MANGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ditched a controversial pension reform that would see an increase in both worker and employer pay-in, with a 5% reduction in benefits. This sparked deadly protests across the country, which saw its worst violence on Sunday, April 22nd.
In a televised meeting on Sunday evening, Ortega said he was cancelling the reforms “which acted as a trigger that started this whole situation”. Ortega has been in power since 2007, coming in as part of the ‘pink tide’ of ’21st Century Socialism’ that swept Latin America in the last two decades. In many instances in response to US pressure, including crude oil price manipulation, the projects of these left-wing governments were placed on pause, and were otherwise jeopardized. In other cases, governments caved into US pressures.
The Color Revolution tactic relies upon any number of factors. In this case, the ‘perfect storm’ was created. Ortega’s idea of a reform to social security budgeting would at first seem like a reasonable compromise – both business and labor pays in a bit more, labor takes back a bit less on the benefit end. Instead, Ortega’s traditional opposition on the pro-American ‘right’ found an opportunistic alliance with movements to Ortega’s ‘left’, the latter of which are opposed to Ortega’s proposal on left-wing grounds. – J. Flores
By William Serafino
There are already several days of violent demonstrations in the Central American nation. Both the profile of the political message and the behavior of the media, as well as the use of insurrectional methods of protest and the very history of a country occupied and intervened by the United States on different occasions, indicate that we are in the presence of a new attempt to change of regime under the format of color revolution. With respect to the objectives and their global pragmatics, nothing new. Undermining the peace of Nicaragua and fabricating the internal conditions for a stage of geopolitical harassment, are drawn as the immediate purposes of the operation.
Roberto López, president of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security, announced on Monday, April 16, a series of reforms aimed at increasing the contributions of workers and employers to social security; He also reported on the creation of a special tribute to pensions of 5%.
The Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep) was the first organization of weight to reject the announcements because it generated “uncertainty” and limited the creation of jobs by the private sector.
That specifically this sector has been the first grievant should tell us a lot about the body of “demands” and interests that initially promoted the demonstrations. An obvious exercise of class solidarity. The country was still until that day, totally calm.
The day after the reform announcement a new Twitter account popped up called #SOSINSS, the name itself raises doubts about the particular reason for linking the international distress signal (operational resource typical of the color revolutions in social networks) with the Social Security Institute. Their own course of action would dispel all suspicions 24 hours later.
Martha tiene 71 años y no tiene hijos. Para ella que le quiten el 5% de su pensión es un golpe duro a su economía. “Me han firmado mi sentencia de muerte”, dice. Dale RT y difundí pic.twitter.com/QfRwPuoQjS
— #SOSINSS (@sosinssnica) April 17, 2018
<<“Martha is 71 years old and has no children. For her to have 5% of her pension taken away is a hard blow to her economy. “They have signed my death sentence,” he says. Tell RT and spread>>
In principle they shaped the political senses that would most promote agitation. The initial publications built a narrative of citizen cohesion against the reforms, which through a selective treatment of its impact, was placed in apparent confrontation with the State, which is why citizens had a surprising sense of urgency to go out and protest.
The plan for this story was to garner initial public support in the middle and lower sectors of society and tie it to the interests of the business class that would later expand to local media (El Confidencial, La Prensa, among others) and international media (Reuters, BBC, El País , etc.).
Then they jumped to an instrument of mobilization and convocation. Removing any responsibility, they turned to media outlets and calls for “sit-ins” in government buildings, and specifically in the INSS headquarters, which would become the starting points of street violence on the rise. Now the propaganda use of #SOS was understood. The attempts of protest began and violence escalated quickly but focally.
— #SOSINSS (@sosinssnica) April 18, 2018
Indignante!!! En Chinandega, los grupos vandalicos quemarón sillas de ruedas que iban a ser entregadas a personas discapacitadas #AMORANICARAGUA#NoALaViolencia#QueremosLaPaz pic.twitter.com/il2SVrMHh4
— Canal 6 Nicaragua (@Canal6Nicaragua) April 21, 2018
The use of this account seems to have allowed professional agitators and their links with layers of criminality to operate with flexibility in the field, to suppress identification with a political front linked with the Nicaraguan opposition and therefore with the United States, and to camouflage under the cloth of a citizen action extreme violence actions against health centers, cultural heritage sites, collection centers and government sites. Already on Thursday and Friday, the country was in tension and street fights.
The “saplings” were not only expanding to several points of the national geography (in 8 departments approximately), but they were progressively mutating to extreme violence accumulations where the use of unconventional firearms stands out to intensify the clash with the forces of security, the alteration of the public tranquility and the roads and the armed attack against different public spaces and the execution of looting to shops.
Criminales encapuchados fabrican municiones para armas “hechizas” sembrando odio y zozobra entre la población#AquiNicaraguaLibre #AMORANICARAGUA#NoALaViolencia#QueremosLaPaz pic.twitter.com/0GGNNbTQst
— Canal 6 Nicaragua (@Canal6Nicaragua) April 22, 2018
The #SOSINSS account, which had already fulfilled its role as an articulator of the protests and a front-line convener in social networks, changed its order of priority towards controlling and directing the information flow around the clashes. This in order to glorify the violence, to place as victims the actors that were the protagonists of the clashes with the public force and to serve as a primary source for the international press, a fundamental aspect in the subsequent cartelization of figures manipulated around the facts.
USAID-brand protests, criminality and the discourse of regime change
As part of the globalized booklet that describes color revolutions, the protests have apparently been of citizens, carried out by young people and sectors of the Catholic Church, anti-political (without links to traditional parties) and in principle for protest purposes.
What began with some dispersed demonstrations in rejection of the INSS reforms, acquired the skeleton of a citizen movement with a vocation to the street clash and armed violence, the classic mutation of the color revolutions in search of achieving greater degrees of confrontation that weaken the State and place him in a defensive situation.
In the narrative, the intention seems to be to set up a political (postmodern) front where a set of bundled “demands” prefabricated by USAID can be articulated, which in turn contributes to refloating the image of the opposition by broadening its base of political support towards “the youth” and the “discontented”. It is for that reason that the protests have a juvenile and university cut, they are the extras that are needed to divert attention away from the armed groups that inflict the most serious attacks.
The significance of USAID in this new attempt for regime change in Nicaragua, is not only in the profuse financing that gives opposition political organizations and local NGOs, funds that could have as probable destination the training in tactics of subversion and urban warfare. A total of 31 million dollars delivered in 2016 alone have been received under the cover of “Develop capabilities for the defense of civil society.”
This is a slogan that can be useful to promote forums and academic activities, but also to give advice on how to confront the security forces and make use of criminal gangs with a notorious presence in the country.
This aspect represents the largest portion of financing to these organizations managed by USAID in Nicaragua. This institution publicly highlights that the money given is intended to develop civil governance using the media in the Central American country.
In a note dated April 16, the portal Nicaleaks gave a face, name and surname to the funded organizations that promoted violence in the streets: “This morning, the leaders of the opposition NGOs, such as Cenidh, CPDH, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation and Let’s Make Democracy, among others, as well as political groups (FAD, MRS, etc.) and media such as the Press and Confidential, woke up with open arms and pockets waiting for USAID to continue allocating money to perpetuate the lifestyle they lead. ”
In this explanatory statement, the political substance of the USAID brand is located in the course of violent protests. Proof of this is the US Department of State, which, to maintain a climate of permanent tension in US relations with Nicaragua, uses a narrative to promote freedom of expression, democracy and greater participation of civil society as conditions. “Granted” that they must prevail, they are clearly encouraging the opposition to undermine the Ortega government through the use of the media and with violent demonstrations. The practical utility of “governance” to which USAID refers.
As if it were an image passing through a photocopier, the first “sit-ins” that rejected the INSS reforms mutated towards an insurrectionary movement that justifies its existence in the same demands of the State Department, adding of course the “anti-corruption” agenda and the absence of freedom of expression, which is also an offering of political products by USAID. Out of an apparently banal demand over a single policy, the political reason for the mobilization moved increasingly towards demands for total political change.
All together, this is what is behind that neolanguage presented as an essential scale of values for any society (liberal democracy, freedom of expression, etc.), which ignores the cultural and political context of each country, the new attributes of power are camouflaged globally: the core’s (Atlanticist empire) expansion of the area of control and subjection over the social, political, economic and institutional body of the periphery (developing and post-communist world), through the use of private structures (NGOs, media, private economic cooperation programs, etc.) that bid for subordinate from within the State and society to the preferences of transnational financial capital.
Mision Verdad, translated by J. Flores for FRN