Nicaragua

President Daniel Ortega’s conciliatory moves in late April and May had raised hopes that tensions in Nicaragua would simmer down. Following several days of violent protests that began on April 18, Ortega called for the establishment of a roundtable dialogue to be mediated by Catholic bishops and he withdrew his social security reforms, the initial trigger for the protests. 

However, the government’s conciliatory move has been met with an unprecedented escalation of violence.

The combined International Workers Day and memorial rally for Tomas Borge, a cofounder of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), held in the capital Managua on April 30 seems to have vindicated the Sandinista government of President Daniel Ortega, with estimates of the turnout varying between 100,000 to 200,000 supporters.

The march came a week after violent protests rocked the country for five days starting on April 18.

In a Democratic presidential primary debate in Miami on March 10, against his rival Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders opposed US invasions, coups and interventions against Latin American nations.

The socialist Senator also strongly opposed the ongoing US embargo against Cuba while praising the island for its social gains in health and education.


Residents of El Rancho march in protest against the El Pavon mining project. Photo: Environmental Justice Atlas.

After a long campaign of community resistance to the project, the Nicaraguan government has declared that the Canadian company B2Gold’s bid to open a gold mine is “unviable” due to its environmental impacts.

Showers off Lake Xolotlan sprinkled the huge crowds massed on July 19 for the 36th anniversary of the triumph of Nicaragua's popular revolution over the murderous tyranny of the Anastasio Somoza dictatorship in 1979. The revolution was led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).


President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela began his visit to Panama City for the Summit of the Americas with a visit to the impoverished neighbourhood of El Chorrillo to lay a wreath at the monument to those killed by the US bombing of the community during the 1989 US invasion of Panama.

The seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama City on April 10 and 11, was widely hailed as a victory for left-leaning and progressive forces in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba.

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is an anti-imperialist trading bloc first formed by the left-wing governments of Venezuela and Cuba to promote trade on the basis of solidarity rather than competition.

It has since expanded to include Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Honduras was an ALBA member, but was forced to withdraw when a 2009 US-backed coup installed a right-wing dictatorship.

WL Central wrote on July 7:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has now been offered asylum in three American countries: Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. He has applied for asylum in six additional countries, according to WikiLeaks. And his chances for reaching a safe haven are growing further because of US interference in the process, according to Michael Bochenek, director of law and policy at Amnesty International.

The first McDonald's strike ever in Wellington took place on May 22. At 8am, five of the seven workers on shift came off the job and joined the picket line that had been set up outside Bunny St McDonald's.

It was a noisy, lively affair, with Fightback member and Wellington Unite union organiser Heleyni Pratley leading the way with chants, songs and the occasional speech to the people passing by. Pratley explained why the strike was being held and why the public needed to respect the picket line.

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered on the night of May 2 in Managua's Plaza de la Fe to pay tribute to Tomas Borge.

Borge, who died on April 30 aged 81, was the last surviving member of the group that founded the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) more than 50 years ago. Borge has always been and remains a symbol of the Nicaraguan Revolution in Latin America and beyond.

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