Ortega has lefts ideals of Sandinistas behind him

I read with curiosity your use of the term “Sandinistas” in your April 7th article under the caption: “Young Sandinistas appear to be occupying disputed island” which described Ortega supporters who aggressively demonstrated against the Costa Rican and international environmental specialists who themselves were on Isla Portillos and Isla Calero. The specialists were inspecting the environmental damage in compliance with the International Court of Justice ruling of March 8th. Why not just characterize the protestors as “Ortega supporters” or words to that effect? Why play into Ortega’s hand by legitimizing them as Sandinistas?

The most cursory superficial online research reveals that there is at best a split in the Sandinista Party and it could be argued that Ortega and those who support him have morphed into something apart from the Sandinistas. The claim by many original Sandinistas is that he has left the ideals of the Sandinistas behind and has morphed into a power hungry dictator motivated by personal gain. As proof of this assertion they point to the fact that he has stacked all branches of government, local and national, in his favor and is controlling the military, police forces, supreme court, court of elections and the legislative branch of government. His family holdings are approaching $2 billion. He was just given the green light to run for president again contrary to the Nicaraguan constitution. Many resent the fact that Ortega is using the Sandinista banner to his personal, dictatorial advantage.

Many think he has masterminded the border dispute for two reasons. First, the obvious, is to personally gain from a commercialization of the San Juan River. The second purpose is to stir up nationalistic fervor to divert attention from his unconstitutional dictatorial aspirations.

Before the ruling of the International Court of Justice, Ortega stated: “We will wait to see what the court says. We have always been respectful of what the court orders, and we will be respectful of their decision”. Following the ruling of the court he got on TV and said: “We are happy with the sentence of the court and we will obey it. Of course we will obey it”. Some more quotes on the Ortega position following the ruling on 8 March from Carlos Arguello-Gomez, Ortega’s ambassador to the Netherlands: “I think it is a very fair decision, Nicaragua is very happy with the result … the decision is a great and convincing victory … Costa Ricans should quiet their tongues now …”

If Ortega is so happy with the ruling, then why the orchestrated, military-backed protests? Ortega has broken his stated promise in less than one month’s time to abide the court’s ruling. Paragraph 3 of the ruling states that: “Each party shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve;” I think boatloads of protesters hurling insults through a megaphone with the support of the military would qualify as “… ANY ACTION WHICH MIGHT AGGRAVATE OR EXTEND THE DISPUTE …”

Patrick McCormick
Costa Rica

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