Discussion with the honorable Eduardo Montealegre, mayoral candidate, Managua, Nicaragua

Last evening I attended a small private dinner party held on Lido Island in Newport Beach to meet and listen to Harvard educated banker Eduardo Montealegre. Sailing past us as we dined was the “Wild Goose” John Wayne’s yacht that is a converted W.W.II minesweeper.

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Montealegre he was defeated by Sandinista party candidate Daniel Ortega in the multi candidate 2006 Nicaragua presidential election.

Mr. Montealegre is a candidate in the November 2nd election for Mayor of Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua. His main challenger in the upcoming election is card carrying Sandinista, former vice-mayor of Managua, Alexis Argüello, Nicaragua’s three-time world boxing champion.

In his brief remarks Eduardo stated that this election is about “Dictatorship Vs Democracy.” He plans to promote democracy and liberty in his campaign. I note in researching his prior campaign that he is an advocate of economic development.

Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest country in Latin America, after Haïti.” It has been reported that 45 percent of the population live on less than two dollars per day.

 

While our focus is on our presidential election and the recent invasion of Georgia by Russian troops we may be overlooking what is occurring in our own back yard. What posture should the US or NATO take requires firm, yet diplomatic, presidential leadership.

I reminded some of the guests at our table of Russian reaction to NATO’s placement of Jupiter IRBM missiles in Turkey 150 miles from their Russian border in 1962 for which Moscow responded by sending missiles to Cuba which led to the failed effort to overthrow Fidel Castro.

We need presidential leadership with open eyes to developments in Central and South America. Daniel Ortega “maintains close ties to Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the leftist president has become a thorn in side of the United States. Mr. Chavez lent the Ortega campaign significant support by sending subsidized oil to Nicaragua and distributing it through Sandinista politicians. Mr. Ortega’s victory appeared to be another gain for leftists in Latin America.” He has “also persuaded voters to abandon conservative governments in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.”  It is reported that Chavez provides oil at a 40 percent discount to Nicaragua. Our next commander-in-chief had better not take his eyes off the landscape in our own back yard.

After dinner I spent a few minutes in a one-on-one discussion with Eduardo asking about the make-up of their electorate.

For starters they close all access to the sale of liquor for two days prior and two days after their elections. Every voter casts paper ballot at locations within three miles of their homes, which he called “table top” voting.  Their voter turn out is 70 percent. It goes without saying that Nicaragua does not have electronic machines nor do they offer absentee voting. Thirty percent of the country’s 5.6 million people live in the capital city of Managua.

This was a very informative evening. I discovered that of the 175,000 who emigrated to the USA 80,000 live in Miami-Dade County, FL. Many of these expatriates remit billions of US dollars back home to help this poor nation, representing upwards of 29% of their GDP.
 
In my assessment it is in our best interest for all Americans to support pro-America conservative Eduardo Montealegre in the upcoming Managua mayoral election.

 2006 Nicaragua’s presidential election recap.

Unlike our party’s primary policy of run-off elections if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, they changed their election policy. i.e. “The key to Ortega’s victory was a change in election rules allowing a candidate to win in the first-round with only 35 percent of the vote, so long as he is 5 points above his next closest opponent. If Mr. Ortega had not won on the first round, most political strategists predicted he would not have survived a second round, as the splintered anti-Sandinista vote would have united. As it was, the anti-Sandinista vote seemed split mostly between Mr. Montealegre, with 30.9 percent, and José Rizo, the candidate of the conservative ruling party, who had 22.9 percent, according to the Supreme Electoral Council, the Nicaraguan election authority. Two other candidates, Edmundo Jarquin, a dissident former Sandinista, and Eden Pastora, a former Contra rebel, trailed behind.”

According to Google data “the final vote tally released by the Nicaraguan Supreme Electoral Council gave Daniel Ortega 930,862 votes (37.99%) and a 9-point lead over his closest rival, Eduardo MONTEALEGRE. A candidate of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN), MONTEALEGRE obtained 693,391 votes (28.30%).” Former President Jimmy Carter and members of the OAS were observers during that 2006 presidential election.


About Larry Gilbert