In Nicaragua, an election even more depressing than our own

You think we have it bad here with having to choose between the two most unpopular and most disliked presidential candidates in American history? Nicaragua has it worse.

The Editorial Board of The Washington Post:

An even more depressing election than our own

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and first lady Rosario Murillo, now his running mate.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and first lady Rosario Murillo, now his running mate.

FROM 1936 to 1979, Nicaragua was ruled by a corrupt dynasty, the Somoza family, that enjoyed U.S. backing until it grew so vicious and venal that a national revolutionary movement rose up against it. Now one of the former leaders of that rebellion, Daniel Ortega, is about to inaugurate his own dynasty. On Sunday, following gross ma­nipu­la­tion of the constitution and electoral system, Mr. Ortega will preside over his reelection as president, as well as the installation of his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president. Mr. Ortega, who is 70 years old and reported to be ailing, will thus ensure that the presidency remains in his family; his children are waiting in the wings.

The United States earned enormous discredit in Latin America for its backing of the Somozas but apparently learned nothing: With little more than a few grumbles, the Obama administration has tolerated and worked with the new Ortega regime. This, despite the fact that Mr. Ortega, a close ally of Fidel Castro, has been an adversary of the United States throughout his life and lately has begun purchasing weapons from Russia while granting a shadowy Chinese business executive rights to build a canal across the country.

The few news reports on the upcoming ballot retail a conventional wisdom that Mr. Ortega is popular enough to win without fraud. But that conclusion disregards the historical fact that the caudillo lost every democratic election held between 1990 and 2006 — when he corruptly reengineered the system to allow victory with a minority of the vote. That Mr. Ortega was not confident of his popular support was evident in June, when he arranged for his leading opponent to be removed as head of his political party and replaced with someone of Mr. Ortega’s choosing; 16 members of the party who objected to the coup were then expelled from the National Assembly.

The State Department shrugs off these and other abuses with rote expressions of “concern.” If there is reason for this other than sheer lassitude, it would be Mr. Ortega’s pragmatic embrace of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which has allowed Nicaragua to nourish textile and other firms exporting to the United States; and his cooperation with anti-narcotics programs. Once a socialist, Mr. Ortega lately has made a virtue of self-interested flexibility, contriving to combine the benefits of American free trade and loans from U.S.-backed multilateral institutions with his opaque dealings with the would-be Chinese canal builder and heavy subsidies from Venezuela, another anti-American bastion.

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3 thoughts on “In Nicaragua, an election even more depressing than our own”

  1. This is Latrine-ness in excelsis, the pure, undiluted variety. The excruciatingly cringeworthy Murillo woman couldn’t possibly be more grotesquely ghastly if she tried, and that’s not even counting her “standing by her man” even though he sexually abused her underage daughter by another man. As for Ortega, what can one say that isn’t nauseatingly obvious? The sleaze level here is simply astronomical. Thank Jimmy Carter for this (you know, the obnoxious old Pharisee who also gave us that lovely “death to America” regime in Iran). As vulgar and cheesy as the Castro people are, this is just beyond appalling.

    Oh, and yes, the first, uh, whatever, is definitely meant to become president herself, just like Cretina in Argentina, or Hillary in the US. See? The US is becoming less exceptional all the time.

    And once again, do not call me Latin, Latino or even begin to classify me with people like these. I neither have nor want anything to do with them–talk about alien beings.

  2. Asombra, you took the words straight out of my mouth, when I saw these two I, also, thought, Latrine-ness in excelsis! Lord have mercy! You would think that they would try to look professional on the campaign trail! What is it with all of those babbles and bangles, those huge earrings, that tropical blouse and that visor cap with the bow? Not even a minimun wage McDonald’s employee would be allowed to come to work like that!

  3. Fashion tip to Mrs. O: Try a Carmen Miranda hat to give the finishing touch to the rest of the ensemble. Oh, and platform shoes, really tall ones. And of course, more jewelry–one can never wear too much. It’ll be fabulous–even Frida Kahlo would be impressed.

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