An Communist American-born Catholic priest is president of the next UN Assembly:
A former Nicaraguan leftist foreign minister who has been a sharp critic of U.S. governments was elected on Wednesday as the next president of the U.N. General Assembly.
But within hours of his election, Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann said he wanted to turn a page on his past comments and work with the United States and other countries. Washington’s U.N. envoy said he had similar assurances and would wait and see.
D’Escoto was elected by acclamation by the 192-member assembly after standing unopposed as candidate of Latin American and Caribbean countries, whose turn it is to hold the post. He will assume the year-long job in mid-September.
The assembly president has little power but chairs an annual gathering of world leaders in late September. He or she also presides over regular assembly debates, many on development issues, and oversees a long-running drive to expand membership of the powerful U.N. Security Council.
D’Escoto, 75, was foreign minister in the left-wing Sandinista administration that ruled Nicaragua from 1979-90, during which time it fought against an insurgency by U.S.-backed Contra rebels.
The “former” Sandinista is also a Catholic priest:
The son of a diplomat, D’Escoto was born in Los Angeles and ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. He espoused the left-wing liberation theology movement within the Catholic Church and backed the Sandinistas in the late 1970s, earning a reprimand from Pope John Paul II for involvement in politics.
Since the article does not mention that D’Escoto was not defrocked I assume he is still a priest. Like Fernando Lugo, the recently-elected president of Paraguay, he’s another liberation theology-devotee who embraced Communist guerillas in the 1960s and 1970s.
In other Nicaraguan news, Chávez oil fails to stem Nicaragua crisis
As the situation worsens, a growing chorus of critics are questioning the oil promises made to Nicaragua under the label of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA – Chávez’s leftist trade alliance among Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
“ALBA is a mystery enveloped in a cloud of fog, wrapped in an enormous enigma,” Mr. Aguirre says.
Though the lawmaker says that Venezuelan aid could “theoretically” be a great help to an impoverished country such as Nicaragua, the secrecy with which ALBA has been handled by Ortega has only fueled criticism and conjecture.
European donor countries – as well as the International Monetary Fund, opposition lawmakers, civil society, and the national media – have all asked for an explanation of Venezuelan aid under ALBA. But so far Ortega has remained tight-lipped, aside from admitting that Venezuelan aid to Nicaragua already totals $520 million.
D’Escoto’s patron Daniel Ortega doens’t want people to know where that half a billion dollars is going to:
Economists, too, are unable to explain ALBA, or account for the $520 million that Venezuela has supposedly given to Nicaragua – money that Ortega manages in a separate discretional fund with no third-party oversight.
Ortega’s explanation of ALBA aid – including $35.3 million for unidentified “social programs” and $60.6 million for “other programs” – has done little to satisfy the opposition’s call for transparency and accountability.
We’ll keep an eye on this story; Nicaragua’s regime is the most vulnerable of all the regimes Hugo’s propped up so far.
Maggie reminds me that Obama’s willing to send the UN trillions of dollars.
Apparently no one knows where Daniel Ortega’s gone to after the Rome conference… Must have been some partee! The Nicaraguan press says he’s governing by remote control (link in Spanish via Kate).