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Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 10:27:20 -0600
From: "L-Soft list server at MIZZOU1 (1.8b)" <LISTSERV@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
Subject: File: "DATABASE OUTPUT"

--> Database ACTIV-L, 10679 hits.
> print 10634
>>> Item number 10634, dated 96/10/28 18:15:39 -- ALL
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 18:15:39 CST
Reply-To: Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY <nicanet@blythe.org>
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY <nicanet@blythe.org>
Subject: Weekly News Update #352, 10/27/96

Maquiladoras in Nicaragua's Future?

Weekly News Update on the Americas, issue #352, 27 October 1996

According to the left-leaning Mexican daily La Jornada, the FSLN's presidential campaign was unofficially headed by Daniel Ortega's brother, former military head Gen. Humberto Ortega, who favored a strategy of keeping the candidate from saying too much. In the last days of the campaign Humberto even overruled his brother's plans for a few press interviews. [LJ 10/20/96] Many Sandinista supporters complained about the lack of political content in the campaign. "Daniel is being sold like a deodorant," one told a Spanish newspaper. MRS head Ramirez accused the FSLN of having "done an ideological striptease, taking off piece by piece all of the clothing they once considered sacred. Now, having lost, the situation is disastrous because they are completely naked." [New York Times 10/25/96]

But even in the disputed official count Ortega did almost as well as he did in 1990, and got nearly twice the 21% polls had given him last January [see Update #337]. French journalist Maurice Lemoine wrote a few weeks before the elections that for many of Nicaragua's poor the FSLN remains "the lesser evil." "They are disappointed with the Sandinistas," a sociologist told him. "But the Sandinistas remain the only solution for avoiding a catastrophe." [Le Monde Diplomatique, October 1996, reprinted in Haiti Progres (NY) 10/23-29/96]

Like Ortega, Aleman tried to moderate his image in the last few weeks of the campaign [LJ 10/20/96], but there is little doubt that he is "on the right of the Latin American political perspective," writes the New York Times, since he "advocates giving private investors, both foreign and Nicaraguan, a freer hand to generate jobs and trade." The US government's official observer delegation was headed by Brian Atwood, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which routinely provides support for neoliberal economic programs in Latin America. Early on Oct. 21--as the first results were coming in-- Atwood told a press conference that he had already met with Aleman and expressed a desire to "work closely with him to spur economic development." [NYT 10/22/96] Asked later in the day how he would pull Nicaragua out of its six-year long recession, Aleman told the US-based Univision television network that he would stress tourism and "free zones" (industrial parks for the maquiladora sector). [Univision news 10/21/96] An editorial in La Jornada warned that "it is really hard to believe that [Aleman's supporters] will be able to restrain themselves from taking measures that would provoke major acts of civil resistance." [LJ 10/20/96]

Many upperclass Nicaraguan rightists have a low opinion of the populist Aleman, but he has benefited "from a powerful political and financial ally in the person of... Mr. Jorge Mas Canosa, field commander of the anti-Castro forces in Miami," according to Lemoine. Rightwing Cuban emigre Mas Canosa is also owner of the SINTEL communications company, formerly a subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica Internacional. Telefonica is one of the companies bidding on the privatization of Nicaragua's national phone company, the Nicaraguan Telecommunications Enterprise (ENITEL) [see Update #340]. [HP 10/23-29/96]