Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chavez Strikes Oil Deal With Nicaragua

Hugo Chavez, the socialist President of Venezuela, has taken yet another crucial step in counteracting American free trade deals in Latin America. In a deal with a group of Nicaraguan mayors and local politicians, Chavez has promised to use Venezuela's massive oil reserves to help provide Nicaragua with affordable oil. Chavez made a similar deal with leftist politicians in El Salvador earlier this year.

Besides providing petroleum to Nicaragua, Chavez has also voiced his support of leftist candidate Daniel Ortega in the upcoming elections. Ortega was one of the leaders of the Sandanista National Liberation Front, who overthrew the Samoza dictatorship in 1979. Ortega was soon elected President of the new government with 63% of the vote. However, Ortega's socialist policies brought the wrath of the Reagan Administration who quickly began a secret war against the democratic government of Nicaragua. Reagan and his buddy Ollie North began funneling money to insurgent forces inside Nicaragua by selling arms to the Iranian dictatorship. The insurgency in Nicaragua, referred to as the Contras, was a ragtag group of drug lords, war lords, and terrorists. The Contras ultimately murdered tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, and the American support of the group resulted in a near unanimous condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly. Despite opposition from the United States, Ortega has a good chance at winning the upcoming elections, especially in light of the left turn that Latin American politics have taken in recent months.