Nicaragua: We Can Assume Almost Anything . . .

Barbara Moore

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.

Let’s assume none of the student-led opposition knew that a room had been set aside on the third floor of the UPOLI (a private technical college which was one of the epicenters of the protest) where students suspected of having ties to Sandinistas were tortured.

This was the experience of Jenner Lenin Barrios Paiz:

Let’s assume that none of the students knew that on the grounds of UPOLI Molotov cocktails were assembled and meetings were held to discuss the logistics of the plan to destabilize the country by spreading chaos, promoting attacks on symbols of the government and government landmarks in the hope that President Ortega would call the military onto the streets and therefore leave the borders permeable to narco-traffickers and organized crime.

Let’s assume the death of Kenneth Pérez Duarte last seen on May 23 whose body was found June 26—a young man who had participated in the anti-government protests and who had previous affiliation with the Sandinista Juventud and who Christian Josué Mendoza Fernández, alias “El Viper”, described as a threat; let’s assume his death had nothing to do with the pro-democracy student movement.

His body, by the way, was found without teeth, his legs had been fractured, there were burns to his body, signs of electric shock and his mother could only identify him by a defect in one of his toes.

Let’s assume that in the video in which Pio Arellano is waving a gun around, the presence of Félix Maradiaga who emerged as the leader of the opposition and later traveled to Washington with the students is just one more incidental fluke.

Let’s assume that contact between Félix Maradiaga and organized crime could in some fairytale world also be described as fortuitous given the video evidence and the confession of Christian Josué Mendoza Fernández, alias “El Viper” in which the latter claims Maradiaga had contracted his services.

Let’s assume that following the arrest of Christian Josué Mendoza Fernández, alias “El Viper” it was just a random twist of fate that Félix Maradiaga tweeted at 4:07 a.m.: Everyone let’s go to Chipote (a prison in Managua) and demand the release of the prisoners. A message he repeated on facebook at 8:24 a.m. and again at 9:51 a.m.

Let’s assume the connections between organized crime and Félix Maradiaga, the deaths of Kenneth Pérez Duerte and Eric William Espinoza Mendoza—already linked to Christian Josué Mendoza Fernández, alias “El Viper” and the video evidence which documents these relationships, all of this is mere happenstance.

Let’s assume the overlap between Félix Maradiaga’s antipathy for the Ortega government and the stated goals of the NED are entirely inadvertent, pushing aside the fact that Maradiaga’s organization IEEPP received 285,000 dollars in US funding.

Let’s assume the fifty-four plus organizations which have been the beneficiaries of 4.4 million dollars between 2014 and 2017 has had no bearing on the viewpoint projected by said organizations, keeping in mind the following: ‘environmental’ groups in Nicaragua are unique in the world as they seem unconcerned with climate change, ‘feminist’ groups fail to acknowledge the tremendous gains made by the Ortega government in advancing gender income equality or the strict laws related to domestic abuse, and ‘student’ groups do not seem to value universal education, subsidized public transportation or free internet in parks and public spaces.

Let’s assume that on that fateful day April 19, students accidentally repeated on social media ‘three students killed’ when in fact the fatalities included one police officer, one student and one member of the Sandinista Juventud.

Let’s assume another grand assumption which is the charge that the National Police indiscriminately opened fire on the protesters was innocently promoted, repeated and reported despite the evidence of mortal shots to the head and neck and sometimes chest, a pattern congruent with the use of well-placed snipers and that could not possibly have resulted from indiscriminate fire.

Let’s assume that by the time of the first dialogue the students unintentionally included the names of multiple individuals who according to family members as reported by El Nuevo Dario had nothing to do with the protests. That was the case with Jesner José Rivas. Similarly, Juan Carlos López Martínez and Nelson Enrique Téllez Huete were together when shot at night, two blocks from Huerte’s house. The family of Erick Andrés Cubillo also said he had nothing to do with the protests.

Let’s assume when the students used the name of Christian Emilio Cadena it was just another oversight on their part even though Christian Emilio Cadena was a Sandinista youth who died attempting to protect the CUUN site from the devastating fire set by the opposition and therefor they used the name of a student whose death they were complicit in if not, responsible for.

Let’s assume that when Leonel Morales the leader of the student union called attention to these many inconsistencies it had nothing to do with his later abduction, torture and shooting.

Let’s assume since we are assuming so much that his fate had nothing to do with his statement on the 28th of April: “La universidad esta tomando por personas que no son estudiantes que andan con armas 9 milimetros”.

Let’s assume the student protestors had not fully grasped the ‘civil society’ they claimed to represent when they took the hospital picture of Leonel Morales and posted it to the site Nicaragua Libre where 89 comments of a mocking and joking nature were recorded and which had been shared 335 times.

While we are assuming so much let’s be honest about a few of the facts. The CENIDH report was based almost entirely on reports from La Prensa, an extremely right-wing publication that in the past received massive funding from the government of the United States. Let’s also be honest regarding the polarized environment of Nicaragua. Why exactly should we ignore the millions of dollars which have been funneled into the NGO sector and the ties of that sector to human rights organizations? If these organizations want to prove they are not compromised let them begin by rejecting NED funding. I doubt that will happen. Instead the never-ending one-line chorus of ‘We hate Daniel Ortega’ will likely continue to be echoed, parroted, paraphrased. It will be translated, transcribed and talked about.

Regardless, let’s at least try to be honest about international organizations, said to be independent of governments, and the international media said to be independent of bias; these are organizations of tremendous prestige, a world where cultural connections, contacts, careers and privilege carry a lot of weight. The consensus of those organizations on the topic of recent events in Nicaragua should not come as a shock. Nicaragua has not aligned with NATO interests, is the only country in Central America not running a trade deficit with the U.S. and has strong ties to the block of left and left-leaning countries. (Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, El Salvador). When any group of countries form a block it becomes more difficult to dismantle and hurting anyone in the block of nations weakens the whole.

Amnesty with the help of Bianca Jagger laid the groundwork to label Nicaragua as authoritarian. Jagger is very close to opposition members and is also an Amnesty board member. Human Rights Watch received a one-hundred-million-dollar donation from George Soros and multiple persons have questioned HRWs reporting in Venezuela where Soros is said to have financial interests. That isn’t even mentioning Trump’s long-standing interests in Venezuela.

What happened in Nicaragua was an attempt at a coup. It failed but the pressure and criticism from the NGO community and the internal elements who would like a more Washington-friendly government will continue, the economic pressure will continue. I imagine the propaganda campaign to discredit a legitimate and democratically elected government which continues to enjoy widespread support will also continue.