When one thinks of Nicaragua, what comes to mind are beautiful views, delicious food, and a 1980s political drama involving President Reagan. When it comes to Latin American bad guys, Americans only speak of Cuba and Venezuela. It’s time to change that.
With the recent elections in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega of the Nicaragua Socialist Party (FSLN) won with 76% of the vote. Many, including President Biden, are condemning the election results as likely fraudulent. This election comes after the nation was rocked by open protests against the regime for over two years.
Ortega and his Socialist FSLN party have been in control of the country since 2007, which was an almost 20-year gap since the end of their rule from 1980 to 1990. The Sandinistas, as they are called, started their reign in the aftermath of a civil war. During their rule, Nicas have only known suffering, repression, and police brutality.
Economically speaking, Nicaragua is in a far better situation than Venezuela or Cuba. Politically, however, they are all in the same boat. Since May, Ortega and the FSLN have been ordering the arrests of journalists, businesspeople, and other critics of the regime.
Ortega has been a dictator in the making. In 2010 his party lifted a ban on him being able to run for president and since 2014 he has been allowed to do so indefinitely. Since the start of the protests in 2018, an estimated 328 Nicaraguans have been killed by police and paramilitaries.
Since the start of these protests, Ortega has also done everything in his power to limit the people’s ability to speak against him. In August of this year, police raided the newspaper La Prensa for “customs fraud and money laundering.” In the lead-up to the election, a total of seven presidential candidates have been arrested alongside other political critics.
Daniel Ortega is a tyrant and the FSLN and the police are his accomplices. The United States at the very least needs to begin addressing him in the public eye. Much like how Republican and Democratic candidates speak of Cuba and Venezuela, we need to normalize mentioning Nicaragua in that same axis of evil.
He has been ignored for long enough and as the global defender of freedom, we need to send a strong message that we will not stand for tyranny anywhere, but most especially within our own hemisphere.
This is not to undermine the plight of my Cuban and Venezuelan brothers, whose oppression we must also address. But Nicaraguans too have been oppressed by a brutal socialist tyrant. We should be united in our opposition to tyrants all across Latin America.
My grandfather, who is an emigre of the country, has little hope Nicaragua will become a democracy in his lifetime. But he hopes that the American public casts their ire on Nicaragua and that one day we Americans will be able to act and end our appeasement of the tyrants who rule south of our borders.
Viva La Libertad. Vive Nicaragua.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.