Dictator Daniel Ortega wins front election in Nicaragua – 11/08/2021 – World

The Nicaraguan dictator, Daniel Ortega, 75, won the front presidential election organized this Sunday (7), in which he ran for the fourth consecutive term. According to official results, the former Sandinista leader won 76% of the votes — initially released at 3:00 am local time (6:00 am in Brasília), they were revised up by one percentage point this Monday afternoon (8).

“We cannot forget who are the ones who provoke terror and who are the ones who promote peace,” Ortega said as he voted in the capital, Managua, on Sunday afternoon. “Voting does not kill anyone, does not hurt anyone. Do not listen to those who conspire, those who sow death and hatred. They are demons who do not want peace or tranquility for our country.”

After counting half of the ballot boxes, the president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), Brenda Rocha, announced that the liberal candidate Walter Espinoza —appointed as a government collaborator— appears in second place, with 14.4% of the votes. With banners from the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), Ortega’s supporters celebrated during the night in central Managua.

Ortega voted alongside his wife, Rosario Murillo, 70, who formally holds the deputy post and has become the face and voice of the regime. The slate of the two competed for the position against five other candidates — all part of the theater of the front election, since they are allies of the government. Over the past six months, the regime has arrested another seven opposition postulants, accused of money laundering and treason.

Among them are Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Chamorro, who defeated Ortega in 1990; Miguel Mora, founder of the 100% Notícias channel, expropriated by the regime; and former ambassador Arturo Cruz. Also detained are 32 other political opponents and more than 100 trade unionists, journalists and human rights activists.

The crackdown on Ortega’s critics, in power uninterrupted since 2007, intensified in 2018, when more than 300 protesters were killed in clashes with security forces and paramilitary groups aligned with the dictator. Although the regime reached an agreement with the opposition the following year, promising free elections, the pact was not fulfilled.

Out there

Ortega today dominates, in addition to the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. In addition to him, this Sunday’s election named 90 members of the National Assembly. As reported by the daily La Prensa, there were apprehensions in the early hours of Sunday by members of the opposition parties Aliança Cidadã and Coalizão Internacional.

The election did not have international observers, who, in the view of the local justice, aligned with the regime, could intervene in the process. Few foreign journalists were able to enter the country, and independent local vehicles, such as the website El Confidencial, which had been banned from operating in recent months, reported on the election from Costa Rica.

Later on Sunday night, US President Joe Biden called the Managua election a farce and said his government and the international community must use “diplomatic and economic tools” to help Nicaraguans and hold Ortega and Murillo accountable. The European Union adopted the same tone and stated in a statement that the elections “lack legitimacy” and “complete the conversion of Nicaragua into an autocratic regime”.

The Spanish government considered the electoral process a “scorn” and Costa Rica declared that it does not recognize the result of the elections.

On the other hand, the dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, congratulated the ally, and Russia called the protests of Western countries unacceptable. “As far as I know, when the vote ended, the White House declared its refusal to recognize the election and called on other countries to do the same. We consider this inadmissible and we strongly condemn such a policy,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

​On taking office, Biden maintained sanctions imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, which include fines and barring entry into the country of senior officials of the regime and family members of the dictator. Now, the Democrat will sign an arsenal of measures, based on the Renascer law, to increase pressure on Ortega’s government. The situation in Nicaragua will be debated this week at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which could suspend the country from the regional bloc.

Analysts warn, however, that isolation will worsen the socioeconomic situation and trigger a further increase in migration. With 6.6 million inhabitants, Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and has been facing a recession for three years, aggravated by the pandemic. According to the World Bank, the country is likely to suffer the third worst economic contraction in the Western Hemisphere in 2021, behind only Haiti and Venezuela. In 2020, the GDP shrank by 8.8% and, for this year, a negative double-digit figure is projected.

The authoritarian escalation and crisis have increased migration — both legal and illegal. The preferred destinations are Costa Rica, where most of the politically persecuted are located, and the United States, which received more than 50,000 Nicaraguans this year alone, according to the Reuters news agency. In San José, the Costa Rican capital, Guatemala City and Miami, protests were registered this Sunday by exiles and opponents.

Before taking office in 2007, Ortega participated in the first board that governed Nicaragua after the fall of the Somoza dynasty in 1979. He was accompanied by the current writer Sergio Ramírez, businessman Luis Alfonso Robelo Callejas, Violeta Chamorro and Moisés Hassan Morales, among others.

In 1984, general elections were called, and Ortega won with 63% of the vote. In the following election, he was defeated by Violeta Chamorro and, in 2007, he returned to the presidency, with 38% of voters preferred (in Nicaragua there is no second round). In the following elections, it won with 62% (2011) and 72% (2016).

Exiled opponents organized a campaign urging the population not to go out to vote. “A big abstention is all we can do now. Show the regime that we reject him and the international community that we need help,” said Ivania Álvarez of the National Alliance from San José.

The Supreme Electoral Council calculated the participation rate at 65%. The independent observatory Open Ballot Box stated, however, that abstention reached 81.5%, but it was not possible to verify the data. A recent poll by the Gallup institute indicated that 78% of Nicaraguans considered Ortega’s reelection illegitimate and that 65% said they would vote in opposition if possible.

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