>Nicaragua’s fragile, 20-year-old democracy is tanking under the leadership of Daniel Ortega, a slavish KGB asset who returned from political oblivion in 2006 to again masquerade as the country’s president. Opposition leaders are calling for “civil disobedience” and “general rebellion” against the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This follows the latest rulings by the Supreme Court, which is controlled by judges who sympathize with President Ortega, two of whom refuse to hand in their gavels after their terms expired on April 11.
Pictured above: On May 13 Ortega hosted deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in Managua, where they promoted a new plan to end Zelaya’s exile and reintegrate Honduras into the Organization of American States. Afterward, Zelaya flew to Havana where he consulted with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Last summer, after his ouster in Tegucigalpa, the Nicaraguan capital served as a base of operations for Zelaya. In March Hugo Chavez appointed Zelaya head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council.
On May 12 the Supreme Court nullified an April 20 congressional session held inside the Holiday Inn in Managua–while Sandinista thugs fired mortars at the hotel–and revoked the legal immunity enjoyed by seven opposition lawmakers who sit on the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Commission. The opposition responded by condemning the Supreme Court’s decision as another “illegal barbarity” and “shameful disrespect for the constitution.”
During the extraordinary session, the National Assembly deputies, who achieved quorum without their FSLN colleagues being present, introduced a bill to the commission to overturn Ortega’s January 9 executive order that extended the terms of 25 top judicial and executive officials. The Sandinista judges had passed a separate resolution earlier in April forbidding the National Assembly from overturning Ortega’s decree. The opposition, however, argues the court has no legal right to forbid the assembly from passing laws and, thus, went ahead and presented the bill.
From the perspective of José Pallaís, president of the Judicial Affairs Commission and a member of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), everything that the Sandinistas are doing is flagrantly illegal. “There is no rule of law here anymore! Everything has become absurd and totally contrary to the law! The only thing left is the right to rebellion!” Pallaís declared to the Costa Rica-based Nica Times last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, unrest has returned to the streets of the capital and to the campus of the National Autonomous University of Managua (UNAN), which masked “students” have occupied for the past week. On May 11 what appeared to be two rival factions of the Sandinista Youth clashed on the streets outside the university with rocks, home-made mortars, and pistols. Several students were injured during the fighting, including one who was pistol-whipped by another student. The latter, in turn, was captured by TV cameras pointing his gun in the faces of other students. As usual, the National Police did nothing to intervene, claiming that the university’s autonomy prevents them from acting.
Lately, the US embassy in Managua has issued at least two alerts to its citizens to stay clear of the district around UNAN, to “maintain a high level of security awareness, and to avoid large crowds due to the potential for violence.”
Last Thursday National Assembly secretary Wilfredo Navarro boldly declared: “We are ready to become the first political prisoners of the second Ortega dictatorship. They are going to have to put us in jail or kill us, because that’s all that’s left for them to do. Ortega keeps saying this is not a dictatorship because there are no political prisoners. So it would be an honor to be the first.”
In response to Sandinista Supreme Court judge Francisco Rosales, who described the opposition’s Holiday Inn session as a “flagrant crime,” Navarro protested: “This is an outrage. The clause about flagrant crimes no longer exists in the constitution.” According to Navarro, Rosales appears to be referring to the old constitution that existed during the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s. That constitution was amended in 1995 so that a legislator’s immunity can be lifted only by the National Assembly itself.
Although Ortega has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2011 presidential election, La Voz del Sandinismo is already peddling public opinion figures that supposedly show substantial support for Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator. According to the official organ of the FLSN, citing a New Century poll from May 8, 44 percent of respondents would vote for “El Comandante” or another FLSN candidate, even though only 38 percent of the electorate chose Ortega in 2006. New Century also polled the army and the police. Nearly 65 percent of soldiers held a “very favourable” or “favourable” opinion of the Sandinistas, while 61 percent of police held the same views.
The Cuban state media is making no secret about its support for the Sandinistas. In an editorial at Prensa Latina, propagandist Alfredo Pierrat defends the Nicaraguan Supreme Court’s unconstitutional machinations, accuses the PLC of “paralyzing” the government’s business and of refusing to accept “political alternation,” and charges former President Arnoldo (“Fasto”) Aleman, who was once allied with Ortega in “El Pacto,” and the Roman Catholic Church of fomenting political chaos to oust the FSLN.
Will Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo, a former Contra, join Pallaís and Navarro in the rebellion?
Will Ortega cling to power by attributing provocations to the opposition, declaring a state of emergency, and trying to illegally run in next year’s election?
Will Hugo Chavez, obediently following orders from his masters in Moscow, funnel more petro-bucks into Nicaragua, via ALBA front companies, to prop up beleaguered ally Ortega?
Will the Russians offer verbal or more substantial support to Ortega who, along with Venezuela and Nauru, has recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
One thing is sure: As long as the Sandinistas control Nicaragua, this country serves as an important beachhead for Soviet subversion and war preps in Central America. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin has a strategic interest in keeping Ortega in power.