Monday, June 18, 2018

Po'Folk Bring Discussions and Protests - Neoliberals Bring Snipers and Precision Mass Killings

Counterpunch |  I was stunned the other day to see an opinion piece by Stephen Kinzer in The Boston Globe in which he was portraying the violent anti-government protests in Nicaragua as some kind of revolutionary insurrection.  What is surprising about Kinzer’s position is that he is the individual who wrote the wonderfulbook, All The Shah’s Men– one of the essential readings about the CIA-backed coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953.

What is happening in Nicaragua right now looks a lot like what happened in Iran during this coup, and yet, Kinzer somehow does not see this.  In this way, Kinzer typifies the utter confusion of so many in this country — including those who should know better, such as many self-described leftists — about what is happening in Nicaragua and in Latin America generally.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Hemisphere, was so before the Sandinistas took power in 1979, and was still so when they took power again in 2006.  When the Sandinistas took power the first time, they inherited an economy wrecked and pillaged by Somoza, a country still left in shambles by the 1972 earthquake because Somoza siphoned off the aid money for himself instead of rebuilding, and a country further destroyed by Somoza who aerially bombed neighborhoods in Managua to cling to power.  When the Sandinistas took power the second time, they inherited a country still struggling to recover from a decade of the brutal Contra war and by the accompanying economic embargo.

Meanwhile, the Sandinistas never even attempted to rid Nicaragua of the leading elements of the ancien régime (as Cuba did after its 1959 Revolution) with which they now must contend.  This of course has made governing much more difficult and more radical reforms even more so.  But if the Sandinistas had moved against these elements, such as the bourgeoisie and the Church, then they would be criticized even more than they are now for being repressive and anti-democratic.

And yet, there are some who argue that, somehow, the Sandinistas have failed by not building socialism in one country upon such a weak foundation, in a country with few natural resources and in the face of hostility from a much more powerful enemy in the United States.  Never mind that such critics generally believe that socialism in one country is unachievable even in good conditions.  In short, the Sandinistas are criticized for not achieving the impossible.