In recent weeks, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has executed a relentless and unprecedented wave of repression, targeting leading opposition figures and virtually all pre-presidential candidates in advance of the November 7 election. In what the US State Department characterized as a “campaign of terror,” the authoritarian regime has sought to achieve absolute power and eliminate any potential challenge to Ortega’s and his wife and vice president Rosario Murillo’s ironfisted rule.
The brazen crackdown, which has instilled widespread fear in Nicaraguan society, has drawn considerable outrage and condemnation in the international community, including most governments and human rights organizations. The US government has issued forceful denunciations and applied sanctions to regime officials. Additional options are being explored. To date, however, Ortega has remained defiant and undeterred. The deteriorating conditions have led hundreds to leave Nicaragua every day, some crossing borders, heading north, en route to the United States, and others moving south to Costa Rica and Panama.
Against this deeply troubling backdrop, the discussion will examine a variety of questions:
- What does Ortega hope to accomplish with this crackdown?
- Why is the heightened repression happening now?
- What are possible leverage points to pressure the regime to change its behavior and pull back?
- Which additional measures should be pursued?
- What are the implications of the grave situation for the November 7 election?
- Is it still possible to organize a reasonably free and fair vote?
- To what extent is the Nicaraguan crisis contributing to an even more acute migration crisis in Central America?
We invite participants to submit questions using the Q&A function in Zoom OR to email questions to email@example.com.
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Former President of Costa Rica; Co-Chair, Inter-American Dialogue (@Laura_Ch)
Director, Confidencial (@cefeche)
Director, Center for Migration and Economic Stabilization, Creative Associates International; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue (@manuelorozco65)
President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)