The FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago “is what happens in places like Nicaragua,” Sen. Marco Rubio declared, “where last year, every single person who ran against Daniel Ortega for president, every single person who put their name on the ballot, was arrested and is still in jail.”
OK, so the parallels aren’t precise. But Rubio’s remarks on Nicaragua are solid. Indeed, 200,000 people have escaped the country since 2018, including possibly hundreds of journalists. “With virtually no independent media left inside the country and foreign reporters banned from entering,” the Los Angeles Times reported last week, “propaganda is all that remains. The Ortega family and its allies own multiple television and radio channels that portray the United States as ‘the Yankee empire’ and pro-democracy protesters as ‘coup plotters,’ ‘terrorists’ and ‘termites.’”
Few of Fidel Castro’s pupils have followed his instruction manuals as conscientiously as golden boy Daniel Ortega. Oftentimes, however, Ortega’s own subjects failed to meet the rigorous torture and repression standards the KGB and Stasi inculcated over the decades in Cuba. So Cuban “security specialists” in the flesh were imported and — owing to their prowess in these matters — were the ones mostly responsible for quelling the mass protests that rocked Nicaragua in spring and summer 2018.
Opposition paper La Prensa reported in 2019 that 200 of these Cuban “specialists” were operating in the country. As you might guess, the Ortega regime didn’t welcome that type of reporting. “The persecution that the government of Daniel Ortega has directed against the staff of La Prensa has obliged staff to flee the country” to “protect their safety and freedom,” the paper said last month, vowing to continue a digital edition from exile.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bluster earlier this year about “strengthening ties” with Cuba and Nicaragua in response to US aid to Ukraine rang pretty hollow to those who follow these things. In fact, there was little room for “strengthening” — these ties have been quite strong for decades now and were made stronger well before Putin’s rape of Ukraine.
In 2016, Ortega “acquired” 50 new T-72B1 battle tanks from Russia, along with four Project 14310 Mirazh patrol boats, two Project 1241.8 Molnia2 missile boats and four Yak-130 planes. The term “acquired” is the proper usage here because reportedly no money was exchanged between the Putin and Ortega regimes. Instead Putin’s “honorarium” came in the form of Nicaraguan ports being opened for Russian ships and for the establishment in 2017 of a Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). Naturally — despite the facilities’ electronic intelligence and cyber capabilities — both parties swear up and down they’re for “purely civil ends.”
You know things are bad when Ortega’s former “Sandalista” groupies start bashing him relentlessly and even call for international sanctions against his regime. (“Yikes!” liberals must gasp. “An embargo?! Like the one against Cuba?!”)
You know things are especially bad when this bashing spills over to his (normally irreproachable for leftists) patrons and mentors Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. To wit:
“Daniel Ortega is following in the steps of the dictatorship in Cuba: Get rid of anyone who denounces the human-rights violations that are being committed; get rid of all the opposition; get rid of all the great leaders of the Catholic Church, all the journalists, and anyone speaking up, from farmers to politicians,” one former fellow traveler said in an interview published Tuesday. “I have been speaking out to foreign governments about . . . the fact that the international community is dragging its feet in imposing effective sanctions against his government.”
That, amigos, issues from Nicaraguan-born Blanca Pérez-Mora Macías, more commonly known as Bianca Jagger, who back in the 1980s ranked among the Sandinista regime’s top international propagandists and benefactors — not that a senator named Joe Biden and another named John Kerry were exactly slouches in this respect.
Three different times (in 1984, 1986, 1987) Sen. Joe Biden voted and lobbied against President Ronald Reagan’s attempts to help the anti-communist Nicaraguan Contras, who were desperately waging a lonely guerrilla war against the Soviet/Cuban colonization of their homeland by Daniel Ortega and his communist minions.
“Daniel Ortega is a misunderstood Democrat, not a Marxist autocrat,” declared Sen. John Kerry on Capitol Hill after a visit to the Cuban-Soviet satrapy of Nicaragua in an attempt to sabotage Reagan’s anti-communist Central American foreign policy in 1985.
But it was Bianca Jagger who undoubtedly staggered her friends and political allies when after going down to the spring 2018 Nicaragua protests and seeing all the “marching, charging feet, boy,” declared: “Ortega is worse than [former President Anastasio] Somoza! He disarmed the Nicaraguan people and is now gunning them down!”
Ortega lifted visa requirements for Cubans to enter Nicaragua in November. And from Oct. 2021 to July 2022, 177,848 Cubans entered the United States, mostly through our southern border with Mexico. CBS reported in April that “a 22-year high in apprehensions along the US-Mexico border in March was partly fueled by record arrivals of migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ukraine.”
But shuuuuuush! Don’t tell Democrats! They think that — as usual — they’re getting more Democratic voters.
Humberto Fontova is the author of “Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him.”