…Who needs enemies, as the saying goes. So far Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua has accumulated a sad list of congratulators following the Nov. 6 presidential elections, while most Western countries and institutions refuse to comment on or even acknowledge the election events.
Let’s have a look at Nicaragua’s closer friends in the global community, shall we:
The Nicaraguan-Libyan friendship goes back a while, both countries consistently affirming their revolutionary solidarity and trading money for political favors, although that was a rather one-way affair. In February 2011, the Libyan people decided they had had enough of their “Brother Leader” Muammar Gaddafi. While the brother leader was busy slaughtering the opposition through his mercenaries, Ortega decided Gaddafi needed a phone call of solidarity to boost his spirits and remind him of Nicaragua’s staunch support for his regime. In August 2011, Ortega’s office made it known that Gaddafi was more than welcome to come to Nicaragua for exile, if he chose.
With friends like Muammar Gaddafi, you show that depending on and supporting an autocrat who looks like a James Bond villain is just as irritating as it sounds: Never trust a man with a golden gun; they tend to be unreliable to your cause in the hour of their demise.
In May 2007, Ortega suddenly felt the need to renew contact with North Korea, receiving a diplomatic delegation in Managua. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is that place on our planet which viewed from space at night remains dark because its leadership thinks it is more important to have a combined military force of nearly 10 million people than provide basic services such as electricity, food or dignity.
Not much is known of North Korea except that it doesn’t trust anyone and chooses its friends and allies carefully. What links these two countries have besides their notion that their own predicament is everyone else’s fault remains anyone’s guess.
With friends like North Korea, you’re probably in a place where you can’t afford to be too picky about your company anymore.
While the death toll among the people protesting against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has risen well above 3,500 (U.N.) since March 2011, al-Assad found the time to congratulate Daniel Ortega on his November 2011 election victory. Solidarity between regimes is a must: After all it’s the mutual confirming and reinforcing of policies and ideology that provides the warm and fuzzy feeling of not being entirely alone in the dark.
With friends like Bashar al-Assad in Syria assuring you that you’re doing right, you really should pause for a moment of self-reflection.
And what a friend of Latin Hugo Chávez of Venezuela has proven to be. His Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) aims to politically and economically integrate the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Chávez’ money from Venezuelan oil is currently the main drive and incentive for ALBA, however it is cheap, because it is still there despite his political and economic fantasies.
ALBA is not about who’s in, but who’s out. In other words, it is a project that is against other groups as much as it’s for helping the people in the region. There is no such thing as a free meal and becoming part of ALBA comes with a price of admission.
With friends like Hugo Chávez, a man who believes capitalism led to the extinction of life on Mars, nothing can go wrong.
Being drawn both sympathetically and politically towards the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Warsaw Pact early on, Ortega also held in high regard the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) during his first years in power in the 1980s. His appreciation, however, extends far beyond the GDRs life span.
In July 2008 Ortega awarded Margot Honecker the Orden de Rubén Darío. Margot was the Minister of Education of the GDR from 1963 to 1989. She was also the wife of Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the state’s Socialist Unity Party and Head of State. The award ceremony in Managua was Margot Honecker’s first public appearance after she left Europe in 1990 in the wake of the USSR’s collapse.
Honoring a former official from a socialist state that disappeared 18 years ago really tells you a lot about Nicaragua’s current political elite. With friends like Margot Honecker, Ortega shows that the world he lives in ended nearly 20 years ago, and was misguided even back then.
Nicaragua’s choice of company is revealing. Who needs enemies when Nicaragua’s selection of friends does more damage to the country’s reputation than any foe?
Sebastián de Humboldt is in his late twenties and of Nicaraguan descent. He lives and works in Central Europe, but left a good chunk of his heart in Nicaragua.