Understanding the recent conflicts in Nicaragua

The following column is the opinion of the author and in no way represents the opinions of Tiger Media Network or Fort Hays State University.

BY DANIEL SAENZ

After suffering from decades of authoritarian governments, civil war and poverty, and dealing with the corrupt and iron-fisted government of Daniel Ortega, the people of Nicaragua have decided that enough is enough. Since April 16, Nicaraguans began to protest after the government announced social security reforms that would predominantly affect the people in the poor and middle-class.

In response to these demonstrations, paramilitary troops have been shooting protestors on sight, leaving over 60 dead. Most Nicaraguan newspapers like El 19, which are really just mouthpieces for the regime at this point, have smeared the protestors as nothing more than “terrorists” and “thieves”.

At this point, thousands are protesting on the streets and with each passing day, the bloodshed continues to worsen. In the most savage display of aggression imaginable, on July 14th, the government decided to corner over 200 protestors in a church, killing two and wounding several others in the process.

So, who is Daniel Ortega, the mastermind behind such acts? Ortega is a former member of the “revolutionary” Sandinistas who overthrew the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979. The Sandinistas proceeded to enact a wide range of economic reforms that aimed to help the poor. However, the regime quickly devolved into a dictatorship that routinely kidnapped, tortured, and killed all opposition. Nicaragua soon became the target of U.S. foreign policy.

First, the United States placed heavy sanctions on the nation. Then, the U.S. proceeded to fund right-wing death squads to overthrow the Sandinista regime (a move that became a centerpiece of Reagan’s infamous Iran-Contra scandal). While the death squad received a great deal of praise in the American press as freedom fighters against an evil communist government, their human rights violations came to light as numerous reports of kidnapping, torturing, and the mass murder of the indigenous population were released. After the conflict that lasted from the 70s well into the 90s, Nicaragua was left impoverished.

This then made it possible for Ortega to rise to power in the late 90s as he campaigned on a socialist platform aimed at alleviating poverty. However, as with most so-called revolutionaries, Ortega shifted from campaigning for the little guy, to mass murdering and oppressing the little guy.

As is the case with Syria and Venezuela, the world is doing absolutely nothing. This spinelessness from the global community needs to stop. If not outright intervention, we should at least expect some form of diplomatic pressure. Otherwise, this will go into a long list of humanitarian disasters where the global community was too cowardly to do even lift a finger.

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