U.S. Vows To Punish Nicaragua For Elections
This post is based on the NPR report, Observers Warn of U.S. Manipulation in Nicaragua
It’s so sickening to see our government continuing to support the dark side in Latin America: these corporate feudalist, Jesuit assassinating Contra-types. I went to Spring Hill College, a Jesuit college, so I heard the stories of the priest and nun murdering, peasant-repressing Contras from the horse’s mouth. The president of Spring Hill College received ordination along with one of victims, and SHC, including sometimes Fr. Lucey himself, protests the School of the Americas each year, which is the U.S. military school that trained the Central American death squads that killed the Jesuits. The government, Newsweek reports, may also have trained Iraqi death squads who are now torturing and killing with impunity.
Anyhow, in the Reagan years, America backed the rightist Contra death squads against the leftist Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua’s peasant revolt against the misery and extreme poverty wrought when only a handful of families control all the land and wealth. With the infamous Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan’s administration got in serious trouble for secretly funneling money gained from selling weapons to Iran, to the Contra militias, breaking the law banning aid to Contras, as well as violating Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution, which says all earnings must be publicly documented in the treasury.
Now, 15 years or so into a relatively peaceful democracy in Nicaragua, former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega has apologized for past demons, adopted a more moderate platform, found Jesus, and he is now running for president on a unity ticket, with a former enemy, ex-Contra spokesman Jaime Morales, as his vice presidential nominee. They are running with a theme of national reconciliation, and could accomplish great healing and uplift for their impoverished people.
But the U.S. is still supporting the Contra-types, and, fearing Ortega will ally with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and curb corporate expansion, is actively interfering in the elections. Administration officials, along with House hemispheric affairs chairman Dan Burton (R-IN), is loudly threatening Nicaragua with a Cuban-style trade embargo, pulling investment, and ending humanitarian aid if the election doesn’t go their way. The U.S. ambassador is openly backing and advising Ortega’s Contra-type opponents.
Convicted Iran-Contra mastermind Oliver North went to the Nicaraguan capital this week to blast Ortega. Want to bet his trip was to do more than stump for Contras? I’m seeing suitcases of money changing hands.
“Democracy on the march,” eh, Mr. Bush?
Why don’t they understand democracy? Being for democracy only when you win isn’t democracy. It’s hypocrisy. It’s autocracy. And it strips our pro-democracy claims of any legitimacy among developing countries. Nicaraguans now know we don’t want voter freedom; we want a pro-corporate government.
I’m no supporter of Hugo Chavez, and am especially angered by his recent anti-Semitism and courting of Iran and Hezbollah. But should we really be surprised Chavez would militarize, radicalize and embrace all things anti-American after we tried to overthrow him and the Religious Right suggested his assassination? If we really care about democracy, we shouldn’t try to subvert the democratic will of the people, even if we don’t agree with them.
I’m disgusted and appalled that in 2006, not 1986, our government is still pursuing a pro-Contra agenda. We’re openly vowing to punish Nicaragua for their elections; what could be more unAmerican than that?