Lee Camp spoke with human/labor rights lawyer and peace activist, Daniel Kovalik, on the situation in Nicaragua.
Kovalik went to Nicaragua at the end of July with Max Blumenthal to investigate what was happening. They found a situation very different of what we've been told in the mainstream press. That is, a situation very common in Latin America: another attempt by the US empire to overthrow an undesirable government.
First of all, as most people know, what you hear on the news, is that students mostly peacefully protested against the government. And then, the government crackdown on them, and this led to a mass uprising against the Ortega government.
The facts are very different from this.
What did happen, was that in mid-April the Ortega government announced very modest changes to the social security program. And the changes were necessary to keep the system solvent through 2019, otherwise it's going to go bankrupt. There were some peaceful protests that came about against those announced reforms.
But then, what happened, very clearly, was that there were armed groups that had been planning this coup against the government for some time. They integrated themselves in with peaceful protesters and really hijacked the protest there. In the last four years, they have received four million dollars from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and then about another thirty million dollars from USAID. And in fact, a publication of the NED took credit for laying the groundwork for the insurrection that took place in April.
So, this was funded and planned well in advance.
These groups took advantage of a situation where there were real protests against the social security reforms. There were some real protests and concerns among students about a fire that had taken place on the Atlantic coast. And also, there were student elections happening at the universities at this time. So, there were groups that were planning ahead, took advantage of this, and started a violent coup against the government.