Thursday, May 31, 2018

Nicaragua in Flames

Back in October 2016 I wrote a post at Global Americans on Daniel Ortega, comparing him to Richard Nixon in terms of being too paranoid and going too far to ensure a victory that would have come anyway.

There really is no doubt that Ortega will win in November. The broader question is whether the coalition that supports him—which transcends ideology—will stand with him as political power in the country devolves almost entirely to him and his family. As Richard Nixon once famously said, “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Ortega appears to agree, and we can only wait to determine whether the same hubris and paranoia has the same disastrous outcome in the long term for Nicaragua’s Nixon.

And the answer increasingly appears to be no. "Hubris and paranoia" are in full view as Ortega's government supporters attacked Mother's Day protesters even while his daughter was scheduled to attend "Miami Fashion Week." Amnesty International wrote a scathing report about government repression.

This doesn't automatically mean he's finished. Indeed, Ortega's chameleon changes are legendary. I become a broken record* with this observation, but we don't know the attitude of the military beyond the fact that it does not want to suppress protests. This is why civilian supporters are engaged in the repression, which also allows Ortega some deniability (which TeleSur swallows whole and spits back to its audience).

I don't know how long he will remain in power, but I can say he is making mistake after mistake. There was no reason to cheat so much to win in 2016, and there was no reason to shove damaging pension reform down the country's throat, and there is no reason to engage in such high levels of repression. The consummate political strategist is losing his touch.

*BTW, do people under the age of, say, 35 still use this phrase and know what it means?


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