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Where Kadafi can find support

February 23, 2011 |  4:40 pm


You would think two world leaders who owe their very political existence to popular uprisings would be on the side of the crowds in places like tumultuous Libya.

You would be wrong.

Leaping to the support of Libya's embattled ruler Moammar Kadafi are Latin America’s most renowned onetime revolutionary leaders: Fidel Castro of Cuba and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.

Ortega said this week that he had spoken to Kadafi by telephone to give words of encouragement and sympathy. “I told [him] that in difficult moments, loyalty is put to the test,” Ortega said. He said Kadafi was trying to “defend the unity of his nation.”

Castro, writing in one of his regular columns, Reflections of Fidel, warned that the U.S. and NATO are using the conflict in Libya to stage an invasion and seize the country’s oil.

“One can be in agreement with Kadafi or not,” Castro said. “What is absolutely evident to me is that the government of the United States is totally unconcerned about peace in Libya and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, possibly in a matter of hours or a few days.”

Castro and Ortega have long counted Kadafi as an ally, wooed by his revolutionary rhetoric and sporadic stances against "imperialism."  Still, they are virtually alone these days in their friendship  with the strange strongman.

-- Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City


Photo: Moammar Kadafi and Daniel Ortega in Tripoli, Libya, in 2007. Credit: Associated Press.