Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Open Door Policy - July 21, 2008

I have just finished my first week in Central America for the two-week trip I am on with the American Council of Young Political Leaders. This organization is set up to send younger political officials to different countries to learn about the aspects of the nations, the politics that govern them and the societies they live in. The first week was spent in Nicaragua and the second will be in El Salvador. Both of these nations experienced wars in recent years and both are trying to move past that era.
Nicaragua is a nation that suffers from great amounts of poverty. Over 60 percent of the nation lives on average of $2 per day. We also saw that only have of the country has access to electricity and much of the nation does not have clean water.
The Sandinistas, the soldiers from the revolution, took back control of the nation in the last national election after the liberal party did not bring about advancements for the country. During their time in office, not much has changed either. Corruption is charged on all sides and the ruling party, officially called the FSLN, has strong ties to Hugo Chavez, the leader of Venezuela, a country tied heavily to other nations heavily opposed to the United States.
Our delegation, a bipartisan group from across the United States, had the chance to meet with several leaders that will hopefully bring Democratic principles to the people and give them opportunities through growth in agriculture, the textile industry and the other areas of the economy. The most striking leader we met was Eduardo Montealegre, an investment banker that spent time in New York. He ran for President of Nicaragua in the last election, but lost due to three parties splitting the vote, which placed Daniel Ortega back in power. The FSLN charged him with stealing over $600 million dollars, which has no evidence was shown to be prove this accusation. I believe it was simply used by the controlling government to defeat a man who could end their power. Montealegre is currently running for Mayor of Managua, the capitol city.
The time here has made me appreciate our system of government even more. While our races may get nasty at points, it does not compare to this environment and come to the point where candidates have to fear for their lives from the other parties. I hope the region will stabilize after the next election and we have greater opportunities to export our goods to help our own people with sales and improve the conditions of these people. It certainly makes me appreciate the work our founding fathers did to establish our nation as a strong Democracy.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is joedorman@okhouse.gov at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is http://www.joedorman.com/ on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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