The Guardians of Empire Assail Nicaragua

Kath Viner became the Guardian’s editor–in-chief in 2015. She reminds me of OAS chief Luis Almagro and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno: all three have served the US Empire at least, if not more, slavishly than openly declared right wingers might have done. All were initially applauded by the left who heaved sighs of relief when they got in.

I’ve been surprised to see the Guardian get worse under Katharine Viner. I thought it would probably stay about the same or maybe improve slightly when she took over.  

Consider the Guardian’s “view”  on the recent unrest in Nicaragua: “The Ortega government’s brutal repression of opposition has only fuelled unrest”.

I have not followed Nicaragua closely in recent years but I’m sure whoever wrote this editorial hasn’t either or is dishonest (or both).

I’ve been much more focused on South America – Ecuador and Venezuela in particular. I just wrote a piece for FAIR about the corporate media backing assaults on democracy in seven different countries in the Americas since 2002. Five of the seven cases I reviewed were in South America. In all seven cases, leftist or left-leaning governments were replaced through various levels of violence, illegality or fraud. Something very similar is clearly simmering  in Nicaragua.  That much should not elude anyone.

Even during better years, when the Guardian provided a few good alternatives to the rest of the media’s coverage of the Americas, it still followed the corporate herd about 85% of the time. It would therefore be incredibly foolish to trust its “view” on Nicaragua today, but there are other reasons.

Consider this passage from its editorial:

Mr Ortega first came to power when the Sandinistas overthrew the dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. Despite scepticism at the rebels’ promises of democratic transition, he stepped down at the electorate’s behest in 1990.

The Guardian neglects to mention that it was the US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza who was overthrown in 1979. Decades of US support helped make a non-violent transition from Somoza family rule impossible.

The US immediately funded a terrorist war led by Somoza loyalists (the Contras) against the Sandinistas that killed 30,000 people by 1990. The CIA also mined Nicaragua’s harbors – a crime so flagrant the World Court (remarkably) did not look away in that particular case (in others it did) and actually found the US government guilty of an “unlawful use of force”. The US also imposed crippling economic sanctions on Nicaragua as the Sandinista government struggled to deal with the horrific underdevelopment the Somozas had left behind.

The Guardian not only erased US criminality from its overview of Sandinista history, it also flung dirt at the Sandinistas, who won free and fair elections in 1984. To help whitewash the terrorist policies of the Reagan administration, the US media during the 1980s usually pretended the 1984 elections never took place. “Scepticism” about the democratic credentials of the Sandinistas in 1990 was only possible if you ignored the very well-documented terrorist credentials of the US government. Moreover, Ortega’s electoral defeat in 1990 was a victory for US economic and military aggression that was aimed directly at the Nicaraguan electorate: “vote the wrong way and our attacks will continue” was the US message. The same message is being delivered to Venezuelans today.

Even with decades of hindsight, the Guardian cannot (or will not) tell the grim truth about US policy in Nicaragua. If you can’t be honest about events that took place decades ago, why should anyone trust your “view” of the situation today?

Leave a comment