Nicaragua: family affairs

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)



On coming November, the Presidential Election will take place in the US. There is also Presidential Election in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua, a small Central American country of just 6.2 million people, has the second lowest per capita income in the region. There is few international news about Nicaragua, almost nothing heard since the time of the ´Contra´ development, years after the fall of Somoza’s brutal dictatorship, the cruel regime, when the so used name “our son of a bitch” was coined.

In 1985, José Daniel Ortega Saavedra (1945) took office.  He was member of one of the Nicaragua family’ sagas. Ortega studied at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, and became leader of the FSLN political party (Sandinista National Liberation Front), and served as president of Nicaragua during the period 1985-1990.

The Sandinista program, inspired by the Cuban system with some slight influence of European socialist parties, carried out a progressive policy with a total intervention of the state, and opposed to the free market. At that time everyone was leftist. The Nicaraguan revolution was almost a literary revolution:it was a noble aspiration: Redistributing the land, civil rights and culture in a poor country. These were still the Cold War times. The Nicaraguan pathway wished to be equidistant either from Washington and Moscow.

The political reforms started together with the cooperation with those then-Iron Curtain’ countries. The strong intervention of Nicaraguan citizens, those Sandinista regime’ opponents, made the US government supporting, funding and organizing the counterrevolution, the well-known ‘Contra’, which became a big scandal for the Reagan administration.

In 2006, Ortega returned to office. It was the time that of Chavista’ petrodollars, the fragmented opposition and major business agreements, the ideal conditions for perpetuation. The 2011’ election gave Ortega his third term, second in a row, both conditions which are not permitted and disqualifying, according to the Nicaraguan constitution.

From there on, began the real democratic regression: Reforms that gave broad power to the Executive to legislate; a large part of the media became under the ownership of the ruling party; the President took control of Justice’ administration, the Security agencies, the Election Authority and the Legislature. The recent withdrawal of 28 opposition’ MPs, leaving thousands of voters out of parliamentary representation, illustrates what the Ortega’ administration has become. As if that was not enough, Rosario Murillo, the President’s wife, is now the vice-presidential candidate. She had earlier been Spokesman and Foreign Affairs Minister, while several of their sons are Presidency ‘officers. The authoritarian nepotism guarantees the inbreeding concentration of power, and the perpetuation in office, of course.

Outside the country, the perpetuation in office of Daniel Ortega seems like is reporting more good than harm. For Washington, Beijing, Moscow or those potential investors from the Arab world, it is perfectly possible to do business with a government like the Sandinistas, which provides excellent conditions for foreign investment, ensuring the country ‘internal stability’ by providing a resource so scarce as necessary for the region: the rates of violence which are resembling that of many First World’ countries.

According to these, Ortega’s government together with an unknown albeit very powerful Chinese businessman, started to develop a mega project which will link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This Canal would be, according to scientists and environmental experts, an environmental disaster of apocalyptic proportions, which would leave thousands of Nicaraguans without their land, without food and it would be the end of the Great Lake of Nicaragua. It is the Panama Canal, but Nicaraguan. The same Chinese entrepreneur is selling large quantities of weaponry to Ortega’s administration, a fact which is worrying every day more and more to its neighbor citizens and authorities in the peaceful Costa Rica, the country which took the decision to stop with its Army long time ago.

Ortega is organizing a dynastic succession in Nicaragua,” was stated by the journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, editor of the online Nicaraguan weekly ‘El Confidencial’. He is also the Director for the Center for Communications Research, both based in Managua.

The history is repeating itself: the frequent cycle of the Latin American revolutionary leftist, romantic and morally self-sacrificing beginnings; then, the hypocrisy’ phase comes, followed by corruption, illegal enrichment and the quasi-dynastic despotism. An administration manner which is plundering the wealth of this poor country, robbing from within the very administration’ institutions; authoritarian, undemocratic, dynastic model, when the country is again run as a family hacienda. Poor Nicaragua!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *