To the disdain of Washington—which has a century’s long track record of stealing land, launching overthrows, assassinations, occupations across South and Latin America—Nicaraguans earlier this month voted overwhelmingly to keep Daniel Ortega as President. Now in his fourth term, there are reports by “outside observers” that the election was marred by political arrests, intimidation, and an abysmal voter turnout.
The U.S. is weighing its options on how to best approach Ortega’s win that Washington labeled as corrupt. Officials are considering sanctions for some within Ortega’s administration and the U.S. is considering whether or not to cut Managua from the Central American free trade pact, which could cost the country 6.6 million and 125,000 jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ortega and his wife, the country’s Vice President Rosario Murillo, were accused of orchestrating a crackdown before the election. They detained at least seven rivals and barred any “genuine opposition parties from participating” in the election on 7 November, Politico reported. They are accused of “imposing a police state with the goal of bringing about dynastic rule to the country.”
The threat of sanctions seemed to do little to deter them after their bold power grab. “It’s one of the toughest challenges we have: what to do with a government that is not moved by diplomatic entreaties, moral suasion, or sanctions that impact their own population,” a senior State Department official told the WSJ.
The paper reported that democracy seemed to be flourishing in the region up to 2010, but scandals have been brought to light by a more vibrant press. The COVID-19 outbreak also destabilized the country after causing an enormous economic decline.
“You don’t eat democracy,” Ricardo Castañeda, a senior economist at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank, told the paper.
He said these citizens don’t care about the fundamentals of democracy. He said what matters to them is “whether they can bring food to their tables or return home safely.”
TREND FORECAST: As we have long forecast, as a result of the COVID War that has destroyed nation’s economies and ruined the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions, if not billions, the refugee crisis will continue to escalate across the globe.
Again, none of this was unforeseen, especially not by the Trends Journal; see, for example, January 2021’s “LATIN AMERICA FACES SLOW, PAINFUL ECONOMIC RECOVERY,” the March 2021 article, “BIDEN TO FIX BORDER SURGE?” or go back to October 2020’s “ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS ON THE RISE.”
And now, with the poorer nations hit the hardest and our forecasts for worsening economic conditions, the refugee crisis will accelerate across much of the globe. In turn, as we have long forecast, there will be new anti-immigration, anti-vax, anti-tax populist movements that will challenge established political parties.
TREND FORECAST: The election, which saw Ortega pull in about 75 percent of the vote, also underscored the U.S.’s diminished influence in the country that could result in even more migrants from the Central American country arriving at the southern border. (See “MIGRANT FLOOD. WHAT WILL BIDEN DO?,” “AS FORECAST: ARRESTS AT U.S. BORDER HIT RECORD HIGH. IT WILL GET WORSE,” and “MIGRATION TURNS INTO A FULL-BLOWN CRISIS FOR U.S., JUST LIKE WE PREDICTED.”
As we have reported, those traditionally seeking to migrate to the U.S. had been men from Mexico. But there has been a shift over the past few years. More families from Central America have begun to appear including hundreds of thousands of Haitians, Venezuelans, Brazilians, and Cubans. Besides economic hardship, many are fleeing countries with authoritarian regimes. The Wall Street Journal reported that there has been a record number of Nicaraguans.