Monday, November 6, 2006

The ironing is delicious: Daniel Ortega comes back

I still remember twenty years ago when the Iran-contra scandal broke out. Despite Ronald Reagan vowing he'd never even acknowledge the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni's right to exist, he authorized the sale of weapons to Iran -- violating a worldwide trade embargo -- and then funneled the profits to the contra rebels in Nicaragua who was fighting the Sandanista government. All this, in a feeble attempt to free American and alled hostages being held in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

Most hostages were eventually freed, although a couple were murdered. A major Congressional investigation, made only possible when the Democrats took the Senate back from the Republicans (in part because Americans were pissed at the very notion of consorting with the same enemy who held 52 hostages just a few years earlier), pointed a lot of fingers but stopped short of either censuring or impeaching Reagan -- because he got away with the "aw shucks" defence and besides which he was too damn popular. But worldwide opinion also turned against Daniel Ortega and eventually he was forced to put his Presidency on the line -- which he lost to a coalition led by Violetta Chiamoro.

It's 2006 and just one day before the Congressional mid-terms which could see control of both Houses go the Democrats -- giving George W Bush his first real opposition in the legislature since 2002. The world's opinion has turned against Bush, especially for the way he continues to bully both the Middle East and the Americas. And wouldn't you know it? Daniel Ortega is back in vogue again, and if the final results from the Nicaraguan elections are correct he will become President -- again -- even with the embassy in Managua trying to rig the election to get the result they wanted, ABO (anyone but Ortega). What goes around comes around.

Incredibly, Ortega ran on a campaign of mantaining friendly ties with the United States, including furthering the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); and keeping the crime rate down. And Ortega's theme song for this campaign? John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." No, I don't really care for Ortega, but seeing him come back from the political dead like this must be oddly inspiring to the Democrats. Bush doesn't need the grief, but he'd better just accept the results than try to get rid of a potential rival -- like when Nixon assassinated Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973 to deflect attention away from the Watergate scandal. Like that worked.

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