[Marxism] Outrageous Washington Post Editorial Attacks Nicaragua/Venezuela

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 4 08:15:04 MDT 2005


Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

[Editorial follows the alert. - NY Transfer]

sent by Nicaragua Network - Oct 3, 2005

[This alert is written by the Nicaragua Network. Please
forward widely. http://www.nicanet.org]

Outrageous Washington Post Editorial Attacks Nicaragua/Venezuela

In a changing world some things never change. The Washington Post remains
the "State Department newspaper" and on Monday, October 03, 2005 they
published an editorial with a line unchanged since 1979. The only
difference is that Venezuela has replaced the Soviet Union as the boogeyman.

A text version is pasted below as is the link to the Post web page. We
encourage people to write letters to the editor so that the Post knows that
we don't buy their lies. Letters of 200 words or less have the greatest
chance of being printed, but if you don't care about that, go ahead and
challenge their lies at whatever length you need.

Talking points:

1. " MANY PEOPLE outside Latin America probably assume Daniel Ortega's
political career ended 15 years ago when his ruinous attempt to install a
Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua ended with an election he decisively
lost."

How many dictatorships have conducted elections in which they ?decisively
lost? power? The fact is that the FSLN established Nicaragua's pluralistic
democracy. They won the presidency and a majority in the National Assembly
in internationally acclaimed elections in 1984 and they lost in 1990 after
the US government intervened massively in ways that would be illegal if a
foreign power tried to do them in a US election. The National Endowment for
Democracy (NED) overtly spent $9 million in 1990, according to Newsweek, in
a country that only had about 1.5 million registered voters. Both parties
in the US combined were not spending $6 per voter back then.

2, " Mr. Ortega is close to regaining power and to broadening the Latin
alliance of undemocratic states now composed by Cuba and Venezuela."

If Mr. Ortega wins the November 2006 election, it won't be because the US
government sat back and let the people of Nicaragua choose their president.
Already NED is spending money to subvert democracy and every Bush
administration official from Colin Powell to Donald Rumsfeld on down have
traveled to Nicaragua in a failed attempt to unite the splintered right wing
parties. And excuse me, but how does Venezuela get counted among
undemocratic states?

They have had more pluralistic national elections in the past five years
than any other Latin American country. In Cuba too, every government
position except for the presidency is elected.

3. "The left-right alliance has used its majority in the National Assembly
to rewrite the constitution and stack the Supreme Court."

It is true that constitutional amendments and ordinary laws have been passed
that shift the balance of power from an almost imperial presidency to a
now-predominate legislature. It is also true that many people in Nicaragua,
especially on the Left, do not support the Ortega-Aleman pact. Those who do
support the legislative changes adopted by the FSLN-PLC legislators who
comprise all but 8 of 94 members of the National Assembly, argue that
shifting the balance of power from the executive to the legislature will end
the "winner take all" result of past elections and give the losing major
party a continued piece of the political pie. What is clear is that these
are issues of self-determination and no one's business outside Nicaragua.

4. "If this power play succeeds, Mr. Bolanos will be next."

Highly unlikely. It is true that Bolaños' only support comes from the US
and Central American presidents as well as the Nicaraguan banking community.

However, a simple political calculation shows that Ortega's chances of
electoral victory are better with an emasculated Bolaños in power than if
Vice President Jose Rizo, who would like to be the Liberal Party nominee,
were to ascend to the presidency prior to the election. Only the Washington
Post apparently believes Bolaños could be impeached for what were pretty
clearly electoral money laundering crimes in his 2001 campaign. Unless, of
course, the Post is just trying to scare us, but we're sure they wouldn't do
something like that!

5. "Mr. Ortega's goal is to force Mr. Bolanos to accept his constitutional
rewrite, which transfers almost all presidential powers to Congress. That
would effectively deliver Nicaragua to Sandinista control without one of the
elections that Mr. Ortega keeps losing. Scheduled elections next year could
then be manipulated."

The FSLN holds 39 seats in the 94 seat National Assembly. They can only pass
legislation either with votes from the Liberal Party or from the small group
of legislators loyal to Bolaños.

6. " Already, the corrupt alliance has lowered the percentage of the vote a
presidential candidate needs to be elected to 35?"

There is no minimum percent of the popular vote for the US presidency, so in
that way, Nicaragua?s system is more democratic. To be elected US president
the candidate must have a majority of the electoral congress, but that is
allocated winner-take-all by each state so in a multi-party election victory
could be achieved with far less than 35% of the vote. But, most of
Nicaragua's elections since 1984 have achieved a greater level of democracy,
and certainly a much higher voter turn-out than US elections.

7. " The Sandinistas will have plenty of money to spend, thanks to Hugo
Chavez. Mr. Ortega recently announced that he had arranged with Venezuela's
self-styled "Bolivarian revolutionary" for a supply of subsidized oil."

This is one of the most egregious lies in the editorial. Venezuela is
providing below market gasoline to Nicaragua, just as it is doing to the US
communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The subsidized
gasoline in Nicaragua is being allocated exclusively to the bus and taxi
cooperatives which serve the greater part of the population unable to afford
a private car. Neither Daniel Ortega nor the FSLN controls the distribution
of that gasoline.

8. " Compared with Mr. Chavez's aggressive intervention, attempts by the
Bush administration and other outsiders to save Nicaraguan democracy so far
look feckless."

See talking point #1. Most recently former US Ambassador to Nicaragua and
Cuban reactionary was sent to Nicaragua by the Bush administration to knock
heads on the political right to forge a united opposition to the FSLN. His
secondary goal was to force Nicaragua to destroy its remaining stock of
surface-to-air missiles. According to the political journal Envio, Maisto
failed utterly to achieve his goals.

9. " The Bush administration managed to win congressional passage of the
Central American Free Trade Agreement this summer, but Mr. Ortega has
blocked its ratification by Nicaragua."

Nicaragua will inevitably pass DR-CAFTA because the Sandinistas do not have
a majority in the national legislature. Sandinista Rene Nuñez, who is
National Assembly President this session and controls the calendar, is
refusing to put CAFTA on the calendar until the Assembly passes laws that
will soften the worst damage that CAFTA will do to Nicaraguan farmers and
small businesses. But, in the final analysis, Nicaragua will ratify CAFTA.

10. " Eighty percent of Nicaraguans say they oppose the Ortega-Aleman pact.
Nicaragua's rescue will depend on people power, inside or outside the
polls."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could do so free of US government
interference?

To submit a letter to the Washington Post, send it to:
letters at washpost.com or by surface mail to:

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20071

*

The Washington Post - Oct 3, 2005
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/10/02/AR20051002008
18.html

Nicaragua's Creeping Coup

MANY PEOPLE outside Latin America probably assume Daniel Ortega's political
career ended 15 years ago when his ruinous attempt to install a Marxist
dictatorship in Nicaragua ended with an election he decisively lost. The
slightly better informed might suppose that his two subsequent electoral
defeats, the allegations of corruption and child molestation that haunt him,
or his single-digit rating in opinion polls have made him a marginal figure
in Nicaraguan politics. Sadly, the truth is otherwise: Thanks to the
weakness of the country's new democratic institutions, Mr. Ortega is close
to regaining power and to broadening the Latin alliance of undemocratic
states now composed by Cuba and Venezuela.

Mr. Ortega's comeback has been accomplished through a brazenly corrupt
alliance with a former right-wing president, Arnoldo Aleman, who was
sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 for looting the national treasury.
Mr. Ortega's Sandinista Party supported the prosecution, then abruptly
switched sides and formed a pact with Mr. Aleman against President Enrique
Bolanos, a member of Mr. Aleman's Liberal Party who bravely chose to tackle
government corruption. The left-right alliance has used its majority in the
National Assembly to rewrite the constitution and stack the Supreme Court.
In the past week it has begun stripping the members of Mr. Bolanos's cabinet
of immunity so that they can be prosecuted before Sandinista judges on bogus
charges. If this power play succeeds, Mr. Bolanos will be next. Meanwhile,
Mr. Aleman, who stole tens of millions from one of Latin America's poorest
countries, was freed from house arrest last week.

Mr. Ortega's goal is to force Mr. Bolanos to accept his constitutional
rewrite, which transfers almost all presidential powers to Congress. That
would effectively deliver Nicaragua to Sandinista control without one of the
elections that Mr. Ortega keeps losing. Scheduled elections next year could
then be manipulated. Already, the corrupt alliance has lowered the
percentage of the vote a presidential candidate needs to be elected to 35,
and criminal charges have been brought against one of the leading
candidates. The Sandinistas will have plenty of money to spend, thanks to
Hugo Chavez. Mr. Ortega recently announced that he had arranged with
Venezuela's self-styled "Bolivarian revolutionary" for a supply of
subsidized oil.

Compared with Mr. Chavez's aggressive intervention, attempts by the Bush
administration and other outsiders to save Nicaraguan democracy so far look
feckless. The new secretary general of the Organization of American States,
Jose Miguel Insulza, tried to broker a political compromise but pronounced
himself frustrated when Mr. Ortega ignored his appeals to stop undermining
Mr. Bolanos's government. The Bush administration managed to win
congressional passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement this
summer, but Mr. Ortega has blocked its ratification by Nicaragua.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick is due to visit Managua this
week in what officials say will be an attempt to bolster Mr. Bolanos and
persuade Mr. Aleman's right-wing supporters to abandon their
self-destructive alliance with the Sandinistas. As happens so often in Latin
America during the Bush administration, high-level intervention arrives
late. It does have one thing going for it: Eighty percent of Nicaraguans say
they oppose the Ortega-Aleman pact. Nicaragua's rescue will depend on people
power, inside or outside the polls.

*
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