Aleman and Ortega Reverse The Only Achievement of Bolaños And Leave Ortega Absolute Power in Nicaragua
I remember one conversation I had with a Nicaraguan landowner about four years ago. This particular landowner had historically tried to be apolitical, which in his case meant that he was allowed and required to negotiate with everybody, paying unofficial taxes to politicians. Although he started out poor, he worked hard and negotiated wisely, always giving them his tithe and yet always increasing his own wealth. In the past twenty years, he had primarily bought and sold confiscated properties, buying them cheaply and carefully from cooperatives (groups of people who had gotten those confiscatd properties for free), selling them for a large premium, requiring only his single signature. He now owns thousands of manzanas and although not a politician himself certainly knows many of them personally.
He told me that in his opinion, that the one single achievement of (then-President) Bolaños's administration had been to put Aleman (the former President) in jail.
This past week, Ortega and Aleman have put the final touches on the reversal of that "achievement" of Bolaños.
Several days ago, Tim Rogers reported in the Tico Times that Aleman was in the process of negotiating a full release for himself in return for handing over control of the legislature to Daniel Ortega (full story on Aleman).
Then as a court pronounced the overruling of Aleman's sentence, newspapers around the world reported Aleman's release: (text of new judicial ruling)
La Prensa: Aleman Freed and the National Assembly turned over to Ortega:
According to the following La Prensa article, what we will see next is the imprisonment of Montealegre:
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/archivo/2009/enero/17/noticias/politica/306705.shtml (if you wonder why those men are smiling after handing over the reins to Ortega, my guess is that it's because they just received several million dollars each in various bank accounts)
"Farce in Two Acts" in El Nuevo Diario:
New York Times
Associated Press article about Aleman's release:
So it's clear: Aleman is free, Ortega gets control of the legislative branch and now controls all four branches of Nicaraguan government. Of course, Aleman says his release is unrelated to recent election fraud and the change in power in the legislative leadership. In Nicaragua, observers learned long ago, one cannot trust anything anyone else says, deceipt being an endemic cultural characteristic. Words are spoken in dramas meant to be enjoyed for their own sake and used to trick one another, as often as they are used to convey truth.
On one recent thread in the highly-censored "nicaliving" site (http://www.nicaliving.com/node/14203) the siteowner "fyl" writes "When Bush and Cheney get convicted of war crimes I might start to think things are different in the first world." echoing an earlier set of hypotheses from an earlier post: I think Nicaragua is far from perfect but I certainly see it moving in a direction that will likely help the majority of the people. Some are going to say "Nicaragua is scaring off private investment". I will say "Nicaragua is the land of opportunity—much like the U.S. was 50 years ago".(http://www.nicaliving.com/node/14076) and the goal of government is always social engineering and that the end result is what the people under that government attain—not that the actions of the government fit some artificial criteria that we label as "good" in his blog "Benevolent Dictators" (http://www.nicaliving.com/node/13965).
So the big question for Nicaragua is: what will be the effect of having Ortega control all branches of government? Is Nicaragua about to go through a Cultural Revolution like Mao's, Stalin's, Pol Pot's? Is Nicaragua going to have a gentler dictatorship like Lee Kwan Yew?
There is an interesting image of the economic "progress" of several different countries in Nicaragua's Progress and Dependence on Foreign Cash. That image traces a massive collapse of Nicaragua's economy during its first Sandinista dictatorship. Will the same thing happen again? Does Nicaragua have any further to fall at this point? Or is Nicaragua no more plagued by corruption than the United States or Singapore, finally now about to enjoy its long-deserved rise to prosperity?
Please share your predictions.