This 19th of July, the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista guerrillas’ entrance to Managua and the defeat of the Somoza dictatorship are celebrated, thus starting what today is known as the Castrochavism dictatorship. With the electoral defeat of the 1990’s Sandinismo, it was believed the ending of the dictatorship in Nicaragua, but it was soon realized that only the dictator had left but the dictatorial system had remained. When Cuba’s dictatorship regained its operational capability, the dictator who has held power since 2007 returned, proving once more that the removal of the dictator is not enough, it is indispensable to end the dictatorship as well.
In 1961, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN in Spanish) was founded as a “politico-military leftist organization”, as part of the expansion of Cuba’s Fidel Castro dictatorship. Its initial name was “National Liberation Front (FLN in Spanish)” as a copy of the Algeria National Liberation Front, both promoted by the Cuban regime. It held power in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990. In 1983, it was “transformed” into a political party. The Sandinista dictatorship took Nicaragua to the armed confrontation with “the contras”.
Daniel Ortega was defeated in the elections of 25 of February of 1990 by Violeta de Chamorro’s victory with 54.74% of the votes, an outcome that pointed to the dictator’s departure. On the 27th of March of 1990, however, a “Protocol of Transition” was signed for the transfer of presidential power, with the “understanding that the elections held were the basis for the construction of democracy and peace” but that it also guaranteed the continuance of the dictatorship, since it granted “legal protection to anyone benefitting from governmental donations of urban and rural property” gifted by the Sandinista regime before the 25th of February of 1990, and “to respect the ranks, the pecking order, and the commands of the Army, including the continuance of Humberto Ortega, as Commanding General of the Army”.
Ortega’s Sandinista dictatorship never left power in Nicaragua. In 1990, the dictator was removed but not the dictatorship, because it kept its infrastructure, protected the “fat cow” by guaranteeing legal protection to the criminal usurpation of property by members of the dictatorship, it granted impunity to the corruption of the dictator and members of his criminal group, it kept control of his Army -that was never the Country’s Army- and it stayed as part of the political system, simulating democracy -as a guarantee for impunity- until it once more had a chance to regain the helm of power and reinstate the dictator.
Through elections on the 5th of November of 2006, Daniel Ortega regained the presidency in 2007 with 38.7% of the votes and only a 61.23% of participation. Soon after, he implemented the elimination of the opposition with political persecutions and imprisonments, destroyed democratic institutions, subjected under his control all branches of the government, created his “functional opposition” in exchange for corruption and impunity, reinstated his system of violations of human rights and individual basic freedoms and turned Nicaragua into a “vote-catching dictatorship” and a narco-state.
Forty-one years past, the people from Nicaragua believed the dictatorship was leaving but history tells us that they went from one bad dictatorship to another worse. The massacres of 2019 perpetrated by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, with over 500 dead, thousands of political prisoners, tortured, and over 100,000 exiled prove that. On this, the 41st anniversary of the so-called Sandinista Revolution, it is a known fact that these have been over four decades of Cuba’s dictatorship in Nicaragua, because when the dictator was removed, they were allowed to continue the dictatorship.
The Nicaraguan peoples’ drama -to remove the dictator but not the dictatorship- is a precedent for Venezuela and Cuba, and it is yet happening once again in Bolivia where this coming 6th of September they pretend to have “elections in a dictatorship” following the departure of dictator Evo Morales. Bolivia is going to hold elections with an entire and intact Castrochavist apparatus in-place, its constitution, control of all branches of government, voters’ registration, which translates to the return of the dictator much quicker than it happened in Nicaragua.
When the dictator leaves, it is vital to end the dictatorship as a system. In other words to -at the very least- return to the Republic and the institutional order prior to Castrochavism’ s counterfeiting, not to accept -as part of regaining democracy- the impunity of the dictator or members of his criminal group’s impunity, to identify those members of the “functional opposition” with pertinent consequences, disqualify the dictatorship’s political party that is the means to benefit the dictator, restore the separation and independence of all branches of government and the “rule of law”, remake the voters’ registration and electoral registers, and restore “universal suffrage” to guarantee free and fair elections.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.
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