Nicaragua’s Ortega says adios to Chavez

President Ortega eulogizes his revolutionary brethren Hugo Chávez, who was nearly 10 years younger than the Sandinista leader

Standing in front of an over-blown photo of Hugo Chávez, whose swollen face clearly shows the wear and tear of chemotherapy, President Daniel Ortega bid a short public farewell to his deep-pocketed tovarishch who died Tuesday afternoon after a lengthy and valiant battle with cancer.

“He raised the sword of (South American liberator Simón) Bolívar in Venezuela, in Latin America, the Caribbean and the world to demand justice and peace, liberty and unity,” Ortega said during a political rally held in Managua’s Plaza de la Revolucion, which was filled with the usual ruck of identically dressed Sandinista Youth, military men, government apparatchiks and friendly members of the clergy.

Ortega bids farewell to Chavez

Ortega remembered the love that Chávez showed for Nicaragua, and the “enormous love” that Nicaragua had for Chávez, who provided the Sandinista government with more than $2.6 billion in petro-dollar largess over the past six years under the auspices of the Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas (ALBA).

The Sandinista chieftain called Chávez the “liberator of Venezuela” and the leader of “the people’s struggle for liberty and unity in Latin America and the Caribbean.”  His “transcendence” to heaven was one of “strength and a most intense illuminating light,” Ortega said.

Chávez’s death presents a challenge for others in ALBA to carry forth the standard of revolutionary excellence, Ortega said.

“We need to continue the battle to give continuity to the dreams of Bolívar, the dreams of Sandino, the dreams of Martí, the dreams of Fidel, the dreams of Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias,” Ortega said. “We have to convert our condolence and solidarity into greater strength to fight and not to betray Chávez.”

The president’s eulogy to Chávez, which lasted around 10 minutes, was short by Ortega standards. In fact, the entire Chávez sendoff—bookended with the ventose musings of Nicaragua’s inevitable first lady, who gets the first and last word at every event—was short by Sandinista standards, lasting a little more than 30 minutes from soup to nuts.

 What remains to be seen is what will happen to ALBA—and the Sandinistas’ economic muscle— once the mourning—and subsequent shouting—is over in Venezuela. If acting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro can maintain some semblance of Chavista unity and prevent the wheels from falling off the wagon, ALBA and all its projects in Nicaragua, including the $6.2 billion Supreme Dream of Bolívar Oil Refinery under construction in León, could continue forward uninterrupted. But if the winds of political change start to blow through Caracas, or if Chávez’s cult-of-personality political project becomes confounded like the Tower of Babel, Nicaragua could be in for a bumpy ride.

  • R. Knight

    They are in deep shit now, they have to beg for money somewhere else!!

  • Raffles

    My guess is that nothing will happen in a hurry although confusion is indeed likely. Nicaragua moderating it’s anti American stance to open the door to positive engagement with USA is a possible result.

    A lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard in the past seem more to appease Chavez and keep him ‘sweet’ than any actual Nicaraguan/USA differences.

    Cuba might help with revising educational system but they sure aren’t in any position to assist the Nicaraguan economy.

  • Mela Pellas

    Maduro starts by ignoring the Venezuelan constitution, that calls for the President of the Nationall Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, to take over upon the death of the President. Problem is that the cubans don’t trust Cabello to continue giving them the 100,000 barrels of oil a day that Chavez gave Castro. Big power struggle ahead in Venezuela.

    • http://no Damian

      No Mela, you facts are again wrong.

      According to the constitucion: “De acuerdo con el segundo párrafo del artículo 233 de la Constitución de 1999, si la falta absoluta del presidente se produjera durante los primeros cuatro años del período respectivo, se procederá a una nueva elección universal, directa y secreta en 30 días siguientes. Se encargara de la Presidencia de la República el vicepresidente ejecutivo mientras se celebra la elección.”

      Chavez is gone but Venezuela, it’s constitution and it’s agreements with other nations such as Nicaragua are still valid. A new Venezuelan president, most likely Maduro, will continue the same path and concept unless the Venezuelan people require a change or modification of the path they are choosing to walk on. In 30 days we will know and I am definitely not surprised if Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution gets a big vote to continue on the same path.

      He was a controversial figure and may he rest in peace.

  • Pedro Arauz

    Admito que me resulta difícil entender cómo una figura tan menor entra en la mitología. Incluso en la degradada mitología revolucionaria. Hay que recurrir a Montaner, a Vargas Llosa, a Mendoza, al Manual del perfecto idiota latinoamericano, que no es tan diferente del perfecto idiota europeo y norteamericano. Ahí están Oliver Stone y Sean Penn, admiradores del caudillo muerto, y aquí no faltan turiferarios. Ya se contentan con cualquier cosa. Leo que Chávez tenía cuatro millones de seguidores en Twitter, el segundo en el top después de Obama. El perfecto idiota se ha globalizado y hoy está de luto.

  • Sharon

    Not a good time to be living in NIcaragua.