From Wed Jan 23 08:00:09 2002
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 17:30:23 -0600 (CST)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 133528
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Aleman maneuvers to retain power bases

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 21 January 2002

As expected, Oscar Moncada, Arnoldo Aleman's stand-in, resigned his position as National Assembly President so that the former president could be elected to the post and thus retain a substantial quota of power after turning over the executive branch to his successor, Enrique Bolaqos. Liberal Jaime Cuadra, who ran against Moncada in the first round, gallantly threw his somewhat crumpled hat back into the ring, only to have it trampled, 47 votes to 5, as the Sandinista deputies boycotted the whole affair. The FSLN justified the abstentions saying that they wanted to avoid giving the election legitimacy, but many observers pointed out that had the Sandinista Front made it clear from the start that they would support Cuadra again, more Liberals might well have joined the Aleman opposition. In any case, had they all voted with a resounding No!, no one could accuse them of actually supporting him. After all, the same critics noted, a mere two votes less would have left Aleman stranded. The whole affair has engendered questions and debate about yet further dimensions to the Aleman/Ortega pact.

Ex-president Aleman was also sworn in as a member of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) although the officers of the Central American body ruled last week that it was inappropriate for Mr. Aleman to attempt to exercise the function of representative in both legislative bodies at the same time. Their ruling continued, He will be sworn in as a member, but will not be permitted to participate in PARLACEN sessions while he continues to exercise his office in the Nicaraguan Assembly. They cited the case of the nephew of former Guatemalan president Efrain Rios-Montt, who was barred from serving in PARLACEN on similar grounds.

In Ciudad Dario, Aleman stole the show from the Bolaqos administration's new Minister of Education Silvio De Franco on the day of the celebration of the 135 anniversary of the birth of Ruben Dario. (Dario, one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language, was born in Dario, then Metapa, and grew up in Leon.) While De Franco, waited for the mayor and other dignitaries to arrive at the site of a new fountain, which he was supposed to dedicate to the bard, the mayor was actually occupied in another part of town, watching fondly as Aleman unveiled a bust—not of Dario—but of the ex-president himself. The Education Minister was not pleased, leaving in a thunderous mood to report to President Bolaqos.

While it appeared that Aleman would be earning more out of office than in, since he would be receiving three substantial incomes as member of both the National Assembly and PARLACEN, plus the guaranteed life-time pension of a former president, demands continued that the former president reveal the true proportions of his wealth along with details of its provenance. Former Director of the Office of Probity Rafael Csrdova said last week, The dual facts that, as a public employee, he waited until the very last moment [before being sworn in as a member of the National Assembly] and then urgently requested that his documentation be 'kept in a strong box' to prevent the news media from getting access to it, are in themselves tacit confessions that he has something serious to hide. Csrdova continued, His behavior is a clear rejection of President Bolaqo's 'New Era' of transparency and honesty in government. He could end up in jail for several years.