(posted Jan. 25, 6:20 p.m.)- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today released a press statement calling Nicaragua’s Nov. 6 general elections a “setback to democracy in Nicaragua.”
“Nicaragua’s recent elections were not conducted in a transparent and impartial manner, and the entire electoral process was marred by significant irregularities,” Clinton said in a Jan. 25 State Department release, in response to the final report of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) election observation mission to Nicaragua. “The elections marked a setback to democracy in Nicaragua and undermined the ability of Nicaraguans to hold their government accountable.”
Clinton said the OAS report “provides a basis for the OAS to assess all available initiatives to strengthen democracy in Nicaragua, consistent with the principles enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”
She said the United States would continue to work with “our partners in the and elsewhere to conduct such an assessment, so as to hold the Government of Nicaragua accountable for the timely implementation of the report’s recommendations.”
Clinton said the U.S. government also looks forward to reviewing the final report for the EU’ election observation mission, due next month.
In the meantime, she said, the U.S. will review its policy of assistance toward Nicaragua.
“The United States will continue to apply aggressive scrutiny to project loans at the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank, and we will oppose any loan proposals that do not meet these institutions’ high standards, or do not provide sufficient development impact,” she said.
Germany has already decided to cut funding to Nicaragua in response to last November’s elections.
“The United States calls on the Nicaraguan government to uphold democratic processes and protect universal human rights. We will continue to support civil society and promote human rights in Nicaragua,” Clinton said. “The Nicaraguan people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard; they deserve no less than fair, free, transparent elections, and leaders who are accountable to them.”