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Friday, June 27, 2008

Nicaragua's Ortega, the FSLN, and terrorism

Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) the subjects of this Stratfor report:
Nicaragua: The Inherent Dangers of Being a Militant Mecca (h/t Siggy.)
However, the fall of the Soviet Union affected more than just economics. As the political landscape shifted in the late 1980s, places that had served as havens and training bases for Marxist militants, such as South Yemen and East Germany, became less welcoming. In 1990, both of those countries ceased to exist. This left a lot of fugitive Marxist militants looking for a place to go, and many of them relocated to Managua. What resulted was an influx of Marxist militants from European groups such as the Irish Republican Army, ETA and the Red Brigades, as well as Middle Eastern militants, such as representatives of the various Palestinian Marxist-oriented groups.

Some of the fugitives who moved to Managua were educated, skilled and surprisingly entrepreneurial. A couple from the Italian Red Brigades opened a popular Italian restaurant in downtown Managua, and members of the Basque group ETA opened an automobile repair garage in Managua's Santa Rosa neighborhood.
Go read every word.

Just last week the Washington Post was writing about Ortega and Nicaragua's Eroding Democracy. Daniel Ortega, like Hugo Chavez, has had himself elected to office in order to establish a dictatorship. He has named his wife co-president; he might be looking at a line of succession, considering how he went missing for several days earlier this month for reasons that were never made clear.

Things in Nicaragua are getting so bad that even Noam Chomsky is acussing Ortega of stifling dissent.
Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie, Bianca Jagger and other high-profile former sympathisers have joined a chorus of alarm at recent actions.
Back when he got elected
Ortega returned to power after swapping fatigues and Marxist rhetoric for white linen shirts and John Lennon peace songs. Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, has pledged subsidised oil to his socialist ally but Ortega's ratings have slumped to 21%, according to a recent poll, on the back of high inflation and enduring poverty.
Good-bye John Lennon, hello again, FSLN's buddies.

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