Nicaragua will defeat imperialism on Nov 7th (once again!)
This November, Nicaraguans are heading to the polls once more; we will elect a president, vice president, and deputies for the congress alongside mayors and vice mayors in all of the country’s municipalities. With the Sandinista revolution, a new constitution was drafted, ensuring a multiparty system for the first time in the country’s history. Drafting this constitution of 1985 was not an easy undertaking; it took the input of all Nicaraguans through widespread consultation in all the communities. It was the express will of our people. It represented the hopes and dreams, and most importantly, it sealed Nicaragua as a democratic country, whose destiny was going to be dictated by Nicaraguans for Nicaraguans, just as General Sandino taught us.
Fast forward to 2021, Nicaraguans are used to going to the polls to choose their leaders and now will have to choose from a myriad of parties, ranging from right-wing neoliberals to add arch conservative evangelical Christians and, of course, the Sandinista party. Regardless of the outcome of the election, there is one big loser: U.S imperialism.
The United States, whose commitment to any and all anti-democratic movement in the world is unparalleled, will suffer once more a defeat at the hand of Nicaraguans. To much of the empire’s chagrin Nicaraguan are not keen to surrender the power they have conquered through blood, sacrifice, and votes. Overall, it is quite an easy choice if you look at it; it is unnecessary to dive deep into the nuances of Nicaraguan politics to understand the overwhelming popular support that the FSLN enjoys, so let us do a quick recap.
Since returning to power in 2007, the FSLN inherited a country in shambles, ravaged by 16 years of neoliberal night. I remember the daily blackouts of up to 20 hours a day. The non-existing “roads.” The constant insecurity in our neighborhood and parks, hospitals with no supplies and schools with falling roofs and no chairs or teachers. How to forget the horror when hurricane Mitch made landfall in Nicaragua and the mayor of Posoltega, a rural town next to the Casita volcano, Felicita Zeledon, went on radio literally begging the then president to be evacuated. The president of that time, a widely corrupt right-winger (you know, those that the U.S govt likes to call “democratic leaders”), said on national television that she was “crazy” and that it was merely “Sandinista paranoia.” Later that day, the volcano collapsed, and the deadly landslide swept down and buried Posoltega, killing about 2500 men, woman and children over the course of its 6 km path.
Over the past decade, with the FSLN at the helm, Nicaragua has made accomplishments unparalleled in the world, let alone the region. To name a few, Nicaragua has accomplished reducing illiteracy to less than 4% and has increased in 100% the number of schools in the nation. It has built more than 26 hospitals and has more than doubled the medical capacity of the country. The latest accomplishment in that area is the construction of 2 centers for nuclear medicine, making Nicaragua the only nation in the region with such capacities in the public system. All of this is free for all Nicaraguans without distinction of race, political affiliation or religion; after all, our government has made it clear since the beginning, education, and healthcare are unrenounceable human rights! Those are our revolutionary conquest!
Nicaragua is still, by far, the safest country in the region, the 3rd in Latin America, and has the second safest capital of the Americas, just behind Canada’s capital. In a matter of 10 years, Nicaragua has accomplished 99% of electrification and managed to change the energy sources completely, we produced 70% of our energy from non-renewable sources in 2007, and we now, in 2021, produce a whopping 76% of our energy from renewable sources. Without a doubt, the Sandinista revolution is a green revolution.
Most importantly, with the leadership of the FSLN, Nicaragua reduced by 50% the nation’s poverty rate, a historical milestone only comparable with the stunning jump in gender equality. According to the Economic forum’s latest report on Global Gender Gap, Nicaragua has already eliminated 80% of recorded disparities between the sexes and is proceeding faster than any other country. The report acknowledges that Nicaragua, France, and Iceland will be the first countries to completely close their gender gaps. This is not so surprising if we consider the history of the FSLN in its guerrilla phase; it is estimated that 67% of ‘active members’ in the popular militia were women. In 2017, 45.7 percent of parliamentary seats were held by women, which is the highest rate in any American country, and a law passed this year mandated that all candidates in all elections needed to have 50% woman participation. There is nothing to envy to the colloquial “leader of the free world” and its humiliating position 53 in the global gender parity index.
These are just a few examples that western media like to ignore, if not outright lie about; these are the realities on the ground in Nicaragua. There is still so much more to do, but isn’t that the nature of any revolution? A revolution is not an event, it is a process of constant construction. In an ever-changing world, a static revolution is a counter-revolution.
When Nicaraguans go to the polls this November, they are going with all of these facts in mind and still the fresh wounds of the latest imperialist attack against our people. In a brief three-month period, the 2018 attempted coup showed us what the empire really wants for us. We saw on live T.V. tortures to Sandinistas; police officers being burned alive, hospitals burned to the ground, water pumps, libraries, museums, ambulances, construction facilities destroyed. I saw my university, the National University, destroyed and partially burned, libraries and laboratories burned, and classrooms damaged on purpose. 2018 showed us the new generation who did not see the contra horror, what U.S. terrorism looks like, and I know that I, as many of my friends and colleagues, will have to live forever with the horrible images of our friends and comrades being tortured on Facebook lives.
After what can only be described as urban terrorism, Nicaraguans one more time looked for peace. Sandinistas, faithful to the legacy of our heroes and martyrs, remembered the wise words of Sandinista founder, Comandante Borge: “our personal vengeance will be that your children can go safely to schools, will be to greet you good morning without homelessness in our streets” and Sandinistas, as the vanguard party, took the reins to walk the difficult road to reconciliation. We mourned our deaths and cried with revolutionary fervor for those who are no longer with us but more importantly, we honored their sacrifice. They gave their lives so Nicaraguans, all of us, could have peace and sovereignty. The indomitable Nicaraguan determination and resilience once more defeated the imperialist and their local oligarchs and henchmen.
We will go to the polls on Nov 7th, giving the U.S. another blow to its aspiration. We will vote for peace, progress, dignity, and the continuation of General Sandino’s dream, for a sovereign and independent Nicaragua. The U.S. knows this, they can spin it the way they like, but the truth is that Nicaraguans want the continuation of their revolution. It is not a surprise that the empire, with its infinite resources, will line up their artillery against us, from sanctions to misinformation.
Nevertheless, we are used to it, as Don Quixote said: “if the dogs bark, Sancho, it is a sign that we are on track.” And thankfully, we are not alone; we have countless friends and allies, from our brothers and sister in Cuba and Venezuela to the unwavering support from our friends in the U.S. The damage and destruction that the U.S. has subjected us pale in comparison with the outpour of solidarity from our U. S American compañeros y compañeras.
I would like to finish with the story of one of my most admired heroes, a young engineer from Oregon with a big heart and an even bigger commitment to justice for the world’s people: Benjamin Linder. Ben visited us and stayed with us, not as a foreigner but as another Nicaraguan. In 1987 he paid the ultimate price for the cardinal sin to stand against the U.S. Empire. While scouting for a location to build a dam that would bring electricity to a rural town, Ben with other two Nicaraguans were executed at the hand of the murderous contras. The Reagan-trained and armed terrorists killed him, but his sacrifice made Ben Linder a giant in the eyes of history. His legacy is still with us, in the hands and the voices of our friends in the U.S., in the actions of everyday Nicaraguans fighting for self-determination. When Ben was buried in Matagalpa, the Nicaraguan President, Comandante Daniel, loudly proclaimed, “We know that the people of the United States are not the people of Reagan; they are the people of Benjamin Linder.”
Today, as was before and as it always will be, we Nicaraguans and Sandinistas know that the people of the United States are not the people of the Clintons, Bidens, or Boltons; they are the people of Ben Linder, of our comrades at the Center for Political Innovation and The John Brown volunteers; and of the countless other compañeros y compañeras who stand in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua and our revolution.
The spirit of solidarity is in all of the comrades at the Center of Political Innovation who bravely raised their voices in defense of Sandinista Nicaragua when they confronted the coup mongers outside the church in Washington DC that was having a mass in honor of the revolution. They confronted the ideological heirs of Ben Linder’s assassins, yet they confronted them with their commitment to continue supporting the Sandinista revolution and the Nicaraguan people. For that, in the name of millions more in Nicaragua, Thank you!
As our general Sandino once said, “as long as Nicaragua has sons and daughter that love her, Nicaragua will be free.” Rest assured, compañeros y compañeras Nicaragua is immensely loved throughout the world. Rest assured, dears friends, Nicaragua will continue being free; here we are illuminated by a sun that does not decline, the sun of new victories!