Last year’s failed coup in Nicaragua erupted when student protests against social security reforms quickly turned into an armed attempt to bring down the government of Daniel Ortega. The regime-change attempt was a battle for people’s minds as well as for control of the streets.
Violence was used to terrorize government supporters, but it was even more important as a propaganda vehicle.
A journalist shot while on camera, demonstrators hit by sniper fire, or an arson attack on a family home were all high-profile crimes that were immediately blamed on the government. Key to the anti-Sandinista public relations blitz was an organized barrage of social media postings, indignant statements by local “human rights” bodies condemning the government, right-wing media reaching the same judgment, and local people intimidated into “confirming” the story.