[Marxism] Nicaragua: From Sandinismo to "Danielismo"
amaral1871 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 2 17:59:38 MST 2006
By MÓNICA BALTODANO
ON NOVEMBER 5, there will be general elections in Nicaragua. The
Sandinista National Liberation Front will again run Daniel Ortega as
its presidential candidate, and many Latin American fighters believe
in good faith that Daniel Ortega and the FSLN continue to be the only
reference point on the left in Nicaragua. As a consequence, they give
him total support, ignoring that both he and the FSLN have undergone a
dramatic political and ideological mutation in recent years.
The FSLN, once a formidable revolutionary organization, is today the
victim of hijacking and iron-fisted control by Daniel Ortega and a
small group of Sandinista leaders. These leaders used property that
they appropriated from the state after their electoral defeat in 1990,
to become entrepreneurs. This group not only took over property and
capital, but it also took over the leading structures of the FSLN.
They set their sights on the control of positions of power, the
strengthening of their economic interests, and on reinforcing the idea
that politics was about backroom deals rather than mass struggle.
This transformation did not happen overnight. It has been a long and
continuous process that faced resistance from within Sandinismo that
caused serious splits inside the party. Even today, militant
grassroots sections of the party continue to dream that the FSLN might
rehabilitate itself as a force for change committed to fighting for
the poor and excluded....
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Nicaraguans will go to the polls to choose the
country's next president and the National Assembly on November 5. The
presidential candidates include Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista
National Liberation Front (FSLN), candidates from two U.S.-backed
right-wing parties, and the Sandinista Renewal Movement Alliance (MRS
Alliance) ticket of Edmundo Jarquín and Carlos Mejía Godoy. This is
the first national election in which the Sandinistas behind Ortega
have a serious challenger as standard-bearer for the Left.
This article, written by MÓNICA BALTODANO, a former FSLN guerrilla
commander and supporter of the MRS Alliance, explains why many
Nicaraguan activists and militants are backing the MRS Alliance
instead of the FSLN. The article details the degeneration, under
Daniel Ortega's leadership, of the FSLN since right-wing candidate
Violeta Chamorro ousted it in the 1990 election. Baltodano describes
the deals Ortega made with right-wing politicians like the country's
two previous presidents, Enrique Bolaños and Arnolfo Alemán, as well
as the conservative Roman Catholic Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo.
For years, the U.S.-either openly or through surrogates funded by the
National Endowment for Democracy-has intervened in Nicaraguan
elections in support of the Right and to prevent the reelection of the
Sandinistas. As Baltodano writes, the 2006 election will be no
different, and activists in the U.S. must be on guard to protest any
attempt by the U.S. to manipulate Nicaragua's election.
In the past, the North American Left-which, up to and after the 1979
revolution against U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza provided
critical solidarity to the revolutionary Sandinista government-has
associated the fate of the Nicaraguan Left with that
of the FSLN. But as Baltodano shows, the Nicaraguan Left will have
another option on the ballot this year. Whatever happens in the
election, the Left will continue a process of reflection and
This article was originally published in Spanish on the Web site
www.gara.net. Brian Chidester and Lance Selfa translated it into
English from the original Spanish.
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