“The imperialists don’t like us to help you progress and develop. They don’t like us to get rid of poverty and unite people,” said Mr Ahmadinejad.

“But the whole world knows that Nicaragua and Iran are together.”

Mr Ortega said he would sign accords with Mr Ahmadinejad to help reduce poverty in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

The two countries announced that they were restoring full diplomatic relations and re-opening embassies in their capitals. ~BBC News

A few months ago Michael Barone claimed that the Chavista wave had broken and that Venezuelan-style hard-core left populism was already falling out of fashion around Latin America.  The Ecuadoran presidential election already proved this thesis to be essentially incorrect.  Now the Nicaraguan government has followed closely the foreign policy lead of Caracas in tying itself to Iran, suggesting that Ortega’s act before his election was nothing more than an act and the potential for radically leftist policies in Nicaragua is much greater than Barone allowed. 

Unlike some people, I am not exactly shaking in my boots at the thought of Venezuelan empire or the prospect of a Managua-Tehran connection, and I acknowledge that relatively poor, small countries cannot afford to simply snub a country as large as Iran, but anyone who has tried to claim that the “new” Ortega has really changed all that much or has eschewed radicalism (as Barone implied in his post) has to realise that this episode shows that view to be wrong.  In any case, if this is what passes for a mild or reformed kind of leftist government in Nicaragua under the “new” Daniel Ortega, we don’t want to see what radical leftist would look like.