Nicaraguan Army Chief of Staff Visits USS Kearsarge to Thank Operation Continuing Promise Personnel

Part X in a multi-part series about Operation Continuing Promise
(Use RedState Tag Operation Continuing Promise for all previous entries)  Regularly Updated Photostream Here (Unfortunately, that security issue wasn’t quite worked out, so no new photos uploaded since last RS post)

Nicaraguan Army Chief of Staff Major General Javier Aviles paid a visit to Puerta Cabezas and came aboard the USS Kearsarge for a press conference and luncheon. He was joined by a number of other high-ranking Nicarguan military officers — Admiral Estrada, head of the Nicaraguan Navy, among them. I don’t know Aviles’ politics vis-á-vis President Ortega, but the warm reception he received in the town and his words to the assembly aboard the Kearsarge suggest that he’s not of a mind with Ortega on any supposed “ulterior motives” that we have on this mission.

I had heard there would be an important person coming aboard but had no idea whom that might be. That morning I observed a cataract removal surgery in one of the ORs aboard the Kearsarge while waiting for whomever it would be.

Maj. Gen. Aviles visited the medical clinic in Puerta Cabezas. I wasn’t there, but I saw pictures of him hugging patients and health care professionals. He was very happy with everything going on.

Around noon Aviles’ entourage alighted on the deck of the Kearsarge with a contingent of Nicaraguan and international news organizations. One man I spoke with briefly was from Reuters.

Aviles’ remarks were brief:

On behalf of the Nicaraguan Army, and members of the Nicaraguan state governments, also on behalf of the civilian population that this humanitarian assistance is providing for, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to say to all of you thank you, we’re very happy to be here. This is a good thing you do, helping our population… we went around the towns and villages, looking at the various sites. We saw medical care of all kinds — eye doctors, dentists, general medicine, for women, children, men, old, young — we see the enthusiasm with which you do it. And on the faces of the people we see gratitude for your mission…Like the Commodore said, already 20,000 people have been cared for…even though you haven’t finished, we already consider this mission a total success…Thank you all from the authorities, from the population. We hope that this experience will stimulate you to continue to help those of us in need. Thank you so much.

He and Commodore Ponds exchanged gifts and the Nicaraguans left the ship. Clearly he works from a different playbook than Ortega.