It is not breaking news, but Nicaragua is already an obscene and evident dictatorship. And this past Sunday, November 7, Daniel Ortega, the country’s dictator, consolidated his grip on power after one of the most indecent purge processes of recent years in our hemisphere.
Daniel Ortega took it upon himself, for several months, all his opponents disappeared. Every potential presidential candidate for this Sunday’s rigged elections was arrested or opted for exile. In total, 7 candidates were imprisoned, one is in exile and Cristiana Chamorro, Ortega’s most recognized opponent, is under house arrest after the regime invented a corruption scandal against her.
Under these tactics of intimidation, repression, torture and threats, Ortega arrived with a paved road to last Sunday’s false presidential elections. All the candidates who “disputed” Ortega’s presidency were nothing more than dummies prepared for the theater. They never opposed him. On the contrary, they accompanied his electoral farce to make the world believe that there is still a democracy in Nicaragua.
Ortega “won” with 71.92 % of the votes, in what, if the result were true, would have been an overwhelming triumph for his party, the communist Sandinista National Liberation Front. But, far from reality, it was not a triumph, but an adjudication. And, for the fourth consecutive time, Daniel Ortega holds on to power.
A communist who has ruled his country with an iron fist, together with his wife, the fearsome Vice President Rosario Murillo, constitute the most repressive and authoritarian presidential couple in the region. Their hands are soaked with blood from so many protesters killed and others tortured. Both have responded with gunpowder and bullets to any civil insurrection seeking freedom in the country.
What is more worrying, however, is the passivity of the region and the world. Not since the 1980s have there been three formal, constituted and insolent dictatorships in Latin America. Today there are Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. And other countries, such as Peru and Bolivia, are rapidly descending into the abyss of authoritarianism. Three Latin American dictatorships translate into more refugee crises, more drug trafficking, and the influence of the enemies of the west in America. The more robust and emboldened the dictatorships in the region, the greater the threat to U.S. security and stability.
Gone are the days of the Monroe Doctrine or Roosevelt’s corollary, which molded Latin America for the better. It was clear to President Theodore Roosevelt: if a Latin American and Caribbean country under U.S. influence endangered American interests, the White House had an obligation to intervene. The big stick, which brought the region to its knees, was further away than ever. Consequently, the United States, as a power, is more fragile than ever.
It is alarming. A world in which the United States refuses to assert itself as a global power is a world in which its enemies, especially China, Russia, and Iran, take the upper hand and expand their margin of influence. And every dictatorship in the region, inevitably, by its stubborn anti-American will, puts itself at the mercy of the enemies of the United States. It is already clear that Nicaragua is a satellite of Russia and Iran.
The illegitimate elections of this Sunday, November 7 in Nicaragua consolidated the birth of another dictatorship in Latin America. Several months ago, former Security Advisor John Bolton called them “the troika of evil”. He was not wrong. Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, articulated, can do much damage to the United States. Underestimating them would be a blunder that the world will pay dearly for. There is an urgent need for politicians up to the challenge.