San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Daniel Ortega’s Legacy, Full of Conflict

Ever since Daniel Ortega assumed the presidency of Nicaragua earlier this year, he has dedicated himself to practicing his favorite hobby: xenophobia toward Costa Rica and President Oscar Arias.

These matters are in his personal agenda and that of Hugo Chávez, his mentor in Venezuela.

Ortega is more worried about losing his SAM-7 missiles than about losing food for Nicaraguans. Some months ago he declared that the countries of Central America, including Costa Rica, are better armed than Nicaragua. A lie. A thankless lie. One after the other. Daniel Ortega’s hobby.

While this is going on in Nicaragua, in Costa Rica, President Arias is meeting with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to request 50,000 computers for poor students, and is pushing the construction of a plasma rocket engine with U.S.-Costa Rica astronaut Franklin Chang (TT, June 22).

The Ortega family’s xenophobia toward Costa Rica is well known throughout the country.

The Ortegas and the Sandinistas owe Costa Rica the lives of many victims of landmines they ordered buried along our border with Nicaragua at the end of the 1970s and early ‘80s.

A few months ago, Ortega and the Sandinistas placed flowers on the tomb of Carlos Fonseca Amador (founder of the Sandinista Front). The Sandinistas should think about coming to Costa Rica to place flowers on the tomb of the Costa Rican police officer assassinated by Humberto Ortega while he guarded the cell of Fonseca Amador.

It was a mistake for former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo to pardon Humberto Ortega, the brother of the current President of Nicaragua, for that murder.

Today, more important things should be on the agenda of Nicaragua’s chief of state, such as supplying food, housing, work and education to Nicaragua. Ortega should get to work, not wait for Chávez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro to solve Nicaragua’s problems.

Don Daniel has turned into a stale, wornout leader, whose ego is fed by the nonsensical outbursts of Chávez and the feverish diatribes of Castro.

In this way, Ortega prostitutes the liberating thinking of the Nicaraguan patriot and rebel forces leader, Gen. Augusto Sandino.

In Costa Rica we say things were better with General Anastasio Somoza, than with those who came after.

There’s a time to say that one fought, there’s a time to say that one was a revolutionary, there’s a time to say that one worked.

There’s a time to talk. Today, it’s time to work. Evoking Martin Luther King Jr.: “I have a dream.” I’d build a big hospital and a shelter at Peñas Blancas and along the whole border with Nicaragua, to attend and feed the thousands of marvelous Nicaraguans who come to work in Costa Rica, and who day after day cross the San Juan River with their small children and babies on their backs, seeking a better life here in Costa Rica.

These exceptional Nicaraguans, many of them mothers with children in both countries, live an eternal drama, often spending many years without seeing their offspring.

This is just one of Ortega’s legacies.

Roy Arguedas is a graphic designer for The Tico Times who lives in San José. He has long studied and been interested in the political history of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.


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