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Nicaragua in Crisis
By Louis De Benedette
Nicaragua is in a conflict beginning in April 2018
The right-wing backed by US dollars wants to topple the current government and impeach President Daniel Ortega. There is much more to this, but I want to specifically share the solidarity that VVAW and many individual members have participated in through the years.
In April of 1986, seven years after the revolution, a VVAW delegation visited Nicaragua. Reagan's freedom fighters, i.e. (the contra), were killing people and destroying schools and hospitals which the International Court of Justice ordered the US to pay for.
The International Court of Justice ruled that the US was an international terrorist and demanded reparation. The charges went nowhere, and the Reagan legacy as the butcher of Nicaragua was to continue. The VVAW delegation also protested at the US Embassy.
Two years later in 1988, VVAW member Bob Livesey led a convoy supported by fellow VVAW member Dave Cline to show support for Daniel Ortega and the people. During the Contra years, many were arrested including Roy Bourgeois, leader against the School of the Americas, and myself.
In 1990 I poured human blood on the White House gate protesting CIA intervention in the Nicaraguan elections.
In 1990, Barry Romo invited two paralyzed Sandinista veterans to come to the Kent State anniversary. I got them visas for medical help.
I lived in Boaco, Nicaragua, for one year with moral support from VVAW's Dave Cline. At this time Ben Chitty financed the construction of 14 homes of brick stones and we also renovated the FRENTE office. Many VVAW veterans respect Nicaragua.
President Daniel Ortega has been in office since 2006. Nicaragua had become calm and more hopeful. This changed in April of this year over a protest in a march over a 5% decrease for the aged. However, that was changed back to 5%. Protesters continued to denounce Daniel Ortega. He said during an interview with Fox News that these protests are from terrorists, drug traffickers, and opposing paramilitary groups. The Sandinistas are the target of the attacks.
My friend Walter, a Sandinista, and 4,000 others had to build secure homes outside Managua to escape the terrorists. Not many people go outside. His brother Humberto has not left his home in months. Antonio, a close friend and a veteran with only one leg who had been confined to a wheelchair, recently passed.
Thousands of Sandinista motorcycles travel daily from city to city to bring food and protection to the people. Jose Saul is a good friend and leads the motorcyclist to Esteli, Matagalpa, and Jinotega, at times when there is danger and they carry no arms. Jose Saul is a father of a small child. He wants Daniel Ortega as president and an end to the conflict.
The Sandinista continue to march daily clamoring for justice for those who were wounded, tortured, and disappeared, like Bismark Martinez, and those killed, hunted, and persecuted for being Sandinista. The US supports the Right and denounces Daniel Ortega, The struggle is long and difficult: no jobs, no food, yet the Sandinistas will win for the children and Daniel.
Vietnam era veteran, war resister, and a friend of Nicaragua, Louis has been a VVAW member since 1982 and is a VVAW contact in Ithaca, NY.
VVAW Delegation in front of Managua US Embassy, demonstrating against the "Contra" war, April 14, 1986.