Friday, March 18, 2011


What in the Hell, happened in Nicaragua?

Do you remember that? I remember when I was in college, a lot of yelling about the Sandinistas. But I thought back then everyone was on their side. Now it appears they were the enemies and the henchmen of the government we supported? I realize now that people weren't for the revolutionary government back then but they were against what our government was doing in paying the Contras who were a bit out of control with human rights violations, killing civilians, and such. Because, perhaps, our blindness in disliking what our government was doing in supporting people who were trying to overthrow an established government so close to home, they lost sight of what the current regime was doing and why, there was a grassroots group trying to unseat them, and now we know, rightfully so. Perhaps, Reagan was doing the right thing.

I'm so confused.

Here is what triggered this. I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations food show where he travels around the world. In this episode he goes to Nicaragua and is horrified by how badly the people are being treated by their leaders. Again, communism is all about how to control people and be richer than those you have charge over to protect and see happy, healthy and productive.
Bourdain is profiled in the upcoming issue of Time. Tony this year so far, has visited Haiti; Cambodia, including a discussion about the Khmer Rouge's ethnic killings, and Nicaragua  where he visits a garbage dump, where churequeros, both adults and children scavenge for food and recyclables.
 Nicaragua churequeros
From Tony: "It's not exactly appropriate to move over to Frontline all of a sudden, but, you know, seeing this it's feeling so good about doing another scene where I shove food in my face." Tony was obviously pissed off in considering what these people were going through, and the fact that there were second and even third generation people there to whom this is a way of life. Why, if their leader is so wonderful are there people living like this. Rummaging through garbage for food and sell-able items just so they can eat?

From Tony's blog on his site:

"I admire people who live by their principles–even when I don’t agree with them.  I don’t much like communism, particularly the soul crushing evil done in its name through much of history, but I have a romantic’s soft spot for an old Bolshie who took to the hills as a young man, believed in their heart that they were liberating their people from oppression (particularly if whoever they were  fighting against was a uniquely bad bastard).  Perhaps this will explain my visceral loathing for Daniel Ortega–seemingly the President For Life of Nicaragua, a guy who, clearly, has two sets of principles. One for the Nicaraguan people–and one for himself.   My detestation of Nicaragua’s Maximum Leader is exceeded only by my admiration for its people who deserve so much better.

"The Nicaragua show is the last (for a while) of a trio of sad, angry episodes. For the next few weeks anyway, you can be assured of some somewhat more upbeat hours of television. But I was angry this time around. ”Socialist” and “Greedhead” are two words that really don’t go together, but too often do in my travels.  And for an old lefty like me, that goes down hard. Of course, it wasn’t all downbeat. Nicaragua is, after all, a spectacularly beautiful country. The food is great. The rum even better. The people are proud, generous, funny and sophisticated at every level of society.

"I hope the show makes people want to visit this poor but beautiful nation with so much to offer–to see not only what Nicaragua is, but what it can be. I try–I really try–to stay away from politics on my show. I’m not that smart. I’m a guy with a travel and food show. But what people eat–or aren’t eating–is the elephant in the room. And from time to time, that’s worth mentioning.

"A miserable, hypocritical prick–whatever the system of government–is still a prick.  I tend to look at the world, still, from the point of view of a restaurant guy–a small business owner.  Right? Left? I don’t care. I look at “leaders” as if they were managers of my restaurant. I go away for four years and come back. If my business has gotten inexplicably worse, I have fewer customers, the neighbors are pissed, my employees unhappy and there’s money inexplicably missing from the till, I call that a bad leader.  I don’t know if that’s politics or simple good sense."

Anthony Bourdain
Thanks Tony. Keep up the good work. We do need to see these things.

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