Nicaragua kicked off democracy list

Nicaragua yesterday received the disagreeable distinction of getting booted off Freedom House’s list of electoral democracies.

Nicaragua was the only country in the world to get tossed from this year’s list of 117 democracies, which includes new recruits Niger, Thailand and Tunisia.

Freedom House, a Washington-based think tank that publishes an annual report on the state of democracy, political freedom and human rights around the world, qualified Nicaragua as “the most serious case” in Latin America.

“Nicaragua suffered a steep decline in political rights due to irregularities in advance of and during the presidential election, which gave Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega another term in office,” the report states.

“Events in 2011 demonstrated that quasi-authoritarian populism still stands as a threat to the region’s political stability,” the report adds, referring to Latin America’s more despotic destinations.

Nicaragua’s roster cut comes less than a week after Germany announced its decision to pull aid in response to reports of electoral mischief last November.

“The Nicaraguan regime must assume the consequences of its increasingly autocratic form of government,” Germany’s Minster of Foreign Cooperation Dirk Niebel said.

Opposition groups are celebrating the twin spankings.

On Monday, a group of youth activists critical of the Sandinista government demonstrated in front of the German Embassy to show support for the aid cutoff.

“We want to recover Nicaragua’s democracy, its governability and institutionalism. And once we have done that, we hope to recover this aid from Germany,” the group said in a letter to German Ambassador Betina Kern, which she declined to accept personally.

Following the subsequent boot from Freedom House, Nicaraguan civil society claims the chickens have come home to roost.

“My first reaction is happiness to learn that there are respectable international organizations that are totally in agreement with what we have been saying about the state of democracy in Nicaragua,” said Roberto Bendaña, president of group Hagamos Democracia, whose organization has expressed serious concerns about Nicaragua’s democracy for the past four years.

Bendaña predicts the Freedom House report will, “Lamentably have serious repercussions for Nicaragua’s economy, starting with foreign direct investment, which will be chased away.”

He said he also expects the Freedom House report will revive the Nicaragua natter in U.S. Congress, which reconvened on Monday.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for a stronger U.S. response to what several congressmen have called fraudulent elections and a rupture of constitutional democracy in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is even becoming a peripheral campaign issue among Republican presidential hopefuls. During a Monday night Republican debate on network TV, ultra-conservative candidate Rick Santorum said Nicaragua is part of a “growing network of folks working with jihadists.”

While Santorum’s grasp on world affairs is apparently just south of fair to middling, the fact the Nica neophyte would even venture into the syllabic wilderness of Nic-a-ra-gu-a—a word that has befuddled Washington tongues for decades—is indication that Ortega has finally put this country back on the political map, and not for happy reasons.   

“The screws continue to turn, albeit slowly, against Nicaragua,” a GOP source, who wished to remain unidentified, told The Nicaragua Dispatch. “There continues to be careful thought applied here, especially on Capitol Hill, as to how further pressure can be put on the Ortega government.”

  • Pedro Arauz

    Thousands of terrorists now occupy an unknown number of camps in (northwestern Venezuela and Nicaragua), and move about with the support and collaboration of the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan governments. President Hugo Chavez plays host to a growing horde of Middle Eastern terrorists from some of the USA’s most notorious enemies, including Libya, Saddam’s Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan…These terror groups are known to work in conjunction with the Colombian anti-government insurgency group, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia = Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces). They offer FARC terrorists safe haven in mountainous and unpatrolled regions of Northeastern Venezuela.

    • http://no John Lehman

      By the way, Egypt and Pakistan always have been backed by the USA especially when it comes to the army. The army actually controls Egypt. Iraq got invaded by You are spreading fear. These days the “blacksheep” is the middle east. It used to be Latin America or do we all selectively forget the past when US trained generals (school of the Americas but now conveniently changed name) ruled the continent.

      It’s sad to see people like Pedro spreading disinformation. They prefer to see a country burn to death in the name of what? Control and profits hidden behind Freedom, peace, democracy…. The majority of Nicaraguans – elections, independent gall-ups, interviews all say that the majority of Nicaraguans are happy with Ortega. It’s obvious that the Nicaraguan people have to listen to the 1st world and hear what is best for them. That seems to be called democracy these days. Nicaragua never invaded any country. It just uses it’s God given right to speak and share it’s opinion. There are no Jihadist in Nicaragua. It’s a deeply Christian nation! Please Pedro, go and spread your dark cloud of deceit back to Florida. ND is already doing your job here.
      Nicaragua has the right to choose it’s own destiny, especially when it is not harming any one!!!

  • Pedro Arauz

    Viewers of the first Republican presidential debate in Florida saw a newly aggressive Mitt Romney who engaged in a lengthy exchange with Newt Gingrich. The media will focus on the bickering over Gingrich’s alleged lobbying and tenure as speaker of the House, but the tough talk on overthrowing the communist regime of Cuba is what electrified the audience.

    About 10% of the Florida primary voters are Cuban-Americans, prompting the moderator to ask Mitt Romney about his stance on the Castro regime and how he’d handle a potential refugee crisis if it were to fall. Romney was applauded, even though the audience was asked to be quiet, when he said he’d first “thank heavens that Castro has gone to his maker.” He sharply criticized President Obama’s softening of America’s policy towards Cuba and praised a democratic activist who died in Cuba while on a hunger strike.

    Newt Gingrich was likewise applauded by following that up with saying, “I don’t think Fidel [Castro] is going to meet his maker. He’s going to another place.” Gingrich then won the biggest reaction of the night when he said that he would not tolerate four more years of the Castro dictatorship and would support a “Cuban Spring” by supporting every democratic activist achieve regime change.

    Rick Santorum spoke in similar terms and broadened the discussion. He warned of the anti-American alliance that has formed between Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran and the “jihadists.” He said that these enemies are elated to have a base only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

  • http://no David Steffenson

    Freedom house actually picks subjectively who is “good and bad” based on what is best to consolidate US interests.

    MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky, University of Pennsylvania Professor Emeritus Edward S. Herman, and some nations have criticized the organization for receiving funding from and allegedly furthering the interests of the U.S. government. Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, in their book Manufacturing Consent, wrote that in 1979 Freedom House monitored the election of Ian Smith in Rhodesia and found them “fair”, but found the 1980 elections won by Mugabe under British supervision “dubious”. Chomsky and Herman further write that the group’s history has been characterized as excessively criticizing states opposed to US interests and unduly sympathetic to those regimes supportive of US interests. The authors suggest this can be most notably seen by the way it perceived the US ally El Salvador in the early 1980s, a regime that used the army for mass slaughter of the populace to intimidate them in the run up to an “election”, but Freedom House found these elections to be “admirable”.

    Noam Chomsky further claimed in 1988 that Freedom House “had interlocks with AIM, the World Anticommunist League [sic], Resistance International, and U.S. government bodies such as Radio Free Europe and the CIA, and has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (U.S) government and international right wing.” He justifies this claim by presenting a series of national elections that he claims were staged and that the Freedom House observers praised. He also criticizes Freedom House’s claimed expenditure of “substantial resources in criticizing the media for insufficient sympathy with U.S. foreign-policy ventures and excessively harsh criticism of U.S. client states.” Chomsky further argues that “Its most notable publication of this genre was Peter Braestrup’s The Big Story, which contended that the media’s negative portrayal of the Tet offensive helped lose the war. The work is a travesty of scholarship, but more interesting is its premise: that the mass media not only should support any national venture abroad, but should do so with enthusiasm, such enterprises being by definition noble.”

    The organization states that its board of trustees contains Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are a mix of business and labor leaders, former senior government officials, scholars and journalists.

    Craig Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, wrote that the executive director of Freedom House told him in 2003 that the group decided to back off from its efforts to spotlight human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, because some Republican board members (in Murray’s words) “expressed concern that Freedom House was failing to keep in sight the need to promote freedom in the widest sense, by giving full support to U.S. and coalition forces.” Human rights abuses in Uzbekistan at the time included treatment of prisoners who were killed by “immersion in boiling liquid,” and by strapping on a gas mask and blocking the filters, Murray reported. Jennifer Windsor, the executive director of Freedom House now and in 2003, said Murray’s “characterization of our conversation is an inexplicable misrepresentation not only of what was said at that meeting, but of Freedom House’s record in Uzbekistan.” “Freedom House has been a consistent and harsh critic of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, as clearly demonstrated in press releases and in our annual assessments of that country,” she wrote.

  • http://no Leonidas Arguello

    Seriously, Is this guys for real! I wonder when politicians see the need to go back to the dark ages of Crusades! Bellum sacrum!

  • Pedro Arauz

    Dear everybody!
    I was part of the original Sandinista revolution and spent a good amount of time in Havana participating in intelligence meetings and the talk from the start was and is about getting to the USA and not about Latin America or their “suffering” lot.
    The more I realized their true objectives the more I asked myself: what a hell am I doing here? Trust me, I was very lucky to get out in one piece as literally thousands couldn’t.
    Wake up John or better still, grow up.

    • http://no Julian Assange V2.0

      “What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? I give private information on corporations to you free, and I am the villain.

      Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the year.”

      It’s all about the money. No morality, not looking for truth and knowledge but rather focuses on lies in the name of profit and greed. Even our US laws are protecting big capital better then human individuals!

      Freedom house is a ‘subtle’ rightwing think tank!

      I declare NicaDispatch, officially, promoter of US interests. It actually is harming all Nicaraguans!

  • Nick

    “quasi-authoritarian populism” …. We now have a brand-new classification of governments. You have to admire their way with words.
    The withdrawal of aid by Germany is the most recent in a protracted period of reorientation of priorities by European nations. That the Germans used the elections as a reason for the withdrawal is just a question of them playing politics. That country’s more strategic interests for foreign aid lie elsewhere in the world now — Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe — and that is where they are concentrating their efforts. The same has happened with Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, and Holland. Central America as a whole no longer figures in their list of priorities.
    I also have my doubts that this will scare off foreign investment. Money looks for stability and “democratic” or not, Nicaragua has become more stable. One comment heard from someone involved in the Free Trade Zone sweat shop operations is that at least they have labor stability since the government and labor unions have agreed on a timetable for wage increases rather than leaving that up to the situation at any given moment. Having a populist government comes in handy for keeping labor radicals at bay. A recent example was less than two weeks ago when the union at a gold mine in Chontales blocked the access road to the ore-crushing plant in order to demand that the Canadian company create more jobs. The local FSLN leaders stepped in to calm the situation down so that the business could continue as usual.

  • sayayuca

    You are so full of poop. You were never “part of the original Sandinista revolution and spent a good amount of time in Havana participating in intelligence meetings”, While trying to show us ignorants, all you succeed to do is to show your own lack of intelligence. Do you know what the US would have done if “the talk from the start was and is about getting to the USA “? More if they had had any sort of proof, any kind of proof for that matter. For much less than that they invaded Panama and Irak, you moron!

  • Pedro Arauz

    Dios trabaja en formas misteriosas:
    El final de Ortega y los suyos esta mas próximo de lo que parece y la oposición deberá incluir esto en sus planes futuros. No por nada el desespere de los Ortega de acumular YA todo el poder posible lo que de nada les servirá ya que sin los petrodolares sus mismos compinches les destruirán, siempre y sin excepción alguna ha sido este el caso en la historia de la humanidad. Comiencen a dar gracias a Dios y a hacer un examen de conciencia del porque fue que se les metió el cáncer del Orteguismo en Nicaragua.
    Con un cáncer en rápido deterioro, Hugo Chávez ha enviado a Brasil a especialistas médicos de confianza para que averigüen qué esperanzas ofrecería ponerse en manos de un curandero indio recomendado por la presidenta brasileña, Dilma Rousseff, de acuerdo con los últimos informes de Inteligencia a los que ha tenido acceso ABC. En ellos se cita el último parte médico: «Claramente ha habido metástasis en los huesos y en la espina dorsal», con la aparición de un nuevo cultivo cancerígeno en el colon; se rebaja la esperanza de vida del presidente venezolano a una horquilla de entre nueve y doce meses.

    • sayayuca

      Segui soñando…………..

      • HChavez

        Pedro Arauz para presidente de Nicaragua. El violador tiene los dias contados con toda su bola de serviles comunistas, ya oiste sayayuca, servil propagandista del violador fraudista.

        • sayayuca

          Los dos ustedes sigan soñando……

  • Erick


    • econica

      This site continues to be a mouthpiece for the US Right. As one of the posters pointed out, Freedom House has for the past 30 years been a promoter of US interests – not so democratic. The unthinking ‘think-tank’ continues to be funded by the extreme right National Endowment for Democracy. I’m now convinced that the Nicaragua Dispatch is a state-department front and Tim Rogers is on the CIA payroll. Am I right?

      • Jaime Silva

        For sure, Boitano saw Panetta signing his check!! BOHOOO, the CIA is coming to get us!! Very original!

      • Miguel

        @ econoica – of course you are right. The last time I posted this same thing was in early Jan 2012 and my post was deleted within 72 hours. And its not the CIA, its the NSA, the National Security Agency. It is about trying to enlist instability by whatever and all ever means necessary usually by fear. And yes, they are posting here.

        • Miguel

          Please read my article posting below from the New York Times. It highlights since the USA sponsored Honduran coup, drug trafficking has skyrocketed in Honduras. The surge of USA Tax Payers Moneys for “war on terror” is actualy moneys used to fuel drug trafficking. That is another example of creating instability so the people cannot unify. Truly disgusting.

  • A Gomez

    Great article Tim!!! It struck a nerve among your “orteguistas” fan club!!!

    • econica

      It’s interesting that Tim’s fanclub don’t actually care that his articles are baseless and woefully dependent on disinformation from suspect US organisations and institutions. It demonstrates that Tim Rogers, the Nicaragua Dispatch and many of it’s fans are not really interested in journalism or honest reporting and prefer right-wing propaganda.

      • A Gomez

        You can call it whatever you want but you are still reading it, in fact you love it and can’t keep away from it! JAJAJA!

        • econica

          Obviously you’re a good friend of Tim’s (and a bit of a moron to boot)

          • Editor

            Attention: Sayayuca, Econica, Ata, Pedro A, Howard Cox and others: please respect this reader forum, which was set up to discuss Nicaragua with ideas and opinions, not launch personal attacks against other individuals. We are not going to be a forum for slander. Please respect basic civility, decorum and libel rules when posting here, or go elsewhere. Thank you.

  • joel donovan

    This article is a bunch of crap

  • Pedro Arauz

    “Estamos empezando a darle relevancia al fraude de esa elección, ya hay movimientos, así es que tengo esperanzas que vamos a seguir avanzando y que vamos poder aislar a Ortega y demostrar lo antidemocrático que es”, dijo Ros-Lehtinen a La prensa, durante su asistencia al debate republicano de los nominados a la candidatura presidencial de Estados Unidos por el partido republicano, que se encuentran en Florida, disputándose el voto de los electores en este estado.
    La jefa de las Relaciones Exteriores en el Congreso, se mostró satisfecha con el comunicado emitido por la Secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, que expresa que Estados Unidos revisará la política de ayuda a Nicaragua y llevará a cabo un “escrutinio agresivo” de préstamos del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) y el Banco Mundial (BM), además de buscar acciones coordinadas con otros países de la región para “fortalecer la democracia en el país centroamericano”, como consecuencia de la reciente y polémica reelección del presidente inconstitucional Daniel Ortega.

  • Nick Velvet

    Freedom House is just part of a large and long standing propaganda apparat- thats all those “think tanks” ever are, pretty much. The big, well finder and connected ones, anyway. A simple test: What do they think of the “elected” government of Honduras?

  • Nick Velvet

    sorry, “well funded”…..

  • Alessandra Mondadori

    Venezuela ha entregado, durante cinco años, un total de 2,260 millones de dólares. Alba Caruna ha reportado financiar unos 600 millones de dólares en programas sociales para el gobierno, a título de préstamo, que oportunamente nos cobrará. Más de 1,500 millones han quedado jugando en el entramado de las empresas de la familia Ortega Murillo

  • Alessandra Mondadori

    Una cantidad enorme de dinero con la que pudieron haberse construido hospitales nuevos en todas las cabeceras del país e institutos de educación técnica en cada distrito de Managua y en cada municipio del país.
    También, con esa enorme cantidad de dinero se hubiesen podido entregar decenas de millones de dólares en créditos, en buenas condiciones, a los pequeños y medianos productores de la ciudad y el campo.
    Todo lo que podía haberse aportado para mejorar la condición de los más pobres, de los trabajadores y campesinos, ha quedado en el bolsillo de la familia Ortega. Y hasta ahora, nadie en la Contraloría General de la República ha dicho una palabra.
    Pero, la Comisión de Probidad de la Asamblea Nacional está presidida por un diputado de la Alianza PLI, a quien demandamos y de quien esperamos, inicie una investigación sobre las denuncias publicadas.
    Sabemos que la aplanadora orteguista no dejará pasar un informe de tales zanganadas, pero los diputados opositores siempre tendrán el recurso de presentar un informe de minoría, que aunque no sea debatido en el parlamento, podrá ser conocido por todo el pueblo. Ese sería un buen primer paso de la gestión parlamentaria de la bancada de la Alianza PLI.

  • Miguel

    “Freedom House” now views Honduras as a democracy. The Military Generals who overthrew Manuel Zelaya in an illegal coup were trained in the School of Americas in the United States.

    The “far leaning right” in the USA will never win, because under Obama, he is the perfect establishments candidate under the cloak of an African-American – who gives the disguise of equality. The Republican candidates are just talking heads, scaring the progressives to vote for the Obama regime instead of voting for 3rd party.

    You can read all about the great things that has happened to Honduras in the last 3 years as Obama was president. This is what will happen to Nicaragua if we fall for the ridiculous notion of falling for the USA trap.

    U.S. aid to the essentially military regime in Honduras has increased every single year since the coup in 2009, with $68 million allocated for 2012. And, as Frank wrote previously Nation magazine, Obama has “allocated $45 million in new funds for military construction, including expansion and improvement of the jointly operated Soto Cano Air Force Base at Palmerola (supplied now with US drones) and has opened three new military bases.” The “Honduran police and military have launched successive waves of repression against entire campesino communities,” Frank explained, and funding “rose dramatically in June with $40 million more under the new $200 million Central American Regional Security Initiative, supposedly to combat drug trafficking in Central America,” even though the drug trade in Honduras has boomed since the coup.

    In addition to that, the U.S. has a documented close relationship between corporate drug lords and private paramilitaries in Honduras. Wealthy landowners with ties to the cocaine trade, like Miguel Facussé, have been orchestrating illegal land grabs and murders of peasant farmers in the countryside. Facussé supported the 2009 military coup, has met with the State Department numerous times, and met with Obama in Washington DC in the first week of October. U.S.-supported private paramilitaries kill, steal, torture, and pillage.

  • Miguel

    Furthermore, before we give too much attention to this Cuban discussion – Cuban-Americans don’t have cloat or power in the USA, except for in Florida. The rest of the remaining 49 States in America do not have political respect for Florida and pretty much think Cuban-Americans are off in their own world, still dreaming about a country from 50 years ago instead of realizing they are in the USA and their great-grand children don’t give-a-care about Cuba.
    The majority of the “Latinos” in the United States are Mexican, Guatemalan, Honduran and Puerto Rican and they tend to lean on voting Democrat. Only the Cubans have a majority of voting Republican. And like I said earlier, even the rest of Republicans wonder why they are so fixated on Cuba, when they are “American”. So those Republican candidates are just trying to get votes in Cuba and make promises they would never make in South Carolina.

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  • Pedro Arauz

    The Left’s Genocide of Minorities
    Genocide is a trademark of the left, and abortion follows in that grim