A briefing prepared for the Alliance for Global Justice and The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group by Stephen Sefton, John Perry and Jorge Capélan
Two conflicting accounts dominate reporting of the violent crisis in Nicaragua during 2018. The Nicaraguan authorities insist the crisis was driven by a violent failed coup attempt. The political opposition and its foreign supporters argue that a peaceful popular uprising suffered brutal murderous repression by the government. The latter version has generally prevailed in large part because it has been categorically adopted by the Inter American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), in particular by its Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on Nicaragua (GIEI).
However, the work of the GIEI does not meet generally accepted basic requirements of reporting and documentation. The GIEI has systematically suppressed or excluded from its account of the 2018 crisis in Nicaragua witness testimony, documentary evidence and audio-visual material contradicting its account. This is demonstrably in its reporting of every one of the four incidents it has prioritized in the internet presentation of its reporting on Nicaragua.
Oblivious to earlier criticisms, the GIEI has now repeated its approach and its mistakes in its latest report on Nicaragua, published on May 30, 2020. This is why an open letter was sent to the IACHR in July 2020 from individuals in Nicaragua and from individuals and solidarity groups across North and South American and in Europe.
The GIEI’s cynical deceit is fourfold:
- the GIEI abused the confidence of the Nicaraguan authorities violating the terms of its invitation to Nicaragua by failing to coordinate its research and investigation with the Commission for Truth, Justice and Peace appointed by Nicaragua’s legislature
- the GIEI falsely pretend that during the crisis the Nicaraguan authorities were not responding to deliberate extremely violent attacks by hundreds of often well armed opposition activists
- the GIEI claims that almost all the victims of the violence were peaceful protestors but omitted, without investigation, well founded reports that over 400 police officers suffered gunshot wounds, 23 officers were killed, a total of over 60 Sandinista supporters were killed and many hundreds injured, as well as over 100 people not directly involved in the conflict being killed and many hundreds more bystanders injured as a direct result of opposition violence
- although failing to take testimony from the many hundreds of victims of opposition violence, by contrast the GIEI have repeated without independent corroboration reports and claims from supporters and members of Nicaragua’s political opposition as well as Nicaraguan non-governmental organizations explicitly aligned with the country’s political opposition and all funded by the US government.
In effect, the IACHR, its parent body the Organization of American States and its subsidiary body the GIEI have all falsely accused Nicaragua’s government by
- basing their accusations on the reports and testimony from supporters and members of Nicaragua’s US -government funded political opposition and their associated organizations and media
- systematically failing to secure genuinely independent corroboration of those accusations
- negligently failing to investigate credible reports and testimony contradicting those false accusations
- deliberately suppressing evidence presented by the Nicaraguan authorities contradicting those false accusations
- evading their duty to explain why they discount or dismiss competing rival versions of the events on which they are reporting.
The open letter and accompanying articles presented here (see below) only examine the latest of various incidents highlighted by the GIEI in its reporting on the events in Nicaragua in 2018. However, the material demonstrates beyond question that the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on Nicaragua has not acted or reported in good faith. It is also further confirmation of the broader reality that the OAS as an institution acts deliberately in the service of the United States government’s regional foreign policy, as it did for example in the 2019 Bolivian elections, facilitating a US government-supported coup against Bolivia’s legitimately elected government.
The open letter and articles can be seen at the links listed below. A reply was received from the IACHR on July 10, saying little more than that “the contents of your note will be transmitted to the former members of the GIEI-Nicaragua for their information and awareness.”
Open Letter to the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to the IACHR Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on Nicaragua, the Argentinian Team of Forensic Anthropology and SITU Research of New York
Revisiting 2018 Mother’s March in Nicaragua: New Report Repeats Old Bias John Perry, COHA, July 2nd 2020
The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and Nicaragua – Science or Injustice? Jorge Capelán, Tortilla con Sal, July 5th 2020
Nicaragua – Virtual reality and human rights Stephen Sefton, Tortilla con Sal, July 5th 2020