The Nica Act Isn’t Our Solution

It’s not the United States’ job to light the candles for the funeral procession.  It’s our job.

By Gioconda Belli  (Confidencial)

Gioconda Belli

HAVANA TIMES – I don’t agree with the Nica Act.  Watching an extremely conservative senator such as Ted Cruz, radically opposed to freedoms that I consider sacred, convert himself into a supposed “ally” of the Nicaraguan people brings me back in time to that disastrous era when the United States dictated our destiny as a nation.  I think about the consequences of the proposed US sanction on our economy, and the price we’ll pay, especially the neediest.

If I were to support the Nica Act, I’d also have to conclude in retrospect that the Contra war benefited Nicaragua because it concluded with the advent of a democratic government. That’s a conclusion I can’t accept.

But – What actually happened with our democratic governments?  The US intervention didn’t give birth to the political forces necessary for the country to progress.  The UNO coalition didn’t even last through Doña Violeta Chamorro’s term as president.

Later, there was Aleman, who ended up in jail for corruption, followed by the Bolaños government that did, in fact, advance democracy by structuring and implementing municipal autonomy.  However, the Bolaños coalition was weak politically and he ended up like Doña Violeta, left governing amid a panorama of party decomposition and fragmentation.

The point I want to make with all this is that it hasn’t been enough – nor was it ever enough – to oppose the unquestionable authoritarianism and general lack of democracy during the eighties by advocating for United States intervention.  While not downplaying the impact of the FSLN’s sabotage of the Chamorro government, we also need to hold the Nicaraguan political class responsible for their inability to construct, much less consolidate, a solid alternative capable of changing the correlation of internal forces.

Despite obvious popular distrust of a Sandinista return in 2006, Daniel Ortega won the battle using a mixture of political astuteness, the loyalty of a sufficient portion of the population and – once again – the lack of consistency and unity of the opposition.

The very “opportune” death of Herty Lewites on the other hand, dealt a setback to the possibility for a critical Sandinista movement that could alter the percentages. It also shattered the unity Herty had achieved within the ranks of the MRS.  Without Herty, the party fragmented, and it’s taken an enormous effort to bring it together once more. Currently though, it’s the party that the Ortega forces are most afraid of.  Their manipulation managed to isolate the MRS from the coalitions built in 2008 and 2010, leading to the formation of a new group in 2016: Citizens for Liberty.  However, it’s clear that currently not even the left is united in Nicaragua.

El Congreso de Estados Unidos. Foto:

So what is the Nica Act going to accomplish? Returning to the eighties, it can be deduced that no measure of that kind will ever change the situation for the opposition within the country.   

It’s predictable that the repression we’re already seeing will worsen, as was evident in the last march organized by the rural anti-canal movement. As in the eighties, the Ortega apparatus and their well-tuned propaganda machine will appeal to the Nicaraguan people’s true and historic anti-imperialism, using it like a machete to cut down and vilify anyone opposed to sovereignty: not the sovereignty of the country – in any case, that’s already been sold to Wang Jing – but that of the pseudo-monarchy that rules us.

With no media access in this principality; without unified objectives; with politicians given to selling out, and others incapable of subordinating their vague ideological objections or their personal leadership to the need to forge minimum accords and consolidate an alternative – What can the Nica Act bring?  What could such measures accomplish if we ourselves seem incapable of reaching a consensus and giving in enough to mount a consistent and united internal battle to recover the democratic rights that have been violated?

Certainly, Ortega and his allies have behaved destructively, abusing their power in order to dismantle the attempts at unity on the part of the opposition. Beheading the leadership of the PLI Alliance in the last elections was a low blow, and I believe that the governing pair lost more than they admit by acting in that manner.  The resounding and unquestionable abstention in the 2016 elections was a measure of the popular disapproval.

But what happened to the Alianza? How is it possible that those who were ready to face the national elections only a few months earlier decided that ideological differences prevented them from uniting with the MRS as a way of continuing?  What exchange took place, or promises of legal status that perhaps aren’t even being kept, to make those who were annulled behave that way?

As the saying goes: “It takes two to tango.”  In other words, once more we fell into the underlying trap: a lack of consistency and of integrity when faced with offers from the powers-that-be who exploit the weaknesses of the political class.  Power can only fail when confronted by righteousness, and such righteousness is a virtue too many people in national politics seem to lack.

As a Nicaraguan woman it hurts me to put forth these considerations, but in my opinion it would be more constructive if – instead of calling for the Nica Act – we confront this regime with true patriotic attitudes that would keep them from dividing and conquering.  A plan for consensus is needed, a proposal for a social pact and for the Nicaragua that we want: a proposal that could win the population’s enthusiasm, and also elevate and support the leaders that have arisen in these years who are disposed not to sell out or surrender.

There’s a lot of disperse energy in our country.  We have the force, but lack the consistency, the maturity and the righteousness.  It’s not the United States’ job to light the candles for the funeral procession.  It’s our job.

2 thoughts on “The Nica Act Isn’t Our Solution

  • But as you know Rich Haney, in a letter of March 28, 2016 purportedly written by Fidel Castro – I think that it was actually the Propaganda Department of the PCC acting under instruction from Raul Castro because nothing of significance is done without his say-so as dictator, the concept put forward by Barack Obama both at the press conference at the Palace of the Revolution and in his televised speech on March 21 at the Alicia Alonso theatre was the need for reciprocation. Both the ‘Fidel’ letter and Bruno Rodriguez in a speech on March 30, rejected the concept and Rodriguez stated: “There will be no reciprocation.”.
    That is one of the problems of communism. It is incapable of change. Change is regarded as weakness.
    I was interested in your comments about Diaz-Balart. As you will no doubt know, Fidel’s first marriage was to Mirta Diaz-Balart and his son Fidelito was her child. She as you also may know, divorced Fidel for his multiple philandering when in 1956 in addition to Diaz-Balart giving birth to Fidelito, three other Cuban women gave birth to children by him. I suppose that in your American jargon, Fidel would have been regarded as “A good ole’boy” as he had twelve children by seven women. Raul contented himself by having children by only three women and Dr. Guevara similarly only had children by three women – but upon reflection, who knows what he might have achieved if he had been given more time.

  • Perhaps the most glaring assault on the U. S. democracy since 1776 has been glaringly represented by the U. S. government and the American people allowing, since 1959, small bands of extremely self-serving and revengeful Cuban exiles to dictate America’s Cuban policy to fit only their revenge, political and economic agendas. It started in earnest when the Reagan-Bush administration anointed Jorge Mas Canosa as the leader of the Cubans in exile. It became sharply exacerbated in 1989 when the self-serving Jeb Bush was the Campaign Manager that used the Bush dynasty to put Havana-born, anti-Castro zealot Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the U. S. Congress from Miami from 1989 till today, beginning a steady stream of Miami’s most zealous anti-Castro Cuban-Americans easy paths to the U. S. Congress — fueled by the Bush machine, the Tea Party and a South Florida political situation that was not democratic enough to include moderate Cuban-Americans, such as the majority that today favor President Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba. Thus, following Ros-Lehtinen to Congress, only anti-Castro zealots can make it to Congress from Miami and that included two sons of Rafael Diaz-Balart, a former key Minister in the Batista dictatorship that then, like others, became a very rich and extremely powerful political player in South Florida, rivaled only by the even richer and more powerful Mas Canosa. The brave Cuban-American newsman in Miami, Emilio Milian, was car-bombed after he complained about terrorists acts — such as the bombing of Cubana-Flight 455…while the soon-fired Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede excoriated members of Congress Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers for their otherwise unchallenged support of the most well-known Miami Cuban-American terrorists.

    The Nica Bill in the U. S. Congress, I believe, is one of a long list of Congressional actions designed to assault not only Cuba but to assault nations favorable to Cuba. Therein lies undemocratic practices related to Cuba that either cowardly or unpatriotic Americans have allowed a mere handful of Cuban extremists to darken the worldwide reputation of both America and democracy. If that is not so, perhaps defenders of that situation can explain away the unanimity of world opinion as expressed by the current 191-to-0 vote in the UN condemning America’s Cuban policy. AND PLEASE, Moses, don’t dismiss that vote by reminding us of the U. S. veto in the UN. In fact, in October the last time that vote came up, even the United States of America abstained because the very decent Obama administration could not bring itself to support a Cuban policy that so defames both America and democracy. The 191-to-zero UN vote is not meaningless because it still exists to this moment and correctly defines a Cuban policy that includes support of the Batista-Mafia dictatorship, the Bay of Pigs attack, Cubana Flight 455, the car-bombing of Emilio Milian, etc.

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