The Democratic Socialists of America International Committee (DSA IC) believes that anti-imperialism and self-determination of all peoples are fundamental and non-negotiable principles in the fight for socialism and workers’ liberation around the globe. In this sense, DSA condemns the Biden administration’s decision to intensify illegal economic sanctions and other punitive measures against the Nicaraguan government through its signing of the RENACER Act on November 10, 2021, as part of a long history of ongoing US interference in Latin America. In the wake of polemics surrounding the November 2021 presidential elections, DSA denounces the US government’s attempts at legitimizing further sanctions in an effort to expand its political and economic interests in the region, using the familiar refrain of “protecting freedom and democracy” through the use of punitive measures of economic coercion. Time and again, we have seen that these types of violent measures only serve to further polarize the national and international political arenas and negatively impact the livelihoods of ordinary working class people.
The RENACER Act builds on the NICA Act of 2018 aiming to further destabilize the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) led government of Daniel Ortega through “targeted” sanctions and visa restrictions against government officials, “state-controlled” enterprises, and members of national security forces, and pushes for the European Union and Canada to take similar measures. In addition, the legislation will expand US oversight over international financial institutions lending to Nicaragua and will condition the continued participation of Nicaragua in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) on periodic reviews by the Executive branch of the US government. These provisions will undoubtedly serve to further weaken Nicaragua’s economy, highly dependent on the US market and already battered by the COVID-19 crisis, and in particular will have a disproportionate impact on Nicaraguan workers employed in export-oriented sectors such as textiles, apparel, meatpacking, coffee production and other agroindustries.
Likewise, the RENACER Act contains clauses that will increase information-gathering on Russian military sales to Nicaragua, possibly triggering new levels of sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was imposed in 2017 against Russia, Iran and North Korea. DSA decries the efforts by the Biden administration to hypocritically utilize the mantle of human rights and democracy promotion in Nicaragua to further fuel the flames of a new Cold War against the US’s geopolitical adversaries, specifically China and Russia.
This is not the first time that the US has enacted crippling sanctions and other destabilizing measures against the Nicaraguan government, with the most notable case being the economic and political warfare waged by the Reagan administration against the Sandinistas in the 1980s, which led to a trade blockade and the deaths of over 60,000 Nicaraguans by the paramilitary Contra forces. In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found the US in violation of international law for its support of the Contras against the Sandinistas, and ordered the payment of reparations to Nicaragua, which the US government rejected and blocked the enforcement of the measure at the United Nations Security Council. Both then and now, DSA denounces the use of unilateral coercive measures and interference by the US against the Nicaraguan government, and supports the right of the Nicaraguan people to economic security and self-determination. DSA opposes all forms of hybrid war and rejects all US interventionism in Nicaragua and across Latin America, in solidarity with workers, indigenous peoples, students and small farmers fighting for peace and prosperity throughout the Americas.