Nica Delegate “Impressed” With Democratic Convention

June 24, 2005

THE U.S.-Central American Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is not goingto pass congressional vote in the UnitedStates and will have to be renegotiatedafter Democratic candidate Sen. JohnKerry is elected President next November.That is the message that was deliveredto Latin American observers at last week’sDemocratic National Convention inBoston, according to Nicaragua’s invitedguest, Gen. Joaquín Cuadra.The former guerilla leader who wenton to become head of the SandinistaArmy and then the Nicaraguan Militarywas invited by the National DemocraticInstitute to participate in a weeklonginternational forum on democracy thatparalleled the convention.The Kerry campaign said CAFTAmust be renegotiated to better protect(U.S.) labor and the environment,Cuadra relayed, adding that Democraticparty leaders said they would – if victorious– reengage Latin America in amore profound relationship based ontrade and building of democratic institutions.On a personal level, the Nicaraguanrepresentative said the convention welcomedhim – a former guerilla – into theinternational democratic community, andthat he was “very impressed” with theentire show.Asked if he would vote for Kerry ifallowed to, Cuadra said yes, but that hismind was made up long before the convention.“I never liked Bush, and I never likedhis dad,” Cuadra said.In April 1985, Sen. Kerry was part ofa congressional delegation to visitNicaragua and meet with then-SandinistaPresident Daniel Ortega. Kerry wasadamantly opposed to U.S. policy to backthe counterrevolutionary forces, andlikened the U.S. involvement inNicaragua to Vietnam.Sen. Kerry returned to Congressclaiming that the Nicaraguan government“just wanted peace.” But his efforts tofacilitate a dialogue between Ortega andU.S. President Ronald Reagan wererejected by the latter.

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