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Sat Nov 11 2006 (Updated 11/13/06) Sandinista Back to Power
The Sandinista Party’s Daniel Ortega was elected President of Nicaragua November 5th with a substantial lead, enabling him to win outright, without a runoff. The Liberal Party, which held the presidency since the Sandinistas lost it in 1990, had recently split over issues related to the conviction for corruption of the previous president, Arnoldo Alemán. Ortega has the enthusiastic support of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and is causing consternation in Washington.

Ortega was a revolutionary at an early age in the rebellion against the dictatorial Somoza dynasty. He was arrested at 23 and spent 7 years in prison, where he wrote the poem “I Never Saw Managua When Miniskirts Were in Fashion.” Released in an exchange for hostages held by his comrades, he joined forces with the insurrection that swept the Sandinistas to power in 1979.

Now 60, Ortega has changed, and claims religious faith, which recently caused him, as a legislator, to push through an anti-abortion law. While the Sandinistas received aid from the Soviet Union, Nicaragua, the second-poorest country in Latin America, must now deal with the United States for aid. While he promises to help workers, peasants and the unemployed, Ortega has also pledged to honor the Central American Free Trade Agreement. He is pitching his government as one of reconciliation, and his Vice President is a former spokesman for the Contras.

Ortega’s political career survived the accusation of his stepdaughter, Zoilamérica Narváez, that he molested her repeatedly as a child. She brought charges in court, but Ortega obtained immunity as a legislator until the statute of limitations for the crime ran out. Zoilamérica’s mother, Rosario Murillo, took Ortega’s side, and publicly attacked her daughter. However, there are reports that Murillo and Zoilamérica reconciled in the month prior to the election. Murillo was Ortega’s campaign manager.

PWW on Election | Who is the Real Daniel Ortega? | Democracy Now | Collection of Early Reports | NicaNet on Election: "Results Irreversible" | Argue/Liberation News

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