Stelios Kouloglou, the Greek deputy from the Radical Leftist Coalition (Syriza) of the European Parliament, declared that Daniel Ortega’s government in Nicaragua could not be considered socialist, because it “doesn’t have any ideological framework”.
“There’s no socialism without democracy, without human rights and with political prisoners, period,” Kouloglou declared unequivocally during an interview with the EFE news agency after concluding a three-day visit to Nicaragua.
Kouloglou was part of a delegation of eleven deputies from the European Parliament who arrived in the country to assess the state of crisis that Nicaragua has been engulfed in since last April.
Since Ortega returned to power in 2007 as the head of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), he has defined his government as “Christian, Socialist and in Solidarity”. This denomination doesn’t fit in well with what’s defined as “the left” in international politics, in the opinion of the Parliament Member.
His perception changed when he arrived
Kouloglou, 65, admitted that his perception of the Ortega government “changed greatly” from what he expected, and he indicated his disappointment.
Nonetheless, he clarified that “that disappointment doesn’t reflect the left”, since the actions of the FSLN “are actions of a regime that doesn’t have any ideological framework, that’s interested only in power.”
“I’m a leftist, and I’d like to help the country, but there’s no socialism without democracy, there’s no socialism without freedom of the press, there’s no socialism with political prisoners, period,” he insisted.
Although he expressed concern for the direction that Nicaragua and Venezuela have taken, with governments that call themselves leftist, he emphasized that, “we also have attacks and threats from the US administration that aren’t helping things. We believe that these countries should be free to decide their own future.”
However, he warned that “it’s not a good idea to utilize the attacks of the US administration as a pretext for repressing the people.”
In a meeting that the European deputies sustained with Ortega, he alleged that the crisis in Nicaragua originated with a failed coup d’etat”, and blamed the demonstrators for the hundreds of dead, the prisoners and the missing, thousands of wounded and tens of thousands of exiles. Kouloglou rejects this.
“The idea of a coup d’etat has no basis in logic, because there are former Sandinistas in jail who aren’t terrorists,” he highlighted.
The Greek MP even commented ironically about the hundreds of Nicaraguans who’ve been jailed since the social uprising of last April, accused of terrorism and other crimes.
“It’s not possible that in Nicaragua there are more terrorists than the Islamic state has in Syria and Iraq put together,” he noted.
He also pointed out somewhat sardonically that “yesterday we encountered journalists that were arrested eight months after the coup d’etat. How can that be.”
Kouloglou agreed that Nicaragua’s return to democracy must include “the liberation of all those who are in prison for the crime of expressing their opinions, and the journalists.”
To the Greek politician, the FSLN isn’t a black sheep of the left, because he doesn’t even identify it as such. His personal meeting with Ortega didn’t change his perception, not even with the bag of souvenirs from the Nicaraguan government that he was holding in his hands.