By Nan McCurdy – Nov 3, 2021
But Nicaraguans Will Not Let the Evil Empire Dictate Who They Vote for, with Sandinista Revolutionary Leader Daniel Ortega Poised to Win
The Sandinista party won with 62% of the vote in the 2011 elections and with 72.5% in 2016.
Polls show the Sandinista Party winning as much as 70% of the vote in the November 7 election, when more than three million people will vote for President and Vice President, 90 National Assembly Deputies and 20 Central American Parliament Deputies.
The likely reason for such a high vote for the Sandinista party is that people want the advances their families have experienced since 2007, like universal free health care and education to continue. Nicaragua has made the greatest investment in infrastructure with the newest health facilities and the best roads in the region.
Since 2007 poverty has been cut in half, maternal mortality has dropped by 70%, infant mortality by 61% with a 66% reduction in chronic malnutrition in children 6 to 12 years old. With a high percentage of small and medium-scale farmers and much government investment in training and loans, they have achieved 90% food sufficiency.
In the last 14 years potable water access has risen from 65% to 92%; electricity coverage has increased from 54% to 99%; and 80% of the energy is produced from renewables. In fact Nicaragua is number three in the world in renewable energy. In gender equality Nicaragua has gone from 62nd to 5th in the world and it holds first place in the world for women’s health and survival, women’s educational attainment and women cabinet ministers.
The satisfaction of the population with public services, Nicaragua’s transparency, lack of corruption and good project execution is even recognized by international banks.
The U.S. strategy in the 2021 elections is to denounce them as illegitimate before they even take place.
The U.S. has intervened in every election since Nicaragua’s first free and fair election which took place in 1984. That year, the U.S. used the Contra War and the U.S. economic blockade to twist the arms of the population. But when polls showed the Sandinista Party winning by a large margin, they told “their” candidate, Arturo Cruz, to drop out and say he was not participating because the elections were not going to be free and fair.
RAIN: a CIA Regime-Change Plan
A United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regime change document was leaked to independent Nicaraguan journalist William Grigsby in July of 2020 from the U.S. embassy.
RAIN—Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua, RFTOP No: 72052420R00004—is a Terms of Reference contract for hiring a company to oversee what it refers to as “transition”—a word used more than 30 times in the document. It was written in the spring of 2020 and much of the U.S. destabilization activity to try to get the Sandinistas out of power has likely been under this plan.
“The purpose of this activity is to provide rapid responsive…assistance to create the conditions for, and support, a peaceful transition to democracy in Nicaragua [regime change].” “RAIN will contribute to the Mission’s…objective of enabling the environment for Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.”
“…targeted short-term…activities during Nicaragua’s transition that require rapid-response programming support until other funds, mechanisms and actors can be mobilized.”
“Rain will pursue these activities against a variety of scenarios…
1.- Free, fair and transparent elections lead to an orderly transition [the U.S.-backed party wins].
2.- A sudden political transition occurs following a crisis [including a health crisis] leads to a new government [a coup d’état].
3.- Transition does not happen in an orderly and timely manner. In the case that a transition does not happen and the regime is able to hold onto power…by winning fairly, then RAIN…will relate to bridging to…longer-term activities…”
“…Any national election could yield a result accepted by Nicaraguans and the International community [recognition that the Sandinistas could win in free and fair elections].”
“If the regime remains resilient RAIN…will have the ability to respond…outside of other USAID programming [covertly], to…needs to maintain civil society on track…”
“A delayed transition may require greater emphasis on…civil society leadership, with discreet technical assistance types of activities…”
“In the case of a coup, RAIN [the U.S., the CIA] takes actions to show the new government is legitimate [like U.S. recognition of the new government].
In the case of a Sudden Transition [coup], RAIN will likely require more use of Rapid Response Funds…with attention to potential for conflict, legitimacy of new government actors and setting up the transition for success.”
U.S. Actions to Isolate Nicaragua
On September 24 at the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the presidents of Mexico and all Central American countries except for Nicaragua and gave them the order to isolate Nicaragua.
It is very unlikely that this will happen, despite all of these countries behaving in a relatively subservient way to the U.S.
The economic relations between the Central American countries are very powerful and the commerce between them is strong. They buy and sell many products from one another. The transportation would be very difficult to stop given that Central America is an isthmus and Nicaragua is right in the middle.
And each of the counties already has lots of problems; they likely do not want a problem with Nicaragua. They have good relations with Nicaragua—Nicaragua is very respectful of them. The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) has always wanted to achieve the integration of Central America.
Sanctions: Another Form of War
When the U.S. first considered sanctions on Cuba in 1960, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester Mallory said that the purpose of a blockade on Cuba is to “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
The U.S. passed illegal unilateral coercive measures [sanctions] against Nicaragua in 2018. The Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act)—which passed the House of Representatives unanimously—directs the Executive Branch to “oppose new loans or agreements with Nicaragua through the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund; and directs agencies to create a ‘civil society’ engagement strategy [increasing support for opposition groups], among other actions.”
The Nica Act was to punish Nicaragua for not being a subservient colony; it is not based on any wrong-doing. For example the multilateral lenders only praise Nicaragua for its transparency and efficiency in project execution, going so far as to specifically say it is not corrupt.
The NICA Act reduced multilateral loans, hurting development, and impacted health care during a pandemic. Due to the pandemic and two strong hurricanes in November 2020, some of the institutions have provided loans but primarily Covid-19 related.
A number of members of the government have been sanctioned as individuals, like Paul Oquist, Minister for National Policies, who has since died. Oquist was an internationally recognized expert on climate change and co-chair of the Green Climate Fund in 2018. Born in the U.S., he gave up his U.S. citizenship in the 1980s in protest of the Contra War.
On October 16, 2021 the Pope tweeted this about sanctions:
In order to punish Nicaragua further for having a growing economy, outrunning the other Central American nations in health care, education, infrastructure, and all statistics related to poverty, and for having the lowest Covid death rate in the region, Congress is now on the verge of passing further sanctions called the RENACER Act.
Activists lobbying against this bill learned from congressional aides that members of Congress have received great pressure from the U.S. government through USAID, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and others.
The RENACER (Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform) Act is a form of coercion to try to get Nicaraguans to vote against the Sandinista government. Nicaraguans know what sanctions mean for their economy. RENACER would make development financing even more difficult to get and could possibly make the economy scream.
The bill has passed the Senate and will likely go to the floor of the House soon. The bill would already have passed without a formal vote, like the NICA Act, if it were not for impressive lobbying efforts by constituent friends of Nicaragua.
The RENACER Act applies targeted sanctions to card-carrying Sandinista members, some 2.1 million people, a third of the population.
U.S. Funding of Propaganda
USAID provided U.S. $234,062,569 to Nicaraguan civil society from 2015 to 2021; and with the NED, IRI (International Republican Institute), NDI (National Republican Institute) and others, the U.S. openly gave more than $300 million to their Nicaraguan operatives and the non-governmental organizations they manage.
Below is some of the funding for media outlets that stirred up anti-Sandinista hatred and distrust of the government, in favor of the 2018 U.S.-directed coup. The media created and/or funded slick websites, online magazines, social media, radio, tv and syndicated shows and the only newspaper that existed at the time, rabidly anti-Sandinista.
U.S. Funds for Anti-Sandinista Propaganda Outlets
In 2007 when the Sandinista Party returned to the presidency, U.S. agencies began providing funds to create media, like web-based outlets and social media pages to invent and spread lies, fake news and disinformation about Nicaragua to influence both Nicaraguans and international audiences. The U.S.-funded fake news outlets are the sources used by the U.S. mainstream media. U.S. citizens’ tax dollars are used to fund propaganda in Nicaragua that you then read in your local paper.
U.S. Money to Influence the November 2021 Elections
Much of the U.S. money for media was channeled through the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (VBCF), run by Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro.
In the lead-up to the current elections USAID provided Chamorro’s Foundation with $998,958 in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2020-2021. Part of that money is reflected below, together with funding for other NGOs.
After Nicaragua passed laws to keep foreign money out of Nicaraguan politics in the fall of 2020, Chamorro shut down the Foundation in early 2021 in order not to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires nonprofits to provide information on foreign funds received and evidence of how the funds were used.
According to Nicaraguan journalist William Grigsby and former Contra leader turned news analyst, Enrique Quiñones, Chamorro transferred some $7 million to her personal accounts.
Chamorro has been under house arrest since June 2 and, along with about nine others associated with the Foundation, including her brother Pedro Joaquin, is being investigated for money laundering and other crimes. The newspaper La Prensa and a number of its executives are also being investigated for fraud and money laundering.
It is interesting to note that important USAID partners like the VBCF used to be listed on the USAID website; just in the last year that information has been redacted.
The Nicaraguan Public Ministry has accused or is investigating more than 30 people for crimes like fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and treason. Many of those accused of conspiracy, treason and other crimes were involved in the 2018 coup attempt.
They are not being investigated for that because, in June 2019, the government gave amnesty to everyone involved in the coup. The current accusations are for requesting sanctions and other forms of war from a foreign country and for taking part in a new coup attempt.
Since these investigations began in June, the U.S. media have fallen into line accusing Nicaragua of wrongdoing. Their headlines stated that Nicaragua was jailing presidential pre-candidates to ensure that the Sandinistas would win.
First of all, the polls show the Sandinistas winning with anywhere from 63% to 75% of the vote. Secondly, the five people the media say were pre-candidates were not even members of a party.
Under Nicaragua’s Electoral Law, parties do not officially pick candidates until August and there is no such thing as a pre-candidate. In any case, along with an Alliance that includes the FSLN and eight other officially recognized parties, six more parties are running, many more than in any election in the U.S. The government provides campaign funds to the parties.
All but one of the parties with representatives in the National Assembly are running. And the party that won second place in 2016, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) is running.
Influencing Nicaraguan Voters Through Covid-19 Scare Tactics
The U.S.-directed media in Nicaragua—and its echo chamber in the international press that have carried out health terrorism since Covid-19—began asserting that many more people are sick and dying than is the case. This is part of the media distortion described above.
Unfortunately due to these lies, as Covid-19 was beginning, some people did not go to the hospital for fear of getting sicker like the U.S.-backed media purported. And some of these people died.
Nicaragua spends one-fifth of its budget on health care and has invested many millions in new infrastructure and equipment, including 22 new hospitals.
Nicaragua has had far fewer cases of Covid-19 per capita than any country in the Americas: The IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation), which calculates excess deaths worldwide, shows 268 deaths for Nicaragua, 7,521 for Costa Rica and 10,760 for Honduras.
According to a study conducted by the Spanish travel agency Planyts, Nicaragua is one of the ten safest countries for travel during the pandemic, and the only country listed in the Americas. The study used data from Oxford University and the World Health Organization.
Despite this, the U.S. embassy lists Nicaragua as a level 4—do not travel—country, whereas Honduras, much more dangerous for Covid-19 or simply for murder and violence, is listed as Level 3.
The U.S. also practices vaccine diplomacy: It has given vaccines to all of the Central American nations—except Nicaragua. Although Nicaragua has been vaccinating since March, only in October did it get larger quantities of vaccines from Spain, Russia, India and the COVAX Mechanism. With more than 1,000 vaccination posts around the country everyone can get vaccinated and already more than 2.3 million people have been vaccinated.
The U.S.-backed Media Say People are Fleeing Political Persecution
This is another lie the U.S. has ramped up for the elections. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the yearly average number of Nicaraguans apprehended at the border between 2015 and 2018 was 2,292, very small compared to 63,741 Hondurans.
The U.S. Border Patrol has encountered more Nicaraguans in 2021 (33,000), but still low compared to Honduras (218,000) and El Salvador (73,000). Tom Ricker of the Quixote Center says the push factorsinclude Covid-affected economies for all the migrants, wrecked tourism, which provided a lot of employment in Nicaragua; destruction of crops by two major hurricanes in 2020 affecting Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; 2018 sanctions (NICA Act) and the threat of more sanctions; prior to Covid-19 there were seasonal jobs in Costa Rica, but now there are more people returning to Nicaragua.
On October 31, the United States launched a new anti-democratic campaign days before the election. It did this through Meta (Facebook) which censored about 1,000 accounts and pages of activists, communicators and digital platforms in Nicaragua, simply because they expressed their support for the Sandinista Revolution. Facebook executives claimed that these were “trolls” (fake accounts), which is totally false. I know many of them. They are real people who share the truth and show the world the progress that Nicaragua has made in the last 14 years of the Sandinista government.
In 2018 it was shown that the U.S. financed actual bot farms outside of Nicaragua, call centers in El Salvador as well as Miami were bringing in online traffic in an attempt to destabilize the country and push a coup attempt through social media—these were completely fake accounts spreading violence and fake news against the Sandinista government.
The U.S. is an expert at this. The bot farms continue to this day and Facebook does nothing to stop them, because they are spreading the disinformation the U.S. wants. These fake opposition accounts are easy to spot because they have absolutely no personal information or photos on their profiles, usually only a generic opposition image as their profile picture, and repeating the same messages (comments) over and over to push the U.S. narrative.
Honduras and U.S. Double Standards
Honduras will also have elections in November, but the U.S. is not trying to oust the government even though its president, Juan Orlando Hernández, blatantly rigged elections, stole from Honduran social services, and has been accused of protecting drug traffickers and helping to flood the U.S. with cocaine.
W.T. Whitney, Jr., wrote in People’s World:
Honduras’s poverty rate is 70%…Violence at the hands of criminal gangs, narcotraffickers, and the police is pervasive and usually goes unpunished. According to insightcrime.org, Honduras was Latin America’s third most violent country in 2019 and a year later it registered the region’s third highest murder rate…Honduras, followed by Guatemala and Mexico, registered the highest rate of emigration to wherever between 1990 and 2020…
What Will the Impact Be on Nicaragua’s Elections?
The U.S. government has been extremely successful in terms of getting the U.S. press, in chorus, to denigrate Nicaragua’s Sandinista government for being a “dictatorship.”
It has been even more successful at keeping all the good news of Nicaragua’s amazing social and economic advances out of the press.
The government of Nicaragua reaffirmed at the United Nations General Assembly that, in the November 7 election, it is not the U.S. Empire that will choose but the Nicaraguan people.
During his UN speech, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada ratified Nicaragua’s commitment to continue working for peace, security and tranquility of individuals, families and communities. Statistically, every aspect of life has improved under the Sandinistas and the intention to vote Sandinista has increased monthly in the polls.
It appears that U.S. sanctions, coercion, and disinformation will have little effect on how Nicaraguans vote.
Featured image: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R) and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo (L), flash the V sign during the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution at “La Fe” square in Managua on July 19, 2019. [Source: gettyimages.com]
Nan McCurdy is a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of
Global Ministries. She and her missionary husband, Miguel Mairena, are
serving as Mission Advocates for the Western Jurisdiction of The United
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