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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5862/the-return-of-daniel-ortega/

The Return of Daniel Ortega

November 8, 2006 by

I had no idea there was an election taking place in Nicaragua until I saw that headline that the commie throwback Daniel Ortega won the presidency. The U.S. was at war against that country the last time he ruled. It was widely believed that he was nothing but an agent of Soviet expansion in the region, and he and his Sandinista Party had to be stopped.

Remember the “contras” a.ka. the “freedom fighters,” a.k.a., “right-wing death squads” that represented the opposing side in the great Reagan-era mannichean struggle for the future of the region?

So far as I can tell, Ortega’s return to power has been greeted with a big ho hum. As well it should be. Ortega is no longer a communist, if he ever was one, unless the very meaning of communism has changed along Chinese lines. He promises to further open Nicaragua to foreign investment. Apart from protecting money against debasement, that is the single greatest action any leader of a foreign country can take to enhance prosperity. He has warm words for free enterprise and plots no great nationalizations.

How the world has changed! It was 1986 when I was last in this country, and I observed a drama that I had not expected. The great ideological struggle was taking place between two types of foreign observers. The place was crawling with Communists, to be sure, but they were mostly intellectuals, burned out Hollywood has beens, and theological students from the US and Germany in search of Heaven on Earth. Mostly they spent their time in a Managua pub that served a pathetically thin Nicaragua beer, and was otherwise littered with ancient copies of Soviet Life magazine.
A friend and I interviewed a number of government officials, who were decidedly more interested in the timing of their afternoon naps than the details of Marxist economic theory. The masses we spoke to in the country side had little to say in support of either the government or the contras, and mostly seemed annoyed that their country has been selected by the gods of history to become a battle ground in the cold war between two super powers.

If you stripped away the ideological veneer, the politics even in these times seemed quite normal in this country. It was about a power struggle between two extended families, one unseating the other in an endless tit for tat. So it was then and so it is today.

What’s changed in Nicaragua is that no superpower really cares who rules the country—a fact for which Nicaraguans—God bless them!—should be very grateful.


David White November 8, 2006 at 2:27 pm

US intervention dates back to a marine landing in the 1920s in support of the bloodthirsty Samoza regime. And even now the US government can’t stop meddling in Nicaragua’s affairs:


But of course to the US government, nothing happens on this planet that isn’t part of its affairs.

Dain November 9, 2006 at 9:56 pm

David, thanks for the link.

“He promises to further open Nicaragua to foreign investment. Apart from protecting money against debasement, that is the single greatest action any leader of a foreign country can take to enhance prosperity.”

Is it? I should think that protecting private property rights and facilitating trade WITHIN the country would be even more important for economic growth. And for ethical reasons too of course, preventing the foreign investors from exploiting (via the state) the diminished bargaining power of the state’s citizens.

Of course in a country the size of Nicaragua, a lack of openness to trade and foreign investment is simply foolish.

olmedo November 12, 2006 at 3:30 pm

Ortega was and still is an “opportunist” the same can be say for Castro.

the only difference is that today de USSR is not around as safety blanket for would be totalitarian dictators like ortega.

and i tell you, there is a big diference between a comunist totalitarian dictator and your average croocket authoritarina dictator like Somoza.

Biside, Ortega still has to answer what happened with all the property expropiated to their legitimate owners in the name of the recvolution. and only gods knows what would have happened if the USSR hadnt collapse right at the moment of Ortegas government


Guillermo Pineda November 12, 2006 at 11:19 pm

Since Sandinistas and Daniel Ortega regain the power in Nicaragua the media has worried about the future of the country. However, I strongly believe that this worry should go beyond what it meant that Ortega had won the elections with a 38% or the counting votes.

Much more curious it is to read that the media thinks of Eduardo Montealegre as “THE businessman” when he was left with the second position with only 29% of the votes. And I make a strong emphasis on the word BUSINESSMAN that has been used to identify Mr. Montealegre.

On June 14, 2006 I atended a lecture of Mr. Montealegre at the Lehrman Auditorium in the Heritage Foundation and I had the opportunity of listening to his government proposal. I must tell you that mi first and last impression of the lecture was nothing more than what you could expect from a supposed “capitalist businessman” looking just for the right moment to implement his leftwing populist agenda.

Mr. Montealegre is nothing more than an opportunist who calls himself a businessman and he wisely used the menace of the return of Sandinism to the country as his main political agenda to gain some friends in the other side of the border, and surely in his own country.

While he surely is everything but a capitalist, his political speech is nothing more than the commonly used nowadays speech of a populist from the “moderate” left. A speech that wasn’t going to be of much help to the poor country, and a speech that has already been used by the so called “neo-liberals” to impose his opportunistic favoritism supposedly representing the capitalist right.

I believe it is time now to realize that Mr. Montealegre and many other candidates in the Latin American political arena are everything but capitalists or at least center right candidates.

Why? Because their sturdy speeches do nothing more but a hard and direct attack to what free market and capitalism really means, and to what being a businessman is defined by a dictionary. Even worse, those types of speeches are the ones that make a terrible and non-returnable damage to the weakest economies of America and the World.

At least, we know what to expect from the radical left. But sadly, with those that seem to be “friends of capitalism” we know anything to expect and make terrible decisions for their constituencies. While using a capitalist masquerade we know nothing about the “feudal-type governments” they create and how then so quickly they drain the treasuries of their governments.

With Ortega, Nicaragua Hill see in the next years a time of poverty and a dark future is at the end of its road. However, we know that now for sure. With Mr. Montealegre we would not have known anything until too late and the damages would have been maybe even worse that what we already know is going to happen.

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