Posted by: Dimas Mateus Fazio | June 13, 2007

Daniel Ortega – the Sandinista is back as president of Nicaragua

The political comeback of the former leader of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, was commemorated throughout the country. Left-wing Sandinista leader, he was elected president with 38% of the votes, nine ahead his conservative rival, in November 2006 general elections. After he took office, Ortega stated that his revolutionaries days have passed and his main objectibe is to secure foreign investiment in order to ease widespread porverty. He declared also that he will made even the impossible to complete social measures that were abruptly interrupted in the end of his first management over the country.

The assassination of the leader of an opposition party, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, in 1979 was the cause of the Marxist revolution that followed. The Sandinista National Liberation Front (SNLF), supported by the USSR, has overthrown the US-backed government and it has imposed a socialist administration led by Daniel Ortega who only left his position in 1990. Under his government, Nicaragua finally faced democratization and social progress by means of a large process of redistribution of property and a huge investment on health and educatio. Hence, Daniel Ortega was throughly approved by the population, specially the deprived ones.

However, in a cold war world, Daniel Ortega earned an enemy: the United States of America. Justified by the “Big Stick” policy, the US were sure they had the right to make a counter-revolution act with the purpose of overthrowing the Socialist Government in Nicaragua. By financing opposition militias based on Honduras, the US prompted a civil war: the worst thing that could have happened. In 1990, the country could no longer live under this situation since it was economically brojen and social conditions were critical. As a result, SNÇF was defeated by the opposition, obviously supported by US, in the 1990 elections.

In spite of this, Daniel Ortega has not given up his political life and now that he is back, he seeks compensation for the Nicaraguan people. Nevertheless he firstly needs to solve an inconvenient problem: the extreme poverty in Nicaragua. Targets for the future were already established, such as freedom from the IMF in 5 years and the decreasing of poverty levels through the well known investment in health and education. International analysts fear Ortefa may become another populist president as Hugo Chavez. Since the socioeconomic situaion of the two countries is so different, that is not likely to happen.

On the foreign affairs issue, Managua has already accomplished many objectives. However, by entering the anti-American axis composed by Venezuela, Cuba and Iran, Nicaragua has irritated the US government which does not want another hostile Latin America’s country. “Never mind Iran, Nicaragua has been a victim of historical conflicts with the US” declared Daniel Ortega after being criticized by George Bush “No one can go aroung telling us who to be friendly with”.

Two days ago, verifying his statement and trying to consolidate relations with Iran, Nicaraguan chief of state went to Tehran and met the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad. Besides organizing mutual cooperation and economic agreements, both presidents discussed about the American influence in the world and concluded that “The United States are isolated among other nations”. This statement makes clear their disappointment for the US foreign policy which, in their words is “imperialist” and “irresponsable”. For Ahmadinejad, this meeting with Ortega is a chance to make the anti-American group grow, and for the Sandinista leader this is a good opportunity to stimulate Iranian investments on Nicaragua and to enlarge relations with nations all over the world.

 About the fate of the country, one thing is clear: Nicaragua cannot continue being a country with such social disparities as it is today. The progress wittnessed during 1979-90 is still fresh in the minds of the Nicaraguan people who see DAniel Ortega as a hero and as the “gather of the poor”. If Ortega succeeds to find and maintain new partnerships in order to increase foreign investments, Nicaragua will achieve its national goal, which is development, specially in the industry sector, and reduction of poverty. On the other hand, the government must remain democratic at all times and it must be careful with the exercise of power in order not to damage basic human rights as does Venezuela’s president.

Dimas Mateus Fazio

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