The White House issued a statement on the Nicaraguan elections, denouncing President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. The White House declared the elections were a “farce” and were “neither free nor fair,” nor democratic.
“The arbitrary imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political parties from participation rigged the outcome well before election day,” the Nov. 7 document explains.
It adds, “They shuttered independent media, locked up journalists and members of the private sector, and bullied civil society organizations into closing their doors.”
It points out that Ortega and Murillo “now rule Nicaragua as autocrats, no different from the Somoza family that Ortega and the Sandinistas fought against four decades ago.”
It also demands that they take “immediate steps to restore democracy in Nicaragua, and to immediately and unconditionally release those unjustly imprisoned.”
It also warns that it “will use all diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to support the people of Nicaragua and hold accountable the Ortega-Murillo government and those that facilitate its abuses.”
Ortega won the majority of the vote on election day, thus securing a fourth presidential term in the Central American country, which was criticized internationally.
To ensure the development of the day, more than 30,000 police and military personnel went out on patrol.
Meanwhile, according to DW, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called Ortega a “dictator” and agreed with the White House that the elections were “false.”
It was “a farce against the people of Nicaragua, a farce against the international community and above all a farce against democracy,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.
He added: “There was no kind of verification of these elections. They have no type of guarantees for Spain and the majority of the international community and the European Union.”
A Nicaraguan secretary expressed her frustration at the electoral manipulations, saying, “There is no one to vote for. This is an electoral circus,” adding, “If they are so sure that the people love them, why did they throw the presidential aspirants in jail?.”
In this context, according to the results, a Cid-Gallup poll reported two-thirds of those polled would have voted for an opposition candidate.
As a consequence of the irregularities, the United States and the EU are considering imposing even stricter sanctions on the country.
Nicaragua was ranked the 22nd most corrupt country in the world in 2020. Last year, the Nicaraguan newspaper Confidencial charged that Ortega government agencies were responsible for the murders of at least 300 opposition activists.
The same report also stated that the government had imprisoned more than 700 political opponents. Additionally, it is estimated that 100,000 people were forced into exile, mainly to Spain, Costa Rica, and the United States.