you are the united states, you are the future invader

Amid the dross that the coverage of the Nicaraguan elections has produced, there is starting to emerge sounder analyses which are, perish the thought, fact based. But until you find them you still have to endure the dross. At least some of them have the attraction that they are comic in their absurdity. One which has been widely sindicated is an article by the Miami Herald’s Glenn Garvin (see here for the words of wisdom).

According to Garvin Nicaragua exists under a perpetual full moon. He lived in Nicaragua for five years, so you wonder what he got up to during the evenings. However, his political views are as dodgy as his scientific ones. He was more concerned about the nocturnal habits of presidential candidate, Daniel Ortega. If Nicaragua exists under a full moon, then it’s only surprising that Ortega isn’t a vampire. The irony here is that under the Somoza rule, Nicaraguans were literally bled dry by the dictator – he owned the service which bought blood from poor Nicaraguans, exporting it to the United States.

Almost at the same level of fiction is the US government’s predictable response to the results (see here for a report). State Department spokeman Mark Toner said “The Nicaraguan election results were not transparent”. However, he severely undermined his case when he added “The US government remains committed to defending democratic processes and universal human rights, and we encourage the Nicaraguan government to do the same.” And all, presumably, without a hint of irony from Mr Toner.

In the real world Nicaragua’s progress is still being reported. Five days after the elections Nicaragua’s Central Bank reported a growth rate of over 5% compared with the same quarter the previous year. Exports grew, tourism was up and so was employment, according to the same report (see here).

More evidence why the Nicaraguan population turned out in such large numbers for the Sandinistas has been provided by a summary of social statistics reported by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, based in Washington. The article by Daniel McCurdy, details the improvements in poverty alleviation, health and education (see here). According to McCurdy:

The major media, which are generally hostile to Ortega (and to most of the left governments in Latin America), mostly missed the main economic changes that might explain this result.  These include a significant reduction in poverty and inequality and a considerable increase in access to health care and education.

Our sister organisation, the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, has produced an excellent round-up of the elections, including the views of the observers, whose divergent opinions have been reported previously on the blog. Click on this link ( election briefing) for the full report.

Finally, Fidel Castro has given his views on the election results. A long time comrade of Ortega, his analysis is imbued with anti-imperialism, and if you want a Marxist-Leninist take on the election results, then this is where to start (see here). However, far from being extreme, this view is mainstream for much of Latin America, and has been so for more than a century. His words are not a million miles way from those penned in 1904 by the great Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario, on the imperial nature of the United States and their President Theodore Roosevelt:

To Roosevelt

It is with the voice of the Bible, or the verse of Walt Whitman,
that I should come to you, Hunter,
primitive and modern, simple and complicated,
with something of Washington and more of Nimrod.

You are the United States,
you are the future invader
of the naive America that has Indian blood,
that still prays to Jesus Christ and still speaks Spanish.

You are the proud and strong exemplar of your race;
you are cultured, you are skillful; you oppose Tolstoy.
And breaking horses, or murdering tigers,
you are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar.
(You are a professor of Energy
as today’s madmen say.)

You think that life is fire,
that progress is eruption,
that wherever you shoot
you hit the future.

No.

The United States is potent and great.
When you shake there is a deep tremblor
that passes through the enormous vertebrae of the Andes.
If you clamor, it is heard like the roaring of a lion.
Hugo already said it to Grant: The stars are yours.
(The Argentine sun, ascending, barely shines,
and the Chilean star rises…) You are rich.
You join the cult of Hercules to the cult of Mammon,
and illuminating the road of easy conquest,
Liberty raises its torch in New York.

But our America, that has had poets
since the ancient times of Netzahualcoyotl,
that has walked in the footprints of great Bacchus
who learned Pan’s alphabet at once;
that consulted the stars, that knew Atlantis
whose resounding name comes to us from Plato,
that since the remote times of its life
has lived on light, on fire, on perfume, on love,
America of the great Montezuma, of the Inca,
the fragrant America of Christopher Columbus,
Catholic America, Spanish America,
the America in which noble Cuahtemoc said:
“I’m not in a bed of roses”; that America
that trembles in hurricanes and lives on love,
it lives, you men of Saxon eyes and barbarous soul.
And it dreams. And it loves, and it vibrates, and it is the daughter of the Sun.
Be careful. Viva Spanish America!
There are a thousand cubs loosed from the Spanish lion.
Roosevelt, one would have to be, through God himself,
the-fearful Rifleman and strong Hunter,
to manage to grab us in your iron claws.

And, although you count on everything, you lack one thing: God!



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