Friday, November 03, 2006

Regarding COHA's November 2 Press release: "Nicaragua Elections: Ortega Appeals to a Higher Power"

  • For the fourth time since his unceremonious electoral ousting from the presidential office in 1990, Daniel Ortega is looking to become the next leader of Nicaragua - and thanks to his forgiving supporters, along with his increasingly preachy sermons, he may achieve it
  • The U.S., in spite of the best covert efforts at intervention undertaken by Ambassador Paul Trivelli, has failed to bring cohesion to Ortega’s opposition and is likely to lose even more leverage in Latin America in the event of a Sandinista victory

In a campaign replete with warm-and-fuzzy rhetoric aimed at influencing the populace to look less critically at his infractions incurred during three-decades of public life, Daniel Ortega is once again running for president. Some analysts have concluded that this time he will not lose his bid as he did in 1990, 1996 and 2001, as his current closest competitor is straggling more than ten points behind him. However, looking beyond his evangelical-styled appearances at public rallies, where he never fails to pronounce the importance of reconciliation, it becomes increasingly apparent that Ortega does not really have a clearly etched platform regarding key issues such as land reform, free trade initiatives, workers’ rights or drug policy, only tactics of the day. Concomitantly, his likely victory has to be seen as providing momentum behind South America’s pink tide movement, and the strong likelihood that, to Washington’s great chagrin, he will develop some kind of a relationship with Venezuela’s Hugo Ch├ívez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. One clue to the true nature of his presidential bid is the fact that his past enmity towards the U.S. obviously still runs deep, as shown in his periodic blasts at the “empire” given at whistle stops along his campaign trail. At the same time, however, his style has been to minimize the stormy history of Nicaragua’s past and future bilateral relations between the two countries. Come November 5, Nicaraguans will have to decide if Ortega really is the changed man he claims to be.

Full article ...

~To the Editors, Ryann Bresnahan et al,

The progressives in Nicaragua have been betrayed enormously by Ortega, and his opportunistic alliance with --Aleman!-- and the Church in Nicaragua, The incredible vote which was unanimous to deny any woman an abortion]under any circumstances, was unbelievable, and besides the problems in that particularly oppressive content, was a measure of how far Ortega was willing to go to get elected.

Had Lewites not died, he would have been much closer to the core spirit and values of Sandinismo, and though they have little chance of winning, the remaining candidates for Lewites' party are at least honest partisans to represent the values that were inherent in the original Sandinista revolution.

I am very surprised, as a regular COHA subscriber and reader, and someone who appreciates the COHA research and papers, that this piece ignored the serious and deep flaws in the Ortega candidacy, not to mention his own personal liabilities in the allegations made towards him by his step-daughter.

The progressives had a real dilemma, given the US interference-- and may have had to support Ortega only for that reason. But he looks, sounds, and acts like someone who on the way to the presidency got corrupted.

Please follow up with another article in the near future on the status of women at this time in Nicaragua. I have at least three articles in Spanish from Nicaragua that describe the rage of the womens' movement there.

Thank you for your work, in general, though I take exception to this article.

David Green


COHA staff:

Dear David,

In all sincerity, I think that we were rather harsh on Ortega.
In fact, we raised all the points except for the abortion vote (which you brought up).
I do recall that Ortega put me up in the early 1980 when I was visiting the country. For this, he deserves some leeway. However, I agree with you.

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