June 10, 2008
By Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. and Ray Walser, Ph.D.
Last week's unopposed election of Nicaraguan Reverend Miguel
D'Escoto Brockmann as the next President of the 192-member United
Nations General Assembly will further undermine the standing of the
UN in the eyes of the American public. D'Escoto served as foreign
minister of Nicaragua during the Sandinista dictatorship of Daniel
Ortega in the 1980s and is known for his extreme, stridently
In a June 2004 radio interview with Democracy Now, the Los
Angeles-born Roman Catholic priest referred to former President
Reagan as "the butcher of my people", who was "responsible for the
deaths of some 50,000 Nicaraguans," and a leader who was "possessed
by demons." According to D'Escoto the United States was "the
greatest enemy of the right of self-determination of peoples" and
declared Americans to be "the most ignorant people around the
D'Escoto was the pick of the 33-nation Latin American and
Caribbean group within the UN. Under the system of regional
rotation the bloc was able to put forward its own candidate for the
presidency of the General Assembly (which controls the UN budget)
without challenge from the rest of the world. He will take office
at the next Assembly meeting in September, succeeding the low-key
former foreign minister of Macedonia, Srgjan Kerim.
There is every chance that D'Escoto will abuse his status by
turning the presidency into a platform for his anti-U.S. vitriol.
The position will provide a high profile bully pulpit for launching
ferocious attacks on U.S. foreign policy, and the traditional
neutrality of the presidency is likely to be shattered by the
presence of a far left ideological zealot with a deep hatred for
America. He already used his inaugural speech to blast Washington's
"acts of aggression, such as those occurring in Iraq and
Afghanistan", and has demonstrated no intention of acting as a
non-partisan force promoting international cooperation.
D'Escoto will arrive at the UN with a record of active support
not only for anti-Americanism but also Marxism-Leninism. An ardent
defender of Liberation Theology, D'Escoto achieved prominence in
the struggle to topple the Somoza dynasty in the late 1970's. As a
member of Los Doce ("the 12"), D'Escoto helped mask the communist
orientation of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and
played a key role in the Marxists' rise to power. After the
Sandinistas began installing a Cuban-style dictatorship and marched
comfortably with Fidel Castro, the Soviet Union and a bevy of Third
World despots, D'Escoto served as Nicaragua's foreign minister,
taking the U.S. to the International Court of Justice over its
support for the Nicaraguan Contras. For these efforts, D'Escoto was
awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviets in1985.
In the 1990s, with Daniel Ortega and the FSLN out of power,
reformist elements tried and failed to transform the party and
break Ortega's personal stranglehold. D'Escoto sided with Ortega,
sticking with his old boss through an ugly sex abuse scandal and
the political pact with Arnoldo Alemán, Nicaragua's corrupt
Liberal leader, which paved the way for the FSLN's return to power
in 2006 with just 38% of the popular vote.
As an adviser to Ortega, D'Escoto sided with Nicaragua's turn to
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and the embrace of the Bolivarian brand of
aggressive populism. He was also supportive of Ortega's budding
ties with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, culminating in
Iranian investment deals, reciprocal visits and Ortega's
endorsement of Iran's demand to develop its nuclear capabilities
before the UN General Assembly in 2007.
Nicaragua is rapidly emerging as a key friend and an ally of
some of the most odious regimes on the face of the earth, and the
presence of one of its key political figures at the head of the UN
General Assembly is a demonstration of the organization's callous
disregard for the principles of liberty and freedom on the world
The appointment of Miguel D'Escoto underscores yet again the
UN's growing irrelevance. It takes place against the backdrop of
the World Food Organization summit in Rome, a sickening feast for
some of the world's most brutal tyrants, from Zimbabwe's Robert
Mugabe to Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Last week's general assembly
election is the latest nail in the coffin of the UN's reputation as
a world body, and another pitiful example of its relentless
First appeared in Human Events
Last week’s unopposed election of Nicaraguan Reverend Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann as the next President of the 192-member United Nations General Assembly will further undermine the standing of the UN in the eyes of the American public. D’Escoto served as foreign minister of Nicaragua during the Sandinista dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in the 1980s and is known for his extreme, stridently anti-American views.
Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.
Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom
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Ray Walser, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Analyst
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