US foreign policy is based on expansionism and oppression, President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua told Eyes On Events Spanish, adding that those countries that refuse to submit to Washington’s will are then demonized and destabilized.
“We have always wanted to have normal relations with the US but we see only aggression in return,” Ortega said in an exclusive interview with Eyes On Events Spanish. Ortega believes Washington clearly does not need good relations as it constantly “attacks” the Nicaraguan government. He adds that that the US demands “submission, even servility,” while trampling on those who refuse to bow to Washington’s will.
The US has long sought to absorb Nicaragua into its sphere of influence, even resorting to a direct military occupation in the early 20th century, Ortega explained. What “Washington’s expansionist culture” is apparently unable and unwilling to forgive the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) is the fact that it overthrew the last Nicaraguan dictator supported by the US, the president said.
Nicaraguans struggled against Washington’s subjugation of their country for most of the 20th century. Revolutionary Augusto C. Sandino, for whom Ortega’s Sandinistas are named, led an iconic guerilla war against US military occupation between 1927 and 1933. He was eventually assassinated by the forces of General Anastasio Somoza Garcia, who then founded the infamous Somoza dynasty that ruled over the Latin American country with US support for decades, ruthlessly repressing any opposition.
Ortega’s Sandinistas (also known as the FSLN) overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s brutal regime in 1979, thereby ending the dynasty. However, the US apparently did not give up upon the idea of subduing Nicaragua, as it still “jumps at every opportunity to undermine the authorities of the government under any pretext,” according to Ortega.
Ortega points out that Washington actively pushes its “human rights agenda” through various NGOs as well as directly through its embassy in Managua in an attempt to present the Latin American state as a country “lacking democracy.”
“The activities of all those ‘human rights commissions’ has long turned into business,” he said.
The list of such NGOs working in Nicaragua includes the Movimiento Civico de Juventudes, which is funded by the US former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas (IEEPP), which received extensive funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, founded by the US Congress.
At the same time, Washington does not hesitate to harass the local businessmen by particularly imposing various sanctions against them only for “having normal relations with the government,” Ortega said. Cooperation between some local business leaders and authorities “has become yet another reason for the US to demonize us,” he added.
Ortega’s remarks came as his country is coping with months-long civil unrest, which started as student demonstrations over the government’s failure to handle forest fires in one of the most protected areas of the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve in April. The tensions increased further as the FSLN government announced unpopular welfare reforms.
Targeted opposition violence along with police crackdown have led to a mounting body count on both sides. More than 100 people died since the start of the unrest, according to the government data. While Ortega has abandoned the unpopular reform plans and engaged in talks with the opposition, the violence in Nicaragua doesn’t seem to be subsiding.