San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega Has Taken Nicaragua Backwards

Dear Nica Times:

I live in Nicaragua as a permanent resident for the past five years. I love picking your newspaper up at Stop & Go when I see a new issue. I wish it was more than four pages.

That aside, I am a little taken aback that you published a letter to the editor in the May 21 issue from Travis Schuster, entitled “Don’t Paint Ortega, FSLN in a Bad Light.”

Now I understand as an American that there is an anti-corporation and anti-U.S. foreign policy trend that is popular now among the left in the United States. It has been especially popularized by actors Sean Penn and Danny Glover.

But to read this letter about Nicaraguan politics that completely bashed the three former administrations and the United States and their involvement here in the 1980s while demanding better coverage of President Daniel Ortega was frustrating, and to be frank, annoying.

There is no possible way one can argue that after three years in office Ortega has taken Nicaragua anywhere but backwards. He does what he wants while keeping the resistance at bay by allowing private businesses to go on with business as usual.

And he will strike at them soon, too, I’m sure. I know former Nicaraguan Presidents Violeta Chamorro, Arnoldo Alemán and Enrique Bolaños weren’t heroes (actually Violeta was). But to say they did nothing for the country is totally idiotic.

We have a great airport, health care is free to all, roads are improved and, even though Alemán was crooked, he made great strides towards improving schools, especially in rural areas. To claim Ortega has done more than enslave Nicaragua to ALBA while fattening his friends’ pockets, commit electoral fraud, and give away chickens for votes is fantasy.

I can’t imagine which “important areas” Mr. Schuster is claiming Ortega has improved. Then to top it off, I had to read about how evil the Contras were in the 1980s, as if the Sandinistas were walking around handing out daisies.

This country is taking steps backwards right now. There is no need to fantasize and play nice with Ortega and the FSLN.

Let’s just hope Ortega doesn’t change the constitution “for the sake of Nicaragua,” as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez has done.

Ortega seems to be close to doing so.

Christopher Farrington


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