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Thu Aug 20, 2015, 09:15 PM

To the people of Nicaragua, from Bernie Sanders

Last edited Fri Aug 21, 2015, 12:40 AM - Edit history (2)


Sanders’ open letter to the people of Nicaragua. Photograph: Special Collections, University of Vermont Libraries

and a TERRIFIC Sanders quote

"There are times that one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I don't know the answers. I think sometimes one wishes one was dumber than one is so one doesn't have to look out into the world and see the pain that's out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do"[/blockquote

Taken from a talk after making Puerto Cabeza a Sister City in solidarity


Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders Address at Puerto Cabezas Sister City Program


My transcript below with thanks to RufusTFirefly for a discrete PM with my typos lol. Please point out any others errors, thanks.

Thank you. Pat Peterson who was just speaking has thanked many many people but as usual she forgot to thank herself and Pat in fact has done the bulk of the work in the sister city relationship.

There are times that one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I don't know the answers. I think sometimes one wishes one was dumber than one is so one doesn't have to look out into the world and see the pain that's out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do.

I think what I would want to start off with tonight by saying is that really what is going on in terms of the United States' relationship to Nicaragua of course has nothing to do with Nicaragua. The nature of the conflict that now exists is based on the fact that for the last 150 years or so the United States government in its wisdom has decided that Latin America should be a colony of the United States government and that countries which attempt to stand up and do things for their own people rather than for American corporations are not to be tolerated.

What's going on in Nicaragua, it's not important to get into all the details of whether the Sandinistas are right or wrong on this issue. If we understand that in the last 30 years the United States has overthrown governments in Guatemala, Dominican Republic, they murdered Salvador Allende in Chile. They've overthrown the government of Grenada. They attempted to overthrow the government of Cuba. They overthrew a government in Brazil. And now they're attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

I think, all of you know that I am no great supporter of the President of the United States, I think one thing that we can say for him is that he's an honest and straightforward man. What he has said to Daniel Ortega and the people of Nicaragua- he's not gotten involved in these wishy washy terms of liberalism or international law, he's been quite upfront about it- and he said before the people of the world that "If you wish to survive as a nation, you can. All that you have to do is get down on your hands and knees and say uncle. That's all."

That's an interesting principle of international relations.

What he has said is that we in the United States are strong and powerful and we can destroy you anytime we want, and all you have to do is get down on your hands and knees or we will send in Rambo and Sylvester Stallone.

The basic crime being committed by the people of Nicaragua today is that the government there has the strange and unusual idea that they should attempt to do something for the people of Nicaragua rather than for the United States' corporations. It's a very strange idea for the independent nation to have. And if the history of the United States' relationship to Latin America for the last 50 years, which is:

Somoza- Yes. Ortega - No.
Batista - Yes. Castro - No.
Pinochet - mass murderer, torturer destroyer of democracy - Yes.
Loans, military money - Yes.
Salvador Allende, democratically elected by the people of Chile, his political party gaining in strength - No. Overthrown by the CIA and murdered. And 30,000 40,000 Chileans killed. Yes Pinochet.

When I was a kid going to school and I'm sure all of you had the same experience, we learned something about American History. And I think many of us are very proud to be Americans- many fantastic things, there's a boldness in this country, there's an energy in this country that doesn't exist elsewhere in the world. But what we didn't learn I think and what we are not proud of and I think what we do not intend to accept is that a relationship can be based on brute bully strength and we are not prepared to accept this nation dominating poor nations and weak nations which are trying to do decent things for their people.

I think if the Sister City relationship means anything, and it means a great deal to me and I know it means a great deal to you, it means that we believe that human beings on a face-to-face level are able to communicate with each other, are able to work out problems based on mutual respect, and that as Americans what we want of our nation, we want our nation to be brave and bold but not with guns and not with machine guns and not with napalm.

I personally, really, am not all that impressed by President Reagan's tough warlike rhetoric. If he wants to do something that's really gutsy and that's really brave, for a guy who does so well on the television, a master of the media- what I would do is challenge him to sit down before the television cameras of the entire world and sit down and talk to Ortega and the other people in Nicaragua and work out the problems based on mutual respect. Does he have the guts to do that? And I'm not sure that he does. I'm not sure that he has the answers to the sharp questions and the challenges the people throughout the Third World would be throwing at him.

You know, we live in a world today, and it really is depressing to think about it, we live in a world today where there are several hundred million people starving to death, they're starving to death right now. We live in a world where my guess is that between all the superpowers and the other nations of the world, close to one trillion dollars are being spent every single year on weapons, on more and more nuclear bombs, on the most sophisticated nerve gases which can wipe people out and paralyze them. And yet with all the brilliance and all the fine technology and all the robots and the great medical research that they do up there in the hospitals, civilization hasn't advanced one bloody iota for the last thousands of years. All that these people can do is still say to each "we're strong, you're weak, you do it our way or we're going to kill you". A very profound, civilized remark.

I think what we're here for today is to show President Reagan and many people who don't have the courage that we have, because what goes on in this country primarily through the television and through the media is that over and over again all that the President of the United States has to say is that Nicaragua is communist, Nicaragua is Marxist-Leninist, and now the new thing is Nicaragua is terrorist. And if you say it over a hundred times it now becomes truthful and then suddenly you see the professional politicians getting less and less bold in saying that maybe the President is wrong. Because you know appealing to people's hatred and their anger and their desire for revenge is very good politics. The truth of the matter is it has always worked and it's probably working today.

And you're going to find many college teachers a little bit less likely to speak out against it. Social workers a little bit less likely to speak out against the imperialism that now goes on. And I think what our task is, here in Burlington Vermont, and in the other communities that have sister-city relations, is to say that we're not afraid of that and that we reject that mentality... that what the real challenge of civilization today is and the challenge of the United States, and it's an enormous challenge and it's a difficult challenge and no one has any easy answers. But the real challenge is, in a world that is economically disintegrating , the conditions in the Third World today are as bad as they have ever ever been, and the challenges, the challenge for tough people (since) Mr Reagan thinks he's tough... the challenge for a tough person and for a tough society is how do we use our resources, our incredible wealth, our energy - not in military adventurism, but in working with people throughout the entire Third World, working with the people in Nicaragua in cooperation and in mutual respect, working with them so that children don't have to starve to death, don't have to die of diseases which these people up there on the hill, in our hospital, know the answers to... where people can learn to read and write, can learn to relate to each other. That's the challenge that we face. And the guns, and the bombs and the Contras are going in exactly the wrong direction.

What the Sister City program is to me is a human way to say to the people of Nicaragua, we're concerned about your problems, we respect you as human beings and we want to work with you cooperatively to build a decent world.

Thank you.

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Reply To the people of Nicaragua, from Bernie Sanders (Original post)
Catherina Aug 2015 OP
RufusTFirefly Aug 2015 #1
Catherina Aug 2015 #2

Response to Catherina (Original post)

Thu Aug 20, 2015, 09:33 PM

1. K & R! n/t

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Thu Aug 20, 2015, 11:25 PM

2. Bernie Sanders Press Conference about His Nicaragua Trip 1985

Bernie Sanders Press Conference about His Nicaragua Trip 1985

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