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Profiles in Imperialism: The US goes to war and makes Nicaragua a utopia

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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 10:13 PM
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Profiles in Imperialism: The US goes to war and makes Nicaragua a utopia
One would think the evening news shows would be full of the good news coming out of Nicaragua. We went to war to overthrow the Evil Sandinistas and overthrow them we did. The war got lots of coverage at the time and made us all feel proud to be part of such an altruistic undertaking. The Nicaraguan people were freed from their oppression and given the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of Democracy.

Imagine how useful it would be to have grateful Nicaraguans on tape thanking us for all we did for them. We could send the tapes to the Iraqis and Afghans to let them know that when the United States breaks countries, it sure enough fixes them.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0309/S00085.htm

Neo-liberal Nicaragua: Neo Banana Republic
By Toni Solo


When US-backed candidate Violeta Chamorro won the most observed election ever in Nicaragua in 1990, she promised Nicaraguans that US government aid would quickly put the country back on its feet. After a decade of war, exhausted Nicaraguans took Chamorro at her word. However, US aid currently averages around US$38 million a year a trickle by any standard <1>. Nicaragua has taken twenty years to recover output levels it attained in 1982. Always among the poorest countries in the region, the war and its aftermath have left Nicaragua the second poorest country in the hemisphere after Haiti.

Nicaragua has been a hapless guinea pig for a neoliberal and neoconservative experiment if one can call it that. The neoliberal treatment is better described as misery by design, and the neoconservative penchant for democracy has meant corrupt and inept governments installed by means of rigged elections in which US government representatives have actively campaigned for their preferred candidate. A quest for self-determination and overcoming the legacy of dictatorship and war has given way to a systematic impoverishment of the country, and to craven subjugation by the country's governments to the whims of the US embassy. The implicit promise once made to Nicaragua before 1990, to bring the country out of its misery, has given way to neglect. An observer may conclude that the US is still punishing Nicaragua for having attempted to obtain its independence and exercise its right to self-determination. One wonders how much longer this torture must continue.

A Snapshot

Nicaraguas economy has always depended on agriculture. But, whereas the US subsidizes its farmers at record levels, the doctrine imposed on Nicaragua has been rigidly free-market. Predictably, Nicaragua's agriculture is in crisis. The extensive network of cooperatives built up prior to 1990 has fallen apart, unable to compete through lack of access to credit, spiraling costs and stagnant or falling prices. Government policy, while not openly attacking agricultural cooperatives, has been deliberately unhelpful.

Until 2000, coffee had been Nicaraguas main foreign exchange earner, and it had a long history since the 1870s. After years of World Bank pushing countries (especially Vietnam) to plant this cash crop, the coffee sector in Nicaragua, as elsewhere, has collapsed. The resulting migration from the land has exacerbated all of Nicaraguas serious social problems, compounding the economic crisis that is affecting the whole region. Last year, hundreds of destitute families camped out for months on the roads leading to the coffee growing areas, pleading for work. Television showed pictures of children in Matagalpa, the coffee capital, showing levels of starvation usually associated with Africa.

This month the Nicaraguan Institute of Statistics and Census announced that 30% of people in the Matagalpa suffer malnutrition. 5000 rural workers and their families are marching from Matagalpa to the capital Managua to demand assistance agreed between the government and the rural workers - promises the government has not kept. CENIDH, the national human rights organization has confirmed that nine people have died of hunger on the march so far, including several children.

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-03 11:19 PM
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1. the Nicaraguan immigration is a big issue in Costa Rica...
"Nearly a million Nicaraguans work in Costa Rica, and most do so illegally. In a typical barrio in any city around 60% of people will be out of work."

Costa Rica has a population of 4,200,000, and although this figure of 1 million is exaggerated, it is not a low number. It must be somewhere between 400,000 and 700,000 Nicaraguan immigrants in the country. That's at least 10% of the population of Costa Rica.
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-03 08:23 AM
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2. What Everyone Should Know About Nicaragua
http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1107-04.htm

What Everyone Should Know About Nicaragua
by Mark Weisbrot


The United States' first post-September 11 foray into Latin American politicsin Nicaragua's electionprovides a glimpse of how Washington's new "counter-terrorism" policy may play out in this region.

Conservative candidate Enrique Bolanos defeated the Sandinistas' Daniel Ortega, in an election that had been cast as too close to call. US officials publicly warned against a Sandinista victory, accusing them of "links to terrorism," and openly supported Bolanos.

But to understand the meaning of these events, we need a bit more history than most press accounts are providing.

The Sandinistas took their name from Augusto Cesar Sandino, a Nicaraguan who led a guerilla war from 1927-33 against US Marines who had invaded his country. The Marines finally left in 1933, but not before setting up a National Guard, led by Anastasio Somoza Garcia, to run the country. Sandino was murdered by the Guard, and Somoza established a family dictatorship that ruled the country with US support until the Sandinista-led revolution in 1979.

When Anastasio Jr. fled to Miamiour haven for retired dictatorsin 1979, Nicaraguans celebrated the departure of "the last Marine." Tens of thousands of people had been killed in the insurrection, as Somoza's air force bombed poor residential neighborhoods of Managua, figuring that all of the people living there were his enemies.

Partly because of the church-based, pacifist background of the organizations that joined their movement, the Sandinistas broke with the pattern of modern revolutions and rejected vengeance. They set a 30-year maximum sentence, even for the most vicious of their former tormentors and torturers.

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