Thursday, October 26, 2006

Does Daniel Ortega Have an Ounce of Credibility Left?

Embedded in this dismaying article about Nicaragua banning all abortions, even for the life of the mother, is the support of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. Ortega once supported women's rights but now is good friends with the Catholic church.

Although Ortega deserves credit for holding elections in 1990 and proving all of the right-wing critics of his government wrong, since then he has done nothing worthwhile. He continues to lead what's left of the Sandinista movement instead of passing leadership to a fresh face. He has long faced allegations of corruption. He continues to run for president, losing every election, though there is a real chance he could win this year. His renewed popularity no doubt has a lot to do with his selling out on issues that he once took a principled stand upon. He has also faced accusations of sexually abusing a young female member of his family.

While the Bush administration is attacking Ortega as being anti-democratic, bringing back tired old mantras from the Cold War, Ortega undermines his own credibility by voting to destroy the rights of 1/2 of the Nicaraguan population.

One of the worst things that ever happened to Nicaragua was the death of FSLN leader Carlos Fonseca in 1976, allowing Ortega to take control of the revolution. They're still dealing with the negative consequences of this today.