In Nicaragua, Ortega re-elected president before the counting of the ballots

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is guaranteed to be elected for a fourth consecutive five-year term, as all of his serious rivals have been taken into custody. “A farce”, “a sham”: Washington and the European Union do not have enough harsh words to condemn this election to which they deny all legitimacy. Journalists from several international media, including CNN and the Washington post, were denied access to the territory, and the government refused the presence of independent observers.

A week before the poll, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced that it had dismantled a thousand Facebook and Instagram accounts run by a “troll factory” of the Nicaraguan government to manipulate public opinion.

The beheaded opposition

Decapitated, its leaders in detention or in exile, the opposition organized a demonstration of about a thousand people in San José, the capital of Costa Rica where more than 100,000 Nicaraguans fled the repression took refuge. Opponents have only one slogan for voters: “stay at home”.

The five candidates registered to face the head of state are considered by the opposition as stooges compromised with power. It is therefore the abstention rate that will be able to give an idea of ​​the real adherence of Nicaraguans to the “ticket” formed by Daniel Ortega, 76 years old and his wife Rosario Murillo, 70 years old, vice-president since 2017. Fearing a weak participation, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN, ex-guerrilla in power) organized door-to-door tours to mobilize voters.

The hunt for opponents

Three years after the repression which left more than 300 dead among the demonstrators who demanded in the spring of 2018 the resignation of Daniel Ortega, and six months before the election, the hunt for opponents is raging: 39 politicians, businessmen, peasants , students and journalists have been arrested since June. Among them, the seven potential candidates likely to pose a threat to the incumbent president.

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Favorite of the opposition in the polls, Cristiana Chamorro, 67, daughter of ex-president Violeta Chamorro (1990-1997), was the first to be arrested, on June 2, and placed in house arrest. Opponents are accused of undermining national sovereignty, supporting international sanctions against Nicaragua, “treason of the motherland” or “money laundering”, under laws passed at the end of 2020 by Parliament, acquired in the executive, as well as the judiciary and the electoral tribunal.

Sanctions adopted by the United States and the European Union

Since the protests of spring 2018, more than 100,000 Nicaraguans have taken the path of exile while 150 opponents are still behind bars. For Nicaraguan analyst Elvira Cuadra, exile, the country’s isolation will affect international investment and funding, with social consequences and growing emigration.

In addition to the new sanctions adopted by the United States and the European Union, relations have strained even with historic allies such as Mexico and Argentina. Cuba, Venezuela and Russia remain as supporters of the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

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