On May 28th 2018, the organizers of that year’s violent failed coup attempt executed a carefully planned, well coordinated attack to destroy the pro-government Sandinista radio station Nueva Radio Ya. During the attack, opposition gunmen fired on firefighters and police officers trying to reach the scene of the fire, wounding five police officers and killing police officer Douglas José Mendiolas Viales.
The attack involved inflammatory false reports broadcast by the opposition propaganda outlet 100% Noticias, under that television channel’s director Miguel Mora. It also involved coordinated roadblocks aimed both at preventing the Nueva Radio Ya personnel from escaping and at preventing help from the authorities reaching the radio.
The testimonies of the Nueva Radio Ya journalists who survived the attack categorically expose the falsity and cynicism of Western media coverage of the events during the violent opposition attempt to overthrow Nicaragua’s sandinista government in 2018.
In particular, their testimony:
- exposes the lie that the opposition protests during the crisis in 2018 were peaceful, when the evidence is incontestable that groups of protesters consistently inflicted deliberate lethal violence from the outset;
- categorically confirms that the protests were not spontaneous but in fact part of a carefully planned and well financed strategy of violent disruption and attrition to forces the government of President Ortega to resign;
- constitutes yet another case confirming that all the international human rights organizations, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Inter American Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International, among others, negligently failed to interview victims of opposition violence, but still falsely and cynically reported that the opposition organized protests in 2018 were peaceful;
- demonstrates the hypocrisy of Western organizations advocating freedom of speech who either failed to condemn the attack intended to destroy a popular radio station or else, defended opposition media that helped provoke and the violence as well as seeking mendaciously to attribute it all to the police and sandinista supporters, some, like the US Committee for the Protection of Journalists, cynically awarding a prize to the opposition coup supporters who incited the attack on Nueva Radio Ya.
The interviews with journalists of Nueva Radio Ya who experienced the attack on May 28th 2018 are available here:
Interview with Dennis Schwarz, Director of Nueva Radio Ya
“Why did they burn us down? Because we are a radio with Sandinista principles and a vocation to serve the people. We address everyone’s priorities and needs.
“…it took eight months for them to create the conditions they needed to burn down the radio, by repeatedly saying we were the official voice of the Sandinista Front, that we made fun of ordinary people, that we attacked sexual diversity a lot, which is not true at all.
And they created this huge snowball of fake opinion to justify what they had planned in advance on May 28, 2018, to burn us down. They created so much “fake news”, so many lies around our operation and all they wanted was to justify the burning of the radio…
“We are going through a difficult situation right now again with another economic blockade because now the Nicaraguan Organization of Advertising Agencies, ONAP, has directly told its advertising agencies not to advertise on our radio because they say we are a government radio station, so many lies like that are told about us and this has affected us…”
Interview with Bismarck Garcia Zapata journalist and coordinator of correspondents for Nueva Radio Ya
“They attacked us five times. The cruelest attacks were on April 20th, May 28th and May 30th…
“About twenty-one of us were there on the morning of May 28, 2018. The smoke was advancing inside. It was becoming very difficult to breathe in the whole reception area and along the corridor and the broadcasting area, our cabin, our controller was using a wet T-shirt to be able to breathe because the smoke was so harmful.
“In any case, here, we continue to work with our sights set on the future and also to support the Christian Socialist and Solidarity model developed by the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity presided over by Comandante Daniel Ortega and Compañera Rosario Murillo…
“All those hospitals that were burned down and set on fire and looted, all the Casas Maternas that were damaged and stripped of everything, all that has already been rebuilt because it is easy to destroy, but only people with consciousness of love and service to others can rebuild as the Sandinista government has done after the failed coup attempt in Nicaragua.”
Interview with Arlen Hernandez, journalist with Tu Nueva Radio Ya
“Tu Nueva Radio Ya, since its inception, has always represented the interests of our people. It has always been on the side of our people in difficult moments and also in happy moments. But even more so when a response is required. That’s why Tu Nueva Radio Ya, since its creation in 1990, has always held the first place in audience approval and that’s why big business has blocked us financially because even though their advertising may be successful on Tu Nueva Radio Ya, they simply don’t give it to us because we represent the Nicaraguan people and because we are Sandinista…
“…they set out to burn all of us to death, more than twenty-two workers who were there, unarmed, and we were going to burn to death. That was the intention. And beyond that, also to silence the voice of the people. Because Tu Nueva Radio Ya always had its microphones open to everyone in difficult political, economic, and social situations of all kinds, Tu Nueva Radio Ya has always been present, including all through 1990 to 2006t, when the People’s conquests were reversed and the neoliberal model came with its fiercest claws, privatizing education and health.
“…they were trying to kill off the collective of Tu Nueva Radio Ya, to destroy both the people who were inside the radio and the infrastructure with the intention of silencing the truth because that is how it is. The truth is on our side and we are not going to stop telling it.”
Interview with Carlos Alfaro, sports journalist with Tu Nueva Radio Ya
“The first attack against the radio happened on April 21st. From that first attack until May 28th, the situation was very difficult for us. There was quite a lot of pressure. Day by day there was a worry about what would happen to us inside the radio and if there was a positive experience in the midst of the negative ones, it was that after April 21st when we were first attacked, all the radio personnel came together more, became more united. We saw the radio as a family so that all of us should feel more together.
On May 28th in the morning as always we were under siege. There was the usual tension, mortar bombs, Molotov cocktails, but it was around the morning that the strong attack on Tu Nueva Radio Ya really began. We agreed to lock up, the lights were put out in the radio lobby, all the lights were out. Only the cabin lights were on so we could do our job and broadcast what was happening.
They came at us throwing the Molotov cocktails, firing a lot of mortar rounds. They attacked us from the front and from the east side of the radio, and it was an incredible shock. Among the radio workers quite a few women workers were crying, and I remember that during the time of the attack it was difficult to move or even to be able to breathe because there was a fire inside the radio offices.”
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This article was originally published in Spanish on Tortilla con Sal.
All images in this article are from TCS unless otherwise stated