Friday, November 10, 2006

Everything old is new again

In yet another demonstration of the US's astounding ability to back the wrong horse, Daniel Ortega was elected president of Nicaragua this week. The Independent's coverage of the campaign reads like a near-parody:
His campaign flag and theme tune, he insists, said it all. The old red-and-black flag and silk scarves of the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) were still on show, but alongside them were flags and banners in Ortega's new favoured colour--shocking pink--chosen by his wife and meant to symbolise the new Ortega's softer, gentler side.

The old FSLN anthem, which included the words "let us fight the yanqui, enemy of humanity", could still be heard during his campaign, but it played second fiddle to Ortega's latest theme tune--a Spanish version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", which calls for reconciliation and whose refrain is "We all want to live in peace". It also gave a Washington Post headline writer the chance to come up with "Daniel Ortega, from Lenin to Lennon".
Something about fuschia-clad Sandanistas singing Lennon songs really seems like a moment right out of Delillo to me.

And if the Independent's coverage reads like a postmodern novel, the BBC's is like the political equivalent of the musical reunion tour:
So who has become the principle agitator-in-chief for those opposed to Mr Ortega?

None other than Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, the public face of the Iran-Contra scandal in the days of Ronald Reagan's presidency.

"If Ortega wins," he said on a two-day visit here. "He will have key regional allies... who together could create problems aplenty for the US and its democratic Latin American allies."

"Today, Nicaragua looks like a case of back to the future," Mr North added.
Wow. The eighties revival is clearly far, far more pervasive than I had imagined.

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