The Acts of the Democracies
Years : ALL
Victim Country : Nicaragua
10 Items Selected
The Samoza family amasses a huge fortune and crush dissent ruthlessly. Although Anastasio is assassinated in 1956, the dynasty continues.
The younger Somoza, makes $ 12,000,000 a year buying blood sold by poor Nicaraguans and selling it abroad at a profit.
The American backed Samoza had amassed $900,000,000 and kept the population under control by carpet bombing, helicopter gun ships, death squads and chemical defoliants. The population eventually expel the hated regime after 30,000 people have died.
A few months earlier the USA had supported a $ 66 million loan to the regime from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while Samoza's National Guard were bombing slums, killing civilians in city streets and mass looting.
The new government (called the Sandinistas) introduces a literacy campaign and health provisions for all citizens. Within a decade, the country's child mortality rate would fall from 128 to 62 per thousand births.
Ortega had won a free and internationally observed election with 63% of the vote. In spite of this, the USA's President Reagan begins a trade embargo on Nicaragua, secretly mines its ports, destroys agricultural collectives and health clinics, and uses its influence in the World Bank to block previously agreed loans to the country.
Although condemned by the World Court, the USA continues this destabilisation until 1990 when a USA backed party, the National Opposition Union is elected by a small margin.
The USA undermines the World Court. On previous occasions, the USA had used the Court against various states but on this occasion, the Court was denounced and its ruling ignored. The USA newspaper, New York Times, supports of the USA refusal to accept the Court's ruling, calling the Court a "hostile forum."
The USA State Department Legal Adviser, Abraham Sofaer, states:
"The United States does not accept compulsory jurisdiction over any dispute involving matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States, as determined by the United States."
This "domestic jurisdiction" is the destabilisation of another country's democratically elected government.
The UK government of Margaret Thatcher supports and endorses USA actions in Central America. The Rupert Murdoch owned UK newspaper, The Times states: "[The USA actions] maintain and strengthen the forces of democracy in an area threatened with a communist takeover."
Oxfam, an international development organisation that works in nearly 80 developing countries, states that Nicaragua is "exceptional in the strength of [its] government's commitment... to improving the condition of the people and encouraging their active participation in the development process".
Horatio Arce, one of the Contra rebels destabilising Nicaragua, would admit in 1988 that he was trained in a USA base in the southern USA and was funded by the Agency for International Development from the USA embassy in Tegucigalpa in Honduras. He admits: "We attack lots of schools, health centres and those sort of things. We have tried to make it so that the Nicaraguan government cannot provide social services for the peasants, cannot develop its project... that's the idea".
Viron Vaky, USA Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs supports using the Contras because "a longer war of attrition will so weaken the regime, provoke such a radical hardening of repression, and win sufficient support from Nicaragua's discontented population that sooner or later the regime will be overthrown by popular revolt, self destruct by means of internal coups or leadership splits, or simply capitulate to salvage what it can."
President Reagan secretly approves arms sales to Iran in contradiction to official USA policy. The money from these sales is diverted to the Contras. The purpose is to destabilise the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega.
Colonel Oliver North sets up centers in Colombia where cocaine dealing obtains more money to buy arms for the Contras. The drugs trade leads to a crack cocaine epidemic in Western countries.
The USA's policies inflict more than 50,000 casualties in Nicaragua. This includes nearly 3,500 children killed and over 6,000 children orphaned. The USA made film Under Fire covers this period.
The USA is criticised by the World Court for its undercover action against the democratically elected government of Nicaragua. The Court orders the USA to pay reparations of $ 17,000 million which the USA refuses to abide by.
The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution calling on all governments to observe international law.
Alan Tonelson writes in USA magazine New Republic that USA policy in Nicaragua "involves handling the Sandistas and other threats in Central America the way that great powers have always dealt with pesty, puny neighbours: by laying down the law unilaterally and enforcing our will through intimidation and direct uses of military force. If the intimidation is successful - as it easily could be - the actual use of force would be unnecessary". He continues that "Americans should be able to bring Nicaragua to heel without slogging through its jungles - especially if it is clear that good behaviour will bring a postponement of the regime's rendevous with the ash heap of history".
In the USA, Time Magazine writes that the methods used to destabilise Nicaragua were to "wreck the economy and prosecute a long and deadly proxy war until the exhausted natives overthrow the unwanted government themselves," with a cost to the USA that was "minimal".
Nicaragua returns to a "free market" economy. Ten years after having the best social services in Central America, it becomes one of the poorest nations with malnutrition and illiteracy widespread.
A senior USA official writes in a local newspaper that "Nicaragua would sink like a stone" if the poplulation elected Ortega.
The USA uses funds channelled through The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to support its favoured candidates in many parts of Latin America.
During the 1980s the USA armed and funded groups hostile to the elected government of Nicaragua.