Morgan Artyukhina All materialsWrite to the authorA top US State Department official told reporters on Tuesday that Washington refuses to recognize the results of Nicaragua’s Sunday presidential elections, which were won by the democratic socialist Sandinista party, calling President Daniel Ortega’s government a “dictatorship.”US Special Envoy to the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zúñiga said that Ortega’s rule is “a dictatorship that lacks any democratic mandate,” adding that Nicaragua’s dismantling of democratic culture and institutions requires a strong regional response.”No one is fooled by the false election on November 7,” Zúñiga told reporters, adding that “joint measures must be taken to limit the [government’s] resources to repress the population.”His comments came just after the Organization of American States (OAS) published a report denouncing the vote and saying that “the international community must demand the annulment of the elections on Sunday, November 7, and call for the holding of a new electoral process, with guarantees, electoral observation and true electoral competition.”Ortega, who has been president since winning the 2006 elections, was declared the victor in Sunday’s vote after amassing roughly 75% of the ballots – only slightly higher than his 2016 reelection bid. He faced five other candidates for the presidency from across the political spectrum, but the US and its allies have denounced the election as fraudulent after several candidates were arrested over the summer in connection with nationwide anti-government riots in 2018 that the US supported.The other candidates included Constitutional Liberal Party candidate Walter Espinoza who got 14.4% of votes; Liberal Alliance Party candidate Marcelo Montiel, who got 3.4%; Christian Road Party Guillermo Osorno, who also got 3.4%; Alliance for the Republic Gerson Gutierrez, who got 2.2%; and Independent Liberal Party candidate Mauricio Orue, for whom 1.7% of voters cast their ballots, according to TeleSUR.Zúñiga added that the US is evaluating diplomatic and economic measures to hold Ortega accountable for alleged abuses.Last week, the US Congress passed the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act, which laid out a framework for crippling the Central American nation’s economy. As Sputnik noted at the time, the plan involves sanctioning individuals in Ortega’s government and blocking international financial transactions along the lines of those used against Venezuela in the two years leading up to the 2019 US-backed coup attempt by opposition politician Juan Guaido.
We will use other elements of the laws that allow us to reach Nicaraguan actors and we will work together with Congress to see what else we can do. This also warrants that we talk about Russia's interference in Nicaragua," Zúñiga added. Prior to the vote last week, an unnamed senior US official also told reporters the US would not just maintain its presence in Nicaragua, but expand its operations after the Sunday vote, saying it would reach out to opposition groups.
US agencies funneling funds to Nicaraguan opposition groups include the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a front group for the CIA, and the US State Department’s Agency for International Development (USAID).