San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

In Defense of Daniel Ortega

It’s very sad to see how much hatred some of the local media projects to all Nicaraguans, trying to brainwash the humble people of Nicaragua by distorting or twisting the news.

Every single day the right-wing media talks about the FSLN government in many bad ways.

As a Nicaraguan citizen, I have the duty to tell people – both tourists and residents of Nicaragua – that President Daniel Ortega’s reputation has been stigmatized since the 1980s, when he had relations with Russia, Eastern Germany and Cuba. What many people don’t realize is that in the early 80s these countries were helping Nicaraguans to get back on our feet again after a 42-year dictatorship under the Somoza family, which was financed by the U.S. government.

A lot of tourists from around the world who never had the chance to live here from 1990 to 2006 (the period in between Ortega’s first and second terms) don’t realize all the corruption that we Nicaraguans suffered then, as well as the poverty, hunger and inequality. More and more children were begging on the streets and there were power blackouts for more than 10 hours each day.

Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, Nicaragua’s first female president, did not accept the $17 billion that we Nicaraguans won in The Hague ruling against the U.S. for  financing the Contra war in the 1980s.

Then she sold the train system in 1994 without asking Nicaraguans if we wanted the train and railroad to be sold. During these years national lawmakers were earning $5,000 a month, while the average Nicaraguan was making $2 a day.

Then came President Arnoldo Alemán (1996-2000). He allegedly stole millions in Nicaraguan tax dollars and was involved in scandals such as the one involving an airplane full of drugs – a scandal known as the “Narco Jet.”

Then we had President Enrique Bolaños (2001-2006). This guy allowed all of the textile factories into Nicaragua and gave them tax-free benefits, despite the profits they earned. Bolaños also privatized the energy distribution sector, selling it to Union Fenosa, a Spanish company (so we still have the conquistador in Nicaragua in the year of 2010).

When McDonalds first came to Nicaragua, Bolaños said on national TV that progress had come to Nicaragua, even though thousands of children were on the street wiping down windshields instead of going to school.

The following is a list of accomplishments by Daniel Ortega and the FSLN since returning to power. They have brought progress to Nicaragua – accomplishments that the right-wing media will never tell you about:

1) There are no more power blackouts for 10 hours a day.

2) Education is free in Nicaragua

3) For the first time in Nicaragua’s history, the country has been declared free of illiteracy. According to UNESCO, a country is considered free of illiteracy if the illiteracy rate is lower than 5 percent. In Nicaragua, it is 3.1 percent.

4) There are more social projects for extremely poor people, such as AMOR, A Roof for the People, and loans for single mothers.

5) Through ALBA, Nicaragua is now exporting record levels of rice, black beans, fruit, and soy oil. Nicaragua is exporting 36 tons of cheese to Europe.

6) President Ortega has given away more than eleven thousand property titles in the past two years.

7) There is a 107-kilometer highway being constructed between San Miguelito and San Carlos.

8) In 2008, Nicaragua had its highest number of tourists ever – 857,000 tourists from around the world who left more than $300 million in profit in Nicaragua.

More and more tourists from around the world are realizing that Nicaragua has a lot to offer, especially tourists from Costa Rica, because they know that Nicaragua is two times cheaper, is rich in history and natural resources, and has very hospitable people.

As a Nicaraguan, I am inviting all tourists to come to Nicaragua and enjoy our beautiful country and its people. Nicaragua is the third-safest country in the Americas, behind Canada and Chile.


Nicaraguan-born Camilo Faciane, 28, was adopted in the United States and lived in New Orleans for seven years. He is now an INTUR-certified tour guide and lives in Granada with his daughter.

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