Monday, November 17, 2008

I was a teenage Sandalista

The news from Nicaragua keeps getting more and more depressing. Turns out that Daniel Ortega is not a beacon of freedom and liberty as so many of us thought in the 1980s. He is interfering with the local elections in Nicaragua.

He has banned opposition parties, he will not allow election monitors, he has stopped scrutineers from opposition parties from watching the count. Not surprisingly his party won many of the elections including the all important position of Mayor of Managua. The people of the country do not deserve to be treated like this, they have a right to be able to express their political will.

In the 1980s the Sandinista were a beacon of hope for the left that the people could rise up and overthrow a dictator. When Reagen helped create the Contras, it was this plucky nation fighting against one of the most powerful nations on earth. Many people I knew went to Nicaragua to be a "Sandalista". The idea is that the poor people would be empowered.

We rationalized the restriction on freedom of the press or political rights because the country was in a defacto war with the US, but we should have known better.

My disenchantment with Ortega started in the late 1980s and crystallized in October of 1989. In the middle of the people of East Germany trying to free themselves from a brutal dictatorship, Daniel Ortega was an honoured guest at the Party of Socialist Unity 40th anniversary celebrations of the creation of the GDR. I looked at the TV screen and could not understand how he could be there and not in the streets.

In 2006 he was elected president of Nicaragua. He no longer seems to have any ideological beliefs and is only interested in power for himself and the rest of the kleptocracy around him. These latest actions depress me as I wonder how much more hell the people of Nicaragua can go through.

Ortega is in danger of being the same as Samoza.
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