New York City liberals sure now how to pick them. The Democrat and ACORN candidate they chose to run for mayor, Bill de Blasio, spent his young adult years as a pawn for Nicaragua’s Marxist Sandanistas. Calling them brutal would be an understatement.
Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza was toppled in 1979. Many had fought to rid their country of his one-man rule, and a broad-based ruling directorate was set up after Somoza was banished. It was supposed to organize elections. Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front that overthrew Somoza, had other ideas. He wanted to remake Castro’s Cuba in Central America.
Mr. Ortega’s first step was to cleanse the Sandinista directorate of moderate elements, using fear and intimidation. In 1980, his security thugs assassinated Jorge Salazar, a popular and charismatic Nicaraguan businessman who had opposed Somoza’s dictatorship but also opposed the effort to install a Marxist-Leninist military government. It worked. Members of the directorate, who had naively believed that they were part of a new democratic Nicaragua, were terrified. They resigned and the ruling junta became totally Castroite.
The crackdown that followed was ruthless. Cuban enforcers were brought in to help. Houses, farms, ranches and businesses were confiscated, and the independent media were muzzled. Central planning meant price controls for everyone. Even rural women carrying produce to market were arrested as speculators.
Highland peasants who had fought to remove Somoza rebelled. They didn’t want to be ruled by a left-wing dictator any more than by the right-wing variety. They organized themselves into “Contras.” The Miskito Indians also fought back. In retribution the army burned their villages and carried out executions. Thousands fled to Honduras to live in refugee camps. (Read More)
To de Blasio these crimes were excusable because of a promise of health care for all. He wouldn’t provide comment for the article above because it was written for The Wall Street Journal, but he did provide comment for a New York Times article last month. I’m sure he believed they would be more sympathetic to his cause, and they did manage to downplay the more unsavory aspects of his communist allies. They also offered him the opportunity to redefine his political leanings, like all lefties do.
Mr. de Blasio, who studied Latin American politics at Columbia and was conversational in Spanish, grew to be an admirer of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista party, thrusting himself into one of the most polarizing issues in American politics at the time. The Reagan administration denounced the Sandinistas as tyrannical and Communist, while their liberal backers argued that after years of dictatorship, they were building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.
Today, Mr. de Blasio is critical of the Sandinistas’ crackdown on dissenters, but said he learned from his time trying to help the Central American country.
“My work was based on trying to create a more fair and inclusive world,” he said in a recent interview. “I have an activist’s desire to improve people’s lives.”
Mr. de Blasio became an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. He helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party’s newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade. When he was asked at a meeting in 1990 about his goals for society, he said he was an advocate of “democratic socialism.”
Now, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, describes himself as a progressive.
Don’t they all describe themselves as progressive these days? Soon enough they’ll come up with a new term, or go back to an old one that people have largely forgotten. But they never change their stripes.
Despite some debate over whether it should support only humanitarian causes, the Nicaragua Solidarity Network held dances to benefit the Sandinista party. “They gave a new definition to democracy,” Mr. de Blasio told The New York Times in 1990 in an article about the wistful reaction of American activists to the defeat of the Sandinistas. “They built a democracy that was striving to be economic and political, that pervaded all levels in society.”
At a retreat later that year, members of the network were asked to articulate their visions for society. One suggested a “real peace movement,” according to minutes of the meeting. “Rewards for altruism,” another said. Mr. de Blasio suggested “democratic socialism.”
In a recent interview, Mr. de Blasio said his views then — and now — represented a mix of admiration for European social democratic movements, Mr. Roosevelt’s New Deal and liberation theology.
He even honeymooned in Cuba before vacationing in Cuba was cool. It was even illegal at the time.
The title of that NYT article is “A Mayoral Hopeful Now, de Blasio Was Once a Young Leftist,” as if that’s a good thing. Of course, it didn’t mention how de Blasio ignored the blatant and brutal anti-Semitism of the Sandinistas he so ardently supported.
Just as a side note, I do not live in New York City, and the voters there are free to choose any candidate they desire. But I do wish my fellow New Yorkers would do a better job of vetting their candidates. They’re in large part responsible for siccing Senators Schumer and Gillibrand on the rest of us. What Marxist piece of crap will they come up with next?