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
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
John Maisto, the National Security Council's Latin America adviser.
Bolanos said he asked Maisto for his support when Bolanos goes to Washington
January to seek U.S. financial aid.
Bolanos said he told Maisto that he would only bring "quality people who
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
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
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
and was jailed by the then-ruling party.
The United States, which funded a war against the Sandinista government
backing the Contra fighters, became increasingly alarmed when polls showed
Ortega ahe ad. U.S. officials publicly warned that a Sandinista victory could have
"The president congratulated the Nicaraguan president-elect on his victory
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.