Nicaraguan Leftist Ortega lauds Obama

President Daniel Ortega, who once was swept into power by a Soviet-backed Marxist movement in Nicaragua and later came back through popular election, said that US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a "revolutionary phenomenon" in US politics.

Speaking at one of Nicaragua's universities, President Ortega said "It's not to say that there is already a revolution under way in the U.S. ... but yes, they are laying the bases for a revolutionary change". Moreover, the Sandinista leader said after receiving an honorary doctorate, that he has "faith in God and in the North American people, and above all in the youth, that the moment of great change in the U.S. will come and it will act differently, with justice and equality toward all nations."

Ortega also expressed the hope that an Obama presidency would give voice to the aspirations of millions of citizens of Mexico and Central America who have "silently invaded" the US, even though some polls show that Latino voters currently lean towards Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy.

The Sandinista leader condemned economic policies of the US and the Group of 7 saying that they contribute to unemployment in Latin America and the flight of labor. Latin Americans are "fleeing the policies of the free market and exclusion that the empire imposes on poor countries and upon those that in its judgement would promote significant changes in the North American system".

In addition, Ortega explained away the fact that several members of Nicaragua's military are receiving training at a US military facility once known as the School of the Americas.

Now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and located at Fort Benning, Georgia, the facility has drawn the ire of critics of US foreign and military policy who regularly conduct sit-ins and protests at the Institute.

The US has admitted that some of the Latin American graduates of the Institute are alleged to have engaged in torture during the Cold War years. Ortega said that he expected that the current Nicaraguan students at the students would not become "torturers and killers."


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