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Nicaragua's Ortega Lashes Out at US Republican Party


Nicaraguan President-elect Daniel Ortega says he hopes for increased trade with all countries, including the United States, despite his criticism of some of Washington's policies.

The leftist leader told supporters during a victory rally in Managua Wednesday that President Bush's Republican Party has lost power because of the Iraq occupation, which has been "rejected by the entire world." He said he hopes the U.S. government "listens to its people and pulls its troops out of Iraq."

Mr. Ortega met with business leaders on Wednesday to assure them he will not repeat the radical Marxist policies, such as land seizures, that left Nicaragua in economic ruin during his presidency in the late 1980s. But he has also promised to maintain close ties with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who have led a leftist surge in Latin America.

Some U.S. lawmakers warned that an election victory by Mr. Ortega would damage relations with Washington. In his campaign, however, the former Marxist guerrilla leader suggested he had turned away from his Marxist policies and promised to promote reconciliation and peace.

Earlier Wednesday, the State Department said it looked to establish "positive relations" with the government of President-elect Ortega. But on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that ultimately the platform of the incoming Nicaraguan government will determine bilateral ties.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.