The book launch took place last night ( Monday 30th Jan) In Connolly Books of Dan Kovalik’s new book Nicaragua: A History of US intervention and Resistance In an interview with the Morning Star Newspaper Mr Kovalik says how shocking he found the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980 while he was saying Mass in a hospital chapel.
The killing of the archbishop by US-backed paramilitaries forced Kovalik for the first time to really “question the nature of my country and government.”
He also tells of a very right-wing teacher who invited a leader of the terrorist group the Nicaraguan Contras to speak at his school.
Kovalik was told that the US-backed Contras were fighting a battle for freedom against the Sandinistas. It wasn’t until he became more politically engaged at college that the truth of the situation began to be revealed and, over time, he became more involved in supporting the revolution.
Over 40 years later as a now renowned human rights lawyer who has written widely on Venezuela, Russia, the CIA, Iran, Bernie Sanders and lots more, why this book now about Nicaragua?
“One of the sparks was the 2018 coup attempt in the country. It just drew me even closer to the revolution.
“But I also realised that a lot of people had abandoned Nicaragua and had been taken in by the Western propaganda about the country being a dictatorship.”
Kovalik calls out those activists on the left who felt able to support other left governments but not Nicaragua.
“Nicaragua is somehow seen as different by people who support Cuba and Venezuela.”
While some accuse the country of being a dictatorship the fact is “Nicaragua has a multiple party democracy and introduced the first democratic elections in 1984.
“That the Sandinistas were voted out of power in 1990 — at virtual gunpoint by the US — and were out of power for 17 years is basically ignored,” he adds.
I ask Kovalik why he chose to foreground resistance in the title of the book when most writers would be content to provide a historical narrative.