From Sat Sep 7 13:31:49 2002
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 17:33:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 144681
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Reich Backs Bolaqos

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 2 September 2002

To add to Arnoldo Aleman's woes, the United States, in the person of Otto Reich, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, seems to have finally turned its back on a former favorite. Reich apparently had no recollection of the fact that it was the US government that boosted Aleman into the president's chair in 1996 in the first place, when his credentials as one of the country's most corrupt politicians were already well-established. He intoned to current President Enrique Bolaqos: My government, that of President George Bush, is completely behind you, Mr. President, in your efforts to root out corruption and terrorism.

According to Oliver Garza, who is just leaving his post as US Ambassador to Nicaragua, US assistance behind the scenes has been critical in several key areas, in particular that of carrying out investigations into Aleman's bank accounts held in other countries, such as Panama.

However, several commentators warned that to continue to rely on the US, for bad or for good, was to continue a relationship of dependence which had brought Nicaragua little real help in the past, and which militated against the country ever finding its own true path. In his speech to the gathering demanding that Aleman be stripped of his parliamentary immunity, Daniel Ortega noted that, Looking to the US for solutions is a false way out of our problems. This [Aleman/corruption] is a matter for Nicaraguans. It must be settled by Nicaraguans. And Josi Lesn Talavera alluded to the already established presence of US troops on Nicaraguan soil. They must not be allowed to contribute to the polarization of Nicaraguan society, he said. We cannot allow them to act in such ways that the old wounds of this country will be re-opened.

With reference to Aleman, Talavera stated, Aleman has just two possible choices: To submit himself to justice, here in Nicaragua, or, to seek asylum in one of the few Latin American countries that possibly remain open to him. The legislator considered that in reality he would find frontiers closed to him everywhere but Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, a desperately demeaning prospect for someone who once wielded seemingly invincible power. For this very reason, Talavera added, I think he will hole up in Nicaragua until the very last second, until it becomes completely clear that all is lost.

Both Talavera and Carlos Tunnermann warned that any attempt by the United States to extradite Aleman to try him for money laundering would be futile, while a commando-style invasion, as in Panama, would be extremely destabilizing for Nicaragua. Victor Hugo Tinoco took the allusion to Manuel Noriega of Panama one step further. Aleman's problem is that he was born, and grew to adulthood, at the breast of the United States. To have that source of support and nourishment withdrawn has put him in personal crisis and he is therefore prepared to throw the whole country into crisis. This phenomenon can be seen over and again in the case of leaders from the right wing. Look at the Somozas. They were backed to the hilt by all the economic and political resources of the US. Why? To confront and contain movements of the left. Then, as things develop, and the United States finds them becoming an obstacle in some way, they have to be cut loose and abandoned to their fate. Just like Somoza. Just like Noriega. So Aleman. However, he was more cautious as to the possible extradition issue, recommending that the Bolaqos government act swiftly and decisively to keep external forces from experiencing temptation. All this said, there are still those who find it almost inconceivable that Aleman will go quietly, and suspect that a person of his cunning will almost certainly have a hidden card or two to play at the last.