Saturday, September 03, 2016

Right-wing pundits still attacking Nicaragua’s Sandinista leaders—even after they moved to the right

Lately I have been writing on my memoirs of the time I put in on the issue of Central America, especially in support of the Sandinista Revolution, of 1979. I have recalled the frustration many on the US left had when dealing with the right-wing President Ronald Reagan, who continuously made it clear how much he detested any kind of left-wing government. He was the wealthy industrialist's hero and he worked tirelessly to bring down communism and with it, any kind of working or poor people's representative government. The following is an excerpt from my up-coming book and below it is an article from This Can't Be Happening exposing the continuation of right-wing attacks on any kind of left-wing government, no matter if it is elected or otherwise. I am realizing lately that the right-wing definition of a dictatorship is any government that favors poor and working people.-SJ Otto

From How a Left-wing Journalist Survives the Bible Belt,
The autobiography of leftist writer Steve Otto:

By the fall of Soviet communism in 1992, we were left in a unipolar world. Before that we had a bipolar world. The latter meant that various revolutionary movements in the third world were trying to come up with new forms of Marxism that were multi-party (in a few cases), contested election driven, human rights driven and freedom oriented. Examples other than Nicaragua were the revolutions in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Grenada.
Ronald Reagan, back by the US Republican right-wing, and the right-wing in Europe, were delighted to see the Soviet Union collapse and all of these revolutions reversed. Mozambique's The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), as with the Sandinistas decided to align themselves with Europe's Democratic Socialist Parities, which are actually just pro-labor parties. Independent and somewhat western inspired Marxist parties began to disappear throughout the underdeveloped world.
The worst part is that for the American left, the Sandinistas and these other experiments were being used as examples of possible future government for the US. We wanted governments for the people as opposed to corporate profit driven government where poor people, working poor people, working class people and upper-class working people get the crumbs left behind to us all (trickle down). 
The worst part of all of this is that it meant, for many of us, the death of a dream. A more humane and human driven country and economy will evade us for the next few decades and perhaps centuries. We saw the promise land and it died. With it a part of many of us died. Before the Berlin Wall came down, many of us felt we were on the threshold of a dream. We were not. The ass-holes won. They crushed our dreams and they have been rubbing it in our faces ever since. They sneer at us. They berate us at every turn. They belittle us to the best of their ability. And they have gloated Oh they have gloated! The winners are the most money-grubbing, power-hungry, mean-spirited ass-holes on the planet. They won and the want us all to know it. 


From Fightin' Cock Flyer/ This Can't Be Happening!:

The New York Times is the best old-style, broad-sheet newspaper in America; it still covers the world with resourceful and enterprising reporters and commentators. But, then, there’s the other New York Times, the imperial rag that prints editorials like the one on August 5 titled “ ‘Dynasty,’ the Nicaraguan Version.” It’s not that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is a saint or even a model democrat; it’s that the editorial department and the writer who penned this sloppy embarrassment are still playing a version of the Reagan Cold War game of the 1980s. Those days are over; one hopes for something a bit more worldly.

After listing a number of negatives -- the popular President Ortega has appointed judges favorable to his rule and has been able to assure a legislature filled with his allies -- the editorial tells us how well the Nicaraguan economy is doing, how well the Ortega administration works with investors and international business and how safe the place is compared to its three closest neighbors. This safety is, we’re told, due to a sinister “vast police force.” Reading this, one might forget here in the US we have our own “vast” police and criminal justice problems.
Let’s consider for a moment the interesting fact that Nicaragua is notably “safer” than Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. First off, during the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan the United States of America directly supported, and in some cases actually directed, cruel and bloody wars against armed guerrillas (and the poor in whose name they fought) in these three small, poor nations. It was the Cold War, so these wars were couched in East-West (communist-capitalist) terms, when they arguably were more accurately described as North-South struggles: ie. they were about powerlessness versus power, poverty versus wealth.
In the case of Nicaragua, the US Contra War was a proxy war against a sovereign nation. In 1979, the Sandinista rebels had overthrown a dictatorship run by Anastasio Somoza, junior, whose father Anastasio, senior, had been a US ally. Franklin Roosevelt famously said of Somoza, senior, “Somoza’s a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.” In 1956, the father was shot dead eating dinner in a Leon restaurant by a patriotic poet working as a busboy. (Many Nicaraguans aspire to be poets.) Anastasio, junior, took over the family business and ruled as a US ally until 1979, when he fled to Paraguay, where in 1980 his Mercedes was blown apart by an RPG as the climax of a seven-member Sandinista plot called “Operation Reptile.” His unidentifiable remains were buried in Miami following a big funeral of fellow tyrants and right-wing fat cats.

For the rest click here.

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