Former prisoner of conscience Camilo Mejia slams Amnesty over Nicaragua bias

Charity ignores violence by right-wing militias and takes opposition's narrative as Gospel, Iraq war veteran says



FORMER Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Camilo Mejia has condemned the organisation for playing a “destabilising role” in Nicaragua, which is being ravaged by violent attacks from right-wing militias.


In an open letter sent to the Morning Star the Iraq war veteran and conscientious objector accused the human rights organisation of “contributing to the chaos in which the nation finds itself.”


Mr Mejia said that Amnesty’s recently published and “maliciously titled report” Shoot to Kill: Nicaragua’s Strategy to Repress Protest “lacked neutrality” and follows the narrative of the right-wing opposition groups seeking to oust President Daniel Ortega.


The report suggests the government ordered a “genocide of peaceful protesters” killing more than 60 people, mostly students after demonstrations over social security reforms.


It creates a narrative that the protesters are peaceful and the “genocidal government” is committing atrocities in plain sight.


However, “Amnesty International’s assertions are mostly based on either testimony by anti-government witnesses and victims or the uncorroborated and highly manipulated information emitted by US-financed anti-government media outlets and non-profit organisations collectively known as “civil society,” he said.


Mr Mejia warned that the three main media organisations cited by Amnesty — Confidencial, 100% Noticias, and La Prensa — are “sworn enemies” of the government.


He highlighted that many of the opposition news organisations and some “if not all” of the non-profit groups mentioned in the report are funded by the United States through the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — both committed to regime change throughout the region.


Mr Mejia believes Nicaragua is being targeted for regime change because of its successes, which he says have been achieved without “throwing its citizens under the iron boot of capitalism.”


Prior to the right-wing violence which erupted in April, Nicaragua’s economy was experiencing some of the best growth rates in the region, with GDP expanding by 5 per cent and a boom in tourism and foreign investment lifting many Nicaraguans out of poverty.


“The United States will never tolerate such a dangerous example,” he said.


Amnesty is in effect acting as a tool “for US-sponsored regime change” creating the “mirage of a genocidal state,” fomenting anti-government sentiment and paving the way for more aggressive foreign intervention, he charged.


Mr Mejia said the rights organisation was undermining government initiated peace talks backed by broad layers including the trade unions, Catholic Church and Nicaragua’s student body along with international institution.