Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega: from hero to Nero

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Sadly, for the people of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, once a Sandinista and a trusted emissary of change to his people, chose the latter.

It’d be flippant, under most circumstances, to use a quote pulled from a comic book movie to describe the doings of an autocratic dictator, but the desperate, comic book villain death grip that Ortega has held onto the seat of the Nicaraguan presidency these past few years makes it feel right, somehow.

Painting himself as a good fella that's simply trying to hold his country’s shit together, Ortega, the police elements loyal to his government, and the paramilitaries under his sway have been responsible for at least 450 deaths since this past April when peaceful protests broke out over the Nicaraguan government’s plans to reform the nation’s social security system. Under Ortega’s new scheme, the poorest people in a nation full of poor people would have been forced to pay more for their pensions while receiving less. The protests soon turned violent. Then, they turned deadly. Currently, Ortega, who claims that the violence in his nation has come to an end, is living behind barricades and armed guards. His people want him gone.

The Financial Times has, hands-down, the best explanation on why this is, that I’ve run across:

Juan José is digging a latrine on the small, 8m by 25m plot the government of Daniel Ortega has given him to build a house.

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