Peace negotiations as US aggression intensifies
News from Nicaragua | Thursday, 16 May 2019 |
Intensification of US aggression against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela
An article in The Guardian 16 May poses the question 'Is John Bolton the most dangerous man in the world?
This article relates to the way in which John Bolton, President’s Trump’s national security advisor, has driven US policy on Iran but it could equally apply to his ideologically charged ambitions for the Americas.
On 16 April, he addressed veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, one of the many failed CIA plots to overthrow Fidel Castro. He reassured his sympathetic audience that ‘the Monroe doctrine is alive and well’ with the Trump administration standing in defence of “democracy, sovereignty, security, and the rule of law.”
The Monroe doctrine of 1823 has been used ever since by the US as a self-proclaimed right to shape the Americas in its own image. John Bolton announced fresh economic sanctions against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, his so called “troika of tyranny.” He went on to proclaim that once this ‘troika’ is brought down, the Americas would be “the first free hemisphere in human history” from “the snowcapped Canadian Rockies to the glistening Straits of Magellan.”
This extremely dangerous confrontational resuscitation of the Monroe doctrine has nothing to do with ‘democracy,’ or ‘respect for human rights’ but everything to do with economic interests and ridding the Americas of leftist governments.
With Russia and China accusing the US of destabilisation and violations of international law this situation risks a confrontation not seen since the days of the Cold War.
In the case of Nicaragua, the sanction that will have the most devastating impact is the NICA Act which states that US representatives to international lending institutions will block further loans to Nicaragua, loans that are essential to the government’s drive to end extreme poverty. These loans have been widely recognized by the the IMF, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, as effective and efficient in reducing poverty and promoting growth in Nicaragua.
According to UN Special Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, using economic sanctions for political purposes is a violation of human rights and international law. He pointed out that such actions may precipitate man-made humanitarian catastrophes of unprecedented proportions in which ordinary people become pawns and hostages.
“Regime change through economic measures likely to lead to the denial of basic human rights and indeed possibly to starvation has never been an accepted practice of international relations,” he said.
Further information: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/05/07/595320/US-sanctions-Iran-Cuba-Venezuela
An opinion poll by M&R Consultores published on 26 February indicated that over 90% of respondents want dialogue, peace and stability to guarantee the wellbeing of their families and communities.
Against this background, negotiations started the following day involving representatives of the Government and the opposition Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy. These talks have been accompanied and witnessed by OAS representative Luis Angel Rosadilla, and Papal Nuncio Stanislaw Sommertag.
To date the most significant agreements have been procedures for strengthening citizen’s rights, and the release of persons detained for committing crimes related to last year’s violence, a process that is being overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). To date 236 people have been released and a further 232 people will be released by 18 June.
In addition, a process for agreeing electoral reform and the strengthening of democracy involving the government and the OAS has re-started.
The key issues that are pending are: the return of those who left the country in the context of the violent events of 2018; and a call for the suspension of illegal US sanctions in the form of the NICA Act, that will have a disproportionately negative impact on the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the country.
There is a very broad range of opinions across the organisations and groups that make up the opposition. One group called UNAB (Unidad Azul y Blanco),claiming no progress has been made, have called on the Civic Alliance to break off negotiations, take to the streets, and demand that the US strengthen sanctions. However, Civic Alliance negotiator Carlos Tunnerman has pointed out that advances have been made and that ‘it would be an error to abandon negotiations.’
News in brief
- The Pacific and Caribbean Coasts for the first time ever have a road connection linking Managua with Bluefields. The construction was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the Japanese government. The next stage of this development programme for the Caribbean Coast is the construction of an international port. However, this is dependent on funds being available from international lending institutions which will be blocked unless US sanctions are lifted.
- The Ministry for the Social Economy has been supporting small scale farmers and the self-employed in urban areas through providing training and organising fairs, markets and local carnivals to celebrate the beginning of the agricultural cycle. This is an important part of reactivating the economy as 90% of the work force is employed in this sector.
- Tourism was one of the sectors most badly affected by the attempted coup, with huge job losses. The National Tourism Authority INTUR has been conducting a campaign inside and outside Nicaragua to stimulate tourism, including co-operating with Mexico and Cuba to offer packages to include the three countries.
- Health fairs with mobile screening units have been organised in 50 communities, combining health care talks, consultations including with specialists, ultrasounds, PAP tests, sessions on natural medicine, dental consultations. These fairs reached 50,000 people in April.
- In 2007 only 54% of the population had mains electricity, with an even lower figure in rural areas. After an extensive electrification programme particularly in the countryside and on the Caribbean Coast this has reached 96% of the population.