An Expat Life: Nicaragua Blues and Ruse

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Happy New year

Well...New Year's just isn't complete until Notre Dame loses their bowl game. Some folks like to celebrate with Dick Clark, others prefer silly parties with amateur revelers (you know, people that imbibe on 2 holidays and a birthday all year long....who wants to get tangled in Tanquerey with that person?!)....I digress....

Oh yeah, it is 1/03, and I'm still talking about New Year's. That's because New Year's isn't complete without the ghost of Knute Rockne and a disappointing showing for the Golden Domers. Right now, it is 41-14, and it could very well get uglier. With under 5 minutes, LSU can't quite run the clock out just yet.

In other news, Daniel Ortega is poised to take over the presidency of Nicaragua in about a week. On January 10, the transition back to Sandinistan socialism will begin in earnest. With promises of 'peace, reconciliation, and cooperation with the U.S.', Ortega claims to be a changed man. Since leading a cadre of youths in the 1979 Somoza overthrow, and a subsequent dark decade of civil war, destruction, and economic stagnation, Ortega has been laying low....a snake in the grass, if you will, in Nicaraguan politics. Following the disastrous Lobster Revolution and civil war (50,000 dead in a country of a little over 5 million....proportionate to the U.S., that equals roughly the devastation of the American Civil War a century ago), he was defeated in 1990 elections, and peacefully relenquished power, vowing to return. Well, not unlike MacArthur, he has returned! .....[speaking of devastation, it's official, Notre Dame's coach is denied a January Gatorade bath yet again!!]

Where was I?....Oh, yeah. So, Ortega is promising change. We'll see. As for how all this affects me, I don't see a real change in my life. But, I don't think the people will tolerate a return to the past. Ortega won his victory with around 40% of the popular vote. He has a pretty solid base of voters; young people, pensioners, the poor,basically all the disenfranchised Nicaraguans, folks with nothing to lose. Because of the great land grabs of the 80s, many of these poor folks are poised to claim their '40 acres and a mule' (to borrow the Lincolnian phrase). On the other end of this deal is whose '40 acres' is going to be redistributed. Not to say that it will happen, but one must expect a certain segment of the populace to test the 'new Ortega'. So, the million-dollar (literally) question is, will Ortega empathize with the land grabbers, or will he prove to foreign investors that Nicaragua is a stable country with respect for international law.

We shall see....

No comments: