MANAGUA – The U.S. Embassy is downplaying comments made last week by President Daniel Ortega who accused the U.S. diplomatic mission of conspiring against his government, inciting violent protests on the Caribbean and financing a plot to overthrow his presidency.
Ortega, during a barbed April 30 speech to commemorate International Workers’ Day, called on Nicaraguans to defend the new Sandinista Revolution and warned of “counterrevolutionary” conspiracies against him, in clear reference to the 1980s Contra war that was financed by the United States.
Ortega said that his government represents “a second historic opportunity, now without war on the military battle field, but yes a war that is being mounted and directed by the yanqui empire through the yanqui embassy.”
The president added, “At some moment we will give the names of the agents from the yanqui embassy who are permanently mobilized (against us), giving million-dollar financing to pay the pseudo leaders of (opposition) unions and political parties to organize protests against the revolutionary government.”
Ortega repeated his early accusation that the U.S. government had provided the financing to instigate the April 4 riot in Bilwi, where anti-Sandinista Miskito protesters clashed violently with a pro-Sandinista group over the government’s attempt to suspend municipal elections on the Caribbean coast (NT, April 11).
The U.S. Embassy again denied the allegation of inciting violence and dismissed Ortega’s speech as unhelpful rhetoric.
“This is the same rhetoric as always; it doesn’t help bilateral relations but it doesn’t effect our commitment to the people of Nicaragua,” said embassy spokeswoman Kristin Stewart.
Political analysts claim that Ortega’s latest diatribe is just another example of the president deflecting attention away from the real problems facing the country.
“Ortega and the government are revealing that they are incapable of giving solutions to the problems facing the people, so they invent enemies and ghosts to dilute responsibility and put blame on others,” economist and opposition political leader, Edmundo Jarquín, told The Nica Times this week. “No one is conspiring against the government; people are protesting, which is a democratic right.”
Jarquín says that Ortega’s 1980s rhetoric of “yanqui conspiracies” against the Sandinista revolution is a case of the president “resorting to ideology” because he doesn’t have any solutions to offer to the real problems affecting Nicaraguans.
Psychiatrists, too, have commented on the tone of Ortega’s speech, which blamed the media, the United States, the oligarchy and civil society of conspiring against his government, which he insisted is not a dictatorship.
Ortega also compared himself to socialist icon Salvador Allende, the president of Chile who was overthrown by a military coup in 1973 and then killed himself.
“I think that our president feels threatened of loosening power,” psychiatrist Gioconda Cajina told The Nica Times. “The pressures are great for a statesman, and excessive power affects the mind.”
Cajina added, “President Ortega must feel cornered and unable to trust even those who are closest to him. The political situation in Nicaragua is very complex and this provokes confusion, a lack of confidence and paranoia.”
Cajina, a former psychiatrist for the Ministry of Health who caused a controversy in 1998 by recommending that then-President Arnoldo Alemán be submitted to a psychiatric evaluation, cites the book “In Sickness and in Power,” by British neurologist David Owen, who argues that political power can lead to narcissistic delirium characterized by exaggerated self-confidence, an inability to take advice from others and a progressive detachment from reality.
Cajina says other characteristics of this socalled “hubris syndrome” are an inability to accept errors and the concentration of power in one person because the subject thinks he or she is irreplaceable and predestined for greatness.