Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NICARAGUA: Ortega Picks Contra Leader As Running Mate

In another cynical move, Daniel Ortega chose former Contra leader Jaime Morales Carazo, as his VP candidate. Ortega had confiscated and occupied Morales house when Somoza was overthrown. After the Sandinistas lost power, Ortega under provisions of a hastily approved law, "bought" the property for about $2,000.00 dollars.

Morales, who is now a congressman, says he doesn't see the paradox in his joining the Ortega ticket.

''I think Ortega has matured, learned from his mistakes and has sincerity and desire to get to public office to have true reconciliation,'' Morales said.

He said his pro-business background and desire for positive relations with the United States will not conflict with Ortega's leftist anti-U.S. rhetoric, because ``times have changed.''

Cynics say Morales just likes to be close to power. He was the right-hand man of former President Arnoldo Alemán, a harsh Sandinista critic who succeeded Ortega, but broke from him during a corruption scandal for which Alemán is now serving a 20-year sentence.