Nicaragua regains its balance

Source:  Cuba Network in Defense of Humanity

May 2018

by Tortilla con Sal

daniel ortega May 2018Recent disturbances in Nicaragua have served as a kind of who-is-who separating anti-imperialists from cynical phonies both inside and outside the country. The tsunami of disinformation has swamped both the usual suspect mainstream corporate media outlets and their alternative accomplices but also other news sites that are generally anti-imperialist on issues like Syria or Palestine, Russia or Iran.

Like Venezuela, Nicaragua is in the cross hairs of the Western elites and their governments because the country’s Sandinista President Daniel Ortega and his team have successfully implemented socialist inspired policies while also defending the principles of a multi-polar world based on international law.

What happened

The events in Nicaragua resulted from years of frustration and resentment among the country’s political opposition that they cannot win elections. Since 2011, in elections ratified by observers from US government dominated Organization of American States and from the European Union, Nicaragua’s political opposition parties have struggled to win more than around 30% electoral support. In 2016, President Daniel Ortega was re-elected with around 70% of the vote.

In recent months, national and international opinion polls have indicated levels of support for President Ortega at well over 60%, making claims of mass rejection of his government look ridiculous.

The apparent trigger for the sudden explosion of violence between April 18th and April 22nd across the country was the April 16th announcement of reforms to the country’s social security system. Two aspects of that announcement played into the hands of the country’s extremist minority opposition. Firstly, the government mistakenly thought they could announce the reforms due for implementation in July and explain them in detail later to the public. Secondly, the reforms were announced during a university election period with students actively debating and mobilizing around issues of concern to them. That opened the way for the political opposition to mount a vigorous disinformation campaign via social media cynically fooling large numbers of students into public protests by misrepresenting the government’s pro-worker, pro-pensioner proposals while omitting the private business sector’s plan to slash benefits, restrict coverage and privatize public sector clinics.

On Wednesday April 18th, rival groups of students clashed violently in Managua and then student protesters against the government fought with police trying to restore order. The government condemned the protests, which inflamed the demonstrating students, many of whom have supported the Sandinista government’s very successful social and economic programs. Then from April 19th onward, extremist opposition activists hijacked the student protests, attacking hospitals, government and municipal authority offices, public buildings of all kinds, university precincts and even the country’s brand new national baseball stadium. Among many similar incidents, in the small southern town of Diriamba, hundreds of opposition activists attacked and seriously damaged the municipal offices which were defended by just 12 police officers.

Similar attacks occurred in other cities, including Managua and the northern town of Estelí where municipal workers occupied their offices to defend them against possible attacks by extremist opposition activists. Estelí’s municipal offices were attacked on the night of Friday April 20th by over 500 people, most of whom were not from Estelí but including both local students and a number of opportunist delinquents. With police trying to keep order, the attackers fired over 1000 mortar rounds and threw around 17 molotov cocktails trying to destroy the municipal offices and other targets nearby. 18 police and 16 municipal workers were wounded. Among the protesters, two young students were shot dead and numerous people injured. The fighting lasted for five hours, covering an area of around 16 blocks with the attackers using firearms and knives. While the opposition media blame the police for the deaths, local reporters insist it is impossible assign blame in such confused events without a detailed investigation.

Sequels

Nationally, most estimates reckon around 20 people were killed in the violence. Among the dead were two police officers and a Sandinista journalist, while other fatalities include Sandinista and opposition activists as well as bystanders caught up in the violence. The pattern of the attacks suggests a well formulated plan with preparations already in place before the protests started. For example, outside Managua there was no violence reported in important towns like Matagalpa, Jinotega and Ocotal. By focusing on Masaya, León and Estelí, the opposition extremists tried to create false symmetry between their violent offensive and the centers of insurrection against the Somoza dictatorship in 1979.

Obvious questions are who may have funded the very widespread attacks and how they were able to have ready for instant use a quantity of weapons produced on a semi-industrial scale. Overall the attackers fired many thousands of mortar rounds each one costing over US$3. The cost of transport to move hundreds of militants between Managua, Leon and Chinandega, Estelí, and towns around Granada also runs into many thousands of dollars. In Managua, impoverished young delinquents were being paid US$10 to US$15 per day to participate in the attacks. Clearly, the opposition extremists who hijacked the student protests for their own ends were very well organized, funded and prepared before the protests even began.

From Sunday April 22nd onward, numerous sectors, including religious and business sectors, reacted against the violence increasingly calling for it to stop. In Managua, thousands of ordinary people mobilized extensively to defend their neighborhoods from marauding looters. That day, President Ortega announced the withdrawal of the proposed Social Security reforms and the start of an inclusive national dialogue. In towns outside Managua, life abruptly returned to something like normal as if someone had thrown a switch. On Monday, funerals for the dead, as well as protest marches in Managua and elsewhere, went off peacefully. Despite inflated opposition claims, independent media like El Nuevo Diario reported numbers similar to other big opposition demonstrations of recent years.

National Dialogue

Scheduled to start over the weekend of April 28th-29th, the national dialogue is planned to include all sectors of Nicaraguan society and will be mediated by the Catholic Church led by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes. The government and the country’s other authorities are supporting the dialogue by means of a public investigation into the deaths, injuries and damage to property by the country’s Public Prosecution service. The official Legal Office for the Defense of Human Rights is establishing a nationwide Committee of Victims for Punishment and Reparations to support people affected by the disturbances. The country’s legislature, the National Assembly, has established a Truth Commission to give a hearing to conflicting accounts of the disturbances.

Together with the national dialogue process, these initiatives will help inform people inside and outside Nicaragua of what really happened during the violent incidents that began last April 18th. many people in Nicaragua think what will emerge will radically contradict the sinister fictions and false beliefs massively propagated by opposition social media and Western corporate media and NGOs. As the facts emerge, the extremist opposition minority and their agenda promoting US intervention will probably find even more widespread abhorrence and rejection than exists already of what they have done to damage Nicaragua’s hard won social peace and economic well-being.

Cuban Ambassador in Washington responds to Wall Street Journal

Source Editorial WSJ / Cuba Network In Defense of Humanity
May 7 2018

jose cabanas cubaRegarding your editorial “Cuba Gets a Castro Convertible” (April 23): The U.S. corporate press has always been predictable in its articles on Cuba and even more so when it comes to its editorials. Newspapers such as yours were against Cubans being free from Spanish power in the 19th century. Later on, they commended local corrupt politicians who supported the invasion— first militarily and then economically by American companies during the first half of the 20th century. Finally, those newspapers relentlessly demonized the Cuban Revolution since 1959. However, I was caught off guard by the sordidness of the language used by your editorial board when referring to my country. It is the typical exercise of those who are left without arguments.

There is still a financial, economic and commercial embargo imposed on Cuba intended to starve our population into submission. However, the information blockade has decreased. Americans massively travel to Cuba and 75% of them support a better relationship with our country.

Your renewed efforts to promote the business of the “dissidence” in Cuba will not have the slightest success. History is wise and has forgotten (and will forget) the names of the annexationists of Cuban origins, but any educated human being who inhabits the earth today will be able to tell you about Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo, Julio Antonio Mella, Ernesto Guevara and Fidel Castro ; those are the names of the pro-independence figures.

To maintain a part of the audience you still have, before criticizing Cuba again, or any other Latin American or Caribbean country for that matter, please start by looking at yourselves in the mirror.

Jose Ramón Cabanas Rodriguez

Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba

Washington

‘The World is Not Trump’s Estate’: Bolivia’s Evo Morales Condemns US Sanctions on Venezuela

Source:  TeleSUR
May 22 2018

evo morales may 2018 2.pngBolivia’s President Evo Morales speaks during a news conference at the
presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia. | Photo: Reuters

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Bolivia’s president reiterated. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales has rejected a new round of sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the United States’ after Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as the country’s president Sunday.

RELATED:   Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Maduro’s Victory a Triumph Over Coup Plotters, Intervention

“We condemn the unilateral decision that imposes a new economic blockade to suffocate the Venezuelan people, in retaliation for having defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolas Maduro democratically. Trump must understand that the world is not his estate,” Morales said in a tweet posted late Monday.

The U.S. along with its right-wing European and Latin American allies have repeatedly called Venezuela’s elections a ‘sham’ before and after Maduro won at the polls.

Morales’ remarks come after he congratulated Maduro on his re-election, and praised it as a victory against foreign interventionism.

Condenamos decisión unilateral de EEUU que impone un nuevo bloqueo económico para asfixiar al hermano pueblo venezolano, como represalia por haber derrotado democráticamente el boicot golpista contra el presidente Nicolás Maduro. Trump debe entender que el mundo no es su hacienda

“It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup and boycott against President Nicolás Maduro,” Morales reiterated.

Over 20 million Venezuelans were called to the polls to elect their next president, where Maduro won with 6,190,612 votes, with a 46 percent voter turnout.

Maduro Declares Top US Diplomat Persona Non Grata, Gives Him 48 Hours to Leave

Source:  TeleSUR
May 22 2018

Nicolas Maduro may 2018 3Venezuela’s President Maduro addresses the audience during the ceremony
to receive a certificate confirming him as winner of Sunday’s election, in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Maduro,  in rejection of Washington’s interventionist policies, has given Chargé d’Affaires Todd Robinson 48 hours to leave Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro said United States Chargé d’Affaires Todd Robinsonand head of political affairs Brian Naranjo have 48 hours to leave Venezuela. Maduro says the decision to expel the pair is aimed at defending Venezuela’s sovereignty and in rejection of Washington’s interventionist policies against the country and its people.

RELATED:  Venezuela: Electoral Body Ratifies Maduro’s New Mandate

“I have declared him persona non grata, and I announce the exit of the United States Chargé d’Affaires in 48 hours,” Maduro said of Todd Robinson during the official proclamation of his re-election. He accused Robinson of being involved in “a military conspiracy” against Venezuela saying the U.S. embassy had been meddling in the military, economic and political issues, and vowed to present evidence to the nation shortly.

“Neither with conspiracies nor with sanctions will you hold Venezuela back,” Maduro said, at the National Electoral Council’s (CNE) headquarters in downtown Caracas.

More than 20 warnings

He said that the government had given the embassy more than 20 warnings regarding interference into Venezuelan internal affairs, but all had fallen on deaf ears.

Maduro announced the measures in a speech after receiving credentials from the country’s National Electoral Council confirming his new presidential mandate following his victory in Sunday’s election.

Unconventional war against Venezuela

Maduro said that Venezuela faces unconventional forms of war that seek to colonize it again and destroy its democracy but the country and its people have prevailed.

“A miracle brings us here. How many obstacles we have overcome. The maker of the miracle is the people of Venezuela, with their strength,” Maduro told the crowd at the CNE. “Venezuela is capable of overcoming any challenge, and has the democratic and institutional maturity and strength of conscience.”

Argentina’s Maradona Says Venezuela ‘Voted to Continue Legacy of Hugo Chavez ‘

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2018

 

Diego Maradona y Nicolas may 2018.jpg

Ex-Argentine soccer player Diego Armando Maradona gestures as
Venezuela’s President Maduro kisses the national flag during a campaign rally in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

“I’m very glad Maduro didn’t lose, because the United States would taken over everything, just like they’re doing in Argentina,” said Maradona.

Argentine former soccer player Diego Maradona expressed his support to Venezuelan people’s decision to reelect President Nicolas Maduro for another six-year term, after attending his campaign’s closing ceremony Thursday.

RELATED:  China, Russia Call for Respecting Venezuela Elections

“Yesterday, Venezuela again gave its support to Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelans that don’t want to be invaded, the good Venezuelans, elected him again to continue the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez. Today Venezuela is free forever,” wrote the soccer star in his Facebook account.

The former national Argentine team coach has been a long-time supporter of the Bolivarian revolution and a fierce critic of neoliberal policies in Latin America.

“I’m very glad Maduro didn’t lose, because the United States would have taken over everything, just like they’re doing in Argentina, as they’re doing in Brazil, and in every country that want to keep its head up.”

Despite critics from the opposition and other detractors, Maradona has remained firm in his support for the Venezuelan government and President Nicolas Maduro.

“And to those who criticize me, I thank you with my soul. They speak from their homes and have the plate full of food everyday. And we’re fighting in Venezuela so that plate can be full. I greet the singer, the actress and the ex-soccer player that woke up after a long time. I won’t vote for the ones they want,” said Maradona, referring to critics of singer Jose Luis Rodriguez “el Puma” and ex-soccer player Mario Kempes.

“My back is wide enough to hold everything they want to tell me. I send a big hug to all Venezuelans!” he concluded.

Cuba: Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro Congratulate Maduro

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2018

cuba congratulates maduro may 2018.jpg

Former President and Cuban Communist Party chief Raul Castro Ruz also
congratulated Maduro. | Photo: Reuters

The Cuban Government offers solidarity regarding any new challenges faced by Maduro’s Government in the new six-year presidential term.

Cuban officials, late Sunday, congratulated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on an overwhelming victory in the presidential election, in letters posted on Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza‘s Twitter page.

RELATED: El Salvador Congratulates Venezuelan People, Maduro

“The Bolivarian and Chavista community has demonstrated once again it’s determination in defending the legacy of Chavez, who you represent worthily,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez said in a letter addressed to Maduro.

Diaz-Canel added that the Cuban Government will be supportive and offer solidarity regarding any new challenges faced by Maduro’s Government in the new six-year presidential term.

Former President and Cuban Communist Party chief Raul Castro Ruz also congratulated Maduro on victory in the Venezuelan presidential elections.

Read more here

 

China, Russia Call for Respecting Venezuela Elections, Condemn US Intervention

Source:  TeleSUR
May 21 2018

maduro wins may 2018 2

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes.

A day after the Venezuelan general elections, China and Russia called on Monday for respecting the country’s democratic process and rejected attempts of interfence by the United States and other regional powers.

RELATED:  Cuba: Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro Congratulate Maduro

“The parties involved must respect the decision of the Venezuelan people,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a press conference in Beijing, as he encouraged resolving any dispute through legal channels, EFE reported.

Kang affirmed China’s policy of not interfering in internal affairs of other countries and was convinced that the Venezuelan government and citizens will be able to resolve the issues.  “China will address the relevant issues in accordance with diplomatic practice,” the spokesman added.

Victory for Maduro despite open US interference

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) reported.

The opposition candidate, former governor, Henri Falcón came second after Maduro – and the evangelical expiator Javier Bertucci have made accusations of irregularities.

Maduro’s win comes at a time when the United States and its right-wing regional allies as well as several European governments have made several attempts to intervene in Venezuela’s presidential elections through sanctions and boycott calls against the Venezuelan election saying they won’t recognize the results, policies that were rejected by the Russian Foreign Ministry Monday.

“We regrettably have to note that in these elections, in addition to the two traditional participants, that is, the Venezuelan people, the electors, on the one hand, and on the other the candidates who presented their programs … there was a third participant, the governments who openly called for a boycott of the vote,” said Alexánder Schetinin, director of the Latin American Department of the Foreign Ministry.

Schetinin also added that Russia is often accused of meddling in other countries’ elections but in Venezuela’s case, some countries have meddled indiscriminately.

He added that some countries put obstacles “among others to hinder the voting in their territories of Venezuelans who are abroad.”

“And even worse when a whole series of governments, including the one you are appointing (United States), a priori declared that they would not recognize the results,” he said during a press conference, the Interfax news agency reported.

“The elections have been held and their results have an irreversible character: two-thirds of the votes went to the current president of the country, Nicolás Maduro,” he concluded.

Latin American support

While Many countries in Latin America have recognized the Venezuelan elections and congratulated President Maduro, such as Cuba, Bolivia and El Salvador, right-wing governments in the region have dismissed the vote as “illegtimate” echoing statements by the U.S. and Canada and some Western countries who had dismissed the vote and teh results before the election had even taken place.

The so-called Lima Group plus Canada issued a statement Monday saying it did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela’s presidential election. The statement said the countries would call their ambassadors back from Caracas for consultations and hold a meeting to coordinate a regional response to what they call “crisis” in Venezuela. They also said they would seek a new resolution on “the situation” in the South American country.

Such attempts of interference into Venezuela’s internal affairs have repeatedly been rejected over the past few months by the government in Caracas as well as left-wing governments in the region.

The Lima Group includes Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Santa Lucia, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala.