10 August 2013 ~ 2 Comentarios


by Carlos Alberto Montaner

Daniel Ortega

(FIRMAS PRESS) Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, today enjoys remarkable popular support. Almost 73 percent of Nicaraguans have a favorable opinion of this personage. Barely 20 percent think the opposite.

 The poll, published in July, was carried out by Costa Rican Victor Borge, one of the best social researchers in Central America. In it, we see an opposition that lacks support . None of its leaders would get 5 percent of the votes if a presidential election were held today.

 In turn, 33 percent said that they would vote for Ortega. The only curious aspect is that 36 percent declined to answer. In surveys, those who keep silent do not mean consent – quite the opposite.

This is a phenomenon worthy of study. Those who lived through the 1980s know that that Marxist-Leninist Sandinism, collectivist and aligned with the Soviet Union and Cuba in a position that generated the hostility of the United States during the Cold War, was the worst government in the country’s history.

 That Sandinism provoked a bloody civil war, food shortages, inflation, and a massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of people. It carried out genocide in indigenous regions, destroyed the weak entrepreneurial fabric (which in the previous decade had grown to admirable levels) and left a country infinitely worse, poorer and more convulsed than the Nicaragua that welcomed – amid great general hope – that auspicious summer of 1979 when the Somozas fled the country, chased out by their people and international pressure.

It seemed impossible to revert the ghastly remembrance of the Sandinist nightmare. But the nation tried, during three presidential periods that lasted 16 years. Violeta Chamorro, Arnoldo Alemán and Enrique Bolaños easily defeated Ortega, and if that same rejection didn’t occur during the election of 2006, it was because the anti-Sandinists came divided to the polls.

 While in that election Ortega obtained only 38 percent of the vote, the two liberal candidates combined obtained 55 percent, to which was added 6 percent who voted for a democratic faction that had broken away from Sandinism. In other words, at that moment, 61 percent of Nicaraguans were anti-Sandinist.

 How did Daniel Ortega manage to transform public opinion? With a skillful neopopulist maneuver. With Hugo Chávez’s oil and money, which didn’t go into the State but to business firms associated with power, he substantially increased his political clientele, giving small gifts to the poorest sectors of the nation and acquiring communications media that could obsequiously support his style of government.

 Simultaneously, he canceled the collectivist project, declared himself a Christian with the blessing of Cardinal Miguel Obando (power is well worth a Mass) and allowed private companies to do good business and enrich themselves, so long as the businessmen "don’t stick their noses into politics."

Objectively, the country is not doing badly in terms of the economy. The purpose of neo-Sandinism is no longer to impose a communist dictatorship copied from the Cuban model but to set the foundations for a regime that’s formally democratic and capitalist though it really is neither because, deep inside, it retains its revolutionary ideological substratum amid major contradictions.

 While in the public schools Sandinist indoctrinators tell children that all of the nation’s ills originate in the greed of the rich and the perfidiousness of the yanquis, the power structure becomes increasingly more powerful and sends out signals that anti-Americanism is only a rhetorical position, since the country accepts U.S. investments with open arms and its relationship with Washington is not really bad at all.

Finally, can we define neo-Sandinism? Of course. It is a kind of leftist Somozaism, without real democratic convictions and with a stridently anti-Western foreign policy, directed by an economically powerful group that no longer needs the resources of its class adversaries. It keeps close tabs on freedom of expression and private property, with an evident intention to perpetuate itself in power through a combination of patronage, radical language and growing enrichment of the ruling class.

 That isn’t the way to build a great country, but the truth is that the formula – for now, at least – is giving them good results at the polls.

2 Responses to “Neosandinism”

  1. miguel vazquez 11 August 2013 at 1:36 pm Permalink

    Es que el es un discipulo de las manipulaciones de Chavez, lo mismo que hacen Cristina, Evo, Correa, Leonel Fernandez, que toman el dinero del Estado y donaciones y las usan para su glorificacion politica.

  2. joseluis 20 August 2013 at 6:30 pm Permalink

    Todas estas líneas castristas, sea Ortega, Chávez, Morales o Correa, son llevados por el interés y la admiración de la estancia de Fidel castro en el poder, estos elementos no son seguidores de ideologías, sino, seguidores de la habilidad de Fidel Castro para mantenerse en el poder, sea por el comunismo, nacionalismo, con rasgos fascistas, no les importa cuales sean los métodos políticos o económicos, siempre y cuando funciones los mecanismos que les garanticen el poder.

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