I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
Really, I do this time. Yes, I was born and raised on its outskirts, though I high-tailed it outta there as soon as possible. I was amused to join the ‘boycott London’ facebook groups when the vile Boris was elected Mayor. But this statement from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign was in my inbox this morning, and this really, really takes the piss:
Ronald Reagan: Hero or Villain?
On 4 July 2011, a statue will be unveiled in Grosvenor Square, London, of ex US president Ronald Reagan who was responsible, according to Baroness Margaret Thatcher, for ‘winning the Cold War without firing a shot.’
However, behind the cosy façade of the great statesman and communicator who ended the Cold War, was a man whose ideologically driven foreign policy, uncluttered by facts and complexities, led to the deaths of 30,000 Nicaraguans in the 1980s.
In 1979, the Sandinistas overthrew the US backed Somoza directorship.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan set about destroying the Sandinistas by unleashing a war on all fronts: paramilitary, political, diplomatic, ideological, economic and psychological. This included arming, funding and training a paramilitary force, the contras: mercenaries going about the well paid business of conducting a war on behalf of the US, inflicting immense suffering on Nicaragua.
Former CIA director, Stansfield Turner testified to Congress that the actions of the contras ‘have to be classified as terrorism, State sponsored terrorism. ‘
In 1984, broad support for the social programmes of the Sandinistas led to their winning elections with over 60% of the vote. These elections were declared free and fair by international observers.
On May 1, 1985, Reagan declared that Nicaragua, an impoverished country of some 3.5 million people, constituted “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the security and foreign policy of the United States.” Invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, he imposed a comprehensive economic embargo on Nicaragua.
In 1986 the Iran contra scandal erupted: the Reagan administration in an operation conducted by Colonel Oliver North, illegally sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to illegally fund the contra during a period from 1984-6 when Congress had imposed a ban.
In 1986 the International Court of Justice found the US guilty of breaches of international law relating to the arming and training of an illegal paramilitary organisation (the contras), mining Nicaragua’s harbours, and imposing a trade embargo. The Court ruled that the US cease all aggression against Nicaragua and pay reparations. The US refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Court or to pay the estimated $12 billion damage to the country’s infrastructure.
As celebrations take place in London on 4 July of the life of Ronald Reagan, our thoughts are with the tens of thousands of Nicaraguans who suffered the consequences of his murderous foreign policies.
What the hell is going on here? What bit of craven British arse-licking has persuaded the London authorities to sponsor this particular bit of sycophancy? Really, I despair. Obviously the NSC, as a respectable organisation, has put out an balanced and fact-based statement. My instincts are rather more along the lines of WTF!? Why is there no riot going on here? But I’m a long way away…