San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gadea’s pre-candidacy shakes up tired opposition

Year in Review

Nicaragua’s tired political opposition got a slight shakeup this year when veteran radio producer Fabio Gadea, 79, decided to throw his hat in the ring and announce his pre-candidacy for president in 2011.

Gadea, a grumpy and conservative former contra who is best known to voters for his “Love Letters to Nicaragua” series and his folksy radio personality “Pancho Madrigal,” announced his pre-candidacy in September, and has been traveling around the country since then, hosting rallies of various sizes and enthusiasm levels.

Gadea’s candidacy, which has been endorsed by several smaller political parties, but most enthusiastically by opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre and the daily La Prensa, is decidedly anti-Sandinista.

He told The Nica Times in an interview in September that if he wins he would launch a “revolution of honesty” in Nicaragua, and build a government of “national reconciliation” that – ironically – would exclude the Sandinistas.

Though Gadea has been compared to former President Enrique Bolaños – a comparison that makes him bristle – he said he prefers to think of himself more as a political figure similar to former President Violeta Chamorro, who in 1990 defeated Ortega with her UNO coalition.

Gadea, who’s focusing on uniting the country rather than developing a government plan, is convinced he can beat Ortega.

“The people will go out and vote once they have a candidate to vote for,” he said.

But a M&R Consultants poll released in December shows that if the elections were held now, Ortega would beat Gadea 43 percent to 21 percent in a two-man race.

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