There’s something deeply ironic about this:
Thousands of protesters have marched in the Nicaraguan capital Managua and other cities to demand the resignation of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo.
Demonstrators blocked main roads, waving placards and chanting slogans.
Weeks of anti-government protests have led to at least 76 people being killed in clashes with security forces.
The latest rallies took place after peace talks mediated by the Catholic Church broke down on Wednesday.
Four people were killed in clashes on Saturday, police and witnesses say.
“They want to take us off the streets at the point of bullets,” said protest leader Francisca Ramírez, who led a rally in the north-west city of Leon.
Nicaragua was the setting for a pretty nasty proxy war during the Cold War, with the Soviet Union backing the popular Marxist Sandinistas who’d taken control of the country in a coup, while the US backed the hated Contras, who were basically a bunch of thugs. Insofar as America’s Cold War policies go, Nicaragua wasn’t one of their highlights. One of the claims lefties in the West used to make was that had the US not interfered, Nicaragua would have become a socialist paradise under the Sandinistas, who were led by Daniel Ortega. Asked to hold up an example of socialism that worked, they’d often point to Nicaragua – until the Yanquis got involved.
It was an interesting twist of history that, two decades after he was at the head of a Marxist Junta fighting US-backed forces bent on killing him, Ortega was democratically elected President of Nicaragua in 2007. The US had lost interest in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union, meaning this time around his government wouldn’t have to fight a devastating guerrilla war against right-wing rebel groups. This was his chance to deliver what, according to lefties, he’d been prevented from doing in the 1980s only thanks to US interference. Yet here we are, 11 years into his rule, and the country is in free-fall. Maybe he needs more time?
However, his critics accuse him and his wife of also behaving like dictators.
Now there’s a surprise, eh? In fairness to Ortega, I expect things would be the same no matter who was in charge.