He has ruled longer than the dictator, in whose overthrow he participated
On November 7, the next presidential elections were held in Nicaragua. Their results were predictable, since the entire political space was completely cleared. Potential participants in the competition, one after another, for various reasons, were imprisoned or forced to leave the country. In the pre-election race, several low-impact organizations that did not make the weather took part in order to legitimize the action. The victory, as expected, was won by the current head of state, 75-year-old former field commander Daniel Ortega Saavedra. He fought with arms in hand in the ranks of the Sandinista National Liberation Front to eliminate the hated regime of the dictator Anastasio Somoza.
Photo: Alexey Merinov democratic mandate. Now, having received 75.52% of the votes, he was elected for a new period. According to the Supreme Electoral Council, 65% of voters participated in the procedure.
The opposition called the elections an electoral farce, a step towards a dictatorial regime. She invited people to refrain from participating, vote with their feet. The procedure was denied legitimacy by Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy commissioner, who was touring the region in those days. A similar opinion was shared by the Carter Center and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, which refused to send their observers to the procedure. They were joined by the President of the United States, who said that the action resembled a pantomime. At the same time, the current head of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, former Bolivian President Evo Morales and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warmly congratulated Ortega on his success.
It should be said about an important feature of the political structure of the nominal republic. In 2016, the closest ally of the head of state, spouse, poet Rosario Murillo became vice president. Opposing this tandem, called by people a “sweet couple”, citizens stood up from their knees for the first time in April 2018.
The intention of the authorities to initiate pension reform was the detonator of the surge in protests. An attempt was made to reduce the deficit of the pension fund. It consisted in increasing the contribution of workers from 6.25 to 7%, and entrepreneurs, first from 19 to 21, and then to 22.5%. Pensioners were ordered to shrink by 5%.
The decision, announced in April 2018, sparked a massive wave of protests. Detachments of the police, armed to the teeth, were thrown against the citizens. During this period, 325 people were killed, several hundred were wounded, and 700 were thrown behind bars. The damage to the economy exceeded $ 100 million. Many businesses worked half-heartedly. Then the president canceled the painful reform.
Later, the protests took on a political character. Calls began to be heard for the resignation of the family tandem. A brief respite came after the authorities promised to end the repression. The representative of the church, Cardinal Leopold Brenes, agreed to mediate in the negotiations. In the changed situation, the leadership of business organizations leaned towards dialogue.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the official National Union of Students said that the protests were funded by the opposition Sandinista Renewal Movement. It denied this charge. The executive secretary of the Human Rights Association, Alvaro Leyva, argued that a married couple was responsible for the killing of protesters. She needs to be deprived of her immunity.
On April 28, in Managua, the thousands-strong march “For Peace and Justice” was convened at the initiative of the Episcopal Conference. Those gathered demanded a thorough investigation and severe punishment of those responsible. They called on the authorities to engage in dialogue, stressing that this is necessary for fundamental changes, and not as a respite for the authorities. The President of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porras, announced the creation of a “Truth Commission” with the participation of qualified lawyers, intellectuals, representatives of the church and students.
University students were extremely active. They demanded that early, free, transparent presidential elections be held as soon as possible under the control of reputable impartial international observers. “If Ortega does not resign, we will force him to do it,” the boys and girls chanted.
The dialogue started on May 16. Power was represented by the head of state, vice president and a number of officials. But before it started, the process stalled due to a lack of consensus. The parties agreed to continue it by creating a mixed commission to develop an agenda for the negotiations.
The tension did not subside. The town of Masaya with a population of 160 thousand inhabitants, 28 kilometers from the capital, has turned into a “hot spot”. On June 29, people took to the streets, demanding the resignation of the president. They exclaimed: “We are not afraid. Let him go. Murderer. Elections are immediate. ” “We ask you to help us remove D. Ortega, who is guilty of everything.” The student leader emphasized: “We will not be silenced or intimidated. We will not surrender. The people are demanding the departure of the president. If this does not happen, we will have a bloodbath. ” The result of these numerous demonstrations was 300 dead and several thousand emigrated, mainly to neighboring Costa Rica.
The events of April 2018, as analyst Jorge Ramon Avalos noted, clearly showed that a generation has emerged that is ready to take the fate of the country into its own hands. Nicaragua is awakening. It became obvious that society woke up after a long hibernation, and the armchairs under the family tandem swayed badly.
At the end of February 2019, under pressure from the national and international community, the President, having released 100 prisoners from prison, announced his readiness to return to the table negotiations.
The secret of the current regime's relative resilience lies in the fact that it has taken a major turn in economic policy. D. Ortega sometimes shows flexibility, resourcefulness and even cunning. Avoids confrontation with business, establishes a dialogue with entrepreneurs, does not nationalize property. Despite anti-imperialist rhetoric, maintains normal relations with the United States. He managed to establish constructive relationships with respectable entrepreneurs both domestically and abroad. Among the characters with whom a strong partnership has been established, iconic figures have stood out. One of them is a prominent businessman, chairman of the Supreme Council of Private Entrepreneurs, Jose Adan Agerri. His business grew by leaps and bounds thanks to direct contacts with the government, bypassing parliament. In this way, he achieved the adoption of 95 laws and 42 codes that reflected his interests. The businessman described this situation in the following way: “With a few exceptions, the mechanism of communication between the public and private sectors has been established. The fruits of the dialogue are obvious, although “the investment climate has yet to be improved, the rules of the economy have to be clarified.”
Among foreigners, a special role was assigned to the Mexican Angel Gonzalez. The transmission of the second television channel to him served as an example of the creation of a duet in the information sphere. He was in charge of 5 channels, and the rest are controlled by the Ortega family.
The largest project is the construction of an interoceanic canal, an alternative to Panama. It was contracted to be built by a private Chinese firm based in Hong Kong. This is closely watched by the authorities of the Celestial Empire. The document was approved by the parliament. In the foreseeable future, its implementation can bring enormous benefits to the country and increase the well-being of residents. In the short term, this favored the election of the head of state for another term.
The authorities have long enjoyed the disinterested help of friendly Venezuela, which generously unfastened petrodollars to an anti-imperialist ally. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez provided huge material support to ensure uninterrupted oil supplies. With his financial assistance, a $ 52 million power plant was built. Official subsidies alone amounted to $ 500 million a year, not to mention other forms of assistance. This provided the poor with access to housing, health care, education, water and energy. According to the World Bank, poverty fell from 42.5 percent to 29.6 percent between 2009 and 2014.
In the 2011 elections, Ortega was supported by 62.45% of citizens. The opponent got 31.05%. Observers from the Organization of American States and the European Union, representatives of the local branch of Transparency International found many violations, and the opposition disputed the results. But this did not have any effect, since the electoral bodies are controlled by the executive branch. A similar picture was observed in the following electoral cycles.
The established regime was called by local and foreign analysts differently: “delegative democracy”, “soft authoritarianism”, “institutional dictatorship”. Salvador Martí, a professor at the University of Salamanca, argued that this model “neutralizes the ability of citizens and institutions to act as a counterbalance to the executive branch.” American Richard Feinberg, who uses the concept of “soft authoritarianism”, noted that the regime is cleverly exploiting the macroeconomic orthodoxy of the IMF and Venezuelan subsidies in its own interests. After his wife was nominated for the post of vice president, he began to call the power “dynastic.”
To summarize, we emphasize that Daniel Ortega has been at the pinnacle of power since 2007, more than the dictator, in whose overthrow he participated. Only royals sit on the throne longer.