Nicaragua Goes Capitalist

The title, from an article in The Economist is misleading both in what it specifically says and as a realistic title for the article which follows. But, there are some interesting points made in the article.

Far from pro-Ortega, it at least recognizes what I call the pragmatic side of Ortega and the FSLN.

The FSLN is “a party of the left, but a very realist party,” according to Bayardo Arce, a revolutionary comandante who is now the president’s economic adviser. Although Mr Ortega has steamrolled institutions such as the electoral commission and the courts, he has been careful to avoid messing up the economy. On a visit to Managua in July, the IMF’s deputy head praised Nicaragua’s “courageous” efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability. The World Bank reckons it is the easiest country in Central America, Panama excepted, in which to start a new business.

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Ortega's pragmatism ...

... finds its roots in the uncertainty of continuing aid from Chávez due to his ongoing battle with colon cancer complicating his monolithic rule of Venezuela, and the certainty that there will be no more petro-dollars from Libya's Gadaffi coming Ortega's way.

If the Sandinistas are to continue their give-aways to the poor of Nicaragua to stay in power (node/19224) they will need money. All former communist countries are learning from China - by embracing capitalism they have greatly reduced poverty there.

Thanks for the link, the article is very revealing:

"Foreign investors’ main worry is infrastructure. The ports are antiquated. Water and electricity are not available in a rural area where an American shoe company would like to build a leather plant. Corruption is another complaint. The courts are among the least independent in the world, . . ." Yet "Multinationals do not feel threatened by this; their operations tend to rely on labour rather than big capital investment. Smaller outfits, such as hoteliers, and capital-intensive industries, such as electricity generators, are more nervous."

The champion of pragmatism was the PRI

They ran the perfect dictatorship for 70 years by mastering the Government of Something for Everybody, with party functionaries at the head of the line. They, too, had their pantheon of peasant martyrs, like Zapata.

``The government is clearly Marxist. The question is whether it is Karl or Groucho``