Authored by the Costa Rican, Honduran, and El Salvadoran sections of the IWL-FI (PT LIT-CI, PST LIT-CI, PCT LIT-CI)

Translated by Dolores Underwood

On Sunday, November 7th, the people of Nicaragua observed an electoral fraud as, once again, the dictatorship remained in the hands of the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) with Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo at the helm. The joke of an election took place without electoral independence, without international and independent observers, and, above all, without opposition, because this time the dictatorship jailed all of the principal political opponents left in the country.

According to electoral results, Daniel Ortega was elected for the fourth consecutive time since 2007 in an electoral process that he and the party have controlled entirely since 2012.

The elections were meant to legitimate the dictatorship that has received popular resistance since the uprising of the youth and the people began in 2018. These mobilizations were organized against the regime and were hastily repressed, leaving over 350 dead in the first weeks, and later driving hundreds of thousands into exile or remaining within the country as political prisoners.

The dictatorship’s Supreme Electoral Council announced Daniel Ortega’s victory with the support of 75.92% of the votes and with electoral participation above 65%.

Independent organizations have contested these numbers after monitoring the election throughout the country, reporting that around 80% of the population abstained, showing the enormous degree of political crisis. [1]

 

Elections will not take down the dictatorship

Regardless of the complete control of the Nicaraguan state apparatus and of the denouncements of fraud in 2012 and 2017, large sectors of the population in Nicaragua as well as in exile believed they could channel this political discontent to the ballot boxes in 2018.

Unfortunately, the defeat of this struggle in 2018 only strengthened the electoral strategy to defeat the FSLN. The last months have shown that it will be impossible to remove the dictatorship through an electoral strategy, even if it brings to the forefront political figures such as Cristina Chamorro or Medraro Mairena. This opposition was quickly jailed, showing that Ortega and Murillo’s dictatorship will not leave power and will suppress any political dissent in the country.

This context of desperation has meant that the right calls for a direct intervention by imperial powers, demanding pressure through economic sanctions and even suggesting the United States should invade militarily.

These voices on the right must be confronted and denounced; it should be the people of Nicaragua with the solidarity of the international working class that defeats the dictatorship.

Since Daniel Ortega’s ascent to power, the Nicaraguan economy has been at the service of transnational North American businesses, allowing for looting and pillaging of the country’s wealth through fiscal privileges and free trade zones that have strengthened commercial relations with the United States through free trade agreements.

 

Stalinists and Castro-Chavistas defend the false anti-imperialism of the FSLN

From the moment the FSLN announced the farcical results, voices from all over the world condemned the Ortega dictatorship, particularly for the detention of political opponents in the last months.

In response to the international condemnation, groups of Stalinist “intellectuals” and defenders of Castro-Chavismo emerged to defend the “Sandinista revolution” and Nicaraguan sovereignty. They affirm that the electoral process was a clean one and that the doubts are an imperialist campaign that wants to sequester the people of Nicaragua’s wealth and sovereignty.

On this point, we should clarify that Daniel Ortega is only “anti-imperialist” in so much as he refers to how “Yanquis” want to take him out of power and accuses his political opponents of being “sons of bitches of yanqui imperialism.” Since he took power, he has allowed the country’s economy to function around the designs of North American imperialism, offering privileges to move transnational capital and serving the same migratory politics as other Central American governments. Nicaragua today is a capitalist dictatorship at the service of North American imperialism.

According to the official website of the Chamber of American Commerce of Nicaragua (AMCHAM Nicaragua) [2], since the beginning of the free trade agreement with the U.S. in 2006 and until 2019, exports of goods and merchandise have increased 137%. In specific sectors such as the textile industry, exports from Nicaragua to the United States have increased 103%. Between 2007 and 2019, foreign direct investment from the United States has reached over $3.5 million.

Since the beginning of the period of Sandinista Front governments, the looting of the country has increased thanks to the implementation of a free trade zone [3], which today includes 212 companies that represent 60% of exports of the free trade agreement with the U.S.

On the other hand, like with other countries in the region, the migratory policy of the country has been at the benefit of the United States. The government participated in meetings with the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit in May 2021 to Costa Rica. The point of the conference was to discuss migration [4]. The U.S. placed the burden of persecuting the wave of migrants from the Southern Cone, Central America, Haiti, and countries within Africa on Central American governments. The southern border of Nicaragua has since turned into a nightmare for migrants, with particular repression faced by those coming from Cuba and Venezuela.

Another way we can prove that the defense of the “anti-imperialist” Sandinista dictatorship is baseless is by looking at the country’s long-standing military relationship with the southern command of the U.S. Department of Defense. This relationship has only grown under Ortega’s dictatorship. For example, in 2008 in the middle of the conflict between Nicaragua and Colombia, Daniel Ortega promoted an agreement to patrol the new territories recognized by the international courts [5].

The relationship with imperialist armies has increased in the past year with the U.S. Coast Guard’s now permanent role in patrolling the country’s coastline. The Coast Guard has entered every one of the country’s ports and moves into the continental territory with the excuse of “cooperation and security” and in the service of communities. [6]

Finally, the dictatorship has ensured the country’s dependence on international financiers, making a constant effort to pay the debt at the cost of the social conditions of impoverished people in Nicaragua. In August 2021, the public debt in Nicaragua was at $7.1429 billion equivalent to 56% of GDP.

According to information from Nicaragua’s Central Bank, until June 2021, $183.9 million of the national debt had been serviced, $160.7 million paid by multilateral creditors, principally from the Central American Economic Integration Bank ($91.8 million), the Interamerican Development Bank ($43.8 million) and the World Bank ($11.7 million).

We must combat any suggestion that the FSLN dictatorship is anti-imperialist by showing how the economic and political reality of the country demonstrates the exact opposite: the politics of the current regime is to expand imperialist ties.

 

Insurrection and self-defense: the working class vs. the dictatorship

The militants in the International Workers’ League (IWL-FI) in Central America are aware that our region is experiencing a wave of authoritarianism in countries like Honduras and El Salvador, and increased repression and prosecution in struggles in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama.

We must consider the lessons from the 1980s, and we must work together with workers, farmers, and students to take these dictatorial governments who place our countries at the service of U.S. imperialism out of power.

We must resuscitate the international brigades of solidarity and combat, such as the Simón Bolívar brigade that actively participated in the struggle to arm the population against the Somozas in 1979. Only with international solidarity will this struggle for revolution be successful.

This heroic international brigade was persecuted by the FSLN after the fall of the Somoza dictatorship. Members were detained, tortured, and sent to the Panamanian government as punishment for their demands for a workers’ democracy and for expanding the revolution to include demands such as expropriating large businesses and agrarian reform.

Let’s put ourselves to the task of building a revolutionary socialist organization that unifies these efforts both within and outside of Nicaragua. We must organize a new rebellion, one that confronts the dictatorship by using the methods made popular in 2018 of blockades and mass mobilization. However, we must also prepare our methods of self-defense to resist and confront the repression the dictatorship will surely respond with.

We must recognize that the conflicts in the ‘70s and ‘80s left deep wounds on the people of Central America, and for that very reason many of the struggling sectors in 2018 refused to utilize more powerful methods of self-defense against the police and Sandinista paramilitary.

We must include the industrial working class in this fight, who will be able to stop production and join the popular struggle. This will be a decisive factor in overthrowing the dictatorship and those clinging to power.

Once the government falls, the mobilized people must take the future of Nicaragua into their own hands, prioritizing the urgent work of guaranteeing democracy and political and syndicate liberties but also beginning the work of organizing a new socialist society where the riches produced by the people stay for the people and not for small groups of strong men. We must guarantee employment, housing, health, and education for our people.

Partidos de los Trabajadores de Costa Rica (PT LIT-CI)

Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores de Honduras (PST LIT-CI)

Plataforma de la Clase Trabajadora de El Salvador (PCT LIT-CI)

[1] https://www.abc.es/internacional/abci-concluyen-elecciones-nicaragua-segura-reeleccion-ortega-202111080135_noticia.html?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

[2] https://www.amcham.org.ni/a-15-anos-de-vigencia-del-cafta-dr-nicaragua-ha-ganado-en-exportaciones-en-inversiones-en-empleos-y-en-manufactura-con-mas-complejidad/

[3] https://cnzf.gob.ni/es/zonas-de-inversion

[4] https://www.eleconomista.com.mx/internacionales/Antony-Blinken-llego-a-Centroamerica-para-buscar-alternativas-que-frenen-la-migracion-a-EU-20210601-0090.html

[5] https://www.lavozdelsandinismo.com/internacionales/2008-02-08/confirman-que-nicaragua-busca-patrullaje-conjunto-con-estados-unidos/

[6] See the following:

https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2015/04/27/nacionales/1822170-miembros-de-la-guardia-costera-de-ee-uu-realizan-visita-oficial-a-nicaragua

https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2018/01/25/departamentales/2366588-guardia-costera-de-estados-unidos-en-labor-comunitaria

https://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/end-tv/8284-buque-guardia-costera-ee-uu-llega-nicaragua/?page=9

[7] See the following:

https://www.eleconomista.net/economia/Deuda-publica-de-Nicaragua-es-de-7142.9-millones-56.6–del-PIB-20210823-0018.html

https://www.efe.com/efe/america/economia/la-deuda-externa-de-nicaragua-es-12-007-millones-dolares-95-1-del-pib/20000011-4604017