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Nicaragua and the return of Daniel Ortega. A shift to the left?

4 November 2006

We carry below an election leaflet for the Nicaraguan election translated by a reader in Latin America.  Although some of the local references are hard to follow and concern events we are not familiar with, the leaflet casts a great deal of doubt on the claims that there is a new left revival in Nicaragua.  The parallels with developments in Ireland hardly need underlining.

Sandinistas: don’t vote for false Sandinismo

Ernesto Cardenal (Former Minister of Culture in Sandinista Government)

Sandinistas shouldn’t be confused:  Daniel Ortega’s FSLN is not sandinismo, rather it is its betrayal.  Voting for Daniel is to vote for Alemán (The former President, serving a 20-year sentence for fraud and money-laundering).  They have an agreement that has not been revoked.

Through this agreement Daniel has governed alongside Alemán.  They control the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Assembly, the Comptroller General, the Public Ministry, the Human Rights Procurator’s Office and the Electoral Supreme Council.  This agreement is why Alemán who was sentenced to 20 years in jail is free and Byron Jerez was acquited.  Because of this Alemán could brazenly steal everything he wanted without any opposition from the Sandinistas and at the same time the sandinista business group has enriched itself to an extreme point.  They have kept their super salaries and there has been no opposition to the impositions of the IMF and the World Bank.  And from there springs the poverty we find ourselves in.

Apart from the alliance with Alemán have you seen Daniel’s electoral slate for goverment?  There are contras in it (those who tortured and murdered) and Somocistas and members of the EEBI (1).  Daniel has even had meetings with “El Chiguín”(2) who he has said made a good impression on him.  Sandinistas:  Vote for real Sandinismo!

Real Sandinismo is the party of Herty Lewites, its symbolic candidate and that of Mundo Jarquín chosen by him and Carlos Mejía Godoy.  It is that of the guerrilla Dora Maria Téllez president of the party and of the commanders of the revolution Henry Ruiz (Modesto), Victor Tirado López and Luis Carrión, the guerrilla commanders Mónica Baltodano and Hugo Torres, René Vivas and Victor Hugo Tinoco, Sergio Ramírez, Gioconda Belli, Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy, Luis Rocha, Fernando Cardenal, Carlos Tunnermann, Miguel Ernesto Vigil, Daisy Zamora, Vidaluz Meneses and so many other writers, artists, ambassadors and ministers in the revolutionary government; those who did not take part in the piñata and those who did not make pacts with the enemy and many humble people.

The banner of Daniel’s sandinismo (which Sandino would never have accepted) is that there are no enemies.  UNITED NICARAGUA TRIUMPHS is his campaign slogan throughout the country.  Three short words that are three big lies.  It is admirable that in so few words there can so many lies.  UNITED is a lie.  Daniel has split sandinismo.  He expelled Herty because he tried to put forward his name as a candidate of his party.  His cuadillismo has forced thousands out of the party.  NICARAGUA here doesn’t mean anything.  For Daniel this word is him and Rosario(3) and the inner circle, whilst Nicaragua loses.

To talk of a United Nicaragua is not revolutionary.  Unity of the exploited and the exploiters?  Unity with thieves?  With Somocistas?  With criminals?  The embrace of the rich and poor, with the rich continuing to be rich and the poor forever poor?  Is this the revolution?  Is this Sandinismo?  The peace that they preach is betrayal.  Like that of Espino Negro(4).  Let us remember Sandino:  “The struggle continues”.

The Ortega-Murillo programme is full of words like love, reconciliation, unity, religious piety, but deep down what there is, is rancour, a desire for vengence, arrogance and intolerance.  Behind these words, shines a lack of ethics, hypocrisy and intoxication.

Another one of Daniel’s alliances is with Cardinal Obando who hated Sandinismo with a vengeance and did so much damage. Due to his anti-sandinismo he was rewarded with the post of Cardinal.  It has filled us with stupor to see this campaign on the television, radio and the huge banners everywhere:  Obando the prince of reconciliation, the FSLN supports you.  Just like Daniel’s petition that the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to this champion of anti-sandinismo and a defender of the Contras.  It is also due to Daniel that the president of the Electoral Supreme Council is Roberto Rivas, Obando’s protegé.

In every election Daniel changes his attire and makes people believe that he has changed.  The reality is that there is no truth in him.  He has betrayed the revolution.  First he removed the line from the Sandinista Hymn “the yankee, enemy of mankind”, and after that he got rid of the whole hymn and replaced it with other music.  He changed the red and black flag for a pink one.

Through his demagogy (which is contradicted by his actions) he has deceived  the leaders of the Latin American left that believe he represents the left here.  Due to the distance we can understand them being deceived but the Nicaraguan Sandinistas shouldn’t be deceived.

It is true that our masses have been politically abandoned for a long time and this explains the summision of many to Ortega’s caudillismo.  But when they go to vote they should remember that Daniel and Alemán are partners.  They both break the law together.  They are two mafias.  The embarrassing photo that the whole country has seen of the two of them together sitting at the same table as happy as can be.

It is wrong that the Sandinistas should “close ranks” , as revolutionaries they should rebel.  If they have bought them off with bribes or threatened them with blackmail, remember that voting is secret.  This is the time to get rid of the Caudillos, Daniel and Alemán.

To whom do we owe that the National Cement Company has been returned to the Somoza family?  You have seen how drug smugglers are coming to Nicaragua.  Some have come with whole planes full of coca which they later abandon.  And there are no narcos in prison.  Every narco captured has his price.  In order to stay free they have to pay millions of dollars.  Remember this well: there are no narcos in prison.

Don’t believe those demogogic speeches which from their hollowness sound false.  As Gioconda Belli said:  “We cannot believe in the promises of those who failed us”.  How can we believe in Daniel Ortega when he shouts out that he is on the side of the poor and he turns up in the poor neighbourhoods in a Mercedes Benz?

It is sad to see guerrillas that we admired and are now the Nouveau Riche of Nicaragua.  Now they are millionaire businessmen.  One of them is now one of the richest people in Central America.  And what can be said of them spending 15,000 or 20,000 dollars on a baptism, wedding or birthday party?  Was it for this that so much blood was spilt?

There are powerful sandinistas who have children studying abroad with grants that were set up for poor people who cannot pay for their education.  This is to take away grants from the poor.  Daniel Ortega has a son who is studying with a grant from the Spanish government that was set up for poor people.

The huge sacrifice of the FSLN, of Carlos Fonsecaa and the thousands of heroes and martyrs is reduced to the Ortega-Murillo wedding and there nobody but them is in charge.

But if it is bad that the FSLN should have become so corrupt, it worse evil that such a corrupted FSLN returns to power.  It is bad that we have lost the revolution, but far worse is a false revolution.  Worse still that a falsified revolution govern us.

The FSLN should return to being what it was, so as those who died for that cause didn’t die in vain.

Herty Lewites, he of the smiling face ( so handsome that even his enemies were won over) despite an ailing heart risked his life for the Rescue of Sandinismo and gave his life for it.  His death was a severe blow.  Now he is the spiritual candidate of that movement.  He has been replaced by Mundo Jarquín his vice presidential candidate.  A professional committed to the poor all his life who will know how to govern with no agreements other than that with the people.  He is the only candidate with clean hands as Bianca Jagger has said, that beautiful woman who is famous the world around for her beauty but now has a better fame and that is to defend beautiful causes.  As vice president we will have Carlos Mejía Godoy, the great national singer songwriter of Nicaragua and the great musician of the revolution.

Everyone is free to vote as they please but they shouldn’t vote against their conscience.  If you are Sandinista you should not vote for those who betrayed Sandinismo and our dead.

The future of Nicaragua and the great movement that Sandino founded is at at stake.


(1)Translators note.  EEBI Escuela Basica de Entrenamiento de Infantería (Basis  Infantry Training School, a paramilitary force that to fore in the dirty war in Nicaragua.

(2)Translators Note:  Head of the EEBI and Somoza’s son who fled Nicaragua after the revolution.

(3)Translator’s Note:  Head of Electoral Campaign

(4)Translator’s Note:  Espino Negro was the name given to an agreement between Liberals and Conservatives in Nicaragua where positions were shared out.  Sandino’s refusal to accept the agreement lead to the US onslaught on his small group.


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