Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega at 80% Approval Rating: Poll

Source:  TeleSUR
October 19 2017

daniel ortega approval rating oct 2017Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. | Photo: EFE

 The ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front is ahead in polls for the upcoming municipal elections.

President Daniel Ortega has an almost 80 percent approval rating among Nicaraguans and his party is ahead in polls for the Nov. 5 elections that will elect mayors across the country, according to a recent survey.

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Some 77.5 percent say that President Ortega has led Nicaragua correctly, while 77.8 percent said the Sandinista National Liberation Front government gives them hope, according to a recent poll by Consultora M&R published Wednesday.

The poll also showed that 78.6 percent of the people believe the current government works for the benefit of the population.

The report added that 71.5 percent consider the government “democratic” and “that it complies with the laws” and 79.1 percent said that it brings “unity and reconciliation” to the Central American nation.

According to the poll, the ruling Sandinistas have a 57.5 percent approval, while the opposition parties received 6.3 percent. Another 36.2 percent declared themselves independent.

The poll also asked citizens to outline life priorities. Health received the number one spot, with 91 percent, followed by work with 76.8 percent, housing at 70.1 percent, and economic welfare with 60 percent.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 28 through Oct. 11 in 15 departments and two autonomous regions of Nicaragua, with a margin of error of 2.5 percent and 95 percent reliability.

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Achievements Baffle World Bank, IMF

Source: TeleSUR
August 31 2017

By: Tortilla Con Sal

sandinistas supporters aug 2017.jpgSupporters of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. | Photo: EFE

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts.

No one can take at face value any report, governmental or quasi non-governmental, coming out of the imperialist bureaucracy in Washington. Ideological bias and institutional self-justification prevent these reports from giving a true account of virtually anything.

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The latest World Bank report on Nicaragua is no exception.

The implicit but unstated truth in this report is that President Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front have achieved an unprecedented economic turnaround in just seven years, starting in 2010.

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts. Put another way, mild conflict clearly prevails between the World Bank’s Washington head office and its reality based local officials. From Washington, the tendency is both to minimize Ortega’s achievement and also to cover up the World Bank’s own lamentable history in Nicaragua. On the other hand, in Nicaragua, local World Bank staff dutifully report the facts as they see them.

A total of 71 people contributed to the report. Supposing those 71 people each worked for a month to prepare the research and say their average salary was about US$80,000, then pro rata a month’s work by that team cost over US$500,000, a very conservative guess. Even so, in summary, that money bought policy recommendations for Nicaragua’s development amounting to little more than better infrastructure; better basic services; more private business investment; more efficient government; better targeted social policies. That’s it, for US$500,000 or more.

Recognizing Nicaragua’s achievements

In general, the report recognizes Nicaragua’s achievements in reducing poverty and inequality, raising productivity, diversifying economic activity and promoting security and stability. The report’s 130 or so pages include, among the economic and sociological analysis, many self-confessed guesses to fill in “knowledge gaps” and much gerrymandered history to cover up what Harold Pinter in his 2005 Nobel prize winning address justly called “the tragedy of Nicaragua.”

Pinter himself might have remarked the report is almost witty in its audacious, glib omissions. It acknowledges the catastrophic destructive effects of the 1980s war in Nicaragua, but carefully omits the U.S. government’s deliberate role in that destruction, now repeated against Syria and Venezuela.

The report talks about a “democratic transition” starting in 1990. In fact, the Sandinistas organized the first free and fair democratic elections ever in Nicaragua in 1984, but the U.S. government ordered the main Nicaraguan opposition to boycott them. Despite the war, Ortega and the Sandinistas won with 67 percent of the vote, very similar to the most recent presidential elections in 2016.

The heavy ideological bias also explains the World Bank’s curious dating of when Nicaragua’s economic turnaround began, placing it firmly in the neoliberal era prior to 2007. But at just that time, the World Bank was cutting back the public sector as much as they could, pushing, for example, to privatize Nicaragua’s public water utility and its education system.

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Nicaragua before the Sandinistas’ victory in January 2007

Back then, Nicaragua’s neglected electrical system collapsed through 2005 and 2006, incapable of generating even 400 megawatts a day, plunging swathes of Nicaragua back into 19th-century darkness for 10 to 12 hours at a time, day after day. That was the World Bank and IMF’s gift to Nicaragua after 17 years of so-called “democratic transition.” That period included Hurricane Mitch, devastating Nicaragua to the tune of 20 percent of its GDP, only for the corrupt neoliberal government at the time to misuse hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief. The only structurally significant economic achievement of the neoliberal era in Nicaragua was substantial foreign debt relief.

When Ortega took office in January 2007, he faced four years of domestic crisis with an opposition controlled legislature persistently sabotaging his government’s programs. From 2007 to 2008, Nicaragua and the whole region struggled in vain to contain a balance of payment deficits against oil prices reaching US$147 a barrel in 2008.

That disaster was compounded by the collapse of the Western financial system in late 2008 to 2009, a year when Nicaragua’s economy suffered a 3 percent contraction. Only in 2010, did the Nicaraguan government finally enjoy domestic and international conditions stable enough to be able to consolidate and improve its social programs, improve infrastructure investment, democratize and diversify the economy, extend basic services, and attract foreign investment, among other things.

The World Bank’s development recipe

If that sounds suddenly familiar, it should. It is exactly the development recipe offered up by this latest World Bank report, essentially an embellished review of policies the Nicaraguan government has already been implementing for a decade. Put positively, the government’s National Human Development Plan and other relevant documents suggest that the World Bank’s engagement with the Nicaraguan government has been one of mutual learning. So much so, that the current country program is likely to continue and may even expand.

The political opposition in Nicaragua has seized on parts of the report to try and discredit the Sandinista government’s outstanding achievements. In fact, for 17 years under neoliberal governments implementing World Bank and IMF policies, areas criticized like, for example, access to drinking water and adequate sanitation, or education, suffered chronic lack of investment, compounded by egregious waste and corruption. Now, the World Bank hypocritically criticizes Nicaragua’s government for intractable policy difficulties the IMF and the World Bank themselves originally provoked.

Similarly, when the World Bank report criticizes the targeting of social programs, they omit the unquestionable success of the government’s Zero Usury micro credit program and the Zero Hunger rural family support program, both prioritizing women. These programs have lifted tens of thousands of families out of poverty and, along with unprecedented support for Nicaragua’s cooperative sector, radically democratized Nicaragua’s economy, especially for previously excluded rural families and women. That supremely important national process is entirely absent from the World Bank report.

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The legacy of neoliberal governments

In its discussions of almost all these issues, the report makes more or less detailed contributions, mostly already identified by the government itself. In every case, the underlying cause of problems or lack of progress, for example, on land titling or social security, has been the legacy of neoliberal governments between 1990 and 2007, that reinstated elite privilege, rolled back the revolutionary gains of the 1980s and failed to guarantee necessary investment.

The World Bank and the IMF were enthusiastic ideological partners in that endeavor. They would have continued their ideological offensive had not Ortega and his government dug in their heels in 2007 and 2008, backed by investment support for social and productive programs from Venezuela as part of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas.

Since then, the World Bank, as this report suggests, seems, at least for the moment, to have learned two key lessons from the Sandinistas. In a world dominated by corporate elite globalization, their report implicitly recognizes the importance, firstly, of a mixed economy under a strong central government and, secondly, the crucial role of broad dialogue and consensus, across all sectors of society, to promote and sustain national stability. Essentially, the World Bank has acknowledged the undeniable success of the Sandinista Revolution’s socialist inspired, solidarity based policies, decisively prioritizing the needs of people over corporate profit and demonstrating the systemic inability of capitalism to meet those needs.

 

Latin American left looks to strengthen unity in Nicaragua

Source: Granma
January 8 2017

by Redacción Internacional | informacion@granma.cu

Representatives of various left political parties and groups from across Latin America are meeting in Nicaragua, reviewing an official proposal to strengthen unity among progressive movements in the region

President Daniel Ortega and first lady  Rosario Murillo greet supporters during celebrations to mark the 37th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution at the Juan Pablo II square in Managua

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo representing the Sandinista Front For National Liberation (FSLN) won the country’s presidential elections last November 6. Photo: el 19 digital

Managua.—Representatives of various leftist political parties and groups from across Latin America are meeting in Nicaragua, reviewing an official proposal to strengthen unity among progressive movements in the region.

According to sources closely linked to the event, today, Monday January 9, participants will consider proposals for the Consensus of Our America – a programmatic platform designed to combat actions by regional neoliberal oligarchies – which will be presented to the Sao Paulo Forum working group, according to Prensa Latina.

Unity vital in the present situation

After a year which saw Argentina elect a conservative government, a parliamentary coup staged in Brazil, and hostile media campaign against Venezuela, it is vital for social movements to unite, given such a complex state of affairs, emphasized event organizers.

At least 40 delegates from groups from over 10 countries are scheduled to attend the meeting.

The Sao Paulo Forum

The Sao Paulo Forum was founded by Brazil’s Workers Party in 1990 in the city of the same name, to unite efforts by leftist parties and movements in response to the ideological rupture created by the fall of the socialist camp in Europe and the advance of neoliberalism in countries across Latin American and Caribbean.

With Comandante Daniel Ortega set to be inaugurated on January 10 – after winning Nicaragua’s presidential elections for a third term on November 6, 2016, with 72.5% of the vote – leaders and representatives of political parties and social movements will come together in Managua, where from January 11-12, the meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum working group will take place.

December in Nicaragua – Struggle and Solidarity

Source:  TeleSUR

December 24 2016

By: Tortilla Con Sal

sandino.jpg

December has been important in the history of Nicaragua and Sandinismo. | Photo: EFE

An incomplete review offers a glance at why December is such an important month in Nicaragua’s turbulent history.

There are months of the year that for some more or less mysterious reason, or by mere coincidence, are laden with political meaning in Latin American history.

OPINION: Sandino and the Memory of Resistance

December is one of those months, especially in Nicaragua where the fireworks powder burned in the Catholic celebrations to Mother Mary and Christmas, and the pagan festivity of the New Year often blended with the gun smoke of the struggle for national liberation. December for Nicaraguans recalls important years past.

1927
Occupying U.S. troops disembark in Puerto Cabezas, in the Caribbean Coast. With the help of local women workers General Augusto C. Sandino recovers weapons and ammunition the enemy had tried to destroy by dumping them in the sea, enabling him to start his struggle against foreign intervention.

1930
Troops of Sandinista General Miguel Ángel Ortez ambush a patrol of marines in Achuapa, in the department of Leon.

1961

carlos fonseca 4.jpg

Along the banks of Rio Coco, in northern Nicaragua, the National Guard hunts down a guerrilla group of 45 young revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Fonseca, founder of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation.

1963

daniel ortega 9.jpg

Guatemala City – Five Sandinistas, among them today’s president Daniel Ortega Saavedra, are arrested and tortured by Guatemalan police and later handed over to Somoza’s National Guard.

1968
The Sandinista movement Revolutionary Students’ Front organized protests against Lyndon B. Johnson’s visit to the country. In Estelí somebody throws a molotov cocktail against a jeep of the dictatorship’s National Guard.

1969
Nicaragua is shaken by the news that guerrillas the dictatorship claimed had been defeated, are indeed alive: Combats are reported in La Virgen in the south and guerrilla activity is detected in Zinica in the north. In Alajuela, Costa Rica, a guerrilla squad of Sandinistas attempts to free from prison FSLN founder, Carlos Fonseca. The action fails, but the Sandinista Front wins the respect of wide sections of society.

1972
On Dec. 23, 1972, a violent earthquake destroys the capital, Managua. Instead of helping the victims, the National Guard plunders their belongings. The FSLN reorganizes its forces and sends many militants to the capital to help people who lost their homes.

1973
The whole month is taken by popular protests against the inhuman treatment given to political prisoners, especially the Sandinistas. University students take to the streets and occupy the churches in various cities demanding the prisoners’ release. Political prisoners in the notorious El Modelo jail start a hunger strike. Their mothers join them.

1974
Three thousand construction workers start a strike demanding unpaid salaries and Social Security registration.

On Dec. 27, the Sandinista squad ‘Juan José Quezada’ seizes the mansion of leading Somocista José María Castillo Quant, taking hostage almost all the diplomatic corps appointed to Managua who had been invited to a party there. The demand of the Sandinistas: Freedom for all political prisoners.

With this successful action, FSLN gains international recognition. The long period of silent strength accumulation is over and a new period of revolutionary offensive begins. Among the released prisoners: Comandante Daniel Ortega.

The regime’s answer to this blow by the Sandinistas was to unleash massive repression declaring martial law. One of the victims of this repression was the recently deceased former president of the National Assembly, René Núñez Téllez, captured by the National Guard and savagely tortured.

1976
On Dec. 9, 1976, Sandinista leader Rufo Marín is killed in Matagalpa. A month earlier the Sandinista leader Carlos Fonseca had been killed not far away, in Zinica.

1977
A month full of combats and struggle against the dictatorship. Ambushes and attacks against the National Guard in the north and also in Managua, occupation of churches by students in the cities, and important political moves under the leadership of the Sandinistas. A broad political spectrum (the Group of the Twelve) announces that no dialogue can be productive without the Sandinista Front. The next day, the Jesuits issue a statement condemning the National Guard’s repression.

Fearing an invasion by Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, Costa Rica asks the Organization of American States (OAS) to enforce the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, against the most loyal U.S. regional watchdog.

In southern Nicaragua, Radio Sandino starts clandestine broadcasts openly defying the regime’s censorship. Via Radio Sandino, a Spanish priest, Gaspar García Laviana, calls for popular unity to combat the dictatorship and announces his membership in the FSLN.

1978
Somoza lifts the martial law.But a Sandinista squad seizes the Nicaraguan-Honduran border post of Las Manos. A year after his appeal on Radio Sandino, Gaspar García Laviana is killed in combat in the southern department of Rivas. Major combats take place in the Southern Front ‘Benjamín Zeledón’ with the participation of important groups of Latin American internationalists. On Dec. 20, fierce combats force the closure of the border with Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, in the cities, popular struggle intensifies. The National Guard fails to evacuate a church in Managua, occupied by students and workers. The broad-based Group of Twelve call for a National Patriotic Front of all those committed to put an end to the dictatorship.

1979-1990
During the revolutionary decade that followed the ouster of Somoza’s regime, December became synonymous with struggle and solidarity. Thousands of youth mobilized at the end of every year in order to help harvest coffee beans in farms mostly located in the war zones. Other thousands joined the reserve battalions or the military draft to fight the Contras.

All over the country, young people sent letters to their families from faraway locations where they were fulfilling revolutionary duties. Cultural brigades visited the most isolated corners of Nicaragua trying to spread joy and warmth in the middle of the war.

On Dec. 13, 1981, the CIA blows up a Boeing 727 of Nicaragua’s national airline Aeronica in Mexico City’s International Airport, injuring both Nicaraguan and Mexican personnel.

In 1982, the government completes expropriation of 75,000 acres of land in Matagalpa, Jinotega, Estelí, Madriz and Nueva Segovia.

In 1983, the CIA’s Contra’s task forces launch one of many failed attempts to seize the town of Jalapa, on the border with Honduras.

In 1986, the Sandinista Popular Army rolls back an invasion of 3,000 U.S. armed Contras from Honduras.

In December 1989, during the U.S. invasion of Panama, with possible invasion imminent, tanks of the Sandinista Army surround the U.S. embassy in Managua.

RELATED:  Remembering Carlos Fonseca, Architect of the Sandinista Revolution

1999
Nicaragua sues Honduras in the International Court of Justice in the Hague over a maritime border treaty signed by the neighboring country with Colombia. 13 years later, in 2012, Nicaragua will recover 90,000 square kilometers of Caribbean Sea from Colombia.

2002
On Dec. 12, the National Assembly unseats former president Arnoldo Alemán, accused of serious fraud, as well as civil and electoral crimes.

2004
On Dec. 10, in California, investigative journalist Gary Webb dies under mysterious gary webb.jpgcircumstances. Webb disclosed how the CIA flooded black U.S. neighborhoods with drugs and laundered money from the Iran-Contra scandal so as to finance the U.S. terrorist war against Nicaragua.

This incomplete review offers a glance at why December is such an important month in Nicaragua’s turbulent history. By contrast, today, December in Nicaragua is above all synonymous with Peace, Community and Solidarity. The government guarantees toys for the children. In municipal parks and other public spaces, Nicaraguan families enjoy the warm Central American evenings without fear of political repression, war or helplessness in the face of natural disasters. All of this is a revolutionary change both from the experiences of the past and from the current experience in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

UNICEF recognize the achievements of Nicaragua in favor of children

Source:  Nicaragua News

unicef logo 3.gif

 

The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has recognized the effectiveness of social programs carried out by the Government of Nicaragua in favor of children.

ivan yerovi unicef 2.jpgThe UNICEF representative Iván Yerovi said, “It is of great importance to recognize the achievements of Nicaragua. We are in favor of these positive results; it is a good time to reiterate our support and our decision to align ourselves with these national priorities and to be a reliable partner, a partner that can be efficient and effective.”

Likewise, the former Special Ombudsman for the Rights of Children, Carlos Emilio López, noted the substantial amount of social programs for children carried out by the administration of President Daniel Ortega through institutions such as the Ministry of Family that daniel ortega us imperialism threatens peace.jpgcontributes to the reduction of the levels of malnutrition, infant mortality, adolescent crime, the eradication of child labor and increased vaccination coverage for the prevention of diseases. (Nicaragua News, Dec. 13)

Nicaragua creating job opportunities for at-risk young people

Source:  NicaNotes Nicaragua News

daniel ortega 7.jpgRepresentatives of the Central America law enforcement organizations noted that Nicaragua is the country with the lowest juvenile delinquency rate in the region. The Nicaragua educational model and the creation of job opportunities for at-risk young people are some of the factors that have influenced the decline in juvenile offenses in the country.

Crime reduction in children under 17

The Nicaragua National Police has found that reduction of crime rates in children under the age of 17 is due to integrated programs designed for at-risk young people, keeping them from joining criminal groups.

Construction of new sports facilities

aminta-granera-nicaraguaConstruction of new sports facilities has also been a priority of the Nicaraguan  government to promote healthy entertainment and maintain low juvenile crime rate.

At the meeting of the Chiefs and Directors of Police of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Colombia, Nicargua’s Police Chief Aminta Granera (photo) was re-elected president of the body. Many of Nicaragua’s police reforms have been initiated under her leadership. (Nicaragua News, Dec. 14; El Nuevo Diario, Dec. 14)

Ortega Wins Big in Presidential Contest

Source:  TeleSUR
6 November 2016

The Sandinista leader promised to defend his social and economic achievements and continue with Nicaragua’s strong economic growth.

ortega y murillo.jpg

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo after casting their vote at a polling station during Nicaragua’s presidential election in Managua Nov. 6, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Nicaragua’s incumbent President Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN, locked in a win for a third consecutive term in Sunday’s election with an irreversible lead of 72 percent with two-thirds of votes counted, election authorities announced Monday morning.

RELATED:  Nicaragua’s Sandinista Supporters Prepare For New Election

Overwhelming support for Ortega

Ortega’s overwhelming support of 72.1 percent of the vote was followed in distant second by Maximino Rodriguez, the candidate of the center-right Liberal Constitutionalist Party and a former right-wing paramilitary fighter, at 14.2 percent with 66.3 percent of the votes counted, according to the Supreme Electoral Council. Ortega, alongside his running mate and partner Rosario Murillo, will serve a term until 2021.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. local time Sunday in a vote that was characterized as peaceful and orderly.

However, despite the fact that polls correctly predicted the outcome of the vote, Nicaragua’s opposition rejected the results, calling for new elections. A section of the opposition calling themselves the Broad Front for Democracy responded prior to the release of preliminary results, saying they would not recognize the legitimacy of the ballot. While some Sandinista rivals and media have attempted to call the vote into question, Nicaraguan officials and government supporters say this is a political ploy to undermine a government that has the support of the vast majority of the country.

Nicaraguans were called to choose a president, vice-president and members of the National Assembly to govern the Central American country for the next four years. Ortega, the former guerrilla leader of the leftist FSLN, had been polling ahead of his closest rival by over 60 points through most of the campaign.

OPINION:  Nicaragua Faces Down Another Deadbeat Intervention

Working for the poor

“He (Ortega) is the only person who has worked for the poor, and he will keep doing it, because that is his essence,” 64-year-old retiree Jose Vicente Pong told Reuters while casting his ballot in the capital city Managua Sunday morning. “He comes from poverty, and he’ll keep working for the poor.”

FSLN supporters began celebrations in the early hours following the preliminary announcements.

Ortega, along with Murillo, voted late in the evening, casting their ballots in the capital of Managua shortly before polls closed.

No exchange of hate-filled words

In a speech after casting his vote, Ortega responded to some of the criticisms of the Nicaraguan electoral process, saying it was a long struggle to establish a process run exclusively by Nicaraguans. “They say we don’t have elections here because there is no exchange of hate-filled words,” said Ortega, who highlighted the tranquil nature of the campaign.

This was the seventh time that Ortega stood as candidate for the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The first time was in 1984 when he was elected president and ruled the country for six years before losing the 1990 election. He returned to power in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011.

OPINION:  Nicaragua’s Right-Wing: Ideology and Wishful Thinking

FSLN swept the National Assembly

The electorate also decided on 92 members of the National Assembly and 20 representatives to the Central American Parliament, Parlacen. The FSLN swept the National Assembly with 66.4 percent, while the Liberal Constitutionalist Party took 14.7 percent. The breakdown of seats has not yet been finalized.

The Nov. 6 election featured more than 120 international observers, who according to the electoral authority have “wide” experience. This group includes former presidents and heads of state and even a delegation of the Organization of American States. Invited election observer Santiago Rodríguez, vice president of the Central American Integration System, reported “very good coordination” of the voting process Sunday morning.

According to the national police, there were no incidents to report concerning the opening of 14,581 polling stations across the country. Hours after polls opened, authorities reported that election day was running smoothly and without any delays.

However, one serious incident was reported in the town of Nueva Guinea, where a group of approximately 50 armed men broke into a polling location and burned election material.