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Stop U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua's November Elections!
by Nicanet
Saturday May 20th, 2006 5:56 AM
Stop U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua's November Elections!:
Educate yourself and take action!


In November of 2006 Nicaraguans will go to the polls to vote for their president and deputies of the National Assembly. There has been and will be much activity on the part of the US government to assure that the Nicaraguan elections are “fair and democratic.” But what does that really mean?

As the US spokesperson in Nicaragua, US Ambassador Paul Trivelli has stated many times, the US “will establish cordial relationships with any administration that is elected democratically …that has a reasonable economic policy and is ready to cooperate with us.”

The present administration has made it clear that a government that is cooperating with the US will do the following: (1) support CAFTA and other free trade policies, (2) participate in all the US requests concerning the war on terrorism, (3) ensure that the Nicaraguan national police receive training that blurs the time-honored distinction between civilian policing and military action, and (4) not maintain friendly diplomatic relationships with either Cuba or Venezuela.

Ambassador Trivelli goes on to make it clear that the selection of the candidate for the PLC party cannot be former President Aleman, nor anyone he selects and that the election of the FSLN party candidate, Daniel Ortega, will not be accepted by the present US government. Mr. Ortega was the person vilified during the 1980’s when former president Reagan’s administration supported an overthrow of the democratically elected Ortega government. Thus for Nicaraguans the US statements about former president Ortega bring to mind the war and the effects of US intervention.

Think for a minute how the US people might react if the ambassador from Venezuela felt free to lobby for various candidates and President Chavez of Venezuela were to say consistently during the next up-coming election “If the republican candidate wins, you can be sure that we will cut off all oil to the US.” Not just Republicans would be angry at such interference in our national elections. That’s how Nicaraguans – no matter how they plan to vote – feel about the US government’s interference in the up-coming elections.

Another concrete way that the US government hopes to influence the Nicaraguan election is through funding a variety of Nicaraguan organizations for election-related projects. In the light of Ambassador Trivelli’s comments, this funding will unfairly influence Nicaragua’s choice of candidates. In the US, laws specifically prohibit financial support from a foreign government for a US candidate.

Does all of this ensure “fair and democratic” elections? Or does it merely ensure that the politics of the present US government will be supported? If people vote not their conscience but based on fear that the US disapproval of the elected candidate will lead to financial loses within the international financial institutions and potential US economic and military threats, is this democracy at work or is it intimidation?

While the US government talks of “election monitoring” there are many who believe that we in the US and in Nicaragua should be monitoring the US government’s involvement in the up-coming Nicaraguan elections. Furthermore, we demand that the US government stop interfering in ways that our government and citizens would find completely unacceptable if done to us.

Please join and
(1) Educate yourself about how the US is interfering in Nicaragua and in the elections of other countries. (Go to the following websites for more information: http://www.NicaNet.org and http://www.casabenlinder.org )
(2) Speak to family, friends, co-workers about the negative effects of this interference.
(3) Write a letter to your local paper that questions how US citizens might feel if the situation were reversed and whether this strengthens democracy worldwide or makes the world safer.
(4) Write your Senators and Congresspeople, Ambassador Trivelli and other elected officials (See below for a sample letter)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This sample letter can also be adapted for a Letter to the Editor.

Dear __________:

As a constituent of yours who regularly votes in our federal elections, I am writing to express serious concerns about United States’ government interference with the electoral process in Nicaragua. In November of 2006 Nicaraguans will go to the polls to vote for their president and deputies of the National Assembly (their congress). The US government -- in the name of promoting “free and democratic” elections – is interfering in the electoral process in several different ways.

I support “free and democratic” elections. However, a closer look at how our government is acting with respect to the Nicaraguan elections shows that the real objective is not to ensure free and fair elections for Nicaraguans, but rather to manipulate a sovereign country into “electing” the US government’s candidate of choice. This is a betrayal of our values and an unacceptable continuation of our government’s shameful history of intervention and manipulation of the lives of Nicaraguans.

The most public example of this campaign of manipulation is the US Ambassador to Nicaragua, Paul Trivelli. His statements are a constant reminder of the US government’s true agenda in Nicaragua. For example, he has stated many times, the US “will establish cordial relationships with any administration that is elected democratically . . . that has a reasonable economic policy and is ready to cooperate with us.”

The Bush administration has made clear that a government “ready to cooperate with the US” is one that will do the following: (1) support CAFTA and other free trade policies, (2) participate in all the US requests concerning the war on terrorism, (3) ensure that the Nicaraguan national police receive training that blurs the time-honored distinction between civilian policing and military action, and (4) not maintain friendly diplomatic relationships with either Cuba or Venezuela.

Ambassador Trivelli has also made it clear that the election of the candidate for the PLC party cannot be former President Aleman, nor anyone he selects, and that the election of the FSLN party candidate, Daniel Ortega, will not be accepted by the present US government.

Think for a minute how the US people might react if the ambassador from Venezuela felt free to lobby for various candidates and President Chavez of Venezuela were to say consistently during the next up-coming election, “If the Republican candidate wins, you can be sure that we will cut off all oil to the US.” Not just Republicans would be angry at such interference in our national elections. All Americans would resent such interference with our sovereign right to vote. That’s exactly how most Nicaraguans – no matter how they plan to vote – feel about the US government’s interference in the up-coming elections.

In addition, the US government has sent money to a variety of Nicaraguan organizations for specific projects related to the elections. In light of the Ambassador’s undiplomatic comments, I am very concerned about the true motives of these US-funded programs.

Do all of these interventions ensure “fair and democratic” elections? Or do they merely ensure that the politics of the present US government will be supported? If people vote not their conscience but based on fear that the US disapproval of the elected candidate will lead to financial losses within the international financial institutions and potential US economic and military threats, is this democracy at work or is it voter intimidation?

In conclusion, I request that you speak out against US intervention in the Nicaraguan electoral process, including actions and policies leading up to election day, and make sure any US involvement is truly limited to promoting free and fair elections. I request that you call on Ambassador Trivelli to cease his inflammatory and insulting comments to Nicaraguans and that instead, the US government clearly state that the US will respect the democratic choices of the Nicaraguan people.


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Join the Nicaragua Election Interference DelegationsandinoSaturday May 20th, 2006 6:23 AM