- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Threat in Nicaragua

President Enrique Bolanos of Nicaragua this week warned that his country is threatened by the “enemies of democracy” who are undermining its fragile political system.

Mr. Bolanos, speaking at a Washington reception, is the target of what he called an “unholy alliance” of Daniel Ortega, leader of the Marxist Sandinista party, and Arnoldo Aleman, the right-wing former president serving a 20-year prison sentence for corruption. Aleman’s supporters have joined Mr. Ortega’s Sandinistas to stack the courts with political judges and undercut the president’s authority.

“Yesterday’s enemies of democracy used pure military force,” Mr. Bolanos said.

“Today’s enemies of democracy have evolved and refined their techniques. Today’s enemies of democracy leave the outside facade of democratic institutions intact, while, at the same time, they hollow out these institutions from the inside, leaving nothing but the shell.”

Mr. Bolanos called Mr. Ortega and Aleman “two party bosses [who] are attempting to dismantle some of democracy’s most sacred principles, such as checks and balances and the independence of the judiciary.”

The president assailed his political enemies at a Nicaraguan Embassy reception for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar and formerU.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. He praised them for their support of the democratic opposition during the 1980s when Mr. Ortega and the Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua.

“We are here tonight to honor two of democracy’s great champions for their decades-long commitment to freedom and democracy in Nicaragua,” Mr. Bolanos said, as he presented them with Nicaragua’s highest honor, the Order of Ruben Dario.

“As for heroes of democracy, one would be hard-pressed to find one with a more distinguished career than Ambassador Kirkpatrick. She played a key role both publicly and behind the scenes in helping Nicaragua free herself of a Marxist dictatorship.”

Mr. Lugar, Indiana Republican, “played a critical role in support for freedom and democracy in the foreign policy fights over Central America,” Mr. Bolanos added.

Israel’s ‘strong will’

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon celebrated his country’s independence day by noting that the Jewish state has survived 57 years through the “strong will” of its people.

“No other people have been challenged so much,” he said. “But Israel has not only survived, it has prevailed through a strong will and a steadfast commitment to freedom and peace. We are proud of having built a great country with technological, cultural and economic achievements.”

Two of his guests also expressed their appreciation for the U.S.-Israeli alliance.

Joshua B. Bolten, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said, “As an American, as a member of the president’s Cabinet and as a Jew, I am very proud of this relationship.”

Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican and House majority whip, added, “Day after day on the House floor and the Senate floor, we are given every evidence of how strong our friendship is.”

Add Cambodia

The U.S. Embassy in Cambodia yesterday expressed its appreciation for the approval of a law to guarantee that Americans in the Southeast Asian nation will not be subject to the authority of the International Criminal Court.

The Cambodian National Assembly endorsed an agreement signed in 2003 by U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. The agreement allows U.S. courts to prosecute Americans accused of crimes in Cambodia.

“The United States remains committed to justice, the practice of the rule of law and for accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” embassy spokesman David Gainer said.

“As a sovereign nation, the United States accepts the responsibility to investigate and prosecute its own citizens for such offense should they occur.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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