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Note from Nicaragua: Reflections on History, Power and the Nature of Real Change

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Sunday Night,
October 12, 2008October Surprises from Nicaragua --

www.davidcogswell.com

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- It's a strange fate to find myself viewing these historical events this October before election day 2008 from Nicaragua. It's a place I have known only from what I have read, and most of that is about the hideous activities of the U.S. government and U.S. corporations here, leading to the killing and terrorizing and the impoverishment of many innocent Nicaraguans. So it was certainly fascinating to get a view of Nicaragua from street level, to hear that history spoken from the mouths of the people who live here. 

I can only view that history from the perspective of the present, and we seem at the vortex of a vast historical hurricane right now. Oddly enough, since I left the U.S. a week ago and came to Nicaragua, I have become more hopeful about what is happening in the states. The larger conviction that I have developed on this trip is that while politicians attach themselves to historical movements, identify themselves with events; they can provide focus, leadership and affect events- but their power is limited over historical movements.
They are largely parasitic of the larger movements of history. We identify historical movements with them, supporting the notion that they are in control, when usually they are trailing along at the tail of historical movements, attaching themselves to those movements and trying to take credit for things.

Very briefly, the arc of Nicaraguan history is this. For 40 years, the country was controlled by the Somoza family, a dictatorship propped up by U.S. government for corporate interests like United Fruit, which people like the Dulles brothers and the Bush family were tied up with and profiting from. Nicaragua was practically a colony of the United States, run with a brutal hand by U.S. puppets for most of the 20th century. In the 1970s, a broad coalition of segments of Nicaraguan society became fed up with the Somoza family and its corruption as it went into its third generation of domination of the country. The resistance was so powerful, so nearly unanimous, that it succeed in pushing off the dictatorship. The Sandinista party provided leadership, organization, a focal point for the overthrow of Somoza and took over the reins of government themselves.

The Reagan-Bush administration, under the cold war mentality and with the Bush family holdings being threatened, launched their secret war against the Sandinista government through the Contras, who were terrorists and killers. When the U.S. Congress denied the administration the power and money to conduct its war, Reagan and Bush did it covertly, raising money in part by selling weapons to Iran (which they publicly were calling a terrorist state), and drug trafficking, among other things.

For 10 years war raged in Nicaragua between the U.S. supported Contras and the Sandinista government. The U.S. put Nicaragua under an embargo, crippling the country and putting pressure on the Sandinista government. The Sandinistas failed to fulfill their promises, failed to live up to their ideals. Finally in 1979, negotiations for peace were successful. The people demonstrated for democratic elections and the Sandanistas granted them, and the Sandanistas were voted out. Daniel Ortega and the Sandanistas are now back in power, but as a democratically elected government.

The Sandinistas left the country a legacy of democracy, but it was not their voluntary initiative. It was granted reluctantly in response to the demands of the people. Typically, those in power have very different attitudes than they had when seeking power. Similarly, the Sandinistas did not deliver the country from the dictatorial hold of the U.S. puppet Somoza regime. They helped facilitate the overthrow. They were instrumental. But it was a popular movement. And eventually the country moved beyond the rule of the Sandinistas as well. They are back in power, but only within the constitution and the democratic processes it establishes. There are much greater powers than the politicians.

The U.S. was powerful enough to foul the Sandinistan revolution, to keep it from succeeding economically. But U.S. power over the country also has its limits. Now as we see the financial system of the world in freefall collapse, we can see the Bushies up to their old tricks, their disaster capitalism tricks of manipulating disasters to further their agenda and enrich their cronies. But seeing them change in midstream from their initial proposal of buying bad mortgages to infusing cash into the banking system and thereby becoming part owners of the banks, shows that they are not in control in this crisis. They caused it with their support of greed and corruption, their thievery, their lies and destruction of trust and confidence. And they are positioned to profit, by seizing the public wealth to disburse among their cronies and contributors. But now the disaster has spread to the point that even their richest friends could get hurt. The roof is falling in and with no middle class to support the businesses, it will all cave in. So they are beyond their power now. They are at a loss, grasping at straws. Their system has failed. Their free market religion is discredited by their own actions. The free market era is over. The pendulum is swinging back.

As enormously powerful as the Bush administration has been, as ruthlessly as they have wielded that power, they are now over their heads. They are so out of their league, so helpless against the forces they now face, that even these power hungry maniacs may actually reach a point where they voluntarily give up power, just give it to someone else to deal with. They've made their millions. They can retire.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize that they have all their election fraud mechanisms in place. They have martial law scenarios in place ready to activate. They have internment camps all ready to house their opposition. But they are not all powerful. There are forces of history as powerful as forces of nature like Katrina, just beyond their control. They manipulated Katrina, too. They sat and looked the other way while the poor and middle class fell through the cracks. They lined up their profiteer friends to benefit from the disaster. But the disaster got beyond their control. Even the well-trained talking heads of the corporate news could not spout the party line as they stood in New Orleans with dead bodies piled around them.

Barack Obama has seen the aspirations of the people to throw off this tyranny and he has articulated that vision and has become a focal point for that struggle and that aspiration. But if he wins the election, it is not he who pushed off the Bush tyranny. It is the people who did it, channeling their power through him. It looks as though the collective will to rid the U.S. of these lying, cheating, election-stealing tyrants has finally reached overwhelming strength.

I hope and pray that the Bush-Cheney mob is finally nearing its last act.

 

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