By Atilio A. Boron on July 18, 2018

Atilio Boron, Photo: Bill Hackwell

The current painful situation in Nicaragua has precipitated a real barrage of criticism. The imperial right and its disciples in Latin America and the Caribbean  have redoubled their offensive with a single and exclusive objective: to create a climate of opinion that will allow the overthrow, without international protests, the government of Daniel Ortega, elected less than two years ago (November 2016) with 72 percent of the votes.

This was predictable; but what was not, is that in that attack, some progressive and leftist politicians and intellectuals added their voices with the same language of the empire participating with a like enthusiasm. A notable Chilean revolutionary, Manuel Cabieses Donoso, whom I am honored to be his friend, wrote in his measured criticism of the Sandinista government that, “the international reaction, the “hitman” of the OAS, the media of disinformation, the business community and the Catholic Church have seized upon and appropriated the social and political crisis that triggered the government’s mistakes.

The reactionaries have joined the wave of popular protest. Cabieses Donoso wrote a correct description; however, his conclusions are wrong. Correct because it is true that the government of Daniel Ortega made a very serious mistake in sealing “tactical” pacts with the historical enemies of the FSLN and, more recently, tried to impose a pension reform without any consultation with the Sandinista base. He also acted with incomprehensible disregard for the ecological crisis in the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve. Donoso is also correct when he says that the vernacular right and its foreign masters took over the social and political crisis, a fact of transcendental importance that cannot be ignored or underestimated.

But he is radically incorrect is his conclusion, the same one coming from Boaventura de Sousa Santos, the endearing and enormous poet Ernesto Cardenal, and Carlos Mejía Godoy, as well as a whole overabundance of other social fighters who in their numerous complaints and writings demand -some openly, others in a more subtle way – the impeachment of the Nicaraguan president without even sketching a reflection or risking a conjecture about what would come next.

Well known are the blood baths that plagued Honduras following the overthrow of “Mel” Zelaya, or those that occurred in Paraguay after the fast track overthrow of Fernando Lugo in 2012, and before what happened in Chile in 1973 and in Guatemala in 1954. We know what the Venezuelan coup leaders had in mind after the brief coup of April 1, 2002, or what is happening now in Brazil and the hundreds of thousands of murders that the right carried out during the decades of “co-government” IMF-PRIAN “in Mexico, or the genocide of the poor now being practiced by Macri in Argentina. Can anyone in their right mind suppose that the removal of Daniel Ortega’s government would establish a Scandinavian democracy in Nicaragua? A common weakness of all these critics is that at no time do they allude to the geopolitical framework in which the crisis unfolds.

How can we forget that Mexico and Central America is a region of the highest strategic importance for the doctrine of national security in the United States? The entire history of the twentieth century is marked by this obsessive concern of Washington to subdue the rebellious Nicaraguan people. At whatever price. For instance the White House established the bloody dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. And when he was criticized by some Democratic representatives in the United States Congress for the support that Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the dictator, he merely responded that “yes, he is a son of a bitch but he is OUR son of a bitch.”

And things have not changed since then. When, on July 19, 1979, the Sandinista Front defeated the Somoza regime, President Ronald Reagan did not hesitate a minute to organize a mafia operation of illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons for the purpose of financing – beyond what U.S. Congress authorized- the Nicaraguan “contra”. All this was known under the name “Operation Iran-Contra”. Can we be so naive today to ignore these antecedents, or to think that these interventionist and criminal policies are things of the past? A country, moreover, that in recent times has planned the construction of an inter-oceanic canal – financed by enigmatic Chinese capital – that would compete with that of Panama, controlled in fact, if not by law, by the United States.

This is not anecdotal but in-depth data, indispensable to accurately gauge the geopolitical framework in which the tragic events of Nicaragua unfold. All this is not meant to ignore the serious errors of Daniel Ortega’s government and the enormous price paid for a pragmatism that stabilized the economic situation of the country and improved the living conditions of the population but had to mortgage the revolutionary Sandinista tradition in the process. But pacts with the enemy are always volatile and transitory. And at the slightest sign of weakness by the government compounded by a gross error based on the contempt for the opinion of the Sandinista base, the empire threw themselves with their entire arsenal into the street to turn against Ortega. They transferred many of the mercenaries that staged the “guarimbas” in Venezuela to Nicaragua and are now applying in Nicaragua the same recipe for violence and death taught in the CIA manuals.

The fall of Sandinismo would weaken the geopolitical environment of the brutally attacked Venezuela, and increase the chances for the generalization of violence throughout the region. While attending the Forum of Sao Paulo that took place in Havana I was able to spend some time visualizing and contemplating the Caribbean. There I saw, in the distance, a fragile little boat. It was handled by a robust sailor and, at the other end, there was a young girl. The helmsman looked confused and struggled to keep his course in the middle of a threatening swell.  And it occurred to me that this image could represent eloquently the revolutionary process, and not only in Nicaragua but also in Venezuela, Bolivia, anywhere.

The revolution is like that girl, and the helmsman is the revolutionary government that can make mistakes, because there is no human work safe from error that could leave him at the mercy of the waves and endanger the life of the girl.  If that was not enough, in the vision not far away was the ominous silhouette of a US warship, loaded with lethal weapons, death squads and mercenary soldiers. How do we save the girl?  By bouncing the helmsman into the sea and letting the boat sink, and with him the girl? Should we deliver it to the mob of criminals who crowd, thirsty for blood and ready to plunder the country, steal their resources and rape and then kill the young girl? I do not see that as a solution. More productive would be that some of the other boats that are in the area approach the one in danger and make the messy helmsman straighten the course. Sinking the one who holds the girl of the revolution, or hand her to the American ship, could hardly be considered a revolutionary solution.

Source: Pagina 12, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

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