As we stand here today on the brink of the one year anniversary of the spasm of violence and confusion that engulfed Nicaragua last year, it is time to tell the truth and correct the historical record about what actually happened during three months of violence. The Alliance for Global Justice, with contributions by over 20 co-authors plus editors, photographers, videographers, and folks who lived the terror of those times, has produced a free electronic book available in pdf and electronic book formats. Live from Nicaragua: Uprising our Coup? is a reader with both original articles and reprints of articles written during the troubled times.
In 2018, Nicaragua suffered its worst political violence and upheaval since the end of the US backed Contra war of the 1980s. Extremely polarized controversy persists about what caused this conflict, how it developed and what is means for Nicaragua’s people now. This book brings together material completely excluded from mainstream coverage of events in Nicaragua. The book has been produced by people with an unquestionable and long demonstrated commitment to grass roots democracy and community development in Nicaragua and the region based on an anti-imperialist vision of peace and justice for all. The book challenges the mainstream and much of the alternative media coverage of events in Nicaragua over the last year. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand those events.
The book will be available from midday Thursday April 18th 2019
Extracts from Gabriela Luna’s Prologue
The geographical position, extraction of natural resources, exploitation of cheap labor and possibility of building an inter-oceanic canal have been the axes of imperialist interest in Central America. This has bathed the region’s history in blood and resistance, which is why the desperate migrant caravan from the northern triangle of the isthmus is in fact the offspring of U.S. imperialism.
Since 2007, hope and life have been redefined with the return of the Sandinista Front to government. The absolute number of undernourished people in the country has been reduced by half, access to free education and health care has been guaranteed to rural communities, maternal mortality has been reduced by 60% and infant mortality by 52%, while access to electricity has been increased from 54% to 96% of the country’s population.
Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America, and is in sixth place globally for women’s participation in public and civic spaces. Life in the countryside has recovered dignity, thanks to a policy that prioritizes and values the family economy, making it possible to reduce food imports and become 100% self-sufficient in beans, corn, eggs, milk, fruits, onions, peppers, tomatoes and beef.
The attempted coup was intended to eradicate not only the Sandinista Front from political power in Nicaragua but also to tear Sandinismo from the heart and historical memory of the people. The practices of desecrating and burning historical sites of the Sandinista Front, of stripping, beating, torturing, kidnapping and publicly murdering Sandinistas, or publicly burning people, is not new in the history of Nicaragua or Central America.
These practices stem from the Spanish conquest that publicly tortured indigenous rebels. They were then applied by U.S. soldiers in military interventions, by the Somoza dictatorship, and were part of the US’ counter-insurgency handbook, applied during more than 30 years in Guatemala and El Salvador to stop the advances of peoples’ revolutions in these countries.
The CIA’s Contra armies applied these practices in peasant communities during the 1980s.
The opposition’s death roadblocks were mostly manned by socially-excluded poor people who were paid to create chaos and pain. They were politically supported by young upper middle-class university students, who, from the comfort of their homes in gated communities, misunderstood the reality of the roadblocks, and consumed the mainstream media’s version of the crisis.
These media outlets are dominated nationally by the oligarchy. US-owned social media companies provided platforms for a strategy that activated hundreds of young people previously trained by USAID and NED to create a dominant narrative. The coup’s media blitzkrieg used the advertising pages of Facebook to spread lies, foment hatred and encourage violence—accusing the Sandinistas of the violence against Sandinistas.
The first sector to break the psychological and horror siege was the moral reserve of the Sandinista Front: its historic rank-and-file membership. In the face of systematic violence against Sandinista families, the only option was local organizing for the protection of families, neighborhoods, towns and cities. Barricades were formed in the neighborhoods and public institutions to prevent arson attacks and assassinations.
These defense barricades, set up over weeks in the cities, towns and neighborhoods of Nicaragua, were made up of members of the Sandinista Front from various generations…but with one common denominator: these barricades were made up of Nicaragua’s workers. In practice, everyone learned from everyone, and natural leaders emerged from the heart of the neighborhoods who often were not part of any of the official structures of the Sandinista Front.
This was political education in practice: young people learned what it means to be a Sandinista, the principles and values of the historic militancy, the historical burden behind their actions. These young people respected and valued the bravery and knowledge of the old guard, while elders respected the strengths of the young people and their understanding of the impact of social media. Since the highways were shut down by rightwing roadblocks, Sandinistas across the country organized themselves to distribute locally sourced food.
The elite in Nicaragua has long believed that the people are ignorant, or “innocent” as the oligarchy’s newspaper, La Prensa, puts it. They assumed that if denied their ability to live normally and safely, Nicaraguans would demand a new government. The plan backfired, and the Sandinista Front mobilized more people in the street from April to September of 2018 than in any other period in its history.
During this period, Nicaraguans saw themselves in a new light and were forced to reckon with the strengths and weaknesses of the political process, of living in a capitalist country with a socialist government, under the shadow of the United States. Above all, those three months of resistance clearly demonstrated the immense courage of the people of Nicaragua, especially those without land, without a car, the workers from the inner-city neighborhoods. History again demonstrated the Nicaraguan people’s capacity for resistance and survival, dignity and strength. It was the people’s wisdom that defeated the coup.
How to obtain Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup?
For the e-book version
– Click on the link to save the file to your device, then
open the .zip file to access the version you want.
For a Kindle hand-held device
– Open the compressed e-book file on your computer and
connect the Kindle device to your computer
– Use your mouse to move the ‘Kindle content’ folder in the opened e-book file to the ‘documents’ folder on the Kindle device
– Once copied, disconnect the Kindle. ‘Live from Nicaragua’ should appear on its home page.
For the PDF version
– Click on the link and save the file to your device
Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Sandinista Triumph, and Nine Other Reasons!
By Erika Takeo, Friends of the ATC National Coordinator & Avery Raimondo, Friends of the ATC Testimonies Project Coordinator
The “Solidarity with Nicaragua!” delegation will be taking place from July 11th to July 21st. This delegation is organized by a group of US and UK-based solidarity organizations (the Friends of the ATC, Alliance for Global Justice, and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign) as well as Nicaragua-based social movement organizations (principally the Rural Workers’ Association or ATC). To explain our work and what delegates can expect in Nicaragua, participants from our January trip recently put together a report back webinar. It’s definitely worth a watch, but for those who don’t have 56 minutes and 44 seconds to spare, we’ve come up with a list of 10 reasons to come on our July delegation!
To join our delegation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
10 Reasons to come to Nicaragua in July for the “Solidarity with Nicaragua!” delegation
- Experience Nicaragua for yourself, a year after the country defeated a U.S.-sponsored coup attempt.
- Meet historic social movement leaders in the ATC, the organization that accompanied the 1980s agrarian reform and 1990s peace and reconciliation process in Nicaragua, and helped found the international peasant movement La Via Campesina. Also meet young and emerging social movement leaders studying at the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA).
- Learn how peasant organizations and government programs have promoted local agriculture, especially led by women, allowing Nicaragua to be completely self-sufficient in beans, corn, beef, milk, and many vegetables.
- Tour historic and cultural sites in Managua, like the Plaza of the Revolution and the Salvador Allende Port, with expert guides.
- Visit rural communities and exchange with host families about life in the Nicaraguan countryside. Past delegates have loved cooking traditional Nicaraguan cuisine like rosquillas and hearing stories of how Nicaragua has changed over the years.
- Unite forces within the solidarity movement. Solidarity networks Friends of the ATC, Alliance for Global Justice and the UK’s Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (along with the social movement organizations of La Via Campesina Nicaragua) will all be collaborating to put on this delegation. Whether you’re returning or new to solidarity organizing, we need your ideas and energy!
- Interview workers, peasants, women, and youth who’ve struggled to build a stronger Nicaragua. A main goal of this delegation is to build the Friends of the ATC’s testimonies project.
- Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution by joining thousands of Nicaraguans in the Plaza de la Fe on July 19th!
- Mingle with well-known internationalists including Dan Kovalik and many other contributors to “Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup?”, a new reader that details the violence that engulfed Nicaragua last year, the different players involved, and the corporate media’s manipulation of those events.
- Stay later and enjoy Nicaragua’s beaches, lakes, and volcanoes. Affordable, safe, and beautiful, Nicaragua is a great place to take a summer vacation!
Read more about the experience of our delegations to Nicaragua:
Fresh Eyes on Nicaragua: A Renewed Sense of Internationalism by delegate David Archuleta of Alliance for Global Justice
How A Women-Led Coffee Cooperative Transforms their Society through Food Soveriegnty, Feminism, & Family by delegate Colin Lawton of WhyHunger
Food Sovereignty & Agrarian Reform in Nicaragua by delegate Betty Fermin of WhyHunger
Food Sovereignty & Peasant Agroecology in Nicaragua by delegate Tyler Short of Sustainable Grown Louisville