US-funded NGO that sank $4.1mn into Nicaragua protests says it's 'misleading' to report about it
Global Americans, a think tank subsidiary of the US government-funded soft power organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has published an article accusing Berlin-based Redfish media (styled 'redfish') of "misleading" the viewer by blaming the ongoing unrest in Nicaragua on American influence.
Branding Redfish a "Kremlin-funded media startup," Global Americans attacks the documentary 'The New Battle For Nicaragua'. The GA article features a big blue stamp with the word 'MISLEADING', and – true to the headline – cuts straight to the root of the problem.
Why it's misleading: Most importantly, redfish has been identified funded by the Russian government that regularly airs content on Russian television network RT.
'The New Battle For Nicaragua' features interviews with both anti-Ortega protesters and supporters of the government. It also explores headlines in the mainstream US media which have mainly focused on the suppression of the protests and portray the 300 fatalities they have caused as victims of the regime. Out of those 300, about 60 died on either side, and the remaining 180 or so could not be directly linked to the protests, Redfish says.
The actual content of the documentary is mentioned almost as an afterthought, and even by Global Americans' skewed standards they're not the problem. According to GA, the report's "biggest issue is its aim to distract" – presumably, from the uprising against Nicaragua's "dictator" – President Daniel Ortega, and how it's being repressed.
This is the same Global Americans that in May, during the height of the anti-Ortega unrest, ran an article titled 'Laying the groundwork for insurrection: A closer look at the U.S. role in Nicaragua's social unrest'. That piece portrays Ortega's government as being on its last legs (it's still intact six months later), and describes in detail how the NED spent $4.1 million on fostering the youth movements behind the Nicaraguan opposition. The money was pumped into 54 projects "strengthening civil society, improving accountability and governance, fostering a culture of human rights, and reinforcing democratic ideals and values" – mainly into opposition- and US-linked NGOs.
But when the "Kremlin-funded startup" redfish cites the exact same article, it's "misleading" and a "distraction".
While the US does fund education- and democracy-related projects in Nicaragua, they are not the cause of this year's protests,
GA writes in November.
It's becoming more and more clear that the US support has helped play a role in nurturing the current uprisings,
it wrote in May.
So there's no contradiction here – only misleading inconsistency. But a big blue stamp is nowhere to be seen on GA's own reporting.
As a sort of credential, the May article also boasts about how the US government used NED funds to "nurture civil society organization" in North Africa in the Middle East to prepare grounds for the Arab Spring uprisings.
The NED, founded in 1983, is funded primarily by grants from Congress – that is, US taxpayer money – and has served as a tool for shaping public opinion on governments that Washington sees as inconvenient and adversarial. It has been boosting the message of North Korean defectors and the oppressed Muslim minority in China.
The NED also had a hand in Daniel Ortega's defeat in the 1990 Nicaragua presidential election. For almost 17 years, Ortega remained in opposition before finally tipping the 2006 election in his favor.
Global Americans also keeps a close eye on those daring to give the floor to views that disagree with Washington's Latin American policies. Its bluntly-titled 'Lies and distortions' page claims to keep track of Russian and Chinese media's "growing presence" in the region and features near-weekly hit pieces against RT and Sputnik – with handy 'FALSE' and 'MISLEADING' stamps next to headlines so the reader doesn't have to think too hard.
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