November 10, 2001

Bush calls to congratulate Nicaragua's Bolanos

                 MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Enrique Bolanos, who defeated a leftist
                 candidate the United States spent millions of dollars to overthrow in the
                 1980s, said Saturday that President George W. Bush congratulated him in a
                 telephone call.

                 Bolanos, a 73-year-old businessman who served as vice president under outgoing
                 President Arnoldo Aleman, defeated Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega by a 56-43
                 percent margin in last Sunday's election. He takes office on January 10.

                 Bolanos said a half-hour after Bush's Friday morning call, he was contacted by
                 John Maisto, the National Security Council's Latin America adviser.

                 Bolanos said he asked Maisto for his support when Bolanos goes to Washington in
                 January to seek U.S. financial aid.

                 Bolanos said he told Maisto that he would only bring "quality people who are not
                 corrupt and who are committed to my economic program and my own
                 convictions" to his administration, a promise he made publicly on Thursday.

                 His repeated pledges to overhaul the government showed Bolanos' intention to
                 distance himself from Aleman, a fellow member of the Constitutionalist Liberal
                 Party who is widely unpopular because of allegations of corruption.

                 Ortega headed the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which overthrew dictator
                 Anastasio Somoza and defied the mighty United States by establishing a socialist
                 government aligned with Cuba and the Soviet bloc from 1979 to 1990.

                 Bolanos had most of his property confiscated by the Sandinistas in the early 1980s
                 and was jailed by the then-ruling party.

                 The United States, which funded a war against the Sandinista government by
                 backing the Contra fighters, became increasingly alarmed when polls showed
                 Ortega ahe ad. U.S. officials publicly warned that a Sandinista victory could have
                 damaging consequences.

                 "The president congratulated the Nicaraguan president-elect on his victory last
                 Sunday and underscored the continuing strong ties between the United States and
                 Nicaragua," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.