Since his election as Nicaragua’s president last November, Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) has pledged to end his country’s participation in the IMF, weighed in for Iran’s right to nuclear power, and announced new drives for rural literacy and development. Our May issue featured the story “The Return of Plan Puebla-Panama: the New Struggle for the Isthmus” by WW4 REPORT editor Bill Weinberg, noting how Nicaragua has become pivotal in a race between two regional development plans for Central America: the US-backed PPP, which aims at building the infrastructure to facilitate CAFTA; and the populist Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), pushed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. Tensions are rapidly escalating between Nicaragua and the US allies in the region—Honduras, Costa Rica and, most significantly, Colombia. We also featured the retrospective “Sandinista Redux: Nicaragua Sticks It to Tio Sam —Again!” by Michael I. Niman of Art Voice weekly in Buffalo, NY, which looked back at the US destabilization campaign against Nicaragua the last time Ortega was in power in the 1980s. Our May Exit Poll was: “Were you obsessed with Nicaragua in the ’80s? Are you feeling nostalgic since Daniel Ortega’s resumption of power? C’mon, tell the truth.” We received the following responses:
From Bert Golding, Houston, TX:
I admit my response was a mixture of amazement and nostalgia– however it appears that Ortega has reinvented himself as a new person.
WW4 REPORT responds: Yes and no. Certainly, Ortega’s capitulation to the Catholic right on abortion has been shameful. He has also forged sleazy political deals with the Nicaraguan right wing over the past ten years, not to mention having been accused of serial sexual abuse by his adoptive daughter Zoilamérica Narváez. Yet since returning to power, Ortega has seemed considerably less post-Marxist, and has been tilting back in a left-populist direction. It will be interesting to watch…
From Kim Sky, Eugene, Oregon:
No, I was not obsessed with Nicaragua in the ’80s.
As Michael I. Niman’s end statements of his article, “Perhaps the plan is to quickly chop Iraq into a few small, weak, feuding countries locked in fratricide, and return our focus to Latin America to stop the dominoes of democracy before they sweep right up to Washington, DC.”
Iraq seems to have had little effect on the ever-expanding-US-interventions in the rest of the world. Perhaps the US is content to have countries like Iraq, Colombia and Somalia in permanent disorder?
WW4 REPORT responds: Well, since you asked… We think there is a tension within the Bush administration between the “neocons,” with hubristic visions of dividing Iraq and generally remaking the Middle East, and the “pragmatists,” who seek stability under authoritarian regimes. Whichever faction ultimately gains the upper hand, we predict the US will eventually turn its attention back to Latin America with a vengeance. It is an irony of the global situation that the traditional US “backyard” has spun radically out of Washington’s control while the empire has been overstretched in Middle East adventures.
From JG, New York City:
I have zero nostalga for the 80s. Or the 90s for that matter. These are the good old days.
WW4 REPORT responds: These are the good old days?! Please, whatever you’ve been smoking, share some with us!
From the pithy, not to say taciturn Nancy Stier, somewhere in cyberspace: