[News] US House Rams Through Nicaragua Regime-Change Bill With Zero Opposition
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 13 14:12:08 EDT 2020
US House Rams Through Nicaragua Regime-Change Bill With Zero Opposition
Ben Norton March 13, 2020
*Not one member of the House of Representatives spoke up against a
bipartisan bill sponsored by hardliners that ramps up US economic
warfare and regime-change measures against Nicaragua’s elected government.*
By Ben Norton
As the Donald Trump administration’s year-long coup attempt against
Venezuela spirals out in failure, the US government has taken aim at
Nicaragua with increasing ferocity, in a bid to topple its
democratically elected, leftist Sandinista government.
Washington’s pressure escalated further on March 9 when the US House of
Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution in a voice vote without
any opposition that demanded more sanctions and aggressive actions
against the Nicaraguan government of President Daniel Ortega.
This bill — which received no coverage in the English-language corporate
media — refers to Nicaragua’s elected government as the “Ortega regime,”
echoing the bellicose rhetoric of the right-wing opposition.
Video of the congressional session, which is embedded at the end of this
article, shows that the resolution was pushed through on a voice vote in
just around eight minutes. There was no debate of the resolution, and a
grand total of zero members of Congress spoke in opposition to it.
The regime-change action in the House followed numerous rounds of
suffocating US sanctions on Nicaragua, a small Central American country
of just around 6 million people.
In fact, the behavior of US legislators in the latest vote mirrored one
in December 2018, when not one member of Congress spoke up against the
passage of the Nicaraguan Investment and Conditionality Act (NICA). That
bill hit Nicaragua with crippling economic restrictions, preventing
international financial institutions from providing loans or assistance
to the country’s government.
US sanctions have already caused the deaths of tens of thousands of
civilians in Venezuela and Iran. Now that Nicaragua is in the
crosshairs, the damage of Washington’s economic warfare has only just begun.
*Calling for US and international economic war on Nicaragua*
The latest regime-change bill passed against Nicaragua, H.Res.754, was
introduced in December 2019 by Representative Albio Sires, a
Cuban-American Democrat from New Jersey.
His resolution was co-sponsored by 28 members of Congress, 19 Democrats
and nine Republicans. These included Florida Democratic Representatives
Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Shalala and California Democrats Jim
Costa and Tony Cardenas.
The bill “urges the United States Government to continue to apply
pressure on the Ortega government and consider additional sanctions
against those Nicaraguan officials” accused by Washington of human
rights abuses or corruption.
The resolution goes on to “urge the international community to hold the
Ortega government accountable” and “restrict its access to foreign
Included in the bill is language demanding the Nicaraguan government
“immediately release all political prisoners without conditions.”
However, the Sandinista government has already released hundreds of
people on its so-called “political prisoner” list, acceding to pressure
from the Nicaraguan opposition and its sponsors in the US and OAS. As
The Grayzone reported, this list contained the names of numerous violent
criminals who had previously carried out murders and rapes, and resulted
in the release of an opposition hooligan who went on to stab his own
pregnant girlfriend to death.
The US congressional resolution also expressed support for right-wing
Nicaraguan opposition organizations, media outlets, and civil society
groups, many of which are funded by the US government.
The House’s unanimous approval of this regime-change legislation arrived
just four days after the Trump administration imposed another round of
sanctions targeting Nicaraguan state institutions.
On March 5, the US embassy ramped up the pressure with a security alert
in Nicaragua, imposing travel restrictions on embassy personnel and
advising them to stay away from demonstrations and “large groups or
The alert was both a tacit admission that the barricades the opposition
had erected around the country posed a threat to the safety of all
people, including US citizens, as well as a portent of the chaos and
violence that Washington apparently aimed to resuscitate in its bid to
topple Nicaragua’s government.
Today’s sanctions on the Nicaraguan National Police and three
commissioners take aim at one of the main tools the Ortega regime
uses to violently repress the people of #Nicaragua
We will continue to promote accountability of the regime for
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 5, 2020
Regime-change bill sponsored by neoconservative Cuban-American
The main sponsor of the new sanctions bill against Nicaragua, Albio
Sires, is a former Republican who previously ran for Congress as a
member of the GOP. He changed his party affiliation and went on to fill
the former seat of Democratic Cuban-American hardliner Bob Menendez when
he entered the Senate.
Like many elite Cuban-Americans, Sires’ family fled to the US after the
Cuban revolution, which removed Cuba’s right-wing, US-backed dictator
Fulgencio Batista from power.
In Congress, Sires has been a stalwart opponent of Latin America’s
leftist governments, teaming up with Republican hawks from Marco Rubio
Ted Cruz to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Sires has relentlessly clamored for regime change in Cuba
He staunchly opposed the Barack Obama administration’s partial
normalization of relations with Cuba
describing his “plans for a loosening of sanctions” as “naïve and
disrespectful to the millions of Cubans that have lived under the
Castro’s repressive regime.”
Early on in the Trump administration’s coup attempt against the leftist
Chavista government in Caracas, Sires recognized
coup leader Juan Guaidó
“the constitutionally legitimate Interim President of Venezuela.” Soon
after, Sires met with Guaidó’s wife
describing her as “Venezuelan First Lady Fabiana Rosales.” Meanwhile, he
proclaims on official social media accounts, “Maduro and his thugs must
Since the failure of a violent US-backed coup attempt in Nicaragua
2018, Sires has been one of the main figures in Congress pushing for
aggressive measures to topple the Sandinista government. He was a
co-sponsor of the Nica Act, and took the lead in the latest
H.Res.754 condemns Daniel Ortega’s system of repression and
expresses solidarity with those who have been persecuted by his regime.
— Albio Sires (@RepSires) March 10, 2020
Zero opposition to the Nicaragua regime-change resolution
After Albio Sires introduced the bill, it was referred to the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs, where it was very slightly amended and
then discussed on the House floor on March 9.
On the floor, Sires moved to suspend the rules
The speaker pro tempore, filling in for incumbent House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi, agreed to suspend the rules, opening up a period of 40 minutes
But no debate ensued. The only other member of Congress who spoke during
the allotted period was right-wing Florida Republican Ted Yoho, who
expressed his staunch support for the resolution.
After tirades against the Nicaraguan “regime” by Sires and Yoho, the
House speaker pro tempore quickly moved on to a voice vote. A small
handful of Congressmembers declared “Aye” in support. Not one
representative said no. It was all over in eight minutes.
In a triumphant statement from his office, Sires declared that the
resolution “sent a strong, bipartisan message
Once again, potentially lethal sanctions on an impoverished nation
fighting to develop itself and provide for its people were passed in
broad daylight, on a Monday afternoon, and not one member of Congress
spoke up against it.
/You can watch video of the Congressional proceedings here:/
Source URL: The Grayzone
Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The
Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he
co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he
tweets at @BenjaminNorton.
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