Skip to comments.Ortega poised for return to power in Nicaragua
Posted on 10/30/2006 10:57:31 PM PST by MadIvan
Daniel Ortega, the former leader of the Left-wing Sandinistas in Nicaragua and one of the United States' most reviled Cold War enemies, appears to be on the brink of making a spectacular comeback.
Twenty years after his Sandinista government fought a bitter civil war against American-funded ''Contra" rebels, he is leading in the polls for the presidential elections on Sunday.
But now he has ''found God" and talks of ''peace and love" not Marxist-Leninist ideals. In a final frenzy of campaigning, the podgy, balding 60-year-old, is spreading what he calls a "spiritual revolution", "full of love and hope" around this country, the second poorest in Latin America, after Haiti.
"Thanks to God, the Supreme Creator, whose message always was for the Nicaraguans to love each other," he shouted to a euphoric crowd in the Laureles Sur "barrio" slum of Managua. "We want work and peace," he went on, holding his arms up like an Evangelical preacher.
On his third attempt to win back power after losing it to conservatives for the past 16 years, Mr Ortega is offering himself as "the solution" for almost every walk of Nicaraguan life.
Without explaining how, he promises to provide jobs, improve human rights and turn Nicaragua into the most developed country in the region.
Several indigenous communities who were forced to flee during his 1979 to 1990 government, Contra fighters who fought a bitter civil war against the Sandinistas and members of the Catholic Church, which he once accused of collaborating with the CIA, have all been "converted" and now openly support the man they once hated.
"Ortega is just saying whatever he can to every group, to win their votes," said Sofia Montenegro, a sociologist and the director of Cinco a Managua-based think tank. "There is nothing left of the revolutionary man. Now it is just pure opportunism. He is a political pendulum, ready to say whatever people want to hear. He has no scruples."
As the vote approaches, Washington has made clear its discomfort.
"We've made clear we want to have a close, positive, constructive relationship with Nicaragua, and up to this point that's been reciprocated," Thomas Shannon, the assistant Secretary of State, told Newsweek.
"I'm not sure that would be the case with Daniel Ortega."
Human rights campaigners, including Nicaraguan-born Bianca Jagger, have warned that Ortega's human rights record is far from squeaky clean. He is accused of presiding over "disappearances" and imprisonment of thousands of political opponents.
While large numbers, perhaps even the majority of the 5.5 million population, are against Ortega, their vote is likely to fragment among four different parties, giving the Sandinista leader a chance of a victory in the first round of voting. Under a recent change to electoral law, a party wins if it secures 35 percent of the vote, with a five percent lead.
"He is going to win, thank God," said Arodys Villega, 54, a diedhard Sandinista supporter whose son died aged 15 fighting against the Contras. "Until now we have had democracy only for the bourgeois. The poor have remained poor. Daniel will change that. Nicaragua is going to be blessed by him."
I didn't even know that sh*thead was still kicking.
FYI...Ortega is staunchly pro-life and has promised to outlaw abortion in absolutely every case (eliminating rape, incest, and health and life of mother exceptions).
The measure, expected to be approved by President Enrique Bolaños, was voted in 52 to 0, with 9 abstentions and 29 representatives not showing up to vote.
Nicaragua joins El Salvador and Chile as the only countries in the Western hemisphere to ban abortion without exception. But across Latin America, abortion is outlawed except in rare circumstances. It is readily available only in Cuba and a few English-speaking Caribbean countries.
The ban in Nicaragua comes two weeks before a hotly contested presidential election on Nov. 5, and opponents of the law say it was introduced now because no one dared to oppose it in the political climate.
The presidential election is so polarized that the church saw this as an opportunity to force this issue now, Dr. Mirma Cunningham, a former minister of health and member of the National Assembly, said in a telephone interview.
The measure was supported by Daniel Ortega, the front-runner in the presidential race. He favored the right to an abortion during his presidency in the 1980s but has since embraced the Roman Catholic Church and has spoken out strongly against abortion.
Source: New York Times
great minds thinking the same
Who said anything about trusting him?
Oh that will make me change my opinion right away. /s
You and me too, Ivan.
So do you support him or not? Sure sounds like it.
Democracy is always vulnerable to a skilled demagogue.
George Will-style polite and passive conservatism will never succeed.
We need strong leadership willing to call a Liberal Democrat a traitor.
But in the meantime, VOTE REPUBLICAN if you want to continue to breathe.
"I shouldn't say I hope you win because they will accuse me of sticking my nose into Nicaraguan internal affairs," Chavez quipped to former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, who joined him on his weekly television show. "But I hope you win."
Not a good sign.
No, of course not. I thought it was exceptionally odd he of all people is now more pro-life than just about anybody in the West, and I'd wonder what John Kerry would say of his hero now. In any event, Nicaraguan politics are very strange to me.
...not that I have a dog in this election, not being Nicaraguan or anything...
This is real sick stuff. Oliver North and Co should bow out of this, they are splitting the oppposition. It's too late to campaign now to be arguing about who should oppose Ortega, right now they should be flipping a coin as to who runs against Ortega. Because the stakes are that high. They should vote for a bum on the streets if they have to. ANYTHING - ANYTHING would be better than Ortega.
That's what he says NOW. While he still wants Nicaraguans' vote. Back in Sandinista times, he INTRODUCED ABORTION - in a country that had never known it before. He is a certified liar and it's an absolute certainly that he will bring back abortion, especially when the International Sandalista Left gets after him. Guaranteed.