Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2006

Nicaragua elections

US rages but Ortega's victory is no revolution

THE ELECTION of the Sandinistas leader Daniel Ortega as President of Nicaragua has thrown some right-wing commentators and politicians in the US into fits of anger. Ortega won with 38% of the vote, beating two right-wing candidates who won 55% of the vote between them.

Chris Newby

Politicians in the US have petitioned secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, demanding that remittances sent by Nicaraguans living in the US back to their families should be blocked.

The notorious former US colonel Oliver North, (who spearheaded US support for the right-wing Contras guerrillas in Nicaragua in the 1980s, with the backing of President Reagan) returned to Nicaragua just before the election. He spoke about Ortega's potential victory saying: "That's not good for your country. That's not good for my country". The Bush administration has said that it would withdraw aid from an Ortega government.

Why has this election result provoked such a response? Ortega's victory follows those of left-leaning and populist candidates in Latin America. Certainly Ortega's links with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, a thorn in the side of US imperialism, has angered them.

Chavez has co-sponsored with Cuba "Operation Miracle". This is a project to offer free eye surgery and has restored the sight of hundreds of Nicaraguans. Chávez has also signed an agreement with Nicaragua's mayors to supply cheap oil.

But for US imperialism there is always the legacy of the Sandinista revolution and fears that they will carry through similar policies as before.

The FSLN (Sandinistas) came to power in the 1979 revolution overthrowing the 40 year-old brutal and corrupt Somoza dictatorship. This revolution followed a long and heroic struggle but most decisively took place on the back of action by the working class - a series of strikes, a general strike and an uprising.

Following the revolution infant mortality was cut from 33% to 8% and illiteracy was cut from 50% to 14% with 1,200 new schools being built in the following years through limited nationalisation.

US imperialism feared these revolutionary developments would spread across Latin America and heavily backed the Contras with massive amounts of cash and arms.

Whilst the Sandinistas did improve the lives of the masses they attempted to appease the big landowners and industrialists, calling for a mixed economy. 60% of the economy remained in private hands and 80% of agriculture was still privately owned. This left the way open for imperialism to sabotage the Nicaraguan economy, while the US, Nicaragua's biggest market, imposed a trade embargo.

The Sandinistas faced a choice of abolishing landlordism and capitalism, establishing democratic socialism and calling for the spread of the revolution throughout Latin America and beyond, or the capitalists and landlords would re-establish their position and overturn the gains of the revolution.

By the time Sandinistas lost the election in 1990 inflation had reached 33,600%. Wages had fallen by 90% since 1981 and the standard of living was even lower than Haiti's.

Since 1990, the masses of Nicaragua have endured even more. 78% of Nicaraguans live on less than a dollar a day, education has suffered and people face power cuts of up to ten hours a day. Right-wing governments have sold off more than 360 state-owned enterprises, privatised the banks and entered a free trade agreement with the US.

Will the election of Ortega make a fundamental difference to the masses of Nicaragua? Whilst he talks in vague terms of helping the poor and had a campaign slogan of "jobs, peace and reconciliation", Ortega has moved to the right.

His vice-president was a member of the Contras. He has assured the US that he will respect property rights, free enterprise, and the capitalist market. He is also opposed to abortion rights.

Policies such as these will further worsen the conditions of Nicaraguans. The masses have shown their willingness to struggle. What is urgently needed is a revolutionary party armed with a socialist programme to provide a determined leadership in that struggle for a socialist society.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 26 November 2006:

Public health not private profit

Nurses against 'natural wastage'

Swansea says no closures

Ipswich campaign saves nurses' jobs

Pensioners lead the way

Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006 main rally

Films show a world of rising struggles

Socialist Party youth rally

Socialism 2006: a great success

Collection a big success

Socialism 2006 closing rally: defend the NHS

Sri Lanka


Stop the fat cats! No to Cutbacks! Fight tuition fees!

New Socialist Party publication

Marxism in Today's World

The Socialist Interview

Can Labour be reclaimed?

Homelessness Feature

Homelessness: Privatising the problem

International socialist news

Worldwide protests at MP's murder

Leicester protest

Thatcher's monetarist guru dies

Prodi government under siege

US rages but Ortega's victory is no revolution

Socialist Party news and analysis

Queen's speech says 'work till you drop'

Lincoln organises against the far right

Socialist Party workplace news

Local government pensions: We're no April fools!

Disciplinary action against UNISON secretary

JJB Sports workers score a victory

Fujitsu on strike


Home   |   The Socialist 26 November 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSeattle council repeals Amazon Tax

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleThem & Us

triangleNo to Trump's trade war

triangleThem & Us


triangleA socialist approach to Corbyn and a customs union

triangleThe life and legacy of Martin Luther King

triangleSyria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha


triangleItaly's political crisis is reverberating through Europe

triangleSocialist nationalisation: what it is and why we need it





Seattle council repeals Amazon Tax



Venezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis



Italy's political crisis is reverberating through Europe



Jordan: Workers and youth remove prime minister and demand end to austerity


Donald Trump

No to Trump's trade war



Eyewitness report from Gaza: "Razan was killed in front of my eyes"



Historic victory won by grassroots movement



Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws



Yes to the struggle to lift the siege



Tax Amazon movement wins in Seattle



Spain: Student general strike against sexist, capitalist 'justice' system



Belgium Lidl strike victory



Exclusive interview with Gazan activist: "The more they kill us, the more the anger increases"



Sweden: Socialist elected leader of 77,000-strong tenants' union



Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018