Paper given by Philip Kelly, Greater Belfast Branch, CPI
■ Today I joined comrades from around Latin America and Europe in a meeting with the Foreign Ministry of Nicaragua. Below is the text of my contribution.
Brothers and sisters, comrades of the Sandinista Revolution,
I speak to you today from Ireland. Separated by an ocean but linked by the same historic struggle, I humbly apologise that I cannot address you in Spanish or one of the many languages protected in your country. Another shameful legacy of empire is that I, like many Irish citizens, cannot speak my native language.
But I address you knowing we share the same language of struggle, that our voices join in a united revolutionary language that confidently proclaims We will win.
My friends, you know only too well that it is difficult to be free. To be a sovereign independent nation in this world is to place yourself in the crosshairs of the US empire. To choose the path of freedom you make yourself an enemy of the imperialist powers.
Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela are no-one’s “back yard”: they are the front line of a global struggle, a struggle that humanity must win.
The Irish people know what it is to stand against an empire. Our history and our people are shaped by this struggle. Ireland remains scarred by the Great Hunger, when the British government used hunger as a weapon against the Irish people, a policy to starve the native people into the grave or onto migrant ships.
Let me be clear: sanctions and blockades are crimes. They are murderous acts of war. Using hunger as a weapon of regime change is not a foreign policy tool, it is a crime. Depriving sovereign nations of access to medicines or medical supplies is not a foreign policy tactic, it is a crime.
But empire at its dark heart is a crime against humanity.
Your comrades here in Ireland, in Europe, are duty-bound to use truth to combat the lies of imperialism, which are employed to justify the aggression of sanctions. Too many, and indeed those who imagine themselves “leftists” in Europe, view Nicaragua through the fog of smears, lies, and propaganda.
So we need clarity. So let us speak clearly for those who stand in that mythical “middle ground,” the delusional “no man’s land” in this struggle.
You are a Sandinista or you are a Somozist.
You are a Sandinista or you are a Contra.
You are a Sandinista or you are an imperialist.
As Che said, the “great dividing blow” is struck, humanity faces a stark choice: stand with the oppressor, or stand with the common people.
My comrades and I in Ireland stand with humanity, we stand with the Sandinistas.
The Sandinista Revolution offers hope to the world. A revolution forged by dreamers, those who in the darkest, coldest night of the Somoza dictatorship could still dream that another world was possible. Who, through revolution and in government, every day turn those dreams into a new concrete reality, to the benefit of the Nicaraguan people.
In all areas—housing, health, education, women’s rights, indigenous rights, and defence of the environment and natural world—you prove that a better world is possible.
This new reality that is created under the Red and Black banner of the FSLN will be defended—defended not just in Nicaragua but by all across the world who refuse to surrender their dreams of a better tomorrow. As Che said, “I will always dream and will never stop until I am dead.”
Your struggle is our struggle.
Until forever we will proudly proclaim ourselves comrades of the Sandinistas, shoulder to shoulder on the barricades in this fight for a better world for all.