From Wed Jul 24 10:30:37 2002
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 16:35:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 142616
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Ortega Blasts Globalization, US Interference, Corruption

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 23 July 2002

In a remarkably well-attended celebration of the twenty-third anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, Sandinistas from all over the country flooded into the center of Managua to listen to music and speeches. The vast papal square, constructed for the visit of the pope some years ago, was full, and people spread all over the surrounding areas, taking advantage of the thousands of shade trees. July 19th celebrations have had to be moved from their traditional site at the Plaza of the Revolution because Aleman, when President constructed a huge fountain in the center of the Plaza in order to make it unfit for such gatherings.

As always, the speech of FSLN leader Daniel Ortega was the eagerly-awaited climax of the event, and he did not disappoint. To begin with, he congratulated the Bolaqos government on its crusade against corruption, reminding his audience that those who made deals to bring Arnoldo Aleman to power in the elections of 1996 were the ones guilty of making pacts with corruption. He singled out the US as critical in that process, but also challenged the business sector and the Catholic Church, recalling the infamous parable of the untrustworthy viper with which a dear member of the church hierarchy [Cardinal Obando y Bravo] clearly sided with Aleman against Ortega in the crucial days before the voting. He announced the FSLN's willingness to cooperate with Bolaqos, rejecting out of hand Aleman's calls for a three-way concord. There is only one legitimate leader of the PLC. That is the elected president, Enrique Bolaqos. Aleman must go to jail.

He denounced the continued interference in Nicaragua's affairs by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and called capitalist globalization, inhuman and unjust. Directly challenging the Bush administration's current anti-terrorist rhetoric, Ortega stated that the US has absolutely no right to say who our friends should be, and he called on the US president to recognize the judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, which, in 1986, found the US guilty of illegitimate acts of war and destabilization against Nicaragua. The Reagan administration refused to acknowledge the court's jurisdiction, but, as Ortega pointed out, the judgment still stands.

Just as during our government in the '80s, he concluded, all we're asking for is justice. We had poverty in those times; that's for sure. But we had to contend with a terrible economic embargo and a war. Even then, everyone had the basics of life. Now, after more than ten years of neo-liberal 'freedom,' with no war and no embargo, we have rampant disease and unemployment, collapsing hospitals and schools, and malnutrition and even starvation rampant. Let the US practice what it preaches. The war damages awarded to Nicaragua would have been in the order of seventeen billion US dollars. Pay up. We could wipe out the internal and external debts, and still have money enough to invest in true development—education, health, work and homes.