It would seem useless to make reference to the speeches of Daniel Ortega, but it must be done. Even though I personally hate reading or listening to his spiels, or commenting on them, there’s no way around it; in battle you have to fight on all flanks.
We can’t let even one go by, because in the end, the struggle against this terrorist regime isn’t only waged in the streets or in the international arenas, it’s waged, above all, in the minds of the population. Definitively, it’s what the person has in their head that determines their actions, and not the other way around.
In his most recent speech, Ortega debuted a novel idea. He took it upon himself to reminisce about the times of dictator Anastasio Somoza, and he didn’t blanche about saying the following: “We had Somoza-like governments from April 25, 1990, through January 10, 2007.” He then spent time ranting about the governments of that period. Let me go on the record, I opposed those three governments, and the present commentary isn’t being written to even any score.
Let’s continue, though, by recalling what Somoza’s government was like, and comparing it to Ortega’s fallacious discourse.
Somoza Debayle, the last of the dynasty, made a pact with Fernando Aguero, the strongman of the Conservative Party, to reform the Constitution and assure his reelection. With the same intention, his father, Somoza Garcia, had signed a pact with Emiliano Chamorro.
Daniel Ortega made a pact with Arnoldo Aleman, the strongman of the Liberal Party, to reform the Constitution and open the way for his return to power.
Taking advantage of their control of the electoral power, Somoza Garcia, like his sons Luis and Anastasio, maneuvered to exclude the real opposition and impose electoral frauds. Ortega, as we now know, has made a mockery of the popular will since 2006. We still don’t know what happened with the famous 8% of the votes that were never released in the elections of that year.
Who’s the one echoing the actions of the Somoza family?
The Somoza family, during their more than forty years in power, institutionalized corruption as government policy and accumulated a formidable fortune. Ortega, according to international reports, heads the most corrupt government in Central America and the third worst in Latin America.
Using his political power, he appropriated billions of dollars from the Venezuelan oil cooperation, and with this and other deals, he’s managed to amass a fortune that leaves the Somoza family looking like paupers. As far as we know, neither Violeta Chamorro [president of Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997], nor Enrique Bolanos [president from 2002 – 2007] left the presidency any wealthier than they were when they arrived there.
In this case, Ortega isn’t only repeating Somoza’s behavior, but surpassing it.
Somoza excluded and harassed all the political parties he couldn’t control, while maintaining his pact with the Conservative Party via schemes and distribution of favors. Ortega maintains unbroken his pact with Arnoldo Aleman and the Liberal Constitutionalist party (PLC). However, Somoza was a little more generous, while Aleman seems content with the crumbs.
Somoza dominated all the State powers. However, his domination was never complete, to the point that Anastasio Somoza Debayle himself lost a trial to a private citizen. Does anyone think that some judge or tribunal could rule against Ortega?
The first Somoza enthroned himself in power through successive, skillfully manipulated reelections. The last Somoza was reelected once. Ortega has now accumulated three consecutive terms [plus a previous one from 1985-1990], and although the popular saying says, “not even the oxen get a fourth try”, he’s already preparing to bolt himself down for a fourth time.
Dona Violeta and Enrique Bolanos left power and returned to their homes. Only the persistent and submissive ally of the pact continues prospering through politics.
Who is it that repeats the behaviors of Somoza?
The Somoza dynasty allied itself with the most powerful economic groups using the following trade-off: make your fortune, but don’t get involved in politics. Ortega did the same, with the addition that he took his alliance to the Constitution.
Somoza transformed the national guard into an armed body at the personal service of his family. Ortega deformed the police and the army and also transformed them into guardian of his personal power.
Anastasio Somoza Debayle confronted an armed insurrection and repressed right and left. Ortega faces a peaceful resistance and also represses right and left, with the difference that the people are defenseless.
Neither Violeta Chamorro nor don Enrique Bolanos, nor Arnoldo Aleman himself headed up repressive regimes. On the contrary, the repression was unleashed many times behind their backs and against their will. Suffice it to point out the more than 500 ex-Contras were assassinated during the nineties, according the final report of the OAS International Support and Verification Commission.
The conclusion is obvious: Ortega-ism is the reincarnation of the Somoza years. We’re not looking at the second stage of the revolution. We’re looking at the second stage of Somocismo. Ortega has installed a XXI Century version of Somoza.
The dictator closed his recent speech by classifying the popular resistance and the struggle for democracy as also reflections of Somoza. He stated: “The attempts of the Somocistas that last April thought they’d be back into power, with all their bitterness, with all their terrorist practices…”
The one speaking of terrorism is none other than the same person that was imprisoned for robbing banks and shooting at people. The same one who, when in the opposition, headed up violent protests, bus burnings, putting banks into bankruptcy, property invasions, mortar throwing, roadblocking, blackmail, and other outrages too unpleasant to recall.
If we’re going to speak of Somocismo, the first Somoza echo in the line bears the name of Daniel Ortega.