Local sociopath, John Bolton, recently coined the term “Troika of Tyranny.” It’s an alliterative and slightly more creative retake on the Bush-era “Axis of Evil” and is now used to describe what we’re supposed to think are the three most tyrannical governments in the western hemisphere: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. The first two are no surprise; they’ve both been in the cross-hairs for a while, but Nicaragua is one we haven’t heard much about in recent decades. Let’s take a look at why it’s back on our radar.
Nicaragua elected Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista, in 2006. By all accounts, his victory was legitimate. His administration has been characterized by land reforms, increases in workers’ rights, improved literacy by prioritizing education spending, and increasing access to food and healthcare. He was reelected in 2011 and 2016 with more than 60% of the vote each time. The western media calls him a dictator, as they do everyone who doesn’t bow down to American corporate interests. They site Ortega’s harsh treatment of protesters and control of much of the media as evidence of his totalitarianism. Ortega and his followers would say that these authoritarian acts are a necessary evil to defend against US-baked coups and color revolutions. I realize this is a sketchy position with bad optics, but it doesn’t lack logic. This is a very valid concern, because the US and its proxies DID attempt a coup in 2018.
An armed student movement tried to seize control of the government last year. Government forces reportedly killed hundreds of people, but questions have been raised about the accuracy of these body counts and who is responsible for the initial instigation of violence. Given my own research into Syria, Ukraine and other revolutions, I’m extremely skeptical when the western media claims that one of the empire’s official bad guys is acting badly and that everyone protesting them are just wholesome, all-American freedom-lovers. The western media establishment obviously doesn’t give a damn about human rights and the deaths of innocent civilians. Case in point: Saudi Arabia. My skepticism is increased by the fact that a leftist government in the country next door, Honduras, was overthrown in a US-backed coup in 2009.
The Honduran military overthrew the democratically elected President Zelaya in 2009. This is the same military that receives substantial aid from the US, allows their country to be the home of the largest US military base in Latin America, and is widely believed to be involved in drug trafficking.
The new Honduran government has also been killing protesters, but don’t expect to hear about that in the western media. The country is run by a corrupt cabal of elites, many of whom were educated in the US, who are systematically transferring the country’s wealth out of social programs and into their pockets. While literacy and health are improving in Nicaragua, they are going the opposite way in Honduras. The president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, won reelection in 2017 under very suspicious circumstances. The fraudulent elections were even reported on by mainstream sources like Reuters and The Guardian . The votes were tracked in real time by an electronic system and televised. In the first hours of the election, Hernandez’s opponent, Salvador Nastralla, gained a substantial lead. Then, mysteriously, the vote-counting system crashed and went of the air. When it came back, Hernandez was in the lead and he went on to win by a narrow margin. Protesters took to the streets where the military killed at least 30 unarmed civilians. The US recognized the elections as free and fair.
Since the coup, the country has been engulfed by violence perpetrated by drug cartels and other organized crime syndicates. Many people in cities are extorted into paying monthly dues to syndicates, crippling living standards in an already impoverished country. Efforts to appeal to the police or government have been mostly unsuccessful because there is no clear divide between the Hernandez Regime and the crime syndicates.
The violence has kicked off a wave of immigration out of the country, much of it going to the US. If Trump were actually concerned about his imaginary immigration crisis, perhaps not supporting a dictatorship that has its populous living in terror would be a good place to start.
There are hundreds of articles and other news pieces criticizing authoritarianism in Nicaragua because they are an official enemy. Meanwhile, the problems in Honduras are buried. There have been massive anti-regime protests in Honduras in recent months. But we’re only supposed to focus on protests in places like Venezuela and Hong Kong, places that haven’t been absorbed into the empire yet.
The contrast in how these two countries are treated in the western media is very instructive. It is a glaring flaw in the narrative machine that needs to be pointed out.