Statements of that kind flow from “liberation theology,” Marxism-Leninism tarted up with religious vocabulary. This theology, popular in the early 1980s, saw the FSLN comandantes as the second coming of biblical prophets, ushering in a reign of peace and social justice. The FSLN national anthem referred to the “Yankee enemy of mankind,” but the left was also against the United States and its allies, so the relationship worked well.
The FSLN supported the USSR, proclaiming three days of national mourning when Konstantin Chernenko died in 1985. Fidel Castro was a key ally. At home the FSLN shut down the free press, jailed dissenters, tortured prisoners, and oppressed churches that were less than worshipful of the FSLN. The American left denied or defended it all, and that did not endear such “sandalistas” to the Nicaraguan people.
In the free elections of 1990 they booted out the FSLN, which proceeded to loot the country in the infamous piñata campaign. Tomas Borge took part in that too, but the campaign did not prompt the American left to review its support for the FSLN.
Any repressive regime can still count on that support, as long as they oppose the United States and its allies. Witness the relative silence on Iran’s human rights violations, and opposition to efforts to keep a militant theocracy from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Ecuador, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador praised Borge as a revolutionary hero. He should be remembered as a persecutor of indigenous people, a torturer, criminal and anti-Semite. Borge may be gone but a former FSLN comandante Daniel Ortega still rules the roost. That may explain why the nation remains troubled and why so few Jews, perhaps 60, have returned to Nicaragua.
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