(published Monday, Nov. 7, 6:30 pm) Thousands of Sandinista supporters of all ages continue to flood into the streets of Managua to celebrate President Daniel Ortega’s victory in Sunday’s elections, despite the fact the main opposition candidate has refused to concede defeat.
According to the final vote count released Monday afternoon at 2 p.m., Ortega won the elections with 62 percent, followed by right-wing challenger Fabio Gadea, who finished with 30 percent. The Supreme Electoral Council has called the results “official” and definitive.
José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, called Ortega last night to “Greet the people and government of Nicaragua for the elections held yesterday” and to acknowledge the “the maturity demonstrated by the Nicaraguan people throughout the entire process.”
According to an OAS release, Insulza told Ortega on the phone that “despite certain predictions of possible tensions and acts of violence, the maturity of the Nicaraguan people and its vocation for peace marked the peaceful character with which the general elections closed on Sunday.”
The OAS release called on Nicaraguans to await the final election results and noted that the “inconveniences confronted” by the OAS’ electoral observation mission yesterday will “be a matter of concern and will be relayed to the Permanent Council of the Organization.”
The Sandinistas, however, are interpreting Insulza’s call as a recognition of Ortega’s victory.
The Sandinista media quotes Insulza telling Ortega, “Democracy and peace advanced in Nicaragua yesterday.” There’s no mention of that affirmation in the OAS’ press release.
Meanwhile, in the streets of Managua, the elections are a done deal, according to the Sandinistas.
“I voted for first time and it made me proud because our comandante won and we continue changing Nicaragua for more triumphs and more victories and we’ll keep moving forward with the Sandinista Front,” said Katherine Jarquín, a bright-eyed 19-year-old university student waving a Sandinista flag in the street in front of the Hotel Hilton Princess.
“We will continue to restitute the rights that were denied us during the 16 years of neoliberal governments,” said Carlos Rivas, a state employee. “We need to continue the projects in health, education, drinking water, roads, housing, education and health (sic). That’s what it means to reelect president Daniel Ortega right now, that’s what reelection means. That’s we are celebrating today.”
Not everyone, however, was so chatty. Several Sandinista supporters said they “weren’t authorized” to talk, or simply didn’t speak when asked what they thought about the elections. Others were too drunk to talk.
On several occasions, fights broke out in the crowd, sending people running in all directions. Members of the Sandinista Youth, wearing T-shirts alluding to peace and love, claimed the fighting was due to “Liberals” who had infiltrated the crowd. Others said it was fighting between rival gangs.
Several people in the crowd said they thought President Ortega was going to show up later to make a victory speech, but most seemed confused on the details of their party’s celebration.