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Friday, November 24, 2006

Nicaragua: Ortega's old pals

Via Nicaragua Blog,

Ortega, Again? History repeats itself. Why do the ugliest chapters always recur?
For some in Washington, the Nicaraguan election must look like small potatoes compared to the current crises in the Middle East and North Korea. But, in fact, it is part of the same battle and taking place on our doorstep. Ortega's terrorist allies in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea will be watching closely on election night. We should be, too, for the fate of Nicaragua is inextricably linked to that of rogue nations with a manifest strategic interest in controlling a key piece of continental real estate nor far from the United States.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has emerged as the Sandinista's new best friend. It is he who sponsors their well-funded electoral machine that may propel them back into office. Chavez has been using Venezuela’s oil money most insidiously, supporting Leftist candidates for election all over Latin America, and incorporating them into worldwide anti-American front.

International revolutionary cooperation is not a new idea. During a state visit by Ortega to Pyongyang in the 1980's, Kim Il-Sung of North Korea suggested to his guest that their nations work together to render America "powerless." Now Ortega might be in position to reap what was sowed those many years ago, partnering with Kim Il-Sung’s heir, Kim Jong-Il, the newest member of the nuclear club.

North Korea is already at work building closer relations with the radical Left in Latin America. In September of 2005, the vice president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly (and sometimes arms dealer) visited both Cuba and Venezuela. In Caracas, he called for Venezuela and North Korea to respond jointly to "American pressure and threats." Shortly thereafter, a North Korean economic delegation arrived in Venezuela. North Korea, faced with a severe energy shortage, happens to be a leading exporter of missiles. Chavez, flush with oil, is on an arms-buying spree.

The terror connection does not end there, for the Sandinistas are also longtime friends of Iran, another of Chavez's anti-American cohort. In 1980, even as Jimmy Carter was sending hundreds of millions in aid to the Sandinistas, the Nicaraguans were feting the Iranian foreign minister–this while Americans were still being held hostage in Iran.
In September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that he and Chavez are like "brothers." Chavez staunchly defended the Iranian nuclear program at the U.N. General Assembly and vowed in a meeting in Havana that "[u]nder any scenario we are with you ... [Venezuela] will stand together with Iran at all times and under any conditions." That these terrorist alliances may soon have a branch office in the heart of Central America - essentially within walking distance of our undefended border - is a ghastly and terrifying proposition.
The anti-Ortega vote reaches a new high of 62% -- and he gets to be president anyway!

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