This article, critically analyzing the Ortega government and Nicaraguan society, will likely generate controversy. A couple of general observations. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, I’m not so ready to take on face value the claims – including the democratic character – of left governments. Another is – and this is a reconsideration – that the path to socialism lies in the expansion and deepening of democracy. In other words, it’s an indispensable means as well as an end of socialist development.