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Nicaragua and NYC: Linked for odd reasons

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega. (Dec. 2, 2013)

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega. (Dec. 2, 2013) (Credit: EPA)

What is it about this unique season that keeps linking Nicaragua to New York City in the news?

And what is it about government leaders that keeps them clinging to office -- regardless of how they might view capitalism?

Weeks and months ago, we had stories about mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's trips down there in the 1980s when the United States was backing insurgents against the socialist Sandinista government. The young de Blasio was involved with left-leaning organizations involved in food and medical delivery efforts, it has been reported.

Of course, circumstance dictates a politician's courses of action. During the September primary, de Blasio attacked rival Democrat Christine Quinn for changing the city charter in tandem with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stretch term limits from two terms to three.

Now, the Sandinista leader, President Daniel Ortega, who is in power now as head of the nation's National Liberation Front, has moved to scrap term limits altogether, of course, applicable to himself. That is, he's doing a Bloomberg and then some.

Just for fun, let's cite the first two paragraphs of the story as it's reported by Bloomberg's own Bloomberg News -- which tags Ortega's legal bid under the phrase "emerging market news."

Nicaragua’s Congress will probably approve today a constitutional amendment allowing President Daniel Ortega, who toppled a U.S.-backed dictatorship in 1979, to seek indefinite re-election.

Ortega’s proposal to eliminate a clause prohibiting re-election requires backing from 62 of the 92 lawmakers in Congress, where his Sandinista National Liberation Front has 63 seats. The 68-year-old former Marxist guerrilla ran the country from 1979 to 1990 and has been elected twice since.

Recently de Blasio's been critical of the Ortega regime's actions against dissenters.

Click here for the rest of the Bloomberg News report.

Click here for a recent report on violence in Nicaragua.

Not that it's the first we've heard of this sort of contrast. When Bloomberg moved to extend his stay in 2008, self-styled radical Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn noted that then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- who wasn't exactly known for being soft on those who opposed him -- seemed resigned to accepting the results of a referendum on term limits.

"Mr. Bloomberg, be like Mr. Chavez," Barron said at the time.

Of course, Chavez won a referendum in 2009 that kept him in office until his death earlier this year.

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