THE LEFT continues its assault on historical memory.
Just recently, in the pages of the Socialist International Review, H. Bruce Franklin, a professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University, attempted to wipe out the memory of the millions of victims of communist genocide in Indochina.
Franklin, incidentally, is the "intellectual" who has distinguished himself by editing, and writing a mind-boggling introduction to, a collection of Stalin’s essays in The Essential Stalin: Major Theoretical Writings, 1905-1952. This work is promoted on a web site that patiently explains to us that,
"Despite what some say, he [Stalin] was human and had a heart; and he dedicated his life to bettering the world."
A few weeks earlier, Andrew Alexander, a Daily Mail Columnist, informed us in the British magazine The Spectator that there had actually never been a Soviet threat throughout the entire Cold War.
And it just doesn’t seem to ever end.
In a recent letter published in the Frontpage Forum, a writer who calls himself "Mark," and who doesn’t give an email and says he is from "Canada," chastises me for my comment, in my column Carter Should Shut His Mouth About Cuba, that the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua (1979-1990) by far surpassed their predecessor in human rights violations.
This reality about the Sandinistas is simply a basic given, as is the fact that the likes of Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro all perpetrated crimes against their own people that their predecessors could never have even dreamed of.
But low and behold. Like many of the Leftists who wrote to me in my email, "Mark" implies the Sandinistas actually never committed any human rights violations at all. In his letter, which he titles "lies," he writes,
"That the Sandinistas were more brutal than the Somoza dictatorship is a complete fabrication meant to justify American sponsored atrocities by contras (raping and killing of nuns and such). Any serious commentator knows this, as do all of the human rights groups and church groups in general, who were actually there. Glazov knows this is true as well, but it does not conform with his ideological worldview, so he continues to lie to make a point. . . .If this is your idea of commentary, I suggest you read a book or two and open your mind and eyes. Truth seems to be a rare commodity indeed these days, and ideology more abundant than ever!"
And so, we have Leftist gulag denial all over again.
Actually, I have "read a book or two." As a matter of fact, when I was still a young pup, I wrote my honors thesis on Ronald Reagan’s policy toward the Sandinista government. I was horrified what I learned about the Sandinistas.
Let me give "Mark" a Cliffs Notes version:
The 43-year-rule of the Somoza family came to an abrupt and violent end in Nicaragua on July 19, 1979, as the victorious rebels of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) imposed an oppressive communist dictatorship on the country.
As in Castro’s Cuba, the Sandinistas immediately set up neighborhood associations as local spy networks for the government. Each neighborhood had a Comité de Defensa Sandinista (Sandinista Defense Committee), or CDS, and it served exactly the same totalitarian purpose as the Cuban CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution).
In Cuba, there is a CDR for every single city block and every agricultural production unit. Its purpose is to pry into the affairs of every family under its aegis and to report anything suspicious, such as the arrival of a visitor or the unaccountable possession of a package. A Cuban's entire life is under the surveillance of his CDR, which, in addition to food rations, also controls his employment and leisure time. Just as Hitler learned from Stalin in building his concentration camps, so too the Sandinistas used the Cuban tyranny as their role model in building their Comité de Defensa Sandinista.
In emulating Castro and their other communist heroes such as Stalin and Mao, the Sandinistas took control of practically everything in the country – mass organizations, the army, police, labor unions, and the media. They censored all freedom of speech, suspended the right of association and crushed the freedom of trade unions.
Faithful to their Marxist ideology and obsessed with the need for the state to control the means of production, the Sandinistas took a firm grip of the Nicaraguan economy. State controls and nationalization spread, aid to the private sector vanished, and incentives for foreign investment disappeared. In other words, another 20th century experiment with socialism destroyed a nation’s economy.
Thousands of Nicaraguans who attempted to protect their private property, or who simply committed the crime of owning private property, were imprisoned, tortured, or executed by their new communist masters.
Unlike the Somoza regime, the Sandinistas did not leave the native populations on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in peace. All Nicaraguans had to take part in the Marxist experiment. Thus, in perfect Khmer Rouge style, the Sandinistas inflicted a ruthless forcible relocation of tens of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin, they used state-created famine as a weapon against these "enemies of the people."
The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people. The crimes included not only mass murders of innocent natives themselves, but a calculated liquidation of their entire leadership – as the Soviet army had perpetrated against the Poles in Katyn in 1943.
According to the Nicaraguan Commission of Jurists, the Sandinistas carried out over 8,000 political executions within three years of the revolution. The number of "anti-revolutionary" Nicaraguans who had "disappeared" in Sanadinista hands or had died "trying to escape" were numbered in the thousands. By 1983, the number of political prisoners in the Sandinistas' ruthless tyranny were estimated at 20,000. Torture was institutionalized.
Numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission, have documented the atrocious record of Sandinista human rights abuses, which stood as the worst in Latin America.
Political prisoners in Sandinista prisons, such as in Las Tejas, were consistently beaten, deprived of sleep and tortured with electric shocks. They were routinely denied food and water and kept in dark cubicles that had a surface of less than one square meter, known as chiquitas (little ones). These cubicles were too small to sit up in, were completely dark and had no sanitation and almost no ventilation.
Like the communist regimes that came before them, the Sandinistas also made sure to create their own privileged class - which in the Soviet communist paradise was known as the nomenklatura. The Sandinistas had to make sure, after all, that, as George Orwell’s socialist animal utopia in Animal Farm had it, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Thus, while the Sandinistas talked about equality, it was nowhere to be found. The Sandinista nomenklatura lived like millionaires, while the average Nicaraguans suffered in utter poverty.
My critic "Mark" suggests I should "read a book or two."
Thanks Mark. I’ve read enough on that topic to keep me awake at night.
Let me suggest that you "read a book or two."
You can start by looking at the section on Nicaragua in Second Thoughts, the book edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. It contains a collection of essays written by high profile Leftists who were once admirers of the Sandinista revolution and changed their minds. They tell us why.
You can then move on to read the chapter on Nicaragua in sociologist Paul Hollander’s classic Anti-Americanism. It is a meticulous dissection of the psychotic and sociopathic mindset that it took, throughout the 1980s, for Leftists to promote the Sandinistas while those Marxist despots systematically – and openly – perpetrated bestial crimes against the Nicaraguan people.
Take a close look "Mark," you might find yourself in Hollander’s pages.