San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Looking to 2007: A Reason for Optimism

In many respects, 2006 was a testy and trying year for Nicaragua. A heated presidential campaign peppered with international intimidation and ghastly images from the past had folks jittery for most of the year. A maddening energy crisis had investors and others cursing in the dark. A lack of rain had crops wilting and farmers kicking at the dust. Electoral uncertainty had investors on standby. And water-rationing policies contributed to the general funk.

But as the year closes, there is a new mood of optimism and confidence that the country is about to turn over a new page in its history. Ironically to some, Daniel Ortega appears to be the man who might lead Nicaragua’s coming of age.

Then again, Nicaragua’s coming of age is intimately enmeshed with the revolution’s coming of age, and, on that note, Ortega’s coming of age.

In his first month as President-elect, Ortega has shown a new sense of responsibility and maturity that sometimes comes with power.

He has dropped his old “yanqui imperialista” shtick, and pursued a bigtent policy of reconciliation.

Ortega is saying we can all work together, and that there are real intersections of social and economic interest.

It’s a message of cooperation and nationbuilding that Nicaragua has warmed to.

We can only hope this continues over the next five years.

As 2006 closes, many investors are now feeling more secure than they were at the beginning of the year.And some are outright optimistic.

There is a sense that Ortega is trying to rewrite the final chapter to his legacy in Nicaragua.

And it appears he might be modeling the ending on the one where the frog turns into a prince.


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