The Sandinista Front won 87 of Nicaragua's 152 mayoral posts in elections this month, making significant inroads against a right-wing ruling faction divided by infighting and corruption scandals. Analysts say the victories also reflect the leftist party's success in running several cities efficiently and fairly.
At a time when the United States is fending off a growing chorus of leftist criticism in the region, Bush administration officials worry the victories will boost Ortega's chances of winning back the presidency he lost when Nicaraguans voted him out in 1990 after a decade of socialist rule and war against the U.S.-backed contras.
As Nathan points out, this "follows the trend in Latin America of opponents of US military and economic hegemony winning elections across the region." He adds, "What is remarkable is that the fixation of the Bush neoconservatives on military power has cost them ideological support around the world."
Neal works with a Nicaraguan guy who has a "Viva Bush!" bumpersticker on his car. When I asked him why he supported Bush, he explained to me that if Kerry had won, the Sandinistas would soon be back in power, and this was not something he wanted to happen. I didn't see the point in starting a fight with someone who worked with my son, and who, to be honest, knows more about Nicaragua than I do, even if I disagree with his politics, so I changed the subject to Dennis Martinez and left it at that. But if the above is true, Neal's workmate is going to get the opposite of what he expects from Bush. I wonder how long that bumpersticker will last then.