Monday, August 1, 2016

Fruits of Obama's Cuba Policy: Democracy's downward spiral fully manifests in Nicaragua

 Democracy's continued decline in Latin America

Daniel Ortega has dismantled the last vestiges of democracy in Nicaragua (Photo Tim Rogers)
 Over a year ago predicted that the human rights situation and democracy would not only continue to deteriorate but accelerate as a result of the Obama administration's Cuba policy that disregarded democratic norms and embraced the dictatorship in Cuba. The situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate with hunger riots breaking out and a mass exodus of Venezuelans to Columbia seeking food while political repression increases in the country. Now the policy's impact can be seen in Nicaragua, along with the continued denial of that reality by the American embassy there. Opposition lawmakers have been ousted by an electoral authority controlled by president Daniel Ortega. Ortega has also announced that he will not permit foreign observers into Nicaragua to monitor the November 6 presidential and legislative elections. This has been a process that has been observed in this blog in the past.

Tim Rogers, a past sympathizer with the Sandinista revolutionaries describes the situation in Nicaragua today in a July 30, 2016 Fusion essay:
Since returning to office nearly a decade ago, Ortega has methodically and completely dismantled Nicaragua’s fragile institutional democracy from within and reshaped the laws in a way that support his personal aspirations to create a one-party system that he can govern unopposed till death do they part. By hook and crook, Ortega and his lackeys have taken control of all four branches of government, implemented a repressive zero-tolerance policy for street protests, and rewritten the constitution to eliminate checks and balances.

Ortega put the final nail in the coffin of Nicaragua’s democratic pluralism on Friday, when his sycophants in the Supreme Electoral Council ordered the ouster of 28 opposition lawmakers and substitute lawmakers from the National Assembly. Now Ortega doesn’t face any political opposition, symbolic or otherwise, and can run unopposed for another re-election in November. The Sandinistas argue that the death blow to the opposition was legal, and they should know since they wrote the laws. So congratulations, comandante, you’ve finally got your dream of turning Nicaragua into your family farm.
 Rogers, goes on to describe the U.S. response to this emerging dictatorship in Nicaragua:

The U.S. doesn’t seem to care, either. Thirty years after spending more than $1 billion to fund an illegal counterrevolutionary war against the Sandinista government in the 1980s, the U.S. doesn’t even seem to acknowledge what’s going on in Nicaragua anymore. In fact, as Ortega’s party was finalizing its power grab on Friday afternoon, the U.S. Embassy was sending out a press release congratulating itself for a successful business “networking” grip-and-grin they hosted to “contribute to the economic development of the country.” The U.S. Embassy couldn’t appear more disconnected from Nicaragua’s political reality if it were operating in a parallel galaxy.


Putting out cookies and coffee for business innovators to speed network while the country’s democracy goes completely off the rails just outside the embassy gates reminds us that the United States’ priorities in the world are oftentimes different than advertised. Washington, D.C. likes to think it’s a beacon for freedom and democracy, but the light it’s tending to on the hill shines for business and trade. But in the long run, economic development needs rule of law. Even the country’s private sector, which has been allied with Ortega since 2007, knows that what’s coming isn’t good for business. COSEP, the country’s largest business chamber, released a communique on Friday night fretting about “political stability,” the “weakening of a representative democracy,” and “social cohesion.”
 Consider for a moment that the President of the United States calls Dictator Raul Castro "President", treats him has an equal and organized an official state visit to Cuba legitimizing the oldest dictatorship in Latin America. Why wouldn't other aspiring despots take notice and act accordingly? Events in Venezuela and Nicaragua will be repeated elsewhere as the fruits of the Obama administration's Cuba policy become evident and Latin America implodes. The only question remaining is will President Obama be visiting Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua to help consolidate his dictatorial rule there?

Then Cuba and Nicaragua vs Now Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela

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