Corporate media outlets blamed Nicaragua’s government for a deadly arson attack during the 2018 coup attempt, but new information raises serious doubts about the official story, highlighting the campaign of regime-change misinformation.
by John Perry
Part 3 - Unsubstantiated claims spread by international corporate media
The international press, as on so many occasions, took its lead from the local media. Reuters, an agency which has consistently taken an anti-Ortega line, gave prominence to the government’s accusers and quoted the secretary of the Organization of American States describing it as “a crime against humanity.”
A BBC report was more balanced, but still emphasized the accusations against the government. The New York Times put the house fire together with other incidents to describe what it called a campaign of terror by forces backing Ortega.
The US State Department quickly concurred, saying the attack was “government sponsored.” Within a week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights repeated the accusation, based on “public statements” that it didn’t identify.
When the fire occurred, I was preparing an article about the coup for The Nation. Not surprisingly, they asked me to extend the article to include it. Writing only 48 hours afterwards, and influenced by the initial reports, my assessment (published on June 22) was inevitably tentative:
“The government was quickly blamed, because allegedly the fire was in reprisal for the owner’s refusal to allow snipers to operate from his roof. Government denials seemed plausible, as the barrio concerned has numerous barricades controlled by the opposition. On the other hand, a surviving family member backs up the opposition version. The truth is difficult to ascertain, and if proof emerges, it is unlikely to dispel the media verdicts about who the real culprits were.”