Nicaragua Without The Contras ??

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Perhaps you should explain your comment a little more.

Are you saying that Nicaragua would have been like NK if it hadn't been for the Contras?

I suspect that's what he's saying.

Given that NK was a directly occupied country with an installed regime (think Somoza, just left opportunists rather than right), it's really hard to compare there with what might have happened if the US hadn't be determined to reinstall a leader of its choosing here. Ortega simply outmaneuvered the US.

The FSLN's Third Tendency was always pro a mixed economy.

Reading Judt's POSTWAR gives some interesting insights into how Sweden works and how and uneducated most of Europe was, even in the west, until about two decades after WWII. The model that Ortega and others wanted to follow was as much the Scandinavian one as the Russian one (people saw both by living in them). The US model of letting the US exploit the country economically with a leader it chose to hold down the population was considered basically a failure.

Rebecca Brown

All True, An Extreme

example and a stretch to make the comparison between Nicaragua and North Korea. But, wasn't Nicaragua already heading towards economic disaster with the agricultural policies the Sandinistas were implementing in the campo? And it was well on its way to becoming a police state, as Cuba remains even today. Dissent was not tolerated, private properties were confiscated, and not just from Somoza and friends. If you disagreed with the Sandinistas you were a counter-revolutionary and lost whatever you had -in some cases, your life as well.

Finally, have we come full circle, with a similar exploitation, but in the name of "socialism and Christianity"? Is Ortega a kinder and gentler Somoza? Of does he truly have the best interests of Nicaragua at heart and understands that some "paternal" structure is necessary to move the country forward? The rubber has not hit the road as it did with Somoza towards the end, but we have seem a couple of examples of how Ortega does not like his authority tested.

Finally, it's hard to argue with Ortega's "approval rating" -if the numbers are accurate. But, expectations are very low where I am at. Money flows in from the US and Costa Rica, not big amounts, but maintaining full bellies and saldo for the all important phone. Huge gaps exist in educational levels, with many Nicaraguans not qualified for anything but campo work, yet others very well educated.

Find me a country down here that had a similar history

…that doesn't have that class division. Even parts of the US have that class division and would have it even more if they weren't parts of the US and if FDR hadn't had national level programs to at least break that pattern for some people.

I haven't seen anything that implies that this was ever as bad a police state as Russia or China. They screwed up with agriculture and they know now that they screwed up with agriculture.

Costa Rica murdered its native population to levels too low to sustain agricultural peonage early and had to go to work for themselves. Whole different history. Most of the countries to the north had histories closer to the Southern US.

Various of my FB friends are commenting on the recent survey that showed that a quarter of the US population believes the sun revolves around the earth. It's even higher in Europe, apparently.

One of my young friends here is the son of people who left the campo, grandmother is still there. He's been taken under the wing of a better educated and connected family here who still help him though one of the family fired him from a hotel job. He's finishing college with a computer science degree (probably no programming, though).

We're not citizens and assuming that we have important things to say to Nicaraguans about their country tends to be on the border of condescending and ill-informed. It's like some Northerner assuming superiority to all people in Appalachia, more a sign of stupidity and bigotry than anything else.

Their country, their rules. Nothing has stopped Nicaraguans before from getting rid of leaders they find offensive enough. They have poets with pistols.

Rebecca Brown

I think you give the US too much credit

It was the Somozas who outsmarted and expoited the good will of the US. Through administration after administration in the US the Somozas built Nicaragua in their image and for their benefit. They were as cunning and resourceful as the Castro brothers.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

I've seen "Sandino" the movie

That does show a very cunning and charming Somoza manipulating the US. But from the archival materials I've seen, the British basically sold the US the idea that "those countries" would be under either US/British control or German/Soviet control, that they couldn't be independent countries. Even Orwell didn't believe India could be an independent country -- but as Indian commentators have pointed out, there hasn't been a general famine since the British left Ireland and India, and Iceland has done better as a small independent country than it did as a colony of either Norway or whatever other country ran it for a while as a colony.

The US and the Russians both betrayed their allies. I don't remember the UK doing quite the job on that, though they could manipulate things to get people they didn't like much killed by third parties (once with Indian nationalists, second time with Billy Collins).

Rebecca Brown

The US model

It is true the US placed and supported many dictators for the benefit of the US, but I take exception to it being called the "US model". I believe the communist Soviet Union did this before the US. In either case, you are correct. It was a failure.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

US model

It's pretty clear the model is not unique to the US nor was the US the creator of the model. What the British did in, well, most of the world certainly pre-dates it as does what the Spanish (and others) did in Latin America.

What does seem to be unique is that the US is now the only major player left using that model.

Rome also did it, and Alexander the Great

And China, so yeah, not the US model originally at all. One guy in BC something decided to make slaves of the people he conquered rather than just kill them. Alexander made them citizens.

Rebecca Brown

Dont forget

Adam subjected Eve and forced her to pick fruit for him -- ha-ha

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

look at the history

of North vietnam, cuba, Czechoslavakia or others. The main line Communists squash the other factions and the social democrats and go on to their own dictatorship. Danny and company would have dropped their Swedish Model dribble or would have been killed or chased out of the country. Look at Granada for another example of what happens to leaders who don`t tow the party line.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher