Monday, July 27, 2020

Nicaraguans Want Change and Don't Thinks It's Too Likely

Manuel Orozco directed a survey in Nicaragua for the Inter-American Dialogue. The results show deep distrust that has developed over years of corrupt government, from Daniel Ortega of course but also the right. Nicaraguans want free elections and they also want good choices, and they don't see either happening.

It would be logical to assume that Nicaraguans would lay the blame for the crisis--political, economic, public health, etc.--on Daniel Ortega. But that's only partially true. This graph caught my attention the most:

Several of these questions get at the repression and ineptness off the government, but a lot of people see this as just another example of Sandinista/right political conflict, which has dominated the country for over 40 years. Further, check out the sizable chunk of people who believe the crisis stems from the U.S. and the right.

Who do Nicaraguans want to vote for? They don't seem to see good options. They don't identify with the political parties and a majority doesn't even identify as "pro-government" or "pro-opposition." If the election were held today, a large majority either doesn't know or would not choose from any candidate (which they could write in). They think there will be fraud and see international observers as important.

What can we take away from this?

--Lack of popular interest in the opposition and an alternate leader works very much to Ortega's favor.
--International observers are critical for the legitimacy of any election. The next presidential election is now scheduled for November 2021.
--Ortega's inept response to Covid-19 is truly devastating. No one believes him when he says it's barely affecting the country.
--There is support for sanctions, but they should stay very focused on the Ortega clique.
--as with Venezuela, the situation keeps getting worse with no real solution in sight.


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