Nicaraguan ambassador: U.S. scheming to use election to defeat Socialist government
A youth carries a portrait of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during commemorations for the anniversary of the triumph of the 1979 Sandinista Revolution that toppled dictator Anastasio Somoza in Managua, Nicaragua, late Sunday, July 18, 2021. | Miguel Andrés/AP

WASHINGTON—With the Nicaraguan presidential election approaching fast, the U.S. government is scheming to use the balloting to defeat the independent Socialist Frente Sandinista government and its gains there, its ambassador, Francisco Campbell says.

“There is still a systematic attempt” to ensure current President Daniel Ortega and the Frente Sandinista, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, loses, he told a capacity crowd on July 19 during a meeting commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the SNLF’s victory over U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza.

“There is a plot to bring about regime change and a plot to overthrow the government is part of it,” Campbell said. Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive five-year term.

U.S. and world supporters of Nicaragua have a role to play in the struggle, Campbell said: Declaring solidarity with the current government, opposing U.S. influence and intervention. “This is vital help in our campaign” to defend the government and its gains, he said.

The Nicaraguan government “represents a new type of popular democracy…under a government of national unity,” responded a speaker from the D.C. club of the CPUSA, which sponsored the session, commemorating SNLF’s victory in the 1979 revolution. By contrast, added D.C. club member Arturo Griffiths: “Imperialism is like a tiger that is going after everybody because they (imperialists) are losing power.”

The current U.S. regime change plan in Nicaragua would follow an historic pattern of intervention there and elsewhere globally, including in other Latin American nations currently opposing U.S. hemispheric hegemony—such as Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, and Peru—the CP speaker added.

Nicaragua needed a revolution in 1979.

“Forty-two years ago, the Nicaraguan people succeeded in overthrowing the Somoza family dictatorship imposed on our country” for 45 years by the U.S., Campbell said. The Somozas left Nicaragua poor, 70% illiterate, and with health care and education available only to those able to pay for it—the elite.

The SNLF-run government has spent its time since its initial win improving conditions, he stated, with statistics to back him up. Literacy is now 91%, land has been redistributed to campesinos and away from the ruling elite, education and health care are free, the number of doctors has more than doubled in a decade, while eight new hospitals are under construction to add to the hundreds already built.

Poverty has been cut from 49% to 24.9% in 15 years. The murder rate is seven per 100,000 citizens, far lower than in neighboring Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, all run by pro-U.S. rightist governments. “And we have achieved the lowest rates” of coronavirus pandemic infections” in the region, Campbell said.

All this while keeping Nicaragua financially solvent, international organizations confirm.

And all despite U.S. intervention and interference—and not just during the notorious GOP Reagan administration funding, training, and arms shipments to the “contras” in the 1980s, he pointed out.

It’s still interfering, he stated, by recruiting European allies in a campaign to discredit this year’s election and in strong-arming the Organization of American States to join in. “The corporate media” in the U.S. “are on a big campaign to justify this regime change,” Campbell added.

The SNLF government’s response to the first U.S. “regime change” scheme—Reagan’s—was to sue the U.S. in the International Court of Justice (the World Court), on charges of state-sponsored terrorism. It won, and the court imposed a $70 billion fine. Nicaragua’s still waiting for the money “but the judgment stands,” Campbell proudly said.

“What was the response of the U.S.?” to Nicaraguan progress. “Do everything to delegitimize and suggest that if there was a victory of the Sandinista Party, it was fraudulent and illegitimate,” in the first post-victory election.

A woman wears a Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) headband during commemorations for the 42nd anniversary of the triumph of the 1979 Sandinista Revolution that toppled dictator Anastasio Somoza in Managua, Nicaragua, July 18, 2021. | Miguel Andrés/AP

After U.S. interference, its interests triumphed again in that “bitter” 1990 election. The SNLF government, then also led by Somoza, peacefully transferred power. Campbell, a former sociology professor who resigned that job to join the liberation movement, and has been one of its top diplomats since, spent ensuring years establishing a non-profit foundation in his home city, Bluefields, on Nicaragua’s northern Atlantic coast, a center of its Black community.

The 1990 election resulted in a “neo-liberal” victory by Violeta Chamorro. Chamorro and two successors held power for 17 years, reversing many of the SNLF’s reforms, after one five-year term for Ortega.  “We had to undo the damage” once the SNLF won the 2006 balloting and Ortega returned to the presidency the following year, Campbell said.

But aid to the contras wasn’t the end of U.S. interference, Campbell told the group, gathered in a D.C. community center. There was even a 2018 coup attempt “sponsored, financed and enabled by the U.S.”

Campbell did not go into details about that GOP Trump regime Nicaraguan coup try, but a 2019 book, Live From Nicaragua: An Uprising Or A Coup?” reviewed on the Spanish-language network Telesur, did. And the undermining continues, the ambassador said.

In language eerily reminiscent of the GOP Nixon administration’s planning to overthrow the Chilean government of Socialist Salvador Allende, Campbell explained the U.S. still views the SNLF-led government as “a threat” because it could give other nations ideas about how to resist U.S. hegemony.

“When the U.S. talks about Nicaragua being ‘a threat,’ they are not talking about a conventional threat, but the threat of a good example. Other nations look at Nicaragua and say ‘That’s an experiment worth imitating.’

“We are going to defend the revolution and we are not going to allow what happened in 1990 to repeat itself in 2021,” he declared. “That’s what the U.S. is trying to destroy.”


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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