A group of people walking in a destroyed building

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[Source: latamjournalismreview.org]

Survivor of Radio Station Attack By U.S. Backed Criminals During 2018 Coup Attempt Recounts Harrowing Ordeal

Carlos Alfaro León, 46, is a sports journalist who covers baseball and boxing matches for La Nueva Radio Ya, Nicaragua’s top rated radio station.

Carlos Alfaro León [Source: Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kuzmarov]

León has served as a press aide for Nicaragua’s national baseball team, covered the Pan American Games, and followed Román “Chocolatito” González, one of the world’s best boxers.

On May 28, 2018, León was nearly killed when armed right-wing thugs seeking the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government burned down Radio Ya.

León was trapped in the radio station with 22 other station employees, escaping only with the assistance of the police.

A group of people walking by a fire

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Burning of Radio Ya. [Source: tortillaconsal.com]

The arsonists cleared a path to the station by shooting four police officers and attacked the firefighters who tried to prevent the building from burning down.

After driving away from the station in his car, León was followed by men on motorcycles. They let him go only because León got out of his car in a place where there were a lot of people who would protect him.

Afterwards, thugs threatened to harm León’s two young sons.

León recounted his harrowing experience on March 14 during an online meeting hosted by Green Renaissance-Sovereign Rights Movement, a group that seeks to restore integrity to the Green Party.

Gloria Guillo [Source: covertactionmagazine.com]

Green Renaissance founder Gloria Guillo has traveled extensively in Nicaragua and covered the 2018 coup attempt for online media.

She said, in introducing León, that the burning of Radio Ya was strategic. The U.S. government needed to shut down independent media so it could control the narrative about Nicaragua and obscure that a violent coup was taking place.

León said the same thing, noting that the criminal gangs that were intent on overthrowing the Nicaraguan government had to shut the media down so they could do whatever they wanted.

Thriving again today, Radio Ya promotes largely left-wing political views, and is supportive of the Sandinista government. It is well known for supplying the local population with social services regardless of their political outlook, helping people whenever it can.

A group of men working on a sign

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[Source: vivanicaragua.com]

The station was founded in 1990 when the left-wing Sandinistas lost elections to Violeta Chamorro, whose family’s newspaper was funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA offshoot specializing in political subversion and propaganda.

The Sandinistas first came to power in a 1979 revolution that ousted Anastasio Somoza Debayle, whose family had ruled Nicaragua like a personal fiefdom since the 1930s when it had been empowered by the U.S.

Daniel Ortega was a key leader of the 1979 Sandinista revolution who returned to power in 2007 and won elections in 2011, 2016 and 2021 to extend his presidential term.

Guillo emphasized that Ortega has sustained wide popular support because his government has helped to provide the Nicaraguan people with free health care and education, provided micro-loans to help small businessmen and women, and has given people titles to land.

A person with a mustache holding a microphone

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Daniel Ortega following the triumph of the Sandinista revolution. [Source: nimareja.fr]

Guillo said that Nicaragua is an amazing country that North Americans could learn from, particularly in the people rather than corporate-centered approach of its government.

Stephen Sefton [Source: thegrayzone.com]

Stephen Sefton, a Nicaraguan citizen who coordinates the Tortilla con Sal media collective, followed Guillo and León by providing incisive political context for the 2018 coup attempt.

Sefton said that the coup was orchestrated by the U.S. government.

The U.S. ambassador at the time, Laura Farnsworth Dogu, is now trying to undermine the left-leaning government of Xiamora Castro in Honduras and to destabilize Honduras. [Castro is the wife of José Manuel Zelaya who was overthrown in a 2009 U.S.-backed coup].

Sefton said that the Ortega government built wide support among the Nicaraguan population through a human development plan that benefited just about everyone.

The U.S. gave up on electoral politics and supported destabilization measures backed by right-wing businessmen and the Catholic Church, which had come to be dominated by right-wing bishops after the aging of progressive Bishop Miguel Obando y Bravo.

Miguel Obando y Bravo [Source: en.wikipedia.org]

In the years prior to the coup, the Obama and Trump administrations ramped up funding to opposition NGOs. The NED and State Department applied their mastery in psychological warfare and used social media networks to mobilize students who participated in protests that were triggered by an impasse over social security and pension reforms.

Sefton said that many Nicaraguan youth were taken in by clever psychological techniques and that it took weeks before people realized that everything they were told about the student movement in Nicaragua was a lie.

In hindsight, it is ridiculous to think that right-wing business people—who helped mobilize the student protests—cared about expanding pensions and social security benefits.

The violence of the coup plotters became apparent as they set up barricades, like those set up by right-wing Guarimba dissidents in Venezuela, and fired Molotov cocktails at police and attacked them with machetes. Rapes were committed, people were killed, and millions of dollars’ worth of property was destroyed.

Sefton said that the attack on Radio Ya was precipitated by Miguel Mora, owner of a rival right-wing television station, which Mora falsely claimed was attacked by pro-Sandinista gangs.

Mora was later given a prize by the Committee to Protect Journalists for defending freedom of expression in Nicaragua in an absolute moral outrage.

Verónica Chávez, Miguel Mora, and Lucia Pineda, after Mora and Pineda's release from prison June 11, in Managua, Nicaragua. (CPJ)
Miguel Mora in center. [Source: cpj.org]

The award embodies the complicity of human rights NGOs in the 2018 coup plot along with mainstream and alternative media outlets like Democracy Now, which deny that a coup even took place and condemn the “dictator” Ortega for perpetrating a violent crackdown on student protesters and remaining in power indefinitely.

The latter is the line of the U.S. State Department and White House, which keeps extending draconian sanctions on Nicaragua under the illusory belief that they can dislodge the Sandinistas from power.

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