point out to resources used in protest, the communication network in use, the support from the empire. The method for mobilisation the right-wingers used – online social media – is similar to the method used in the non-conventional war, which has been designed by the empire. One part of the non-conventional war is to mobilise part(s) of the society to confront the government on suitable and seemingly soft pretexts, exploit popular imagination, use violence to compel the government to use force, disrupt transportation networks so that essentials experience price hikes, and use external diplomatic power.
People are being organised in response to this imperialist design. People from different walks of life are defending public establishments/offices including welfare centres, and neighbourhoods.
Rejecting the rightist violence Ortega called for peace and unity. In a recently held huge rally in Managua, the Nicaraguan president said: We are full of love; we are here to bury hatred. The people have one objective: Peace.
He called for “work, progress and dignity.
The Nicaraguan president said: To be free and to no longer be enslaved, that is what the people want. There are those who wish to put the chains back on the nation. There are those who believe that because the majority of the nation is a nation of workers, honest and humble, they confuse humility with ignorance. We are a humble but brave people.
Pointing to people marching to join the rally Ortega said: “In these marches, we do not see expressions of hate. We see expressions of dignity, solidarity, and complete compromise to the fight for peace that will benefit all Nicaraguans.
“Nicaragua had been progressing, had been advancing, had been growing economically, with peace and security,” Ortega told the crowd.
Nicaragua was achieving a steady and better growth over the last few years. The country was having a peaceful atmosphere until the right-wingers’ violent activities began. Now, the economy has come down to a standstill.
But, all after these, the rightist violence-mongers shall never admit that democracy and imperialism are incompatible; imperialism never stands for democracy; democracy that imperialism stands for is not democracy, but slavocracy.
* Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.