Junior Taylor, August 3rd 2018
Forget my boring job. I have a new career path in mind. I want to be an advisor for the Nicaraguan opposition.
After 90 days of civil conflict, Nicaraguan roads are all open again, the markets are filled with colorful fruits, vegetables and people, and the smiles are returning to the faces in the buses, taxis and pedestrians that fill Managua’s streets. The hotels remain empty, the beaches are cleaner than usual, and graffiti wars around key landmarks for the opposition movement, such as the Ruben Dario roundabout, is about all that is tangibly left of the movement that laid siege to Nicaragua for three months. Gone are the rallies that mobilize any more than a couple hundred people. Gone are the roadblocks. Even the world-famous UNAN student whose tearful televised goodbye to her mother from a Catholic Church was seen and heard across the globe has now made a video in which she describes the meticulous, well-funded campaign of manipulation and crime that she participated in.
Where did it all go?
I was going to give some free advice to the Nicaraguan opposition movement, since I tend to get myself roped into free work and lost causes. But then I saw that USAID gave an additional $1.5 million on July 20 th to support the Nicaraguan opposition. To hell with it, I may as well be a paid advisor. Show me the money.
But claro, you need to know that I have the goods. Here then is a sneak peek at my prowess and guidance for the Nicaraguan opposition, in the form of 10 key mistakes the opposition movement did between April 18 th and July 18 th :
1. Televising the National Dialogue. Oops. Your demand to televise the National Dialogue between the government and the newly minted “Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy” was granted by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference overseeing the negotiations. Big mistake. Opposition leaders at the dialogue competed to see who could have the hardest, most shocking punchlines against the government. Miami-raised, private university student Lestor Aleman usually won, by calling each and every government negotiator a “murderer.” He will be a great candidate someday soon. But the opposition made it clear in the Dialogue that they were not interested in peace when they refused a truce in exchange for the government’s good-faith order to remove the police from the streets. When agrobusiness lobby president Michael Healy and stated, “We are willing to pay the price [of continued street conflict] to see Ortega leave,” did he know that hundreds of people would die as the opposition dragged its feet on the issue of a truce and refused to agree to a blanket call for an end to violence?
2. Putting Cargill at Center Stage. Why did the transnational US agrobusiness behemoth Cargill need to put its director at the center of the opposition calling for Daniel Ortega’s immediate resignation? That sure killed the narrative of a grassroots uprising. Cargill is already on top. No uprising needed.
3. Arming Known Criminal Gangs. Dammit opposition, get your game together. Nicaraguans are proud and appreciative of being the safest country in Central America. If you have two months to show them what you would do with the country without Daniel Ortega’s police force on the streets, why on God’s green earth would you install gang members in roadblocks, give them mortar-launchers and pistols, shotguns and then automatic rifles? Did you think they would win over the population with their manners? Did you not expect them to start extorting, robbing, beating, kidnapping, raping and even shooting people? This pushed average, apolitical Nicaraguans to flock en masse to the ranks of the Sandinista party, which has had the largest rallies in its history across Nicaragua since the violence began.
4. Marking the Homes of Leftists and Sandinista Supporters. Those weird three dots of paint you used to mark Sandinista homes across the country, after publishing death threats, along with names and addresses of the “toads” online. The pastel colors where kind of nice, but the message was very naughty. Did you throw rocks at hornet nests as a kid? Do you understand that the Sandinista party is filled with war veterans (including tens of thousands of reconciled ex-Contra soldiers) who know military tactics?
5. Burning Sandinista Homes and Destroying the Monuments of Revolutionary Martyrs. See above—and by the way, you can’t celebrate an arson online and then claim the Sandinistas did it as a self-attack. Pick your story and stick with it.
6. Publicly Burning People and Mutilating their Corpse. Okay, I know, the government said it was a satanic ritual when you burned Francisco Arauz and Gabriel Vado. So, ah, what do you call it?
7. Kidnapping and Torturing Dozens of Sandinistas. Do we have to talk about this? Can this video of Sandor Bonilla being tortured under the supervision of a pastor and a Catholic priest be enough?
8. Making False Accusations Using Fake Recordings and Photos from Other Countries. There are only a couple hundred examples of this. You really need to get this one right for next time. Use photoshop, for Christ’s sake, but don’t use photos from google images! The studio-quality audio recordings that went viral in the first days in April were also false. Next time you should at least use messages that self-destruct, because now there is tons of evidence of how you used lies to manipulate public opinion.
9. Not Taking Advantage of your Chance to Improve the Country. The first two rounds of National Dialogue in May were monumental opportunities to negotiate for more transparent elections, an end to nepotism, a campaign against corruption, anything. The government was begging for you to negotiate and said anything within the Constitution could be negotiated. You said, this isn’t a table of negotiation, but rather a table for the unconditional surrender of the government. Really? You had it all, but you wanted more.
10. Never Articulating a Proposal for Nicaragua. More budget for education? Better health care? Any real demands? We tried and tried to find them, but you never wanted to talk about that. First get rid of the dictator, you said. First install a governing junta, you said. But you never said who would be in that junta. You never said how you would solve the social security crisis that gave you your excuse to start burning down Nicaragua. You abandoned the disabled, retirees, veterans and pensioners as soon as they had served your purposes. You abandoned the students as soon as they opened the gates of the university for you to mount your operation. You never bothered to organize in a single neighborhood. And now, as your lies have unraveled one by one, who will trust you when you come to burn down Nicaragua again?
Okay, opposition, you know I’m right. You are spent. You burned your bridge with the Nicaraguan people. All that is left is your National Endowment for Democracy and USAID funding. Ready for some suggestions? First the money.