The Challenges Facing the National Coalition in Nicaragua

Manuel Orozco sits down for interview with Esta Semana. Confidencial

Manuel Orozco was invited to Esta Semana at Confidencial, where he commented on political scenarios for Nicaragua in 2020.  Orozco discussed the call made by the Civic Alliance and the National Unity to create a National Coalition for democracy, to dislodge the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship from power.

Comments by Manuel Orozco:

Impact of External Political Pressure Against the Regime

“Pressures will continue to focus on specific points of interests of foreign policy of the United States, but also of the OAS member states, and even of the European Union. That’s to say, there is a concert of international organizations, of states, and the international community that are clear about certain points where it is necessary to apply pressure, specifically.”

“[Those points involve everything related to] the political process that leads to the elections in 2021, in particular, of international pressure in terms of creating an equitable balance through international observation. The United States has expressed that no electoral process will be recognized in Nicaragua if there are no clear, transparent and competitive rules of the game, and an essential element of that is international observation.”

External Pressure and Political or Electoral Reform in Nicaragua

“International pressure is subsidiary to what is happening inside Nicaragua, the political movement that is being consolidated in what they call the great coalition, and they are designing a strategy of internal pressure towards the Government to comply with the reforms to the electoral system in Nicaragua; the restoration of constitutional rights; and the release of political prisoners.”

“These three elements are part of a political strategy which is being designed, consolidated, and 2020 will be a year of strong political struggle.”

Is there acceptance in Nicaragua that any leadership that can confront the dictatorship should arise from some sort of participatory, democratic, transparent mechanism?

“There are two leaderships to distinguish: one comes up from the social movement that becomes a political movement of the National Unity and the Civic Alliance. These two movements have earned the respect and support of the Nicaraguan population. At least thirty percent of Nicaraguans believe (according to polls) that these two organizations, as a political coalition, are the most important electoral vehicle. That leadership is already defined, what needs to be done is to formalize it.”

“Second, within the political process of this coalition that is being formed, one of the important elements is the managing of the process of choosing a candidate, of a leader who will represent the great coalition. They are called primaries, those elections that will be held to choose the candidate, are being defined and will be formalized.”

Elections are Possible for Nicaragua

“Yes. I believe that in Nicaragua we cannot expect that Daniel Ortega will lift the state of siege. The truth is that here you are going to fight in a competitive disadvantage. That is why international pressure is important.”

“Nicaraguans are clear that this is not a democracy. They are clear that a peaceful solution must be electoral and not violent.”

Gaining the Confidence of Nicaraguans

“Yes, of course it can be achieved, provided that this coalition reflects the interest of Nicaraguans who want to vote for a candidate other than Daniel Ortega. That trust will exist. And that is what the opposition coalition must be clear about, that they need that to win, to really enjoy the support of Nicaraguans.”

Read the full interview here.

Watch the full interview at Confidencial