After the “success” of the coup d’etat against the democratically elected socialist government of Evo Morales in Bolivia, the United States is turning its eyes toward other socialist governments in Latin America. Having already failed twice in Venezuela this year, Nicaragua and the government of Daniel Ortega are seemingly once again next on the American Empire’s hit-list.
Ortega was part of the popular resistance movement that ousted the far-right American backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, the new Sandinista government undertaking a program of national liberation that redistributed illegally acquired wealth back to the citizens of Nicaragua. After fighting a bloody war against the brutal U.S. backed Contra insurgency, Ortega was democratically elected President in 1984, serving until 1989 and then again from 2006.
“The United States at that time… was actively supporting the Contras to overthrow the government… This was a war being funded by the United States against the people of Nicaragua. People were being killed in that war… I strongly oppose U.S. policy, which overthrows governments, especially democratically elected governments, around the world”Bernie Sanders
Between 2010 and 2017 Nicaragua’s economy expanded by around 5% annually, being yet another success story in Latin America under a socialist government. As ever, however, the United States could never allow the success of a left-wing nation go unanswered. Just as with Venezuela and Bolivia they imposing sanctions on the nation under the pretext of human rights violations.
The United States can never countenance the success of socialist states. To continue the illusion of capitalist success and socialist “failure” they have regularly attempted to suppress socialist movements throughout the world with unjustified sanctions to destroy the economy, violent insurrection and the imposition of far-right military dictatorships. The imperialist campaign of abuses allows the lie of “socialism doesn’t work” to continue as the United States hides their hand in affairs.
Now, once again, it’s Nicaragua’s turn.
The foundations for U.S. regime change in Nicaragua are already in place, with prominent and wealthy families in the country already agitating against the Ortega government.
Alongside far-right Christian fundamentalists, the wealthy elites of La Paz played a significant role in funding and supporting the movement to overthrow Evo Morales.
Branko Marinkovic, a wealthy Christian fundamentalist oligarch with his money in the Oilseeds industry who spent six years at university in Texas has allegedly been instrumental in the plots against Morales. Marinkovic, an opponent of Morales and prefect of the Civic Committee of the Santa Cruz Department, is a member of just one of a number of wealthy landowning families of Croatian origin in the Santa Cruz region who came to Bolivia after the Second World War and the ascension of communist leader Josip Tito in Yugoslavia. These families, amongst others, have been said to drive politics in the region and there have been repeated claims that Marinkovic was forming his own paramilitary militia.
It has been noted by a Bolivian documentary that Marinkovic is an admirer of the Croatian fascist Ustaše, an ultranationalist terrorist organisation active between 1929 and 1945 that were responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and socialists. In 2010 Marinkovic was alleged to have plotted alongside others to overthrow the democratically elected government and kill President Morales. He went into exile back in the United States.
Likewise in Nicaragua, these such families are known as the “Gran Capital” and have pledged to fund opposition initiatives and provide money for candidates at the next election should Ortega be removed from power, an effort said to be worth up to $25 million.
“Money will start flowing. There is no doubt”Unnamed Nicaraguan businessman speaking to Reuters
Led by five Nicaraguan magnates, including billionaire Carlos Pellas, owner of the Grupo Pellas conglomerate, the opposition has demanded that Ortega step down. After being rejected, the oligarchs have pledged to fund opposition candidates to the government and are seeking a “unity candidate” that will not be an obvious stooge for Gran Capital. No doubt they will also need to be suitable to western interests.
The similarities to the rise of the previously unknown Juan Guaidó in Venezuela and Jeanine Áñez in Bolivia are startling, as is the backing for opposition agitation coming from within the country’s own elites.
Likewise, as the Bolivia coup is backed by Christian fundamentalists, the Catholic Church itself has been involved in attempts to unseat Daniel Ortega. It was in 2018 that the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua supported opposition attempts to overthrow the President, not only vocally supporting the opposition during the resulting national dialogue but being actively involved in kidnapping and torture of government officials and activists.
The pattern of regime change always follows the same course, be it in Ukraine, Venezuela, Hong Kong, the “Arab spring” or Bolivia.
- Oligarchs from the opposition ally with the United States
- Local street agitators and far-right nationalists or religious extremists are enlisted
- “Grassroots” protests are organised as “the people” rise against the elected government
- A suitable figurehead is arranged that is presentable to the western public
- The protests are arranged to become violent, prompting a response from the police that is presented as unjustified suppression of the “peaceful protest”
- Western governments condemn the government to be overthrown and claim there is a popular call for regime change from within the country, making it appear as though the plan is the will of the people, not the U.S. government
- The media repeat the claims without question, turning western opinion against the victim government
- Sanctions are placed on the country for “human rights violations” which serve to impoverish the poor. The victim country’s policies are blamed.
- Repeat steps 2 to 8 until the country is at breaking point.
- A coup d’etat is carried out in the country against the elected government
- The west recognises the new government, presenting it as a democratic change and wilfully ignoring the use of force of arms
- The oligarchs begin the process of transforming the economy to neoliberalism, American multinationals invest, the far-right or religious agitators are given a free hand to suppress minorities, socialists and U.S. critics.
This process, which was utilised successfully in Bolivia and failed in Venezuela, is already underway in Nicaragua, with opposition protests turning violent as they attempt to force the police and military to take extreme measures to prevent bloodshed and injury. These incidents have, of course, been condemned by the U.S. and the U.S. backed Washington-based Organization of American States who have proclaimed a “critical human rights situation” in the country.
Despite the “oppression” thousands marched in solidarity with Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega recently, showing that there is no popular movement against socialism in the country, just as there was none in Venezuela or Bolivia.
On Monday, Donald Trump declared Nicaragua a threat to U.S. national security.
“The situation in Nicaragua, including the violent response by the Government of Nicaragua to the protests that began on April 18, 2018, and the Ortega regime’s systematic dismantling and undermining of democratic institutions and the rule of law, its use of indiscriminate violence and repressive tactics against civilians, as well as its corruption leading to the destabilization of Nicaragua’s economy, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”Donald Trump
The United States will now impose further harsh sanctions on Nicaragua that will impoverish the poor, denying them food and essential medicines. Agitators within the country will attempt to blame Ortega for their plight, organising further protests where they will ensure violence on the streets. In turn, the U.S. will again condemn the “rights violations” and the circle will continue until a coup d’etat is carried out, presented to the world as the will of the people.
“The pressure on Nicaragua will continue”Carlos Trujillo, United States Ambassador to OAS
A future coup in the country would be the second attempt at regime change in recent years, with the spring 2018 coup being defeated by the government. After the failure of the coup, Stephen Sefton, a founder of Tortilla con Sal, warned that the U.S. and internal oligarchs would not stop in their attempts at regime change.
“This does not mean the United States and oligarchs are giving up, but this phase of their effort to remove the government did not succeed. The coup exposed the alliances who are working with the United States to put in place a neoliberal government that is controlled by the United States and serves the interests of the wealthy. People celebrated the failure of the coup but realize work needs to be done to protect the gains of the Sandinista revolution.”Stephen Sefton