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Nicaragua: Example to the World of How to Defend Sovereignty and Independence

(Photo Credit:  Lapaz Telesur) On June 27, 1986, the World Court condemned the United States for illegal war and aggression against Nicaragua and ordered the US to compensate Nicaragua for damages estimated to run to US$17 billion dollars, what today would be more than US$55 billion. On June 27 of this year, President Daniel Ortega […]

(Photo Credit:  Lapaz Telesur)

On June 27, 1986, the World Court condemned the United States for illegal war and aggression against Nicaragua and ordered the US to compensate Nicaragua for damages estimated to run to US$17 billion dollars, what today would be more than US$55 billion. On June 27 of this year, President Daniel Ortega demanded that the US fulfill its obligation. He stated:

On June 27, 1986, the International Court of Justice condemned the US and directed it to compensate Nicaragua for all damages caused as a consequence of military activities against Nicaragua. In a situation of armed aggression such as that carried out by the US, no amount of reparations – neither economic nor moral – could compensate for the devastation of the country, the loss of human lives and the physical and psychological wounds of the Nicaraguan people. The Court decided that the United States had a legal obligation to make economic reparations to Nicaragua for all the damages caused.

The President continued:

The compensation due to Nicaragua remains unpaid… Instead of receiving compensation as is morally and legally due, Nicaragua continues to be the object of a new form of aggression, which consists of sanctions and an attempted coup d’état.

In finishing, Ortega said that:

Nicaragua takes this opportunity to recall that the judgments of the ICJ are final and of obligatory compliance, and therefore the United States has the obligation to comply with the reparations ordered by the ruling of June 27, 1986.

In June the Sao Paulo Forum approved a resolution in support of Nicaragua’s demand for compliance with the 1986 ruling of the World Court. The Sao Paulo Forum is the premier forum of revolutionary organizations, movements and parties of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Sao Paulo Forum declared itself in support of Nicaragua’s demand that the US comply with the ICJ sentence, and compensate Nicaragua to the full extent of that historic ruling.

The Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Azerbaijan in June issued a joint declaration in which the member countries expressed their support for Nicaragua’s request for US compliance and compensation for damages in accordance with the ruling. The statement highlights that “the persistent refusal of the United States to comply with the Judgment of the International Court of Justice issued 37 years ago, is a flagrant violation of international law and of the ruling of the highest court of justice in the world.”

Nicaragua showed it will not bend to US coup attempts and destabilization when it tried and convicted Nicaraguan agents who participated in violent actions in an attempt to overthrow the government in 2018. Then on February 9, 2023, Nicaragua decided to deport 222 prisoners convicted of treason and other crimes to the US. “In accordance with the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People, Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination … the immediate and effective deportation of 222 persons is ordered…The deportees were declared traitors and punished for different serious crimes (that would be serious crimes in any nation) and their citizenship rights are perpetually suspended.” [Note: The new law under which Nicaraguans can lose their citizenship because of treasonous acts is very similar to US Code 1481 under which a person can lose US citizenship by “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, … by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.]

In another example of demanding respect for sovereignty, Nicaragua suspended the placet it had granted to Fernando Ponz as European Union ambassador. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada Colindres said in a statement:

In view of the interfering and insolent communiqué of this day, which confirms the imperialist and colonialist positions of the European Union, this April 18, on the eve of the National Day of Peace, the sovereign and dignified government of the Republic of Nicaragua … has decided to suspend the placet that had been granted to Mr. Fernando Ponz as ambassador of that subjugating power. We reiterate to the neocolonialist gentlemen and women of the European Union our condemnation of all their historic genocide and we demand justice and reparation for these crimes against humanity and for their virulent, greedy and rapacious plundering of our wealth and cultures. In these circumstances and in the face of the permanent siege on the rights of our people to national sovereignty, we will not receive their representative.

On January 24, at the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) held in Argentina, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada rejected foreign intervention in any form, including aggressions, invasions, interferences, blockades, economic wars, offenses, threats, humiliations, occupations as well as sanctions, which are nothing more than “aggressions, all illegal, arbitrary and unilateral.” His message also called on the CELAC countries to resist and reject everything that endangers the future, “the luminous horizon of our peoples, where we do not allow any more plundering of our natural and cultural resources, and where the genocide imposed on us for centuries by the colonialist powers is not only denounced, but [our resistance] becomes … songs that demand peace.” He went on to say, “The world urgently needs justice and peace…respectful cooperation and solidarity. The world needs understanding, comprehension and affection. The better world that we all want to create urgently needs … the ability to live together”….

Strategies for Development Despite Sanctions

In 2018, the same year of the coup attempt, the US passed a first round of sanctions called the Nica Act. Then, under President Joe Biden, more sanctions were passed called “RENACER.” Currently, Senators Marco Rubio and Tim Kaine have introduced a new bill to reauthorize and amend the previous sanctions making them even harsher.

All of these sanctions are illegal coercive measures and the US applies them not because Nicaragua has done something wrong, but exactly because Nicaragua is using the riches it produces for the social welfare of its people and not acting as a US colony. Sanctions tend to primarily affect economic growth and studies show they have the biggest effect on the poor and vulnerable.

Nicaragua has developed three essential areas that make it resilient even in the face of this form of war: Nicaragua produces about 90% of the food that people eat; Nicaragua has increased renewable energy from 20% to 70% so every year it is less dependent on petroleum imports; and it has developed excellent infrastructure in health, education, roads and bridges, energy, water and sewage. And because of more benefits like free universal health and education, more affordable housing possibilities as well as more opportunities for youth and women, a very high percentage of the population approves of the government – currently nearly 83%.

And Nicaragua is developing new relationships of respect with many other countries: In the first six months of 2023 Nicaragua received high level visits from China, Russia and Iran.

The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, visited Nicaragua on April 19 and said that together with Nicaragua they will continue to work hand in hand against interference and intervention. “Thanks to the efforts of Daniel Ortega, the country remains stable,” he said. “I would like to wish all Nicaraguans peace, prosperity and stability; I am convinced that the bilateral relations between Russia and Nicaragua will facilitate this process.” Multipolarity is a process that cannot be stopped, but Westerners under the auspices of the US try to spread their hegemony in conflicts such as the one in Ukraine and will try to increase their influence in the region looking towards the Pacific, among others,” he said. Russia has helped Nicaragua develop vaccine production such as the influenza vaccine now produced locally.

Cooperation with China began in December 2021 when Nicaragua recognized that there is only one China. Recently, on July 11 of this year, Nicaragua and China signed three agreements: China will donate 1,481 metric tons of wheat, 2,595 metric tons of urea, and 500 buses to Nicaragua. President Ortega thanked the President of China, Xi Jinping, for this cooperation that is provided in solidarity and unconditionally through the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) for the benefit of Nicaraguan families. Lou Zhaohui, the President of CIDCA, said China will continue to support the efforts of Nicaragua to meet its goals of poverty reduction and human development. And as of May, Nicaragua can export seafood, beef, and textiles to China free of tariffs.

On February 1, 2023, Nicaragua hosted Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahián. Then, on June 13 and 14, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi visited Nicaragua to deepen relations and begin cooperation in the areas of science and technology. Raisi said that the United States wanted to paralyze its people through threats and sanctions; however, Iran was not paralyzed in its path and has turned threats and sanctions into opportunities and through those opportunities it has achieved great progress in many areas. “Although the enemy wants to discourage the revolutionary peoples, the peoples have to know that the new world order is being formed in favor of the resistance of the people and against imperialist interests,” Raisi stated.

President Daniel Ortega Emphasizes the Importance of Peace

 This year, April 19 was declared the National Day of Peace. On this day in 2018, at the beginning of the attempted coup, the first three people were killed by US-backed agents, including a policeman, a young Sandinista and a passer-by.

In his speech on April 19 President Ortega said:

I want to remind all Nicaraguans to think for a moment what Nicaragua was like five years ago. Could you walk on these streets; could you live in peace in your homes? Everyone was terrified. And the deaths every day; those who were killed were blamed on the government, on the police, and the police were in their barracks, which was the decision we had taken.

President Ortega frequently emphasizes the importance of peace and how essential peace is to end poverty and for the development of all sectors of the country. On the 40th anniversary of the revolution in 2019, the president asked “What is the way to be able to work, study, receive health care, build schools, roads, show solidarity to get our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters who are still in these conditions out of poverty and extreme poverty? What is the fundamental condition?” Everyone answered with one voice that it is peace. He affirmed that a community needs peace to work and to live.

Residents of Leon march for peace carrying the blue and white flags of Nicaragua and the red and black flags of the FSLN. (Photo Credit:  Nicaraguan photographer, Jairo Cajina)

On January 9 of this year, at the swearing in the of National Assembly, President Ortega pointed out that:

No matter how well-intentioned a government may be, if there is no peace, social programs cannot go forward. Without peace, schools, roads, hospitals simply cannot be built. We already know how terrible war is, the war that Nicaragua has lived through, the attempted coups that Nicaragua has lived through, how much blood, how much pain caused by terrorists, how much damage to the economy. But in the midst of the coup d’état, we were still inaugurating infrastructure and, after security and peace were restored for all Nicaraguans, then came this new push, because the country had been acting with enormous strength from 2007 until the coup attempt.

Nicaragua does all it can to have peace, independence and sovereignty in order to advance well-being for its population. Nicaragua is a revolution that works!

This content originally appeared on Dissident Voice and was authored by Nan McCurdy.

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