The Bandanna Is Back: Daniel Ortega Was a Giant Thorn in the Side of George W. Bush's Father. Now the Former Sandinista Leader Is Favored to Become Nicaragua's Next President

By Zarembo, Alan | Newsweek, August 6, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Bandanna Is Back: Daniel Ortega Was a Giant Thorn in the Side of George W. Bush's Father. Now the Former Sandinista Leader Is Favored to Become Nicaragua's Next President


Zarembo, Alan, Newsweek


The air shakes with the rhythm of campaign jingles, the explosion of fireworks and cries of "Daniel! Daniel!" There he is, perched on the bed of a pickup, winding through the potholed streets, waving to the crowd as it swells around him. He wears his trademark red and black bandanna, which his old nemesis George Bush Sr. once poked fun at. By the time the procession reaches the plaza, it is a wild river of men on bicycles, halter-topped girls jumping up for a glimpse and mothers holding out their newborn babies for him to kiss. Truck-borne loudspeakers blast out this prediction: "The future president of Nicaragua--Daniel Ortega!"

A decade or so ago, there were few icons more powerful in the proxy struggles of the cold war. And few American enemies who were more demonized than Ortega. The Sandinista rebels led by the then boyish Ortega toppled the brutal Somoza dictatorship in 1979. But when they set up a Marxist state, seizing farms and businesses (including U.S. property), they found themselves locked in a bitter war against the U.S.-sponsored contra rebels for most of the next decade. In the 11 years since elections knocked Ortega out of power and, it seemed, into the dustbin of history, Latin America has undergone enormous change. Democratically elected regimes have replaced authoritarian ones. The language of free trade has taken the place of revolutionary rants against imperialism. And yet there was 55-year-old Ortega in July, riding through the streets of the town of Chinandega, celebrating the 22d anniversary of his revolution, leading the polls to win back the presidency this November. He told the crowd: "The people governing the country have tried to kill the conscience the revolution gave the poor."

Back in 1988, when Ortega wore military fatigues to a regional summit on democracy, the elder President Bush excoriated him as "an animal at a garden party." Now Bush's son has reason to fear that Ortega will soon be haunting his own administration. The issue today is markets, not geopolitics. George W. Bush has vowed to turn Latin America into a giant free-trade zone. But Ortega and other resurgent socialists in the region could get in the way by stirring up anti-globalization sentiment among the poor masses. While economic liberalization has brought growth and investment to Latin America, it has done little to alleviate poverty. Half of all Nicaraguans survive on less than $1 a day. Ortega has cut shrewd political deals to raise his party's stature, and widespread disgust with corruption in the current regime has also helped his campaign. Economic inequality is his key theme--as well as that of other old leftists. Hugo Chavez continues to thrive in Venezuela. Alan Garcia nearly won the recent election in Peru. Luiz Inacio (Lula) da Silva is leading the polls in Brazil. And former guerrillas in El Salvador could also be returned to power.

Completing the sense of deja vu, three of Ortega's former U.S. antagonists are back in the headlines, too. John Negroponte, who was ambassador to Honduras in the '80s and a strong critic of the Sandinistas, is now Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador; Elliott Abrams, the head of Latin American affairs in Ronald Reagan's State Department, is a senior National Security Council staffer, and Otto Reich, who headed the now defunct Office of Public Diplomacy, which spread propaganda to generate public support for contra aid, is up for assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Bandanna Is Back: Daniel Ortega Was a Giant Thorn in the Side of George W. Bush's Father. Now the Former Sandinista Leader Is Favored to Become Nicaragua's Next President
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.