Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New York City Mayor Bill di Blasio are huge fans of Nicaragua’s Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega. But neither of them have yet to utter a single word about the violent repression being carried out by Ortega’s socialist dictatorship or the more than 300 Nicaraguans fighting for freedom and democracy who have been murdered by Ortega.
Silence on Nicaragua from Sanders and Di Blasio Helps the Regime’s Repression
The desperate human rights situation in Nicaragua is now very clear, and a Washington Post story today makes for grim reading. Just as the Castro regime in Cuba has long used paramilitaries for unofficial police violence against dissidents and the regime in Iran uses the “Basij” forces, the Ortega regime in Nicaragua uses “turbas divinas” or “divine mobs.” The Post story tells of the armed attack by such groups this past weekend against protesters holed up at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and then in a Catholic church.
Nicaragua is rebelling against the repression, venality, and personalized rule of Daniel Ortega, who is president, and his wife, who is Vice President. Human Rights Watch, certainly an organization of the Left, said this on July 10:
High-level Nicaraguan officials bear responsibility for grave, pervasive abuses being committed on their watch, Human Rights Watch said today. These officials have failed to take meaningful steps to prevent or punish human rights violations by their subordinates.
Since protests broke out on April 18, 2018, at least 270 people have been killed and over 1,500 have been injured, in most cases at the hands of police officers and pro-government armed gangs.
So there is no confusion about the events in Nicaragua, and human rights defenders are condemning the regime.
But from the regime’s great fans there is silence. I have in mind the mayor of New York, Bill di Blasio, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Di Blasio travelled to Nicaragua in 1988 (this was prior to his 1990 honeymoon in Cuba) in solidarity with the Sandinistas. He worked in Masaya, a town near Managua that was a center of revolutionary fervor, and has long said the visit affected him deeply. But this year, the Ortega regime has attacked Masaya because it is—once again—a center of anti-regime activity. As The Guardian put it, “Today, Masaya is once again in full revolt – this time against the Sandinistas themselves.” The regime’s attacks on Masaya and other rebel strongholds have been so fierce that the Nicaraguan Army has actually complained about them and sought to distance itself from them. But I’ve found no evidence that Mayor di Blasio has done so.
As for Sanders, a 2015 story in BuzzFeed recounted an interview in which he called Ortega “an impressive guy.” BuzzFeed reports that “According to his book, Outsider in the House, Sanders traveled to Nicaragua on the invitation of the Sandinista government, to witness the celebration of the Seventh Anniversary of the Revolution. By his own account, he was the ‘highest ranking American official present’ at the event. Upon his return, Sanders said that he was ‘impressed’ with the ‘intelligence and sincerity’ of Sandinista leaders….”
Perhaps I’ve missed their statements but it seems di Blasio and Sanders have suddenly become silent about Nicaragua—just when their silence is most damaging and their voices most needed.
Read the entire article HERE.