Latino Barometer Terms Nicaragua’s Dictatorship a Family “Sultanate”

Mass protests erupted in 2018 against Ortega, compared here in a poster to Anastasio Somoza, the dictator he helped oust in 1979. REUTERS/Stringer

The public opinion study concludes that the November 7th vote in Nicaragua won’t be an “election”, but a dictator utilizing the electoral mechanism to clothe himself in legitimacy.

By 100% Noticias / Despacho 505

HAVANA TIMES – Nicaragua has stopped being a democracy and should now be classified as a dictatorship or family “Sultanate”, according to Latino Barometer 2021. The prestigious Chilean publication also warns that Daniel Ortega has turned to this form of government because he knows he’ll no longer get a second chance.

“Today the regime of Daniel Ortega is a sort of “Sultanate”, formed by his family members, who control all the State centers of power. Nicaragua has gone from a dictatorship of the right under Somoza, to a dictatorship of the left, ruled by those who overturned him, with a brief period of democracy between the two events,” the publication highlights.

Ortega began to construct his “Sultanate” in 2017, when he named his wife Rosario Murillo as vice president. Ortega governed from 1979 to 1990, and later from 2007 until today. His fourth election, held in 2016, was of dubious legitimacy, as he no longer wanted to leave.

“The [2016] election was definitely a farce staged by a family dictatorship. With over 30 years in power, Ortega is the Latin American ruler who has remained “president” for the longest period of time. Several generations of Nicaraguans haven’t known any other president,” the publication notes.

November 7th won’t be an “election”

Daniel Ortega, who has ruled since 2007, is determined to remain in power. His family cogoverns along with him, starting with his wife Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s vice president since 2017.

At that moment, according to Latino Barometer, Nicaraguan became a “sultanate” more than a democracy.

Regarding the voting process scheduled for November 7, the article mentions that this can’t be called an election. The dictatorship has imprisoned over 30 of the most prominent opposition leaders, including 7 who were presidential hopefuls. The rulers enacted a unilateral electoral reform and appointed Magistrates to the Supreme Electoral Council who were in line with their own interests.

“Nicaragua has stopped being a democracy. In this pseudo election, its act of imprisoning the opposing candidates is that of a dictatorship. Events completely impede us from calling the November 7th event an “election”. Instead, it’s a dictator who’s using the electoral mechanism to clothe himself in legitimacy,” Latino Barometer states.

Rejection of “Democracy Ortega Style”

In Nicaragua there appeared to be a lot of support for democracy during the most democratic period, at the end of the nineties. In 1998, following the government of Violet Chamorro and during the early part of Arnoldo Aleman’s term, 72% of those surveyed expressed support.

In this last presidential period of Daniel Ortega, support has suffered its greatest drop, reaching 40% in 2017, at the beginning of his current term.

“Could it be that the Nicaraguan people don’t support democracy “Ortega style”, rather than democracy in itself?” the study questions, noting right afterwards: “The data allows that hypothesis.”

In general terms, the study reveals that Latin Americans want to “vote” for their leaders. “For that reason, Ortega in Nicaragua and Maduro in Venezuela are obligated to [hold elections] even if there’re a farce.”

High level of Abstention

Despite this, surveys in Nicaragua show only 11% of the population indicate they see voting and protesting as valid.

Since Daniel Ortega’s election in 2016, where he also forged his own rules for reelection, indicators of election enthusiasm have been dropping. They demonstrate how the authoritarianism that gives rise to a dictatorship has begun to deepen.

“Voting and protesting is seen as valid for one in every three people surveyed in the Latin American region. Paraguay is the country most disposed to participate (65%), and Nicaragua has the lowest indicator (11%). It’s clear that in the latter country, a dictatorship, you can neither protest nor vote. The opposition candidates are in prison,” the study concludes.

The Latino Barometer survey was applied face-to-face in 17 countries between October 26, 2020, and December 15. In Nicaragua the sample was from 1,000 citizens 18 and older.

Latino Barometer conducts surveys of public opinion annually, interviewing some 20,000 people from 18 Latin American countries. This sample represents the region’s 600 million inhabitants.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

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