[Marxism] Ortega's Comeback Schemes Roil Nicaragua (WSJ)

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sat Aug 20 11:02:43 MDT 2005

Your first remark is irrelevant. Perhaps I can shed a little light, since I 
was just down there. The FSLN is no longer a revolutionary party. It no 
longer has the social base it had, having demoralized and disenfranchised 
the popular forces that it once led and responded to. The FSLN's method of 
operation throughout the past two decades has been "pactismo," signing 
agreements with the parties in power (primarily Aleman's PLC) to 
redstribute posts and positions. Parliamentary cretinism, I guess we'd call 
it. The leadership consists of new business elites. Ortega is a 
businessman. He owns properties and businesses throughout Nicaragua: 
everything from gymnasiums to hotels. He has also held on to his position 
ruthlessly, purging those who have challenged him. Many in the party 
criticize him for this, stating that it is time for new blood to run the 
party and run for elections. From our first world perspective (heh, 
Nestor?), we would characterize the FSLN as Social Democratic. FSLN.

I should point out that what people still most resent the FSLN for is the 
"Pinata," largely because that violated the mystique that the FSLN had 
procaimed for all those years prior to and through the revolution. "Vivir 
como los santos," became sheer hypocrisy in a deeply Catholic country. The 
"pactismo" of the FSLN is seen as a continuation of this fall from grace.

My brother-in-law, who was an FSLN militant and one of the EPS officers who 
led the successful attack on the El Lodoso contra camp in Honduras that 
blew Reagan's cover, was royally screwed in one of the FSLN corruption 
scandals, so while he quit the FSLN and really despises its leadership, he 
stated that he would still vote for them, as the only alternative, in the 
coming election.

On the other hand, Lewites, too, is a businessman. His politics are also 
"social democratic." He is backed by Catholic Action, a group led by former 
FSLN militant and Juventud Sandinista leader Orlando Tardencillas. When I 
left, the Movimiento de Renovacion Sandinista, led by Dora Maria Tellez, 
another former historic leader of the FSLN, was debating whether or not to 
quit their electoral alliance with the FSLN and join the forces backing 

Thus, both groupings are Sandinista to the core. I could see Washington 
fanning the flames of the split, pushing both groupings to run, but not 
favoring either group.


>Of course Washington would back
>anyone to defeat Ortega and the FSLN. I haven't seen indications
>in greater detail of what Lewites stands for, like a formal
>election platform, and I have no idea what kind of a political
>organization or apparatus exists behind his campaign.

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