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ELECTIONS became the norm in Nicaragua ever since the Sandinistas carried out a revolution back in July 1979, when they overthrew the corrupt, US-backed, 43-year-long dictatorship of the Somoza family.
Thanks to the FSLN radical reforms and new constitution, there were presidential and other elections in Nicaragua in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. These elections were a far cry from the shambles that took place under the Somozas. When the FSLN lost the election in February 1990, fought under the terrible conditions of a decade-long US-financed and US-organised contra war, Daniel Ortega accepted the results and relinquished power.
This defeat led to 17 year of nasty US-inspired neoliberalism which set the country back decades by bringing about massive poverty, social exclusion, violence and illiteracy, ills that had been drastically reduced under the FSLN 1979-1990 governments. The FSLN regrouped and endured the long period of neoliberalism, not once threatening or organising violence to hasten the demise of the elected governments between 1990 and 2006 year when it won with 72% of the popular vote.
Conversely, the extreme US Republican right was not prepared to wait and unleashed a wave of violence between April and July this year in a brutal coup attempt. It was led by a right-wing coalition of forces held together by Washington dollars channelled through the NED, USAID and other shadier bodies. Felix Maradiaga, was a key leader of the violent revolt and was lionised by the media because of it. The coup attempt led to loss of lives (198) because armed thugs went on the rampage as they manned the roadblocks from which they terrorised the population.
Maradiaga, now living outside Nicaragua as an outlaw, is not only financed by the US — he grew up in the US and seems to be the US darling, while his think tank the Institute for Strategic and Public Policies is NED-funded (www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/13/correcting-the-record-what-is-really-hap...).
He is now touring the world campaigning for sanctions against his country and advocating the extreme Republican right’s aim of regime change. Maradiaga is a golpista through and through, but, disgracefully, has been offered a platform in the UK, which he is sharing with Bianca Jagger. Jagger, who is no friend of the FSLN government, has strongly opposed dialogue in Nicaragua and has also called for regime change.
She has been a campaigner for human rights and member of such international bodies as Amnesty International, but should she advocate regime change in any country? Worse, should she associate herself with somebody about whom there is irrefutable and ample evidence of being a key leader in the violent attempt to topple the democratically elected government of Nicaragua?
Maradiaga (https://afgj.org/nicanotes-complicating-the-narrative-on-nicaragua) has met Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Cruz and others in the US Republican extreme right to lobby for regime change in Nicaragua. He has been identified as being not only the key NED operative in Nicaragua but also being implicated in multiple criminal activities related to the violence during the attempted coup (http://tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/4995).
In an interview with the BBC (Newshour 16/05/2018 https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p067d8kh) Jagger said the only desirable outcome was for Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo “to step down so that there is a transition in Nicaragua,” which is not just the position of Maradiaga but also of the US Republican extreme right and now Trump’s foreign policy.
There are those such as the FSLN who are prepared to accept election results and there are those such as Maradiaga, the Republican extreme right and Trump who will resort to and support violence to bring about regime change.
In the BBC Newshour interview, Jagger claimed to be against foreign intervention. Why is she then sharing a platform with Felix Maradiaga, the public international face of the US coup attempt in Nicaragua?
Nicaragua wants peace and reconciliation — joining the platform of the coup-attempt supremo will only serve to exacerbate divisions and tensions.
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