Controversy Between Colombian and Nicaraguan Leaders Escalates Over Petro’s Comparison of Ortega to Pinochet and Ortega’s Response Calling the Colombian President a “Traitor”
During the final hours of President Petro’s visit to Chile, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s coup, a political incident unfolded that highlights Daniel Ortega’s political isolation. President Petro compared Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to Pinochet after Nicaragua confiscated the home of poet Gioconda Belli. According to Gustavo Petro, Ortega violates human rights and maintains a policy of repression against political dissent in Nicaragua.
Petro compares Daniel Ortega to Pinochet
While visiting Chile, the Colombian head of state held meetings with various Latin American progressive presidents. The unanimous condemnation of the 1973 coup that ousted the constitutional president Salvador Allende was a central theme. The regime of terror and death that unfolded in Chile for over 15 years under the leadership of General Pinochet, who led the coup, was also widely condemned.
President Petro’s agenda during his visit to the southern country was busy. Nevertheless, he found time to express solidarity on social media with Gioconda Belli, who is known for her Sandinista activism and now opposes Ortega’s government due to its authoritarian turn.
“All my solidarity to Gioconda Belli, a poet of Nicaraguan resistance against Somoza, now persecuted by Ortega. What a paradox! Here, in Chile, I visit the homes of Chilean poets which were raided and where they were killed during the dictatorship, and Ortega does the same as Pinochet,” the Colombian president exclaimed firmly.
“Traitor and Shame”
President Ortega wasted no time in responding to Gustavo Petro’s statements. During a parade commemorating the 44th anniversary of the founding of Nicaragua’s police force, the Nicaraguan president used the opportunity to lash out at Petro for his remarks.
“I want to refer to the current president of Colombia. They become trash. After the struggle they led, like Petro, where many Colombian brothers fell in battle. Fighting for their hearts, their conscience, their dignity. Well, Petro has become the president of Colombia, a state in the service of the Yankees. A state filled with U.S. military bases. And Petro used to claim he was anti-imperialist when he was fighting with the guerrillas. What are you waiting for, Petro, to remove the U.S. military bases from Colombia?” Ortega said, amid cheers from his supporters.
Ortega also accused Gustavo Petro’s government of being in the service of the United States. “Petro is a disgrace to those who fought in the guerrilla movement he led. He has betrayed his own blood,” Ortega continued.
“Show some dignity, Petro, and close the Yankee bases you have in Colombia,” challenged the Nicaraguan president.
“You Are a Little Pinochet, Boric!”
Daniel Ortega didn’t stop there. He also had words of disparagement for Chilean President Gabriel Boric. In his usual rhetoric, Ortega claimed that Chile doesn’t live in democracy because it “remains chained to the laws left by Pinochet, chained to imperialism.”
Criticism of the Chilean left-wing president continued from the Nicaraguan leader, who reminded everyone that Boric had not fulfilled his promise to “imprison Piñera and abolish the Carabineros.”
“During Piñera’s government, over 9,000 young people were repressed by the Carabineros in the streets of Santiago and other cities. They lost their sight and went blind. These are crimes you cannot hide, Boric. You cannot hide them, Boric. You are a little Pinochet, Boric,” Ortega concluded, in a burst of verbal incontinence against democratic left-wing leaders in the region.
“If You Feel Bad, Remember that the Government Loves You”
President Ortega’s invective experienced one of its last episodes in April when a false rumor circulated about his death. The 78-year-old president then wrote a message on his X account for the authors of the unfounded rumor. “Where the hell did the idea that I had died come from? Go and wish death upon your mothers, you damn dogs. There’s a president here for a long time!” he responded vehemently, as is his usual style.
Among all his messages, however, the most cynical one is a phrase that the Nicaraguan president included in his Christmas message. After sending his classic Christmas wishes, Ortega ended his message with, “If you feel bad, remember that the government loves you.”