Oliver North meddles in Nicaragua —again!

Can you say deja vu? How about chutzpah? From BBC, Oct. 24:

North warns against Ortega vote

Ex-White House aide Oliver North—at the centre of a 1980s scheme to finance Contra rebels in Nicaragua—has warned the country not to return to the past.

Mr North said he hoped voters would not elect ex-Sandinista leader and former President Daniel Ortega – whom the rebels sought to topple.

Mr Ortega is the favourite to win the 5 November presidential elections.

His left-wing Sandinistas led Nicaragua in the 1980s and were voted out in 1990 after a decade of civil war.

‘Controversial figure’

Speaking in the capital, Managua, Mr North said Mr Ortega’s election would be the worst thing that could happen to Nicaragua.

“I think that ought to have everyone concerned,” he said.

“My hope is that the people of Nicaragua are not going to return to that. That’s not good for your country. That’s not good for my country.”

Mr North visited a memorial for fallen Contra rebels.

He also met conservative Jose Rizo, who according to polls is running third behind the conservative candidate favoured by Washington, Eduardo Montealegre.

The US ambassador in Managua, Paul Trivelli, said Mr North was not speaking for Washington.

Correspondents say that two decades after the Iran-Contra affair – through which secret arms sales to Tehran helped fund the Contras – Mr North remains a controversial figure in Nicaragua.

While Mr Rizo hailed him as “a person… who risked his political future for Nicaragua”, others described his visit as “shameful”.

The Iran-Contra scheme led to the prosecution, and conviction, of a number of Reagan administration officials.

Mr North – a lieutenant-colonel with the Marines – eventually saw his conviction overturned.

See our last posts on Nicaragua and Central America.

  1. Oh, and by the way…
    What are the damn Sandinistas thinking? From the CBC, Oct. 27, emphasis added:

    Nicaragua set to ban all abortions

    A bill banning abortion in all circumstances has been sent to Nicaraguan President Eduardo Bolanos after the country’s congress passed it unanimously on Thursday.

    If the president signs the legislation, Nicaragua will become just the fourth country to outlaw all abortions, joining El Salvador, Chile and Vatican City.

    The bill overturns an earlier law that allowed abortion if three doctors certify that the mother’s health is at risk. That exemption was also used to end pregnancies from rape and incest.

    Womens’ groups in Managua say they will seek a court injuction to block the bill, if the president signs it into law. Bolanos has spoken out against abortion and has proposed increasing penalties for women who have them, as well as for medical personnel who carry them out.

    It’s unclear if he’ll sign the legislation because the bill does not include increased penalties. Illegal abortions in Nicaragua currently carry a six-year jail term, and Bolanos wanted this increased to 10 to 30 years.

    The legislation passed despite appeals from the European Union and the United Nations to delay a vote until after the Nov. 5 presidential election.

    Even the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front, which has favoured abortion rights in the past, voted for the legislation.

    The party’s presidential candidate, Daniel Ortega, is thought to be wary of offending socially conservative voters as he campaigns to win his first election since the Sandinistas left office in 1990.