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Gioconda Belli: The Masked Loner

The Masked Loner

By Gioconda Belli

Toni Solo's articles on Nicaragua are so lacking in objectivity that one has to wonder who this person is. His web page certainly seems like nothing but propaganda for the Ortega government. Cabinet members who routinely refuse to talk to the press in the country, grant him long interviews. Toni Solo describes him or herself as "a non-Nicaraguan activist who has lived in many places in Nicaragua during the last 14 years". Not divulging his nationality indeed seems like a curious choice.

Recently, Rosario Murillo, Ortega's wife who acts as a de facto co-president, distributed an article by Solo, that accused people of impeccable left wing credentials such as Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden, Eduardo Galeano, Mario Benedetti, Ariel Dorfman, among others as "peons of Negroponte", because they expressed their support for revolutionary hero, Dora Maria Tellez who was on a 12 day hunger strike to protest the illegal proceedings that were used by the Nicaraguan Electoral Council to outlaw the MRS, the party that has among its members some of the most highly regarded figures of the Sandinista Revolution. The party has become a thorn in Ortega´s back because it has questioned his Machiavellian manipulations, and his alliance with right wing and corrupt former Nicaraguan president, Arnoldo Aleman.

Murillo used the government's letterhead and personally signed a letter that went along with Solo's piece. Ortega's wife is not only the government's spokesperson, head of communications, head of the so called "People's Power Councils", head of the cabinet for social affairs among other responsibilities, but she is also the architect of slander campaigns aired by the official media, that seeks to discredit anybody who dares disagree with her and her husband's messianic dictates for Nicaragua. Nowadays, anybody who disagrees with Ortega and Murillo's pretense that their government is the reincarnation of the Sandinista Revolution, becomes by default a neo-liberal who is either paid by or serving the United States. Ortega and his wife are particularly interested in discrediting the criticism from the Nicaraguan left. According to them, the truth is one and it is theirs. They define what is or not revolutionary, who is or not an enemy, neo-liberal, capitalist. Their inflamed rhetoric is used to sustain an illusion that no longer agrees with the reality of the current FSLN. They have marginalized and satanized revolutionary icons such as Tellez and most recently singer, song writer, Carlos Mejia Godoy, whose music they continue to use in spite of his will, arguing that it now "belongs to the people". They , of course, also define who "the people" is. Those who do not agree with their peculiar ways, are just non-entities who deserve to be labeled traitors, deserters, right wing supporters or facilitators of the imperial will of the US.

The argument used to outlaw the MRS, after it had submitted all the requisites to participate in the municipal elections and its list of candidates had been published by the Electoral Council in the newspaper, couldn't be more absurd. According to these magistrates elected by Ortega and its ally, the former Somocista Liberal Party, the MRS had not complied with one of its own statutory regulations when restructuring functions within the party. Besides a blatant lie, it was a total smoke screen to hide the fact that Ortega's increasing unpopularity would have turn many Sandinistas into MRS supporters, especially in Managua.

It was the outrageous nature of the argument that led the donor community to issue a strong statement warning about the consequences of using such minutiae to limit legitimate parties from exercising their political rights.

The pact Ortega has brokered with the right-wing Partido Liberal, has allowed his government to manipulate the Constitution and the judicial system in such a way that his government is beginning to look very much like an institutional dictatorship. Citizens have no recourse whatsoever. Political participation is limited to his allies and those willing to tow his party's line. The country is in disarray faced with an economical and social crisis that Ortega's government has no answer for and seems not to have a clue how to handle.

Yet, what is nothing but a caricature and phony imitation of the true Sandinista Revolution, is being presented by Toni Solo in many alternative and left wing publications as a rebirth of revolutionary Nicaragua.

Who is this mysterious and prolific Toni Solo anyway? Seems like a solitary person indeed. Where is he from? Why should he be a credible source? It would be interesting to find out.


Managua, July 1, 2008

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