It is a thankless task to refer to Ortega’s speeches, but it must be done. Although his use of an exhausting verbiage and endless repetitions of his absurd interpretation of history are progressively less effective, even to his own followers, the political struggle for democracy demands unmasking every hoax he vociferates.
So, let me proceed to expose his two speeches of last week.
The “sewer” of the OAS
Let me begin with his attacks against the OAS. Over and over Ortega lashed out at the OAS, surely angry because only two governments supported him in the recent meeting of the Permanent Council: a small Caribbean Island and his Bolivian comrades. He called it a “sewer.” But instead of referring to Nicaragua, he showed his bitterness, evoking rather the separation of Cuba from the Inter-American organization, 60 years ago. He also repeated the same attacks against the control that the United States supposedly exerts on the Continental body.
Obviously, Ortega did not mention several facts that, for the forgetful, are better ignored.
At no time did he mention that, in 1979, Father Miguel D’Escoto, occupying the seat assigned to him by the Panamanian delegation, and speaking on behalf of the Sandinista Front, clamored for the support of the OAS. He participated in the debates that led to the resolution demanding the immediate and definitive replacement of the Somoza regime. The tyrant, seems to have forgotten that episode.
Ortega also forgot more recent events such as the agreement he signed with [OAS Secretary General] Luis Almagro to carry out electoral reforms. Likewise, the smiling meeting they held after the electoral circus that Ortega staged in November of 2016. At that time, he enjoyed the indulgence of the international community that looked away from his excesses.
Nor did he recall that, in July 2018, his own representative to the OAS co-sponsored with the United States the resolution that enabled the Permanent Council to deal with the Nicaraguan crisis. It is important to repeat it: Ortega himself co-sponsored and voted in favor of the resolution that enabled the OAS to promote a solution to the Nicaraguan political crisis.
Why wasn’t it a sewer before and now it is?
Ortega also railed against free trade and, referring to developed countries, shouting: “For them, yes, Free Market, to do whatever they want.”
But he did not make a single mention of the CAFTA free trade agreement signed with the United States, or the Association Agreement with the European Union. Both international treaties allow Nicaraguan exports to enter these markets under preferential conditions.
If these commercial relations irritate the tyrant so much, why doesn’t he break off those agreements?
I can remind the forgetful, that thanks to CAFTA, more than 100,000 Nicaraguan workers, mainly women, have a job in the free trade zones. It is true that the lowest wages in Central America are paid, and it is also worth pointing to the audacity of the dictatorship: to attract foreign investors —a conspicuous expression of imperialism—, promoting precisely the low wages imposed by the Ministry of Labor as a compartive advantage for companies.
It’s also noteworthy that 50% of Nicaraguan exports go to the United States under CAFTA. Why doesn’t he instead promote exports to Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Russia, or China?
Thousands of producers and exporters of coffee, cheese, beans, peanuts, tobacco, sugar cane, cattle… live off exports to the United States. They are competitive thanks to the preferential treatment, because in Ortega’s 15 years in power, the country has not advanced one step in terms of competitiveness and technological modernization.
Neither under Somoza, nor with neoliberal governments, has the Nicaraguan economy depended as much on the United States economy as it does today, with the anti-imperialist Ortega. At least 45% of the GDP depends on the United States.
The savage capitalist speaks of savage capitalism
He also ranted against savage capitalism. The same person that imposed a predatory capitalism in the country, worse, much worse, than the governments that preceded him. A predatory capitalism that through abuses, fraud and impunity made him the richest man in Nicaragua and one of the wealthiest in Central America.
The same predatory capitalism that to promote foreign investments exhibits the poverty of its workers as the country’s main advantage. The same character who from his electricity and fuel businesses squeezes the pockets of Nicaraguans, consumers and businesspeople, with the highest energy rates in Central America and the highest fuel prices in the region.
Ortega says that savage capitalism causes inequality and poverty. And it is true. So, let him begin by banishing it from Nicaragua.
Lies and nonsense
As usual, the lies were not lacking [in his recent speeches]. Carelessly, he stated the following: “…we began to alphabetize until we were able to totally reduce illiteracy.” We would have to invite him to see today’s UNESCO figures. According to that organization, illiteracy is around 20% of the population.
There was no lack of nonsense. He spouted the following claim: “That only some countries have the right to have atomic weapons and others do not, that is not democracy!”
What do you think of this insane conception of democracy?
What does Nicaragua have to do with that or democracy with atomic bombs?
Ortega measures democracy by weapons. That is crazy, but coming from him, it makes sense.
Finally, he became a prosecutor and judge of the citizens he holds as hostages for the mere fact of demanding fair elections, without their relatives or lawyers being able to even see them. Worse than in “Somocismo.”
Without any shame, without being a prosecutor or judge, he anticipated that the sentence for these Nicaraguan citizens is already ready.
In conclusion, those were the latest speeches of a belligerent and deceitful tyrant, with delusional pretenses of world leadership. A tyrant clinging insanely to the past and power.
A tyrant without a future.
Article by Enrique Saenz was originally published in Havana Times