Spin from Cuba on Nicaragua’s Elections

Erasmo Calzadilla  

Daniel Ortega (c) with his wife Rosario Murillo and Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo. Photo: lavozdelsandinismo.com

In November, general “elections” will be held in Nicaragua, that small Central American nation so close to Cuba’s heart.

Etched in my subconscious are those revolutionary ballads that were heard here like broken records as a result of the victory of Sandinistas over the tyrant Somoza.  When in some years from now I become senile, I’ll be singing an old ditty incomprehensible for the younger generations:

Comandante Carlos, Carlos Fonseca / Great leader and vanquisher over death / The darling of our red-and-black homeland / All of Nicaragua announces to you: “We are present!”  

Many people in Cuba and around the world believed that the future was being determined in Nicaragua, and they helped as best they could.  This was also done by Cuba’s leadership, which from that time on has maintained a close relationship with Daniel Ortega.

I remember the uproar that was produced here when at the end of the ‘80s it was found out that Ortega would “allow” elections.  “Communists” around me were alarmed and disapproving of this measure:  “It’s an error!  Imperialism can’t be given even an inch like this!”

But the elections occurred and people punished the party that over 10 years had made its leaders into near Gods and unleashed a corruption which later showed itself to be limitless.  Likewise, they proved unable to bring peace or prosperity (due partially to the US blockade and the Contra War financed by Reagan and the US Congress).

Time passed, and as it did the FSLN continued its struggle, politicking, until finally in 2006 it won the presidency – though by then little or nothing remained of its inclination to the left or of its commitment to social struggle in support of the workers and the neediest.

The fact that it had abandoned its old ideology was no secret.  But if anyone still has doubts, I believe these will be removed with the knowledge that:   

­- The Ortega family, formerly lower income, today is one of the richest families in the country.  Its children administer (own?) several radio and television stations.

­- Much land was redistributed, true, but between the hierarchy and clients of the party.

­ – The Sandinista National Liberation Front, installed in power for the second time, has promoted privatization and neoliberal restructuring.

­-  The Sandinista leaders, though painting themselves as anti-imperialist tough guys, maintained in vigor a free trade agreement with the US.

­- The “royal” family dismantled the class conscious social activism of workers and transformed it into populist clientelism in their service.

– Women’s rights continue being trampled (the FSLN supported and maintains the penalization of “therapeutic” abortion when the woman’s life is at risk, nor have advances been made in granting real autonomy to the indigenous communities on the Atlantic coast.

­- Since 1999, Ortega and his circle have maintained a pact with the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), especially with its leader, the known embezzler of the treasury Arnoldo Aleman.  Again in power, not only did they release him from prison, where he was serving a 20 sentence, they “fought” for his amnesty and returned all of his assets and his confiscated properties.  Through the pact, the “Danielists” and the “Alemanists” divided up public positions/offices and have made (il)legal changes necessary to guarantee that only they will continue in power.

–  They tramped the country’s constitution (drafted by the Sandinistas in ‘87) to support a new family dynasty.

Pretty, isn’t it?  

If you’re a person who’s attentive to what’s happening in the world, none of this should seem new to you.  But if all of your life you’ve believed the Granma newspaper (and others of that type), then you must think I’m a liar.  Granma has never mentioned a comma about those “deviations” by the FSLN.  The truth is that today it goes around justifying the fraudulent dealings of the Ortega campaign.

I wonder why the official paper of communists maintains support for a leader who abandoned his march to the left a long time ago and right now is a brake against the advance of any progressive initiative in the homeland of Sandino.

Could it be that it prefers the proximity of demonstrably corrupt politicians to other left and/or anti-liberal movements, like those of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) or the Izquierda Democratica Sandinista (democratic left) platform?

Even if the “friendship” with Ortega is no more than a strategy to maintain a certain anti-imperialist strength in the region (something doubtful given the free trade agreements that he maintains with the United States), nothing justifies keeping the people of Cuba politically misinformed and ignorant, unless the idea is to keep us docile and treat us like children.

But if the official press has reasons to lie or hide information about the issue, bloggers don’t.

Less than seven weeks remain before the “elections” in Nicaragua, but I’m not anxious to learn the outcome.

Nota: Some analysts think that the Cuban government has started distancing itself from the FSLN, and proof of this was the celebration of the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution this past July: Granma published nothing (though I’ve not been able to confirm this).  Nevertheless, Granma has published several articles about the coming elections, justifying all of the plots and intrigues that Ortega and the FSLN have been hatching in order to be reelected.  Compared to the ‘80s, yes, there is a certain distancing, but with Nicaragua having joined ALBA I believe the “friendship” has been reborn.  

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

6 thoughts on “Spin from Cuba on Nicaragua’s Elections

  • To say that abortion is completely criminalized and not tolerated whatsoever is a bit exaggerated. I myself have seen a young girl–no older than 12–go into a hospital room. I did not see an abortion performed myself but I heard it. In cases of such unimaginable horror there are few who would deny such a request.

  • Thanks for exposing the truth about Daniel Ortega and his amigo, Hugo Chavez. They preach power to the people while enriching themselves in wealth and personal power. The upcoming elections in Nicaragua are a farce, just like they are in Venezuela. People need to take to the streets like they have in the Arab world and run these “presidents for life” out of office.

  • “Two-thirds of reported rapes in Nicaragua are against girls and young women under the age of 17.
    Many girls are trapped in abusive situations with no way out. The stigma associated with rape means it is often the survivor – not the abuser – who is blamed.
    Failures and lack of resources in the justice system often mean cases collapse and attackers walk free.
    Since 2008, the law has made all forms of abortion in all circumstances a crime, even where the health and life of the woman is in danger or where she is the victim of rape or incest.
    There is little or no help from the government, which has failed to prevent sexual abuse, to provide care to survivors or to guarantee they receive justice and reparation.”
    None of this seems to bother the machos running ALBA.
    These are links to Amnesty International’s campaign against sexual violence against women and girls in Nicaragua.

  • This article summarizes the current state of affairs in Nicaragua excellently. The party the Sandinistas have going with ALBA will last until Chavez dies or his oil fields near depletion. His financing through oil and hard currency are what enabled the Sandinistas to retake power in 2006 with only 38% of the vote. Not long before the election they prohibited “combat weaponry” with a deadline for people to turn in their arms. Nobody can stop them now.

  • Agree o do I agree with you Mr. Landis. The reshuffling goes on and on everywhere including the Good O USA. Listo terminar mismo.

  • Seems like the Nicaraguan Revolution is following a familiar path; in fact, one taken by virtually every revolution before it. Still, despite our perpetual dance of “two steps forward, then one back,” eventually our race will perceive that egoism, selfishness and greed are not only self-defeating, but also destructive of our species and our planet. To have come all this way in evolutionary progress, only to throw it all away, seems disheartening. I feel we will learn from our mistakes. Until now, revolutions have only been a “reshuffling” of the deck, bringing new and more vigorous classes to the fore. The real purpose of social and economic revolutions, however, ought to be to facilitate and unlock the full potential of all, not just a select group. When this happens, we will then be a race of gods, as our ancient ancestors once dreamed.

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