Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Politics, WORLD POLITICS — Rick Moran @ 8:56 am

I have an article published at FrontPage.com today about the stand off between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and how the incident is helping President Daniel Ortega in boosting his popularity ahead of the elections next year.

A sample:

Back in Managua, Ortega’s political fortunes rose dramatically. As recently as late last summer, former deadly foes from the Sandinista government of the 1980s and the Contra rebels had joined forces to present a united opposition of sorts to Ortega’s authoritarian government. These oddfellows had differing reasons for opposing the president, but found common ground in their agreement that Ortega was attempting to subvert the constitution in order to set up a dictatorship. Coupled with Ortega’s broad based unpopularity, there seemed to be a chance that Ortega would be confronted with the choice of stealing the election next year or going down to ignominious defeat.

The conflict with Costa Rica has changed that calculus. Whipped into a nationalistic frenzy by the Ortega government, the middle class has united behind the government, joining the Sandinistas and the desperately poor in supporting the president. Business leaders, formerly critical of Ortega’s naked power grab, have joined with university students to back the government. Opposition newspapers have cooled their rhetoric and have been praising Ortega’s stand. And perhaps most surprising of all, the National Assembly, only recently attacked by Ortega thugs, passed a unanimous resolution pledging full support for Ortega and his dispatching of troops to the border.

This support contrasts with the near civil war that broke out earlier this year following Ortega’s machinations with the Supreme Court. Sandinista judges overturned the presidential succession ban in return for an executive order from Ortega allowing them to stay in their offices beyond their own constitutionally mandated date of retirement. These are the same judges who will rule on any legal challenges during the 2011 election.

When the opposition squawked, Ortega sent his Sandinista thugs to the Supreme Court where opposition judges were forcibly removed. The action precipitated the forced marriage between the Sandinista faction that still believes in “revolutionary change” and the Contra faction that seeks adherence to constitutional principles. In the confusing and conflicted world of Nicaraguan politics, there are other factions from both sides who are serving in Ortega’s government, including a faction led by the legendary Eden Pastora, the charismatic Contra leader during the 1980’s who leads the small military force squatting on Calero island.

Not surprisingly, Ortega is being bankrolled by Hugo Chavez, who has engineered a very complex business arrangement that has placed more than a billion dollars in Ortega’s hands so that he can spread some wealth to the rural poor people in Nicaragua. The company that Ortega controls which is dispensing this largess has its fingers in several important sectors of the economy, thus giving him enormous leverage. It’s a carbon copy of the way Chavez was able to seize power and given the way in which Ortega has manipulated the Costa Rican crisis, will probably end up working in Nicaragua as well.

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