The President George Bush administration will do everything legally possible to prevent the leftist Sandinistas from returning to power in Central America's Nicaragua, said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega.
In an interview published in Managua's La Prensa Mr. Noriega said if the Sandinistas were to return to power, Nicaragua "would sink like a rock and reach the depths of Cuba". During the eighties under former President Ronald Reagan, Washington helped finance the ousting, "from its backyard" of the Sandinistas who had become close allies of Cuba's Fidel Castro.
However two days ago Sandinista leader and former President Daniel Ortega who was in office from 1985 to 1990 said at a rally marking the 26th anniversary of the ouster of US supported dictator Anastasio Somoza that the party "would return to office in the November 2006 election".
The US reaction was immediate. "We will do everything we can to provide alternatives so that Nicaraguans can choose the government they deserve, and the country doesn't end managed by Cuba or subsidized by Venezuela" stressed Mr. Noriega.
The US official added that leaders of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party which has a Congressional alliance with Sandinistas, "will have to make a choice between corruption and short-term interests, or being friends of the United States".
Liberals and Sandinistas have backed constitutional reforms to weaken the executive branch in an effort to win the release of Liberal party leader Arnoldo Aleman, who served as president from 1997 to 2002 and was convicted on corruption charges.
With the support of the Liberals, Sandinistas have regained significant influence in Nicaraguan affairs and Congress.
Several Constitutionalist Liberal Party leaders and legislators have had their US visas cancelled on grounds they were involved in corrupt activities, a decision that the party views as a strong response to its Congress alliance with the Sandinistas.
Mr. Noriega said former U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Oliver Garza would be travelling to the Central American country to explain to Liberal leaders that it was important that those opposed to the Sandinistas get together and present a united front in next year's elections.
There are some Liberals "who seem to be more attracted by corruption than with political principles" and even "conspire with the Sandinistas to prevent the SAM-7s (shoulder fired missiles) from being destroyed, thus apparently showing they do not appreciate relations with the United States", highlighted Mr. Noriega.
President George W. Bush's administration has been pressing Nicaragua to destroy 1,100 SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles that the Army acquired in the 1980s and U.S. officials' fear could fall into the hands of terrorists.