Thursday, March 20, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 10: The Decline of the Democratic Ideal Segment 11/13
Previous segment |Next segment | Contents | Overview |

5. Within Nicaragua

I have kept to the circumstances and the U.S. reaction, saying nothing about why Nicaraguans voted as they did, an important question, but a different one. The Nicaraguan reaction also has something to tell us about U.S. political culture.

Within the United States, the standard reaction was joyous acclaim for the Nicaraguan "masses" who had triumphed over their oppressors in fair elections. In Nicaragua, the reaction seems to have been rather different. After informing us that the winners were "the Nicaraguans, of course," the New Republic turns to its Managua correspondent, Tom Gjelten, who writes: "UNO victory rallies were small, mostly private affairs, and there was no mass outpouring into the streets. Most people stayed home." Almost a month after the elections, AP reported that "UNO supporters still have not held a public celebration." Many other reports from around Nicaragua confirm the somber mood, which contrasts strikingly to the Unity in Joy here. The comparison may suggest something about who won and who lost, but the thought was not pursued -- in the U.S., that is; in Latin America, the meaning was taken to be clear enough.49

Subsequently, there was a celebration of the victory, an inaugural ball for President Chamorro at a former country club. "Gentility is back in style," AP correspondent Doralisa Pilarte reported, describing the "dressed-to-kill crowd of upper-crust Nicaraguans" with their "straw hats, cocktail dresses and manicured nails," "fine gowns and designer shoes," "refined manners and a glittering atmosphere that left some people gaping," "something not seen in leftist Nicaragua for more than a decade." "It's like `The Great Gatsby'," a South American diplomat said the next morning. Pilarte, whose reporting has been extremely critical of the Sandinistas, comments on the change from the past decade: "Even in diplomatic circles, a relaxed, down-home attitude had been encouraged by the Sandinistas, themselves generally more at ease in nicely pressed combat uniforms and in working-class barrios than in glitzy halls."50

I found nothing about this in the press, a noteworthy omission after years of Sandinista-bashing highlighted by much sarcasm about Ortega's designer glasses and other examples of Sandinista self-indulgence while the poor were suffering -- commentary that would have been fair enough, had it been something more than just another service to the state propaganda system.

Yet another Nicaraguan reaction is described by Times reporter Larry Rohter, in a typically bitter and scornful condemnation of the "internationalists," who carry out such despicable activities as fixing bicycles and distributing grain "to child care centers and maternity clinics," and who intend to continue "serving the vast majority of workers and peasants whose needs have not diminished," an activist in the Casa Benjamin Linder says. Rohter quotes Vice President-elect Virgilio Godoy, who says that the new government will keep a close eye on these intruders: "we are not going to permit any foreigner to interfere in our domestic political problems."51

In a well-disciplined culture, no one laughs when such statements are reported. Under the totalitarian Sandinistas, foreigners were permitted to forge a political coalition based upon the terrorist force they created to attack the country; and they were allowed to pour millions of dollars into supporting it in the elections. Foreigners engaged in what the World Court condemned as "the unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua were allowed to fund a major newspaper that called for the overthrow of the government and openly identified with the terrorist forces pursuing these ends, proxies of the foreign power funding the journal. Under these totalitarians, such foreigners as Jeane Kirkpatrick and U.S. Congressmen were permitted to enter the country to present public speeches and news conferences calling for the overthrow of the government by violence and supporting the foreign-run terrorist forces. "Human Rights" investigators accompanied by contra lobbyists posing as "experts" were permitted free access, as were journalists who were scarcely more than agents of the foreign power attacking the country. Nothing remotely resembling this record can be found in Western democracies; in the United States, Israel, England, and other democracies, such freedoms would be inconceivable, even under far less threat, as the historical record demonstrates with utter clarity.

But now, at last, totalitarianism is yielding to freedom, so Nicaragua will no longer tolerate "interference" from foreigners who have the wrong ideas about how to contribute to reform and development, foreigners who are not working for the violent overthrow of the government but rather are supporting the only mass-based political force in the country. We learn more about what is meant by "freedom" and "democracy" in the reigning political culture.

A word might be added about the disgust aroused by the internationalists, which the Times correspondent can barely suppress. This has been a standard feature of media commentary for years; it has been quite remarkable to see what revulsion and ridicule these volunteers inspire. But for completeness, we should add that the reaction is not completely uniform. One radical exception is a column by Washington Post correspondent David Broder, who writes with immense admiration of a project in Mobile Alabama, "nurtured by love and incredible dedication," which is sending "volunteer English teachers" abroad. "The remarkable thing," Broder continues, "is that all this is being done with volunteered funds and energy. Each teacher pays his or her own travel expenses (at discounted rates, negotiated by a Mobile travel agency) and carries his own instructional materials."52

The volunteers who inspire his awe, however, are not Ben Linders heading for remote villages in Nicaragua, or young people volunteering to work in schools and universities there (without "discounted rates"). Rather, volunteer English teachers going off to suffer in the miserable conditions of Prague. The distinction will be obvious to any fair-minded observer.

Go to the next segment.

49 Gjelten, New Republic, March 19 (written weeks earlier; I am concerned only with the facts he describes, not his personal interpretation of them).

50 Pilarte, AP, June 8, 1990.

51 Rohter, NYT, March 13, 1990.

52 Broder, WP-BG, Aug. 6, 1990. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

StumbleUpon PLEASE give it a thumbs up Stumble It!
Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 8:07 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home