Nicaragua and the Two Chinas

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

We never hear much about Nicaragua or what is happening in Nicaragua these days in the U.S. news media. But some important things are happening in that country. China more than ever is investing in that country on a large scale. Not only is Chinese business and Chinese money pouring into Nicaragua, but the Chinese government is also working in cooperation with the Nicaraguan government in building a canal similar to the one in Panama to allow cargo ships to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. There is no question that China has a major interest in Nicaragua, and is trying to “buy” Nicaragua’s loyalty.

If this is the case, then why does the Nicaraguan government recognize China’s rival Taiwan officially? This sounds especially odd given the fact that the Sandinista Party, which is very left wing, favors socialist and Communist regimes and is on especially good terms with those Latin American countries with leftist governments like Venezuela, Bolivia, El Salvador and Ecuador. Given this, why does it recognize a multi-party democracy like Taiwan and not a one-party state like China? The answer is that the Nicaraguan government is playing off China and Taiwan for what money and investments they can get out of both. Doesn’t this sound very capitalist? Yes it is, but then the Sandinistas are not the totally hardcore socialists they used to be. They have learned to love capitalism and free enterprise as long as it lines the Sandinista Party’s pockets. They work in cooperation with the Catholic Church to help keep the population under control.

For the Sandinistas, control is everything, and you cannot succeed if you have not cooped everyone from small businesses to unions to church organizations and yes those countries that want to invest and do business in your country. As in the case of Venezuela, the Sandinistas do not want to lose power and will even go as far as rig elections to stay in control. But unlike the Venezuelan government, which is increasingly under siege from its own people, the Nicaraguan government is making sure it makes as many people happy as possible. Those who object they repress, but by and large the stability and control they have brought to Nicaragua will assure them that the Sandinistas will not be gotten rid of anytime soon. And so Nicaragua will keep playing China and Taiwan off.

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