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Statues Fall and Sandinistas Rise (E336)

In Britain and elsewhere, one of the biggest stories unfolding is people questioning their own history; the imperial role of their country and its role in the slave trade. Statues are being torn from their plinths, others are being officially and legally lifted by crane from the East End of London; some more eminent ones are being threatened with defenestration, heading for that graveyard of statues when something fundamentally changes. We have seen it during the fall of the Soviet Union and we are seeing it in the United States. But in Britain who knew there was a statue in Bristol to a notorious slaver, which took a crowd to pull it down and drop it in the river. A man who did know is broadcasting legend Mike Shaft, who came from the Caribbean back in 1968 and went on to become the closest thing to radio royalty, so we asked him what he made of the last few weeks’ events.

Oxfam described Nicaragua in the 80s as “the threat of a good example.” It was an implied response to the absolute hatred of the American Administration towards the Sandinista government, with all its progressive policies including national literacy campaigns, health inoculation programs, and all kinds of agrarian reforms. It was a revolutionary challenge to the idea of empire. So much so that Ronald Reagan’s administration was prepared to perform ideological and theological acrobatics to destroy the country. The American regime-change operation worked… for a time, but now the Sandinistas are back. Ben Norton, founder along with Max Blumenthal, of the Grey Zone, now lives in Nicaragua but found time to speak to us about the current situation there.

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