The harmful effects of Daniel Ortega’s electoral farce on the rest of Latin America

Despite the low turnout, Daniel Ortega was declared the winner with 75 percent of the vote, in elections previously unknown to more than 40 countries. Photo (EFE / Jorge Torres)

Daniel Ortega’s regime is, first of all, a problem for the Nicaraguans, but also for their neighbors and other countries in America because of the damage it causes. This is what the former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, thinks, and who sees it Ortega as a bad example for the region. “The fact that Daniel’s actions go unpunished, and the fact that he gets away with it, would be an invitation to other rulers, and other leaders in the region, to follow the same path.‘, he says in an interview with Infobae.

On November 7, Daniel Ortega was re-elected for a fifth and fourth presidential term, respectively, in elections considered by both the Nicaraguan opposition and much of the international community. A farce because it lacks the lowest terms of competition, transparency and freedom.

Until now, More than 40 countries have announced that they will not recognize the legitimacy of the elections This led to the re-election of Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo. On the other hand, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and North Korea are the governments that congratulated Ortega on his “victory”.

Nicaragua is experiencing one of the worst crises in its history. Since 2018, it has been in a de facto siege, and under constant repression by police and paramilitary forces has left more than 300 dead, currently. 160 political prisonersAnd About 100,000 exiles and at least three media outlets closed militarily. Far from being a relief, previous elections exacerbated the crisis as the Ortega regime banned election monitoring, independent press coverage, disqualified opposition parties and imprisoned potential rival candidates.

"Former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla said:
“The arms race in which Daniel Ortega has been toiling, along with Russian cooperation, will generate resentment that sooner or later will exacerbate already existing tensions,” says the former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla. (Photo by EFE/Giorgio Vieira)

For chinchillas the crisis in Nicaragua It will negatively affect the countries of Central America and “will have implications for the rest of the hemisphere” in four areas: one, Economy, because “20 percent of Central American trade is within the region” and “the instability and conflict that a regime like Daniel Ortega brings to its neighbors, can affect urgent efforts for economic recovery on the grounds that Central America is an economic community.”

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Another effect, says the former Costa Rican president, is Social human. “Since the crisis began in April 2018, more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have left Nicaragua and 8 out of 10 have come to Costa Rica, but in recent months more and more Nicaraguans prefer to head north, since Costa Rica’s economy is absorbing less labor force due to the problems of the pandemic.”

The remaining two areas, according to the Chinchilla, will be Security Balance“, Given that arms race in which Daniel Ortega worked, together with Russian cooperation, will generate resentment that will sooner or later increase the already existing tensions ”, “democracy”, in the regionIt has been weakening as a result of populist leaderships, too unscrupulous, and too little attachment to democratic beliefs, who seek to gain power, and once they have it, all the forces are focused on never leaving it again.”

This Tuesday, the Salvadoran government that chairs Kneeby Watch, He submitted to his country’s legislature, a bill on foreign agents, which some analysts consider to be too similar to the Foreign Agents Act. “Foreign Agents Act” Ortega used it to persecute and imprison opponents. Bukele and Ortega both defended the law, noting that “The United States is the same.”

The migration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica, mainly to the United States, increased in 2021 (photo from La Prensa)
The migration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica, mainly to the United States, increased in 2021 (photo from La Prensa)

For Nicaraguan political scientist Manuel Orozco, an analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue, Bukele’s initiative is the result of “the epidemiological impact of regimes, once standards are lowered, other countries do the same.”

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Orozco considers Ortega’s regime to be “another authoritarian regime to add to the list of dictatorships in the region and regimes with very low indicators of rule of law, anti-corruption, political participation and egalitarian development.”

say what Nicaragua adapts its relationship with the countries of the region on a transactional basis. “For example, Guatemala promises to support its foreign minister to be elected to the SEGIB (Ibero-American General Secretariat) in exchange for not being condemned in the OAS. To Honduras he promised to turn to (President) Juan Orlando Hernández in exchange for not voting for decisions and regional financing from the Bank of Central America for Economic Integration (CABEI)”.

Like a chinchilla, Orozco claims that the Ortega system “It will have a destabilizing effect because its economic performance will affect the region,” he added Either due to a decrease in intra-trade, as well as an increase in immigration that escalated to 2% of the country’s population in 2021.

For the Bolivian politician and analyst, Carlos Sánchez Berzín, the Ortega regime is part of a phenomenon that gave him his name and his nickname. “It’s called Castro Chavez or the socialism of the twenty-first century.”, He says. It is a process that originated in 1999 with Venezuelan oil money, when there was only one dictatorship, Cuba. There are now four dictatorships: Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

He asserts that it is wrong to separate one dictatorship from another when “the same process and mechanism are organized by the Cuban Group of Eight through the São Paulo Forum”.

They are distinguished because they have political prisoners and political exiles and use justice to persecute their opponents. They no longer have a listing. Nobody believes in the Cuban Revolution or the Sandinista Revolution“, Dice.

Daniel Ortega accumulates 24 years in power and eight election campaigns as a candidate.  This Thursday he turned 76 years old.  (Reuters photo)
Daniel Ortega accumulates 24 years in power and eight election campaigns as a candidate. This Thursday he turned 76 years old. (Reuters photo)

Laura Chinchilla prefers not to mention the countries that follow in Ortega’s footsteps, but invites us to review the reports on the Democracy Index that show “Which countries have accumulated the greatest deterioration, and if we pay attention, in all these cases they are in the same direction that Daniel Ortega began to walk since about 15 yearsAttempting to weaken the rule of law, influence the independence of the judiciary for judges and prosecutors, reform constitutions for re-election, attempt to co-opt the Electoral College, and finally, crown the process of controlling democratic institutions.“.

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But he says the problem begins when the population gives power to these populist leaders. “They not only hand over power to him, but then notice in a funny way, and applaud, what the rulers have begun to do. It is part of the policy of the chiefs in which they hope that some kind of superman will come to save them from all their misfortunes.”

It realizes that the response of the international system has not been sufficient to stop these authoritarian regimes. We are faced with the challenge of having to adjust those international and regional mechanisms to stem the deterioration of democracy. We are used to coups and riots, and the response to this was much easier. Now we do not know how to act when the process of deterioration is gradual and comes rather from the hand of the one who exercises power.”

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