Archive for the ‘Daniel Ortega’ Category

Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

Friday, August 8th, 2014

I have an article coming up later today on a related topic, so please keep the following in mind:
The Black Book of the Sandinistas

In emulating Castro and their other communist heroes such as Stalin and Mao, the Sandinistas took control of everything in the country: mass organizations, the army, police, labor unions, and the media. They censored all freedom of speech, suspended the right of association and ruthlessly crushed the freedom of trade unions. Faithful to their Marxist ideology, the new tyrants seized the means of production. State controls and nationalization spread, aid to the private sector and incentives for foreign investment disappeared. To put it plainly, another 20th-century experiment with socialism annihilated a nation’s economy along with a peoples’ prospects for a better life.

Thousands of Nicaraguans who attempted to protect their property — or who simply committed the crime of owning private property — were imprisoned, tortured, or executed by the new despots.

Unlike the previous regime of Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinistas did not leave the native populations on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in peace. In Khmer Rouge style, they inflicted a ruthless, forcible relocation of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin and Mao, the new regime used state-created famine as a weapon against these “enemies of the people.” [2] The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people. The Sandinista crimes included not only mass murders of innocent natives themselves, but a calculated liquidation of their entire leadership — as the Soviets had perpetrated against the Poles in the Katyn Forest Massacre, when the Soviet secret police executed approximately 15,000 Polish officers in the spring of 1940.

The Sandinistas quickly distinguished themselves as one of the worst human rights abusers in Latin America, carrying out approximately 8,000 political executions within three years of the revolution. The number of “anti-revolutionary” Nicaraguans who disappeared while in Sandinista hands numbered in the thousands. By 1983, the number of political prisoners inside the new Marxist regime’s jails was estimated at 20,000. [3] This was the highest number of political prisoners in any nation in the hemisphere — except, of course, in Castro’s Cuba. By 1986, a vicious and violent Sandinista “resettlement program” forced some 200,000 Nicaraguans into 145 “settlements” throughout the country. This monstrous social engineering program entailed the designation of “free-fire” zones in which Sandinista government troops shot and killed any peasant of their choosing. [4]

The Sandinista Gulag also institutionalized torture. Political prisoners in Sandinista jails, such as Las Tejas,were consistently beaten, deprived of sleep and given electric shocks. They were routinely denied food and water and kept in dark cubicles known as chiquitas (little ones), that had a surface area of less than one square meter. These cubicles were too small to sit up in, were completely dark, and had no sanitation and almost no ventilationPrisoners were also forced to stand for long periods without bending their arms or legs; they were locked into steel hot boxes exposed to the full force of the tropical sun; their daughters or wives were sexually assaulted in front of them; and some prisoners were mutilated and skinned alive before being executed. One sadistic Sandinista practice was known as corte de cruz; this was a drawing-and-quartering technique in which the prisoner’s limbs were severed from the body, leaving him to bleed to death. [5]

The result of all of these horrifying cruelties and barbarisms was yet another mass exodus from a country enslaved by communism with tens of thousands of Nicaraguans escaping and settling in Honduras, Costa Rica and the United States. [6]

As most Marxist regimes, the Sandinista despotism accompanied its internal repression with external aggression. With Soviet and Cuban aid

Read the whole thing here.

Venezuela: Door-to-door raids, AWOL colonels, Panama out

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Tweet of the day:
Human rights violations in Venezuela


(h/t Babalu)

A new stage in the Cubanization of Venezuela: the Comités de Defensa de la Revolución (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution) have now arrived.
I received an email from Venezuela describing a new situation: Neighbors in the same buildings reporting anyone who protests to the National Guard, who then tear down the front door and arrest all the people in the apartment of the alleged protesters.

Fidel Castro’s “collective system of revolutionary vigilance,” in a new country.

According to NGO Foro Penal Venezolano, Protests in Venezuela leave 1,084 detainees so far

Unlike most reporters, this CNN reporter did go into the fray,

Andrea Shea King posts on the apps:

Zello? According to DefenseOne, this is the app that’s fueling the uprising in Venezuela. The Walkie-talkie app is the favorite app of protest organizers in Venezuela and in Ukraine.

Bookmark these alternatives to text messaging: What’sApp and Telegram. Or begin using them now.

The Crowdpilot app lets others listen in to each other’s conversations, especially helpful in situations like thrones [sic] in Ukraine and Venezuela.

In the city of Valencia, three National Guard colonels are AWOL after refusing to fire on their fellow citizens.

After Panama requested a meeting at the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss Venezuela’s crisis, Maduro cut ties with Panama, calling country a ‘lackey’ for the United States.

Maduro used the most insulting terms, calling the president of Panama a “groveling lackey”, while telling the OAS to stay out of Venezuela, now and forever.

Bolivian president Evo Morales was in attendance:

Daniel Duquenal calls it The day Maduro became certifiable and tore his panama,

So, rather than having to appear at an OAS meeting and look like a brutal repressive fool, it is better to turn over the table and refuse to play. See, Maduro and its Cuban masters are understanding that the regime image is so deteriorated that they cannot count on a favorable OAS verdict no matter how much they have spent to buy its votes.

In other words, pushed against the wall, Cuba ordered Maduro to start breaking up with the OAS, a long held dear dream of Castro and Chavez, with already sabotage to the OAS by supporting someone like its incompetent secretary Insulza or creating CELAC and UNASUR to annul OAS cover.

I need to add a footnote probably lost in translation. After the electoral fraud of April 2013 Panama’s president was one of the rare few to travel to Caracas and visit Maduro as the real elected president. The reason was that Venezuela owes, I understand, more than a billion USD to Panama and that is a lot of money for a small country. Martinelli simply had to think of his people. But I suspect that he did not get paid anything for his troubles since Venezuela is bankrupt. So, he decided to screw Maduro by having Panama’s ambassador called an OAS meeting on Venezuela. After all, breaking with Panama is going to cost Maduro more than what it may cost Panama. Probably it will aggravate our economic crisis and make corrupt chavista upset that their assets risk being sort of frozen in Panama.

Panama’s not the only country Venezuela owes money to: Venezuela’s debt to Brazilian construction firms over USD 2 billion

In a report issued by Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico, Brazilian construction corporations’ portfolio in Venezuela accounts for USD 20 billion, affected by serious “delays” in payment in recent days

Visiting dignitaries: Evo Morales was in Caracas for the Chavez memorial. Cuba’s Raul Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Suriname’s Desi Bouterse (a shady character if ever there was one) were also at the memorial. Raul Castro’s visit to Venezuela, to prop up the government of Chavez’s handpicked successor amid violent anti-government riots, has caused more resentment than rejoicing

Some Venezuelans are convinced that the very worst violence unleashed on protesters has actually been committed by Cuban plants, not Venezuelan security force personnel.

Caracas Gringo has a photo essay of Raul Castro’s Cubazuelan Parade

Juan Cristobal Nagel takes a look at A legacy of destruction

A large number of Venezuelan immigrants aim to request political asylum, many of whom have been living undocumented in Florida for several years.

UPDATE:
Title corrected.

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

The Venezuelan riots Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This week’s big story: Three dead, several dozen wounded in Venezuela’s ongoing riots as the country enters a new stage of repression:

Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela

Tomorrow Leopoldo López will lead a march from Venezuela Square and then go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:

ARGENTINA
Argentina to Replace Bogus Inflation Index to Mend IMF Ties

The nationwide index released on Feb. 13 will replace the benchmark greater Buenos Aires index that has shown inflation at less than half the pace of private estimates since 2007, when former PresidentNestor Kirchner replaced senior staff at the statistics agency. The move comes a year after Argentina became the first nation to becensured by the International Monetary Fund for failing to report accurate economic data.

Soon after, Argentina Fines Retailers
A day after reporting the highest inflation in over a decade, Argentina’s government fined several retail chains for failing to stock certain price-capped products.

BOLIVIA
Peru and Bolivia to meet concerning port sharing proposal

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Seen in a Major Downturn
Data released Friday suggest economic growth has weakened over the past two quarters, illustrating how far a country once considered the darling of emerging-market investors has fallen.

Effects of Brazil’s drought could last through the election

CHILE
Chilean Port Workers End Strike After New Agreement

COLOMBIA
Colombia at crossroads; show us promised land Mr President

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica doubles down on security
While neighboring nations turn to their armed forces for help fighting drug trafficking and violence, no-military Costa Rica taps into other approaches.

CUBA
WaPo editorial: Cuba’s changes are no more than window-dressing

New York Times unmasks selfish motives behind Castro’s ‘reforms’

Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship once again stops consular services in U.S.

Cuba: Release Alan Gross, Maybe US Can Help with “People to People” Banking Transactions

For the third time in a week, Cuban police arrest Antunez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitian migrants caught, repatriated to Haiti

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

EL SALVADOR
Castaway back in El Salvador in an emotional homecoming (+video)
After 13 months adrift at sea, and a flight across the Pacific, José Salvador Alvarenga returns to his native El Salvador — and is too overcome for words

HONDURAS
Honduras suspends eight consuls in US

Honduras has suspended eight of its 10 consuls in the United States.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said there would be an investigation into whether the eight had illegally issued identity papers.

JAMAICA
Jamaican dancehall deejay arrested in lottery scam

MEXICO
Vicente Fox says: For Mexico, legalization is freedom

Mexico: A Different Kind of Gun Story

NICARAGUA
Constitutional Changes Take Effect in Nicaragua

Changes to the Nicaraguan constitution that allow President Daniel Ortega to run for re-election as many times as he wishes entered into force Tuesday with their publication in the official gazette.

PANAMA
More on the Chong Chon Gang, U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo

PARAGUAY
Downpour Saves Paraguay Market from Flames

PERU
Misery, poverty greet paroled foreign drug mules in Peru

PUERTO RICO
CNN gets its panties in a bunch over this, but they don’t have time to report on Venezuela: First on CNN: Christie vacationing in Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The bong show:
Following legalization in US, Uruguay, marijuana gets second look
Experiments with legalizing marijuana in Colorado, Washington, and Uruguay have countries as diverse as Morocco and the Netherlands rethinking how they approach the drug.

Uruguay President Jose Mujica urges US and Europe to change drug policy
After legalising the production and sale of cannabis in his own country, Uruguayan President Jose Mucjica calls on rich, “developed countries” to re-evaluate their strategy for dealing with narcotics

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Opposition Leader Says He Will Risk Arrest
Leopoldo Lopez Says He Plans to March With Antigovernment Protesters Tuesday

A new landmark date for repression in Venezuela: confirming the dictatorship

5 Ways To Invest In Venezuelan Freedom

Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López: Maduro waits for orders from Havana
On Thursday night, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro rejected violent events and, without naming opposition leader Leopoldo López or ex Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Fernando Gerbasi, said they were “fugitives from justice”

Maduro says the solution to shortages is to eat less:

Chocolate and Chávez

“The final stage of socialism isn’t Communism. It’s an empty shelf.” Gone With the Whine

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: World-wide port expansions

Venezuela: Today’s headlines

Panama: Chong Chon Gang goes back to Cuba, captain goes to jail, garage sale coming up

Venezuela: Street scenes UPDATED

En español: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush

Is Venezuela collapsing?

Cuba: The truth about Che

Venezuela: Now reporting

Venezuela: Huge demonstrations UPDATED

Sochi? No, Princeton!

Puerto Rico: Growth yes, more taxes no

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

At Da Tech Guy Blog: The truth about Che.

This week’s podcast: A book about Fidel Castro PLUS US-Latin America issues of the week

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Michael Totten links to Paul Berman on Nicaragua

Paul Berman wrote an open letter in The New Republic to New York City’s mayor-elect Bill De Blasio who apparently is a long-time sympathizer with the Sandinistas, the Nicaraguan communists who briefly ruled the country after the overthrow of the previous tyrant Anastasio Somoza.

Anyway, he takes De Blasio to task specifically for praising the Sandinistas’ health care system in the town of Masaya, the same sort of error that has appeared almost daily in my comments section since I returned home from Cuba.

Indeed, the “excellent free Cuban healthcare” lie lives on as one of the most enduring in history.

Berman’s article, Why Bill de Blasio’s Nicaraguan Work Worries Me explains (emphasis added),

It is about Masaya, the town whose Sandinista health campaign you have praised in a recent speech. This happens to be the town where I conducted my own most extensive research as a reporter. You will remember that Masaya is a wonderfully creative artisan center. Some people in Masaya labor on the outlying farms, but a great many other people work at making shoes, hammocks, furniture, and all kinds of things. The people of Masaya are also, as you will recall, famously rebellious. The revolution against the Somoza dictatorship got started in the plazas of that very town as a protest against a teargas attack by Somoza’s National Guard on a Catholic protest mass. The Sandinistas were the beneficiaries of that uprising, but not its originators. And when the Sandinistas came to power, they recognized their debt to Masaya, and they lavished special attention on the place, “the cradle of the revolution.”

Mr. de Blasio, you are right to have observed “a youthful energy and idealism” among the Sandinistas of the 1980s, and some of that energetic idealism led to indisputably excellent results. The Somoza dictatorship established electric power in Masaya, but the young new Sandinistas extended the grid into the poorer neighborhoods. They paved additional roads. These were big achievements.

And yet, certain of the other Sandinista programs ran into a problem that you do not mention, brought about by one other Sandinista program, the biggest program of all. This was the goal of subjugating every last corner of Nicaraguan life to the dictates of the Sandinista Front, whose own political structure mandated obedience to the nine uniformed comandantes of the national directorate, whose political structure had been assembled, in turn, by Fidel Castro, their hero. These hierarchical commitments ended up wreaking a devastating effect on every last thing the Sandinistas ever did, including the best things.

Read the full article, part 1, and part 2.

New York has reason to worry.

Nicaragua: Bill de Blasio ignores the truth

Monday, October 7th, 2013

NYC mayoral candidate admired the Sandinistas. Mary O’Grady tells the real story about the Sandinistas:
Bill de Blasio, From Managua to Manhattan
Nicaragua’s Marxist regime was an inspiration to New York’s leading mayoral candidate.

Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza was toppled in 1979. Many had fought to rid their country of his one-man rule, and a broad-based ruling directorate was set up after Somoza was banished. It was supposed to organize elections. Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front that overthrew Somoza, had other ideas. He wanted to remake Castro’s Cuba in Central America.

Mr. Ortega’s first step was to cleanse the Sandinista directorate of moderate elements, using fear and intimidation. In 1980, his security thugs assassinated Jorge Salazar, a popular and charismatic Nicaraguan businessman who had opposed Somoza’s dictatorship but also opposed the effort to install a Marxist-Leninist military government. It worked. Members of the directorate, who had naively believed that they were part of a new democratic Nicaragua, were terrified. They resigned and the ruling junta became totally Castroite.

The crackdown that followed was ruthless. Cuban enforcers were brought in to help. Houses, farms, ranches and businesses were confiscated, and the independent media were muzzled. Central planning meant price controls for everyone. Even rural women carrying produce to market were arrested as speculators.

Highland peasants who had fought to remove Somoza rebelled. They didn’t want to be ruled by a left-wing dictator any more than by the right-wing variety. They organized themselves into “Contras.” The Miskito Indians also fought back. In retribution the army burned their villages and carried out executions. Thousands fled to Honduras to live in refugee camps.

In the Sandinista nation some pigs were more equal than others. Property seized by the state somehow never made it into the hands of the poor, but comandantes got rich. When a decade of economic decline forced an internationally monitored election in 1990, opposition candidate Violeta Chamorro won the presidency. But the heavily armed comandantes refused to return their loot to its rightful owners. Critics dubbed it “la piñata.” Mr. Ortega has since returned to power.

DeBlasio, who honeymooned in Cuba, apparently believes “advances in literacy and health care” justify all of this.

Nicaragua canal: Plan, nothing more

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The Economist weighs in,
Nicaragua’s proposed canal
A man, a plan—and little else
Yet again, Nicaraguans are letting their longing for a trans-oceanic canal get the better of them

Since June, when the Sandinista-stuffed National Assembly rubber-stamped a law granting a 50-year concession, renewable up to 100 years, to Mr Wang’s HKND Group, many have wondered whether the 40-year-old telecoms boss is a crank. In August the Associated Press reported that in many countries, including Nicaragua, where he has claimed to be doing business, his companies are barely noticeable. Although both Mr Wang and President Daniel Ortega insist that the project will go ahead, people who have worked with HKND say it has more of an option to build than an obligation. In effect, the cost of the option is the tens of millions of dollars that Mr Wang is expected to pay from his own pocket to find out which route is most physically and financially feasible.

Hence ERM, a British consultancy, is looking at the environmental and social impact of digging a deep channel through Lake Nicaragua, one of the largest in Latin America, and carving through ancestral indigenous lands. Australian engineers are pondering how to remove millions of truckloads of dirt in a country with no large excavators, let alone nearby roads or railways. McKinsey, a business consultancy, is said to be working out how the project could make enough money to entice sovereign-wealth funds to bankroll it.

Good luck with that; all they have is dubious plans and abundant unknowns.

Again: the Chinese government are not involved in this; only Wang Jing – and he and Ortega already made a $300million sweet deal.

I’ve been saying all along, Don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

The Nicaragua canal: Don’t be the next Lord Crawley

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Don’t be like him

For many years now we who watch Latin American news have been hearing about a Nicaraguan canal to rival the Panama canal.

Indeed, people who know Nicaraguan history have been hearing about it for centuries.

Back in 2010 the Iranians were in the picture,

Costa Rica says that last week Nicaraguan troops entered its territory along the San Juan River – the border between the two nations. Nicaragua had been conducting channel deepening work on the river when the incident occurred.

Sources in Latin America have told Haaretz that the border incident and the military pressure on Costa Rica, a country without an army, are the first step in a plan formulated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, with funding and assistance from Iran, to create a substitute for the strategically and economically important Panama Canal.

Well, Hugo died, his heir Nicolas Maduro’s still talking to the birds, the Panama Canal expansion is going on schedule, and the Iranian fervor has cooled off in the midst of its current current annual inflation rate of 105.8 percent.

Enter HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., known as HKND Group,

Nicaragua’s legislators gave their poverty-stricken country one more chance at a dream that has eluded it for nearly 200 years, granting a Hong Kong company the right to build a $40 billion interoceanic canal.

Supporters of the 50-year concession, approved Thursday, hope that it will propel Nicaragua out of its misery by boosting employment and economic growth. But there is also ample suspicion that the project will flounder, as so many others have done since the first government contract for a canal through Nicaragua was awarded in 1825.

The project envisions building a canal as long as 286 kilometers (178 miles), depending on which of four possible routes is used, as well as two deep-water ports, two free-trade zones, an oil pipeline, a railroad and an international airport.

The law granting the concession to HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., known as HKND Group, whose sole owner is Wang Jing, a 40-year-old Beijing-based entrepreneur, was introduced last week to Nicaragua’s congress, which is controlled by Mr. Ortega’s ruling Sandinista party.

Take a look at the map,

Look at the size of the existing Panama Canal, whose expansion is estimated to cost $5.25 billion dollars and take 8 years, and compare it to the projected Nicaraguan canal. Are we supposed to believe that a new canal, multiple times larger, when

work on some of the pre-feasibility studies has barely started and isn’t scheduled to be finished until next year

plus two deep-water ports, two free-trade zones, an oil pipeline, a railroad and an international airport, are supposed to cost only $40 billion?

If the Chinese government is not involved, who’s going to cough up that kind of money for that period of time?

Wang Jing’s experience appears to be only in the telecommunications industry. And he’s not even started the feasibility studies?

There’s Mr. Wang’s little deal with Daniel Ortega,

Mr. Wang registered his canal company in Hong Kong in August. A month later, on Sept. 5, he met President Ortega in Nicaragua. That day, Mr. Wang and the Nicaraguan government signed a memorandum of understanding—which wasn’t announced at the time—authorizing Mr. Wang to promote the financing and participate in the construction of a canal.

He and Mr. Ortega also discussed a telecommunications proposal, and Xinwei was awarded a $300 million telecommunications contract in Nicaragua, according to the company.

Nicaragua’s corruption frequently makes the news.

And then there’s the collapse of the Chinese stocks, which happens sporadically, since – guess what! – China doesn’t use GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

Bernie Madoff is probably regretting he didn’t think of this first, but Werner Herzog may be casting a lead for a movie now that Klaus Kinski is gone.

Those of us who watched Downton Abbey may recall that Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham found that

the investment he made in the Canadian Railway has become worthless, he had lost his own and most of Cora’s money, enough to lose Downton.

Don’t be the next Lord Crawley.


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 12th, 2011

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina launches naval campaign to isolate Falkland Islands
Argentina has launched a naval campaign to isolate the Falkland Islands that has seen it detain Spanish fishing vessels on suspicion of breaking the country’s “blockade” of the seas around the British territories.

Falklands warning
The Government would be well advised to pay heed to the distant sound of sabre-rattling in the South Atlantic.

Argentina flirts with Iran as West watches nervously

The Year in Argentine Beef – 2011

Cristina “8 y ½”, in Spanish.

BRAZIL
The Anointed
Can a former political radical lead Brazil through its economic boom?

BEING THERE: SÃO PAULO

COLOMBIA
Today’s Video: Rolling for Peace

CUBA
The Tehran, Havana, Caracas axis in Latin America

Darsi Ferrer is a Cuban human rights hero

Fireworks off the coast of Cuba

GUATEMALA
Police Bust Guatemala-Jordan Sex Trafficking Ring
Guatemala has announced the dismantling of an international human trafficking ring that lured young Guatemalan women to Jordan, where they were forced to work in prostitution.

HONDURAS
City building
Hong Kong in Honduras
An ambitious development project aims to pull a Central American country out of its economic misery. Can it work?

LATIN AMERICA
Iran Tries to Gain Sway in Latin America
Tehran Fosters Economic, Military Ties In Region, Raising U.S. Terror Concern

Morning Bell: Iran Conducting Anti-U.S. Operations in Latin America

MEXICO
Mexico – Rising Natural Gas Superstate?

Threat to Elections?

ATF Emails: Hey, Let’s Use These Long-Gun Sales We’ve Demanded Gun Shop Owners Sell To Cartels To Justify Cracking Down on Long-Gun Sales

A FAST & FURIOUS STATE OF MIND

Gunwalker goes “legal” … again

Mexico, a Country in Crisis, Needs a Fix the Size of the Marshall Plan
When a member of the Qaddafi family wants to make your country his new home, you know things are rotten. But Mexicans knew that already. They also know that the corruption, murder, and economic failure they live with won’t be cured by government posturing and a useless ‘war on drugs.’

Iran in Mexico and the Caribbean: Building a Strategic Trampoline towards the US

PANAMA
Panama’s jailed ex-ruler Noriega ‘to return Sunday’
Panama’s jailed former ruler Manuel Noriega will be extradited from France to his homeland on Sunday, Foreign Minister Roberto Henriquez says.

PERU
Peru’s Top Indigenous Leader Says Industry, Traffickers Behind Shaman Slayings

PUERTO RICO
1 of Puerto Rico’s most-wanted fugitives arrested in Dominican Republic

Christian Nieves playing cuatro,

VENEZUELA
A preview of October 7, 2012 (or how fascism does not lose elections)

Barbarians at the Gate: Chavista Hordes Set Fire to UCV’s Aula Magna Over Election Loss

The week’s posts,
Heritage on The Iranian Threat
CITGO’s Santa’s coming to New Jersey!
La amenaza Iraní
Moneywalker, too?
Israel Accuses Iran of Introducing Terrorism in Latin America With Chávez’s Support UPDATED on 12-9-11
Fortuño for VP, and the Constitutional question
Fast and Furious documents dumped last Friday afternoon UPDATED

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Nicaragua loses by a landslide UPDATED

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Hugo Chavez’s money pays off:
Nicaragua pres Ortega poised to win third term

With nearly 50 percent of voter support and an 18-point lead over his nearest challenger in the most recent poll, Ortega could end up with a mandate that would not only legitimize his re-election but allow him to make constitutional changes guaranteeing perpetual re-election.

Ortega’s well on his way – readers of this blog may remember that last year he insisted that the Nicaraguan Supreme Court declare term limits unconstitutional.

Over in Guatemala, a Retired general sweeps to power in Guatemala election

A retired right-wing general promising a crackdown on violent crime won Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday and will be the first military man to take power since democracy was restored in 1986.

Otto Perez had 54.2 percent support with results in from 98 percent of polling stations while his rival, wealthy businessman Manuel Baldizon, trailed with 45.8 percent.

Guatemala’s electoral tribunal declared Perez the winner late on Sunday, and his supporters began celebrating in the streets.

It was a clear move to the right for Central America’s largest economy and came after leftist President Alvaro Colom failed to contain violent crime or protect the country from Mexican drug cartels using it as a key smuggling route.

The LA Times writes on how the Elections in Nicaragua, Guatemala underscore threats to democracy.

UPDATE,
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Condemns Ortega’s Manipulation of Election, Democratic Process in Nicaragua

“Sunday’s so-called ‘election’ in Nicaragua was a complete sham. Daniel Ortega made sure of it.

“According to the Nicaraguan constitution, Ortega was not eligible to run for another term as President. But he forced his way onto the ballot through a corrupt scheme that trampled over Nicaraguan constitutional mandates.

“And once he forced his way onto the ballot, Ortega pulled out more tricks to make sure that he would win. He denied countless Nicaraguans the right to vote in order to stack the deck in his favor. He has clearly learned from his dictatorial buddies in the region, like Chavez, who is an expert at trampling democracy.

“Last month, I sent a letter to the Department of State urging the Administration to stand up to Ortega’s scheme to cling to power. The U.S. and other responsible nations cannot recognize the outcome of this stolen election.”

Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Cross-posted in The Green Room.

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Nicaragua: Just how much money is Chavez sending Ortega?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Nicaragua’s general election is scheduled for tomorrow: Voters will elect a president, plus 90 seats in the national Congress and 20 in the Central American Parliament are at stake.

While The Economist thinks that Daniel Ortega is set to win an unconstitutional third term and the Miami Herald’s asking if Ortega may be headed for a fall, both agree that it is Hugo Chávez’s oil-fueled largesse that keeps Ortega in power. Chávez’s bonus, in the form of low-interest, long-term loans for half of the money Nicaragua spends on Venezuelan oil, amounts to 7-8% of Nicaragua’s GDP. That’s after Venezuela sells the oil at below-market prices, which Nicaragua then sells at full market value.

But, as the election nears, Chávez sent Ortega more: The Miami Herald reports, in Spanish (my translation: if you use this please credit me and link to this post)

Ten days from the election, Ortega announced a number of financial incentives from Venezuela, including 1,700 stoves with gas tanks to be distributed to families, a $30 payroll bonus to 130,000 public employees, and building materials for 25,000 homes.

This means that Chávez, at the last moment, sent Ortega at least $3,900,000 – and this amount doesn’t include the cost of purchasing and transporting the stoves and the unspecified “building materials”, if the even exist.

An act of desperation?

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