As of: November 8th, 2021 10:21 am
Eliminated the opposition, arrested journalists – the Nicaragua election is a farce. Ortega, the former symbolic figure of the left, is now a dictator. The international community must therefore act.
That Sunday, Nicaragua didn’t have a choice. In the run-up, Daniel Ortega had put all his competitors out of action, simply eliminated them. Around 40 opposition politicians, critical journalists and entrepreneurs have been arrested in recent months – seven of them candidates for the presidency, potential rivals. Even the church, which is an important moral voice in an arch-Catholic country like Nicaragua, feels threatened.
Although there were supposed opposition parties on the ballot paper, they serve Ortega as a fig leaf – the names are completely unknown. International media representatives were refused entry for election coverage. There are no independent election observers who could check the results. The choice is a farce.
An unscrupulous ruler
As a Sandinista revolutionary, Ortega had fought bitterly against the brutal Somoza dictatorship. Once a symbol of hope for the left worldwide, he has gradually become an unscrupulous ruler himself. Nothing remains of the ideals of the revolution of the 1980s to create a fairer society.
The dream of the revolution has long been over. Ortega is clinging to power by all means with his wife Rosario Murillo, whom he has made co-president. He lost his legitimacy a long time ago. The reality for Nicaraguans is a dictatorship.
The balance of the last three and a half years is shocking: since the bloody crackdown on the student protests in 2018, in which more than 325 people lost their lives, there has been a climate of fear in Nicaragua. Around 140 political prisoners are in custody and freedom of expression is no longer possible.
A family regime
The institutions follow the regiment of Ortega’s family. You created a family dynasty. An unprecedented hunt for opponents of the regime began in June. Again and again there were arbitrary arrests in the run-up to the elections – for money laundering, cybercrime, conspiracies, hate crimes – these were the allegations.
When the internationally renowned writer Sergio Ramírez, who is considered one of the most important contemporary authors in Latin America, received a summons from the public prosecutor, he packed his bags to go into exile in Madrid. His new book “Tongolele no sabe bailar” is about the student protests of 2018 – it is not available in your own country.
The writer and journalist Gioconda Belli, once a staunch Sandinista, no longer dares to go into the country. More than 100,000 people have left the country since the protests in 2018, 35,000 alone have fled to neighboring Costa Rica.
Ortega has secured his fourth term in office – and in the process undermined democracy. The international community must now act united and swiftly – not recognize the elections, insist on free and fair elections and on the release of around 150 political prisoners. Above all, however, it must insist on regaining political freedoms, because this is the only way that Nicaraguans will be able to build up pressure themselves in the long term. Because the change has to come from within.
Comment: The electoral farce in Nicaragua
Anne Demmer, ARD Mexico City, November 8, 2021 9:25 am
Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.