Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nicaragua -- new UNO opposition in the making?

Nicaragua’s anti Sandinista rightwing staged their “march of the thousands” against the Ortega government on June 27. Credible estimates place the crowd at between seven and ten thousand participants, many bused in from as far away as Chinandega and Matagalpa.

CAPTION: The song "Se va el caimán" -- "The alligator is on his way out" was choreographed and danced by thousands of demonstators, yesterday. From La Prensa, Managua.

The rally, ostensibly organized by civil society, was led by US-financed NGOs and benefited from an abundant supply of logistical support from other international and national NGOs. It was aided and abetted, and attended by a sizeable presence of supporters of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (whose most well know leader is Dora María Téllez) and of the Rescate Group (MpRS-Sandinista Recovery Movement, led by Mónica Baltodano and Henry Ruiz).

These self-proclaimed Sandinista organizations , it appears, felt no discomfort or shame at being immersed and lost in a swamp of pro-imperialist politicians and “civil society” imposters.

I watched the procession on Channel 12 whose managers and presenters were super enthused. The main claim stemming from the action is that people abandoned or “cast aside their fear” of the alleged government dictatorship. Unity has at last been found and all participants coincide that they have now a model to build an ongoing and growing force to bring down the government, or force Daniel Ortega into feeble retreat and obedience to the country’s oligarchy. The main leaders of this action are clearly forces close to the maverick liberal politician and banker Eduardo Montealegre, and the US Embassy with its network of leased NGOs in the country. All pretentions to the contrary, the MRS and the MpRS persisted in their role as caboose and the caboose’s caboose to the Montealegre train. They found themselves knee-deep in an alligator infested swamp of the most vile flunkies of the US embassy and the traditional oligarchy and financial elite of the country.

One of the main slogans of the action, directed against Daniel Ortega, was based on a cartoon by right wing caricaturist for La Prensa, M. Guillén (shown above). The slogan “Se va el caimán” (The alligator is on his way out) had its variations on the march such as “Que se vaya, que se vaya a Venezuela” (take off for Venezuela ). As I heard reference to these slogans and saw close-ups of some of the placards and banners I was reminded of the right wing mobilizations in Venezuela, or those that occurred in Chile in the months prior to the September 11, 1973 Pinochet coup.

Another memory also surfaced – April 25, 1990 in the main baseball stadium in Managua, at the changeover of government from Daniel Ortega to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. By agreement, one-half of the invitees came from her political grouping, the UNO (National Opposition Union), and the other half from the FSLN. The FSLN crowd occupied the east side of the stadium, facing the afternoon sun. The UNO rightwing forces occupied the west side. When Daniel Ortega’s cavalcade arrived the thousands of UNO supporters chanted in unison” Que se vaya, que se vaya,” They were immersed in a sea of the blue and white national flag, just like the June 27 “civil society” rally last week. Of course, they had their equivalents of the MRS in their ranks as the UNO was a coalition ranging all the way from the US embassy crowd to the Contras to parties of the old left, still pretending to be Marxist. Another similarity is the pivotal role the newspaper La Prensa played in promoting and mobilizing both the UNO and today’s “united opposition.”

Perhaps the new anti-dictatorship coalition will adopt the name UNO –– for old times’ sake. It would be more than fitting.

La Prensa's "caimán" caricature is but one of dozens of examples of hate symbolism generated at the rally and in the newspaper La Prensa. Note, too, the disdain and contempt for Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution. Fear and hatred of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela is almost a common denominator of the new NGO-based middle class here (this should be of no surprise given the vital role of US and European financing of these "bastions of civil society"), and of course, of the traditional oligarchy How far down the road of convergence the MRS and the Restate Group will go towards their rightwing allies regarding the Venezuela-ALBA alliance remains to be seen. The prognosis is not good.

Felipe Stuart C.

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