Polar Bear

They call me Mr Sunshine
Verified Military
Aug 14, 2006
I read this and just had to laugh. We have had our finger in that country for so long we should just adopt it as a state.

My feelings on Ortega being elected would plunge Nicaragua into economic and political unrest while allowing for a rebel haven.

Also if you own Chiquita stock and he gets a elected, plan on it taking a plunge.
Observers Warn of U.S. Manipulation in Nicaragua

November 2, 2006 · Voters in Nicaragua go to the polls Sunday, but observers and candidates are increasingly anxious about U.S. involvement in the election. Republican senators and the U.S. ambassador have been threatening reprisals against the nation if it elects former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has warned that a Daniel Ortega victory could endanger a free-trade agreement with the United States -- and scare off foreign investors.
And Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who heads a subcommittee on hemispheric relations, recently visited Nicaragua and said that U.S. aid would be cut off if Ortega was elected.
The American ambassador in Managua, Paul Trivelli, has actively encouraged conservative opponents of Ortega to unify under a single candidate, the better to defeat him.
Even Oliver North -- the former White House aide at the heart of the Iran-Contra scandal -- was in Managua this week, full of dire predictions.
And this week, Republican representatives to Congress said they will seek to have one of the most important elements to Nicaragua's economy blocked if Ortega wins.
An ad put out by Ortega supporters has been playing over and over on Nicaraguan radio for the past two days.
"The United States is keeping up its war against Daniel Ortega," the ad says in Spanish."The Yanquis have just announced that if Daniel wins, they will block remittances to Nicaragua, like they have blockaded Cuba for years."
There is no doubt that the United States has again become a political player in the country of 5 million.
Jaime Aparicio heads the Carter Center in Nicaragua.
"It is very clear that from our point of view," Aparicio says, "we don't think that is healthy for the Nicaraguan democracy, that other countries, or other people, interfere in their own business. We really think that this is a business that has to be decided by Nicaraguan people."
The Organization of American States and other groups have also decried what they have described as meddling.
Jaime Morales is Ortega's vice-presidential candidate, a former Contra who fought against him in the civil war in the 1980s who has now joined him in a campaign launched under the banner of reconciliation.
He says he believes that the current U.S. administration, and members of the U.S. Congress, are stuck in the past, refighting the war.
"They have not evolved and they still think that the same factors exist here, those of 30 years ago," Morales says, speaking Spanish. "Those are attitudes that are pretty backward, and they are held by ultra-conservatives that are still in very high positions in the U.S. power structures."
Maureen Meyer, the Washington Office on Latin America's associate for the Nicaragua region, says the United States is not just fighting old enemies. There's a new one, too, she says: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president.
"Nicaragua is one of those key countries right now," Meyer says, "that actually has the possibility of perhaps having a left leader in power that would support Chavez, and not as being as supportive to the United States government."
Chavez, who has openly supported Ortega's candidacy, has offered millions of barrels of oil on favorable terms to mayors that are part of the Sandinista alliance.
And as much as the United States might be a boogeyman to the left in Nicaragua, Chavez is hated by the right -- and opponents of Ortega have brought him into the equation, too, citing his influence as a reason not to vote for Ortega.
I just want to line up nukes on the US border and attempt to detach us from everything below.
Putting our southern border at Costa Rica would do wonders for security and tourism. ;)
Old U.S. Adversary Poised for Comeback
Nicaragua's Ortega May Be Within Striking Distance of First-Round Win

[SIZE=-1]By N.C. Aizenman
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 5, 2006; A20
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Nov. 4 -- As Daniel Ortega makes his fourth attempt to win back Nicaragua's presidency in elections Sunday, citizens across this war-battered nation are grappling with the very real possibility that the former Marxist revolutionary could finally succeed.
That prospect has sent shudders through Washington, where Ortega is remembered, and reviled, as the bane of the Reagan administration.
Here in Nicaragua, however, the vote is being viewed less as a referendum on Ortega's 11-year rule after his guerrilla forces seized power in 1979 than as a chance to end a more recent era of collusion between his Sandinista National Liberation Front and the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, which holds the most seats in the National Assembly.
Maverick candidates from both camps have pronounced themselves disgusted by the unbridled corruption that has flourished under "el pacto," or the pact, as the power-sharing arrangement is known, and they have formed popular breakaway parties that vow to return the focus to Nicaragua's impoverished multitudes.
Yet this very splintering of his opposition, combined with a rules change devised under the pact that allows a candidate to win a first-round vote with as little as 35 percent of the ballots and a five-point lead, offers Ortega, 60, his best chance at a comeback since voters swept him from the presidency in 1990.
Although the immense affection Ortega earned by toppling brutal dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979 was severely eroded by his government's human rights abuses, confiscation of property and bloody war against U.S.-backed contra insurgents, Ortega still leads public opinion polls in the five-way race with as much as 33 percent -- putting him within striking distance of a first-round victory.
Now Nicaraguans face a dilemma.
"Everyone is asking themselves: 'Should I vote for the candidate I really want, or should I vote for the guy who I think can beat Ortega?" observed Carlos Chamorro, a political analyst and son of the woman who replaced Ortega in 1990, Violeta Chamorro.
Ortega's opponents have weighed in over the past week with a frenzy of ads promoting themselves as the most viable alternative.
Jos? Rizo, 62, candidate of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, blanketed the airwaves with commercials claiming that the massive turnout at his closing campaign rally in a Managua square last Sunday proved he was the safest bet.
Eduardo Montealegre, 51, a former foreign and finance minister now representing the breakaway Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance, countered with spots touting opinion polls that put him in second place.
"Think of your family and of Nicaragua. Don't waste your vote on candidates who can't defeat Ortega," Montealegre, who is favored by the Bush administration, urged in a final televised message to voters Wednesday.
By contrast, Edmundo Jarqu?n, 60, an economist who represents the breakaway Sandinista Renovation Movement and who trails Montealegre and Rizo in opinion polls, argued that the old strategy of lining up behind one candidate to defeat Ortega would only ensure the continued dominance of corrupt party bosses on the right.
"The only way to waste your vote is to vote for more of the same," Jarqu?n shouted at an emotional closing rally Tuesday in Managua.
Former Sandinista commander Eden Pastora is running a distant fifth in the race.
Ortega, meanwhile, sought to answer his critics by casting himself as the candidate of reconciliation.
In place of his old military fatigues, he has campaigned in jeans and white shirts to the accompaniment of a Spanish adaptation of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."
Over the last several months he has also reached out to old enemies, signing a public "peace agreement" with a former contra group and picking as his running mate a former contra negotiator whose house he once confiscated.
Ortega, once an avowed secularist, even courted the Catholic Church by supporting legislation last month to extend Nicaragua's already restrictive abortion ban to cases in which a mother's life is in danger.
Ortega's transformation has hardly been complete. In a nation reeling from widespread unemployment, hunger and frequent electrical blackouts, he has spoken repeatedly of taming "wild capitalism" by forgiving the debt of poor farmers and requiring banks to lower the fees they charge Nicaraguans abroad to wire money to their families back home.
Still, Ortega insisted that he supports free markets, and what few references he made to the United States were muted compared to his firebreathing past.
"To those Nicaraguan brothers who still have hate and who launch these dirty campaigns full of defamations and lies," Ortega concluded at a final rally under a drizzling sky in a Managua square Wednesday, "We will respond with the solidarity . . . with the love, with the brotherly embrace that all of us Nicaraguans must extend each other."
Ortega's opponents charged that such statements were merely an attempt by Ortega to disguise his true nature. In the closing weeks of the campaign, they tried to drive the point home with ads featuring grainy black-and-white footage of the mustachioed leader strutting in his military fatigues as ominous voiceovers warned that an Ortega win could bring back unpopular features of the Sandinista era such as the military draft, confiscation of private property and a U.S. embargo.
"Let us not return to the dark night," ended one spot paid for by Rizo.
The message was echoed by Bush administration officials, including U.S. Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, who raised hackles among Nicaraguans and international observers by making what many interpreted as a thinly veiled threat to withdraw aid and impose economic sanctions in the event of an Ortega victory.
U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs, has offered similar hints.
Adding to the atmosphere of deja vu has been a series of visits from former cold warriors such as Oliver L. North, the Reagan administration aide who served as point man for secretly funneling money and weapons to the rebels in the 1980s Iran-contra scandal despite a congressional ban.
U.S. alarm over a possible Ortega victory is at least partly due to concern that he will prove an eager partner in Venezuelan President Hugo Ch?vez's bid to counter U.S. influence in Latin America.
But Michael Shifter, vice president of Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based policy group, argued that even if that were to happen, the consequences to the United States would be minimal given Nicaragua's tiny population of 5.6 million and lack of resources.
The true source of U.S. officials' anxiety, he contended, was more visceral.
"A lot of people who are now in policy positions" in the Bush administration, Shifter said, "got their formative experience in the Reagan administration getting rid of Ortega. So if he now comes back through an election, that may change the way that this whole period is seen."
Ortega back in power, early poll results show[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]
· Sandinista head 'triumphs in Nicaraguan first round'
· Split opposition cries foul and US warns of sanctions
[/FONT][FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif]Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
[/FONT][FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif]Tuesday November 7, 2006
[/FONT][FONT=Geneva,Arial,sans-serif]The Sandinista leader and former Marxist revolutionary Daniel Ortega appeared to have mounted a spectacular political comeback last night after preliminary results showed he had won Nicaragua's presidential election in the first round.

Mr Ortega led by a margin which seemed wide enough to avoid a run-off and to deliver a stinging rebuke to Washington, which had openly campaigned against him. Returns from about 40% of polling stations gave him 40.1%, far ahead of his four rivals and over the threshold for victory. An estimate by an independent watchdog, Ethics and Transparency, which was spot on in previous elections, put him at 38.5% and nine points clear of his nearest rival.
To win in the first round a candidate must score 40%, or more than 35% with a five-point margin over the nearest rival. The Sandinistas did not wait for the final results to erupt in jubilation, with thousands pouring on to the streets to sing, dance, wave black and red flags, and set off fireworks. Mr Ortega, 60, mellower and cagier since losing three previous elections, made no immediate statement.
Since being ousted from the presidency in 1990, in the wake of a brutal civil war against US-sponsored contra rebels and crippling sanctions by Washington, Mr Ortega has reinvented himself as a moderate and devout Catholic. From a social progressive, he has changed into an ego-driven opportunist who has ditched women's rights and income redistribution in his quest for power. Nevertheless, his victory, if confirmed, will be hailed by Cuba and Venezuela as a leftward tilt in Latin America.
The Sandinistas' main challenger, Eduardo Montealegre, a conservative banker favoured by Washington, trailed at 32.7%, according to the early polling returns. Ethics and Transparency pegged him lower, at 29.5%. Mr Montealegre did not concede defeat, citing irregularities in Sunday's vote. "In a democracy, that is unacceptable. We are going to a second round," he said.
If Mr Ortega's victory is confirmed it will be testimony to his stamina and his opponents' disarray, rather than a surge in his popularity. He scored around the same or better in 1990, 1996 and 2001, yet lost. A change in the law which lowered the threshold for a first-round victory and a split in conservative ranks rewarded the former revolutionary's endurance in running a fourth time. The Sandinistas also split, but the dissident candidate, Edmundo Jarquin, languished at 7%, according to the early results.
Mr Ortega would probably lose a run-off, since the 60% of the population which dislikes him - a figure which has barely budged in four previous elections - could unite around a single opponent.
US officials in the capital, Managua, echoed the claims of irregularities but said they would await the final results before giving a verdict on the election. The Bush administration warned that aid and trade with Nicaragua might suffer if its cold war foe from the Reagan years returned to power. Venezuela, by contrast, offered cheap oil to Sandinista supporters and hinted of more to come should Hugo Chávez's ally join the "pink tide" of leftwing Latin American leaders.
Roberto Rivas, the head of Nicaragua's top electoral body, said the vote was clean and transparent. An army of 17,000 observers, including the former US president Jimmy Carter and EU officials, was expected largely to endorse that view.
Many polling stations opened late because of squabbling between rival party officials who ran the stations, and about 12% of stations closed while people were still queuing to vote. Ethics and Transparency said the numbers affected were too small to affect the outcome.
Mr Ortega ran a deft campaign which mobilised his base with small, but enthusiastic rallies throughout the country. He shunned media interviews and huge rallies lest they concentrated his opponents' minds. Sixteen years of successive conservative governments have left the country stable, but impoverished, making many receptive to his promises of jobs, housing and social services.
But to some critics he is still an authoritarian radical, no matter how many times John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance anthem was played at his rallies. If the losers reject the final result, Nicaragua, though peaceful, could swiftly slide into a political crisis and frighten investors.
A change of policy · No longer advocates central planning but wants to promote "fair markets" and may renegotiate US trade agreement. Hints that landless peasants ought to receive own plots.

· Preaches reconciliation and appointed Jamie Morales, former Contra spokesman, as running mate. Paid Morales compensation for seizing his home in 1980s. Ortega still lives in it.

· Apologised to Mesqitos, a rural community whose homes were torched by Sandinistas for cooperating with Contra rebels.

· Still chummy with Cuba's Fidel Castro, and also Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, but pledges to seek good relations with all countries, including the US.

· Has abandoned secularism and embraced Catholic church.
Only one mention of Castro and one real mention of Cuba? Venezula is replacing (or has) as the shit stirrers in the region, but I wouldn't discount them as long as Fidel and Co. hold the reigns. wins Nicaragua's presidency

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Nicaragua's former Marxist guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega bounced back to power on Tuesday in a presidential-election victory that bolsters an increasingly assertive anti-U.S. bloc in Latin America.
Ortega won with 38 percent of the vote, 9 points ahead of his Washington-backed conservative rival Eduardo Montealegre.
Ortega, who first seized power in a popular 1979 revolution and then fought U.S.-backed Contra rebels as president in the 1980s, was conciliatory in victory, but the White House warned its support for Nicaragua would hinge on his commitment to democracy.
The 60-year-old president-elect met Montealegre late on Tuesday and both promised to work together to attack poverty and encourage the investment need to create jobs.
"We thank God for this chance to build a Nicaragua in reconciliation by talking to each other and reaching consensus, even with our differences," Ortega said, stressing he wants to keep Nicaragua open to private investment.
Thousands of left-wing Sandinista supporters took to the streets to celebrate his triumph, setting off fireworks and waving black-and-red party flags.
The poorest country in the Americas after Haiti, Nicaragua has never recovered from the civil war that killed 30,000 people and ruined the economy.
Three pro-Washington governments that have ruled since Ortega was defeated at elections in 1990 did little to alleviate poverty and were hit by corruption scandals.
Ortega's victory in a third comeback attempt was a huge boost for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is trying to build a Latin American alliance of anti-U.S. leaders.
"Latin America is leaving forever its role as the backyard of the North American empire. Yankee go home! Gringo go home! This land is ours, this is our America!" said a delighted Chavez, whose closest allies are Cuban President Fidel Castro and Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Although sick since intestinal surgery in July, Castro sent effusive congratulations to his old comrade. cautious

The White House was cautious.
"We will work with their leaders based on their commitment to and actions in support of Nicaragua's democratic future," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.
Venezuela backed Ortega's campaign by sending cheap fertilizer and fuel to Sandinista-led groups. It is now expected to help finance social programs in Nicaragua.
Some of Ortega's followers hope Chavez, rich with petrodollars, will help Nicaragua stand up to Washington.
"Whatever Chavez sends us helps us a lot and it makes us less scared because we know we are not alone, we have his support," said Miguel Mendoza, 45, who was orphaned at the age of 9 when his parents were killed by troops fighting against the Sandinista revolutionaries.
Ortega has dropped his Marxism of the Cold War era and now speaks mainly of God, peace and reconciliation.
He also backs a trade deal with the United States, but U.S. officials still do not trust him and worry about his friendship with Chavez.
Washington recently warned of a cut in investment and aid to Nicaragua if Ortega was returned to power, and some senior officials in President George W. Bush's administration have a long history of opposition to the president-elect.
They include Elliott Abrams, who serves on the National Security Council and was a key figure in the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, when the U.S. government secretly sold arms to Iran to channel funds to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.
Ortega knows well the cost of confronting Washington. The Contra war and a U.S. economic embargo in the 1980s wrecked the Sandinistas' ambitious education and health programs.
Combined with his Marxist government's mismanagement and heavy-handed repression of dissent, the U.S. campaign finally put Ortega out of power when voters turned against him in the 1990 election.
Ortega was helped back to power by divisions in the right, which had in previous elections united behind a single candidate to keep him out.
Still, he is a divisive figure despised by many who blame him for the bloodshed and chaos of the 1980s. Even some of those who voted for him this time are wary.
"I hope I didn't make a mistake. I gave him my vote of faith. He has to govern and meet all his promises," said Cecilia Rivas, a 25-year-old student.
[FONT=verdana, geneva, arial, sans serif][SIZE=+1]Fasten your seat belts[/SIZE][/FONT]

[SIZE=-2][FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif]Nov 9th 2006 | MANAGUA [/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=-2][FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif]From The Economist print edition[/FONT][/SIZE]

[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]The test of Daniel Ortega's claim that he is a reformed character will be whether he can mix Venezuelan aid with American investment[/SIZE][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-2]Reuters[/SIZE][/FONT]

[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-2]Get article background[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]HOW much has Daniel Ortega changed? That was the question Nicaraguans were asking after the Sandinista leader won a presidential election held on November 5th. The last time he was in power, from 1979 to 1990, his presidency was marked by revolution, civil war, confrontation with the United States and runaway inflation. This time, Mr Ortega promises, will be very different. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]One salutary sign was that in victory Mr Ortega was respectful of his opponents, calling for a “new political culture” of constructive pluralism. With 91% of the votes counted, Mr Ortega had 38% and a nine-point lead over his closest rival, Eduardo Montealegre, an American-backed investment banker and former finance minister. Under the rules, that was enough to avoid a run-off ballot. Mr Montealegre conceded defeat, visiting Mr Ortega's headquarters where both men pledged to work together to fight poverty.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]Earlier, after meeting Jimmy Carter, a former American president who was observing the election, Mr Ortega said that he wanted to offer “security to the private sector and to investors.” There are rumours that he may try to persuade the current finance minister and the head of the central bank to stay on. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]Investment is urgently needed. Managua, the capital, is a different city than it was in the 1980s. Although the centre, destroyed in a 1972 earthquake, has never been rebuilt, the surrounding urban sprawl is dotted with shopping malls and American fast-food franchises. The Pacific coast and the colonial towns of León and Granada have filled up with surfers and American retirees. There, restaurant menus are in English and prices in dollars.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]But elsewhere Nicaragua has barely changed since Mr Ortega last ran it. After Haiti, it is the second-poorest country in the Americas. Although poverty is slowly falling, in 2001 46% of the population lived on less than $386 a year according to the World Bank. Drive out of Managua towards the Atlantic coast and supplies of electricity and drinking water become erratic, and almost nobody has a steady job.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]To develop, Nicaragua needs outside help. Last time Mr Ortega was in power, after his Sandinista movement toppled the American-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, the United States did its best to overthrow him through the contra guerrillas. Despite America's backing for Mr Montealegre in the campaign, this week its officials said they would work with Mr Ortega provided he supported Nicaragua's “democratic future”. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]Mr Ortega has more enthusiastic backing from Venezuela's anti-American president, Hugo Chávez. In the short term that may be more useful to him. The two most pressing issues he will face after taking office in January are energy shortages and a burgeoning public debt, says Arturo Cruz, a political analyst at [SIZE=-1]INCAE[/SIZE], a business school in Managua. Mr Chávez is already providing some subsidised diesel fuel to a group of Sandinista mayors. This programme is likely to expand. Four-fifths of Nicaragua's electricity comes from oil. Venezuela has also bought bonds issued by Argentina and Ecuador, and might do the same for Nicaragua.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]But Mr Chávez's largesse abroad is attracting criticism at home (see article) and Nicaragua needs private investment as well as foreign aid. This means treading a fine line between Venezuela and the United States. Nowadays Mr Ortega is a pragmatist; he may swallow his reservations about the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]The Sandinistas have a powerful grip on local government and influence over the courts, but in the legislature they will lack an overall majority. After losing the previous two elections, Mr Ortega made a pact with Arnoldo Alemán, a former president who was convicted of corruption and who still controls the Liberal party. Mr Ortega owes his victory to this unholy alliance. One of its fruits was the scrapping of the previous rule that a candidate winning less than 45% of the vote would face a run-off ballot. And Mr Alemán's refusal to back Mr Montealegre split the opposition vote. Mr Ortega benefited from another stroke of fortune: Herty Lewites, a popular former Sandinista running for a centre-left party, died during the campaign. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif][SIZE=-1]Mr Ortega may have become more moderate as circumstances have changed. But it remains to be seen whether he is the man to preside over the modernisation that Nicaraguan politics needs if the country is to prosper.[/SIZE][/FONT]