by their friends…

On Friday night, whilst Wales NSC is hosting Dr Florence Levy in Mold, another type of meeting will be held in London. SOSNicaraguaUK have organised their most high profile meeting so far, with Bianca Jagger and Felix Maradiaga. Jagger, although a longstanding opponent of the Sandinistas, has been a fairly benign figure in the human rights movement. However, how this squares with her recent meeting with now ex-US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is anyone’s guess. The extreme Right in the Republican Party – Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Marco Rubio amongst them – queued up to mourn the political passing of Haley four days after this photo (see here).

nikki haley

Maradiaga is another kettle of fish. He’s one of the self-appointed poster boys of the Nicaraguan opposition, and the darling of the #SOSNicaragua crowd. He has met with many right-wingers in Washington and actively lobbied for the NICA Act. In September, Haley used her presidency of the UN Security Council to invite Maradiaga to address the UN as a ‘member of Nicaraguan civil society’.

Maradiaga is described in the publicity for the Friday meeting as an ‘academic and social entrepreneur’ by SOSNicaraguaUK. His ‘social entrepreneurship’ includes a spell working with Grupo Coen, the network of firms owned by one of Nicaragua’s richest families; and currently Pioneer Capital Partners, a venture capital firm specialising in Latin America.

Whilst he tried to present himself as an ‘independent spokeman’ for Nicaragua, the organisations he is associated with are kept afloat by a lake of US money. The former Secretary General of Nicaragua’s Ministry of Defence under the neo-liberal Bolanos administration has headed up Nicaraguan organisations awash with dollars from the US National Endowment for Democracy. They include:

Movement for Nicaragua – $395,423 from the NED for ‘democracy promotion’ over four years

IEEPP – $224,161 from the NED – the IEEPP has also been linked to some of the students who toured the UK and Europe during the summer

Leadership Institute for Civil Society – set up by Maradiaga in 2007, it is funded by the National Democratic Institute, part of the NED ‘family’

Fundacion Libertad, set up by Maradiaga in 2012

The last organisation is one of the most interesting. It’s funding is not obvious, but its alliances are clearer (see here). The US Atlas Network is a right wing libertarian organisation with a web of partners throughout Latin America. It is particularly notorious for its activities in Brazil (see here for a expose in the Intercept last year). The German Friedrich Naumann Foundation is another ultra-free market organisation up to its neck in Latin America. It funds the RELIAL network (see here), with some crossover with members of the Atlas Network.

As the saying goes, ‘By their friends ye shall know them’ (to mis-quote Matthew). We know who Maradiaga’s friends are. And we now know who SOSNicaraguaUK’s friends are as well.

Don’t forget our meeting on Friday:

cyfarfod florence

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