From the Guardian: The Sandinista leader and former Marxist revolutionary Daniel Ortega appeared to have mounted a spectacular political comeback last night after preliminary results showed he had won Nicaragua's presidential election in the first round. Mr Ortega led by a margin which seemed wide enough to avoid a run-off and to deliver a stinging rebuke to Washington, which had openly campaigned against him...Roberto Rivas, the head of Nicaragua's top electoral body, said the vote was clean and transparent. An army of 17,000 observers, including the former US president Jimmy Carter and EU officials, was expected largely to endorse that view.
Ortega ran and won with the backing of several prominent ex-Contras, including Jamie Morales, his own running mate. Morales had been the Contras' spokesman in Washington during the Reagan years when, with the direct involvement of VP George Bush, the Administration joined hands with the mullahs of Iran and the druglords of Central and South America to fund, arm and train a terrorist army to overthrow the Sandinista government. Although this exercise in mass state terrorism failed on the battlefield, the Reagan-Bush policy of economic terror managed to reduce Nicaragua to dire poverty, with the open threat that the stranglehold would go on until the Sandinistas were gone.
Of course, the stated reason for the Reagan-Bush hatred of Ortega was that he was an evil Commie tyrant and dictator who opposed democracy. However, oddly enough, when a majority of Nicaraguans bowed to the American blackmail in 1990 and voted against Sandinistas, these evil, anti-democratic Commie tyrant dictators....left office. They obeyed the obviously coerced but democratically expressed will of the people. And now, Ortega -- no shining knight but, in the end, a rather typical politician eager for power but with at least an inclination toward mitigating some of the most pernicious effects of predatory crony capitalism -- has been returned, democratically, to power...without "robocalls," without "push-polls," without strangely malfunctioning voting machines that only make "mistakes" in favor of one party, with "voter roll purges," etc. etc.
What will happen now? It's obvious: the Bush II administration -- which is clotted with many of the same Constitution-hating state terrorists who threw in with druglords and Islamic extremists during the Contra War -- has already announced its intention to resume the old economic terrorism against the wretchedly poor people of Nicaragua. American officials stated plainly that trade restrictions and cutbacks, if not cut-offs, in U.S. aid were in the cards if the Nicaraguans exercised their democratic rights in favor of the Sandinistas. They even sent Oliver North down to tour the country before the election -- the clearest possible signal for the rabble to get in line, rather like having Frank Nitti drive through the neighborhood to remind the shopkeepers to pay up their protection money to Al Capone.
The only question remaining is whether the Iran-Contra criminal gang now restored to the White House will be content with economic sabatoge of the Nicaraguan government. After all, this time Ortega will have the backing of Venezeula's Hugo Chavez, who has promised cheap oil and other economic benefits to the Sandinistas. The Washington squeeze play won't be quite as effective this time around. So will they move on to more physical methods of destabilization? Will they sponsor another mass-murdering civil war? Or will it be confined to covert ops? After all, the great googily-moogily of American intelligence, John Negroponte, made his bones in the region during the Reagan-Bush reign of terror, operating out of Honduras as the United States spread war and repression across Central America.*
Today's election in the United States won't make any difference to whatever Nitti-like plans the Bush Administration has in store for the disobedient Nicaraguans. Even if the Democrats take Congress, Negroponte, Bush, Cheney, Elliot Abrams (the convicted Iran-Contra liar) and the others will still be in power. The only thing a Democratic win might affect is how overtly or covertly the gang decides to take its revenge. But there's no doubt that one way or another, the Nicaraguan people are about to learn that in the Bush Imperium, democracy is never free; if you vote the "wrong" way, you've got to pay the price.
*For more background on the Reagan-Bush gang's bloodsoaked history in Central America, see the links after the jump.*
"Death, Lies, and Bodywashing,"
Consortiumnews.com, May 27, 1996
Chris Floyd, Counterpunch, June 11, 2004
"US Role in Salvador's Brutal War,"
BBC, March 24, 2002
"Guatemala: Memory of Silence,"
Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification,"
"Reagan's Dark Global Legacy,"
Counterpunch, June 7, 2004
"Reagan and Guatemala's Death Files,"
Consortiumnews.com, May 26, 1999
"The Ghost of Terror Past,"
Salon.com, Jan. 11, 2002
"Media Lies About Reagan and North,"
Altercation, June 8, 2004
Time for a U.S. Truth Commission (CIA terror manual, etc.)
Consortiumnews.com, Feb. 17, 1997 (via Third World Traveler)