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Nobel-winner Obama sets the scene for conflict

Nobel-winner Obama sets the scene for conflict, perhaps war, in Latin America

by Toni Solo

Because their economic system has failed, the US government and its allies are seeking to partially stem their relative decline by exploiting their military might around the world. In Latin America they are close to plunging Central America and the Andes into violent conflict and possibly outright war. They have already created the “war on terror” to criminalize domestic dissent and legitimate resistance to their ruthless attempts to stem their decline overseas. They cannot attack more important rivals like Russia or China with impunity, but they can afford to foment aggression aimed at those countries' regional allies like Iran and Venezuela.

Western Bloc countries – North America, Europe and their Pacific allies - have supported Israel so as to attack Iran's local allies – Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008. In Latin America now they are following the same policy. They are using Alvaro Uribe's narco-terror regime in Colombia to attack Venezuela. Shortly, in Central America, they will probably use some illegitimate successor to the current Honduran coup regime to facilitate violent destabilization in Nicaragua.

Continuing the Bush regime's shift of US Latin America policy steadily towards outright militarist aggression, the Obama administration promotes every kind of low-intensity conflict provocation. The last months of the Bush regime saw US-Colombian armed intervention in Ecuador, the reactivation of the US Navy's Fourth Fleet, the US supported Bolivian opposition's massacre of indigenous families in Pando and false allegations by the US embassy-organized opposition in Nicaragua of fraud in that country's municipal elections.
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The first months of the Obama administration's sinister policy in Latin America have been almost indistinguishable from that of the Bush regime. The suspicious destabilization of Alvaro Colom's government in Guatemala earlier this year was quickly succeeded by the Obama government's cynical support-by-default for the military coup in Honduras. Despite President Obama's anodyne drivel at the America's Summit in Trinidad, diplomatic and media aggression against Venezuela has barely paused for breath. The US State Department entrenched its hallmark cynicism even more deeply with the cancellation of a major aid programme to Nicaragua.

That accompanied outright refusal to make any significant change in the US government's genocidal policy towards Cuba. All the elements the United States government has always used against countries whose resources or strategic position it covets, have been deployed to destabilize regional targets of US government vindictiveness and the multinational corporate sector's limitless greed. For example, the innumerable articles alleging dictatorship in Nicaragua or Venezuela are all part of the mendacious, sadistic global Western Bloc countries' campaign to prevent the emancipation of nations and peoples they have cheated, looted and murdered for centuries.

The case of Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, the country's Sandinista government headed by President Daniel Ortega, despite enormous limitations and the global economic crisis, has significantly improved many aspects of the country's economy and society. But despite its impressive record in just under three years of government in a viciously adverse international crisis, rich country corporate and progressive media, especially since the Sandinista landslide in the municipal elections of 2008, have either excluded genuine news on Nicaragua or cynically recycled opposition propaganda.

Now, as the Obama administration carefully manouevres into place all the pieces and components it needs in order to provoke armed conflict in Central America and the Andes, the propaganda leakage from the corporate media into their neocolonial progressive counterparts and their support networks looks ever more cynical and sinister. They hedge their bets with vocal advocacy on human rights and environmental issues, but tend to avoid categorical support for forces resisting their government's policies of imperialist domination – for example, Hizbollah, Hamas or the FARC. In the case of Nicaragua they actively collaborate in promoting their governments' imperialist, corporate-friendly destabilization agenda.

A typical article on Nicaragua in either the neocolonialist progressive media or their mainstream corporate counterparts will almost always consist of false allegations and downright lies like the following:

  • the FSLN government systematically violently persecutes political opponents

  • the 2008 local elections were rigged by the Sandinista controlled Electoral Council

  • no independent electoral observers monitored those 2008 local elections

  • Daniel Oartega repressively shut down two opposition political parties

  • the FSLN government has arbitrarily “cracked down” on non-profit organizations

  • Daniel Ortega personally, secretively and corruptly channels ALBA funds to his cronies

  • Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo are setting up a Somoza style dictatorship

  • Daniel Ortega violated the Constitution so as to allow his re-election

  • Nicaragua's Supreme Court is run by the Sandinistas to corrupt the rule of law
  • Not one of these persistent claims, and many related allegations, are even remotely true. But they are persistently recycled. Conversely, the following facts are never reported:

  • Nicaragua's media are almost entirely controlled by companies and individuals aligned with the right wing Nicaraguan opposition;

  • the opposition persistently provoke confrontations so as to be able to claim persecution, for example opposition supporters wantonly attacked Sandinista supporters the day after the municipal elections, likewise, Sandinista journalists have frequently been attacked by opposition supporters

  • the 2008 elections were ratified by independent international observers. The opposition parties, despite alleging fraud, accepted the results and took the relevant oaths of office. Eduardo Montealegre refused to participate in a recount following the elections. The oppostion have never presented the Supreme Electoral Council credible evidence of the alleged fraud.

  • it was the opposition PLC party that instigated the process to shut down two rival opposition political parties prior to the municipal elections, not the FSLN.

  • of the 4800 or so non-profit organizations in Nicaragua just one – CINCO belonging to right wing local media magnate, Carlos Fernando Chamorro – has been subject to a formal legal accusation. That accusation of money laundering was dismissed for lack of evidence. The Public Prosecutor did find that Chamorro channelled CINCO's non-profit income to his family via five private companies all owned by him and his family. CINCO also channelled tens of thousands of dollars to MAM, a member of the political MRS alliance.

  • All funding derived from ALBA is channelled through two legally constituted entities subject to the relevant public accountability, ALBANISA a private company and ALBA-CARUNA a cooperative. ALBANISA's Nicaraguan counterpart the State oil company Petronic, reports to the National Assembly and to the IMF.

  • The FSLN used legitimate constitutional procedures to restore the Nicaraguan people's right to elect freely their national and municipal authorities – a basic constitutional provision stripped away by the right wing opposition in the period of Violeta Chamorro's presidency.

  • The political opposition control the National Assembly. The political opposition – in particular the Chamorro family media dictatorship - overwhelmingly control Nicaragua's news media. The political opposition shares equal quotas of representation in the country's electoral and judicial authorities.

  • censorship, political prisoners, systematic torture by the security forces, none of these exist in Nicaragua
  • The accusations of dictatorship against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua are self-evidently absurd. They originate from a totally discredited opposition with no viable political programme, already heading for ignominious defeat in the 2011 presidential elections. The latest opinion polls show the social democrat MRS political alliance – the preferred information source for corporate and alternative foreign news media alike – with just 2% popular support.

    The sinister regional context

    On a narrow local interpretation, the hysterical, counterfactual denunciations of persecution could easily be dismissed. Inside Nicaragua, the reality of the government's policies speaks very positively. UN organizations like the FAO and UNESCO confirm the huge effort the FSLN government has made to eliminate illiteracy and promote food security. Exports in 2009 have already exceeded those for 2008, itself a record year for Nicaraguan exports. Government credibility and competence is reflected in polls showing a steady increase in support for the FSLN, despite the economic crisis.

    But a regional perspective renders the fake, ridiculous “Sandinista dictatorship” propaganda extremely sinister indeed, because the US government and its allies are trying to create an equivalence between the illegitimate coup regime in Honduras and the successful democratically elected government in Nicaragua. Last week near the northern city of Matagalpa, Nicaraguan police and army intercepted an arms shipment of dozens of automatic weapons, grenade launchers and thousands of rounds of ammunition, apparently unrelated to the region's narcotics cartels.

    Local US allies like the leading businessman-cleric Bishop Abelardo Matta, the media magnate Chamorro family and eternally-failed US-embassy candidate Eduardo Montealegre, for years have actively fomented an atmosphere of confrontation. US political allies regularly make high profile interventionist statements criticising President Daniel Ortega and his government. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, despite having used the courts in exactly the same way himself, hypocritically criticised the Nicaraguan Supreme Court decision to reassert Nicaraguans' right to elect their national authorities freely without limits on an individual candidate's re-election.

    An even more flagrant intervention came from Holland's Johannes van Baalen, president of the Liberal International – an umbrella group of over 100 Liberal parties around the world. Van Baalen visited Nicaragua and called for Daniel Ortega to resign. He met with the Nicaraguan army high command, brazenly admitting to Dutch radio that he did so to find out if they would mount a coup against Daniel Ortega. Subsequently, van Baalen, a former neo-nazi, visited Honduras. There, he named Honduran coup regime dictator Roberto Micheletti as the Liberal International's vice-president, describing the fascist pinochetti as the future of democracy in the region. He may well be right - if the Obama administration gets its way.

    The growing hysteria from US local proxies inside Nicaragua, political allies outside Nicaragua and corrosive propaganda drip-irrigation via false, poisonous reporting in corporate and alternative news media has a clear purpose. In the Andes, the similarly relentless campaign against President Hugo Chavez is designed to set the scene for war with Colombia, which will be directed from the new bases the United States has just acquired there. In Central America, the campaign is designed to create a perceived equivalence between looming inevitable violent conflict in Honduras - as the majority Resistance opposed to the illegitimate Honduran coup regime defends itself against ever-increasing censorship, arbitrary detentions, torture and political murders - and unprovoked armed violence planned by the discredited minority opposition against the democratically elected government in Nicaragua.

    Time is running out for everyone. The Western Bloc countries know they cannot readily restore their former imperial control in Latin America via democratic elections. But they can sabotage the continent's emancipation - lead by the ALBA countries, principally Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela - which may in the end amount to the same thing. Brittle Latin American unity in opposition to the coup in Honduras is unlikely to survive the approaching phase of US-provoked violent regional conflict. The US government and its allies are gambling that they will be able to divide and conquer as they have always done in the past. Any reporting on the region needs to be read with that very much in mind.


    Toni Solo is based in Central America - see toni.tortillaconsal.com

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