MANAGUA – A grisly joke is how former Sandinista combatant Dora María Téllez described on Monday Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s expression of solidarity “in the name of the Nicaraguan people” with Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Téllez, leader of the leftwing fraction Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), told a local television station that Ortega’s solidarity with Gadhafi is “a grisly joke on both the Libyan and Nicaraguan people.”
The MRS is a political organization formed by breakaway Sandinista dissidents.
Téllez also drew a parallel between ongoing Libyan air strikes against civilian protesters and past strikes against Nicaraguan civilians ordered by former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza during the Sandinista uprising.
“What Ortega is doing [in sympathizing with Gadhafi] is identifying with [Anastasio] Somoza and with genocide [in Libya], which is a grave act and something we cannot accept,” said Téllez, a commanding member of the Sandinista squad that attacked Managua’s National Palace on Aug. 22, 1978.
“In personally supporting Gadhafi, Ortega is showing his true authoritarian and dictatorial colors, but he’s not going to do that in the name of the Nicaraguan people, because we do not support genocide. We’ve already suffered through massacres in order to remove a dictator that was in power as long as Gadhafi,” Téllez said, referring to Somoza.
Ortega, in at least three speeches in the last few days, expressed solidarity with Gadhafi on behalf of Nicaraguans, and said that the Libyan leader is a victim of a “media onslaught.”
According to the Ortega, to date no media outlet has published images of Gadhafi’s alleged air strikes against civilians.
On Sunday, opposition presidential candidate Fabio Gadea, from the Nicaraguan Hope for Unity (UNE) movement, also criticized Ortega’s pro-Gadhafi comments.
Gadea, who is also an opposition lawmaker for the Liberal Constitutionalist Party, was speaking at the Central American Parliament during an Independent Liberal Party convention to back his presidential bid.
In a local radio interview, Gadea also said that of Ortega’s “many abuses, the most unforgivable is [Ortega’s] support of Gadhafi and genocide on behalf of the Nicaraguan people.”
“President Ortega, only you and your clique of followers support genocide and Libya’s assassin,” Gadea said, referring to Gadhafi.
Nicaragua will hold national elections on Nov. 6. Ortega has been nominated to run again for his party, despite having reached his term limit. Although Ortega is constitutionally-banned from running, he is favored to win the election.