Friday, July 21, 2006

Nicaragua: Cardenal Obando Celebrates Mass For Anniversary of Somoza Overthrowal, Ortega There

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (Reuters) - Nicaragua's Roman Catholic cardinal held a mass on Tuesday to celebrate the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, attended by his former adversary, the leftist leader Daniel Ortega.

Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo told a congregation in Managua Cathedral they should consider the poor before they vote in November presidential elections, when Ortega will make another bid for office.

"One should vote thinking of the poor, of an alternative that assures more justice," the cardinal said, while calling for better salaries and a broader health service.

People need to remember that the 19th of July, 1979, was when the last remnants of Somoza's military and political dynasty fled the country after 5 decades of uninterupted corruption and tyranny. And that Cardenal Obando y Bravo had been a principled opponent of Somoza for years, trying to mediate between the government and the wide-spread opposition. As soon as the Sandinistas went totalitarian he was equally principled in his opposition to them, and was widely attacked by the left for it. His position has always been to stand with the poor, and to improve their position in society, without falling to either Marxist-tinged Liberation Theology or unrestrained Capitalism.
Ortega is using it for show, but the Cardenal is probably being a realist in his dealings with him. It is a Nicaraguan political tradition for all major candidates to visit Obando, as they did in the a prior mayoral elections.

Now Reuters Goes Nutso
When they took power in 1979, the Sandinistas improved living conditions for some of the poor and introduced free healthcare and universal education, but were criticized for human rights abuses and forced military conscription.

Oh come on, the Sandinistas did improve conditions for some people, but they mismanaged the hell out of the economy, making things worse for everyone in the end. Somoza already had public education years before the Sandinista.