Thursday, November 3, 2011

Noooooo! My Spread Gunnnnnn!

I'm sure if you're old enough and dig deep enough into your memories, you'll remember the name Daniel Ortega. If you can't qute place the name, Ortega was part of the Sandinista faction in--- okay, now it's coming back to you. Reagan, Contras, arms-for-hostages, Oliver North. That whole business.

Well, in any case, Ortega was a Sandinista, who won the Nicaraguan presidential election in 1984 despite Reagan's administration funding the opposition Contras. The Reagan administration opted not to recognize the results (unlike pretty much everybody else in the world) and put an embargo on the country. Ortega went on to lose in 1990 to Violeta Chamorro in an election heavily influenced by American campaign dollars and American threats of continuing the embargo if she didn't win.

At that point, maybe even before that point, Nicaragua faded from America's view.

So those of you who recall the Reagan era will be dismayed to know that not only was Ortega re-installed as president in 2006, he is currently cruising to re-election, despite Nicaragua's constitution prohibiting re-election (he got a court to rule in his favor on this in 2009). His current goal is to get enough seats in the legislature to allow him to amend the constitution to codify re-election, and as he appears willing to rig elections if all else fails, odds are pretty good he'll get it. The polls, however, are showing Ortega won't have to rig much of anything.

Ortega has a good working relationship with Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and came out in support of Moammar Gadhafi. Chavez's support virtually guarantees Nicaragua will be fine in the face of any renewed embargo anyone wants to employ, but even independent of Chavez, businesses in the area are aligned to Ortega as well, who can point to a good economy as a major point in his favor. This is a powerful argument in a country second only to Haiti in Western Hemisphere poverty. (And given how deep Ortega has rooted himself, should he actually lose, he also has the ability to sabotage the economy and let his successor take the blame.)

So how'd that whole 80's thing work out again?

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