San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega is Not One To Lecture the U.S.

Dear Nica Times:

Dany Ortega’s lecturing the United States on the causes of violence and the “spiritual destruction of savage capitalism” (NT, May 18) is something akin to Vlad the Impaler complaining that his neighbor mistreats his poodle.

Mr. Ortega surely is the one to consult about violence. His wild enthusiasm for it and his experience in inflicting it on his countrymen certainly qualifies him as an expert.

His efforts at correcting the errors of “savage capitalism” in Nicaragua in the 1980s included neighborhood snitch committees (Comités de Defensa Sandinista), and ruthless control of the press, labor unions and the private economy, which he managed to wreck in short order.

In the years Mr. Ortega ran Nicaragua, thousands of political opponents were killed or imprisoned as were thousands of native Indians.

Like his much-admired heroes, Mao and Stalin, Dany used government-created famine as a weapon.

This adds impressive weight to Mr. Ortega’s credentials as an expert on the causes and uses of violence.

We can only hope the spiritual destruction of savage capitalism is never as complete as that of Ortega’s fantasy of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Hal O’Boyle

San José, Costa Rica


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