Nicaragua to renew, replace de facto officials

Key Sandinista apparatchiks expected to stay in place

Roberto Rivas, accused of rigging the past four elections, is expected to be reelected
Nicaragua Dispatch/ archive

Roberto Rivas, accused of rigging the past four elections, is expected to be reelected

Sandinista lawmakers say the National Assembly will finally elect — and reelect— new government officials to replace the 54 party apparatchiks who have been squatting in their posts for several years after the expiration date on their term limits.

Leaders of the Sandinista-dominated National Assembly announced they will appoint a special commission this Friday to start considering the candidacies for the first 29 posts, some of which have been occupied by de facto officials for more than four years, thanks to a dubious 2010 presidential decree that extended everyone’s term limits indefinitely. All 54 de facto officials are expected to be replaced or renewed before Semana Santa starts on April 10, according to Sandinista lawmaker Alba Palacios.

Roberto Rivas, the man who loved to count votes
Tim Rogers

Roberto Rivas, the man who loves to count votes

The special commission will be stacked with Sandinista lawmakers determined to reelect Supreme Court magistrate Rafael Solís, who led an armed attack on the Holiday Inn in Managua after his term limit expired in 2010, and Supreme Electoral Council president Roberto Rivas, accused of rigging the last four elections and questioned repeatedly about his inexplicable accumulation of wealth in recent years.

The Sandinistas and their allies have already announced their intention to reelect both magistrates — two of the key figures responsible for President Daniel Ortega’s total control over the judicial and electoral branches.

“There are some candidates who I think I’m going to vote for; I understand Roberto Rivas is (a candidate for reelection) in the Supreme Electoral Council and I am going to support Roberto Rivas with my vote. And in the Supreme Court there are others also, like Rafael Solís, who’s running as a candidate, and I think I am going to support him also,” stammered Sandinista remora Wilfredo Navarro, who has used his seat in congress to support Ortega’s party following the collapse of the PLC.

“Yes, I am going to vote for Roberto Rivas and I am going to vote for Rafael Solís,” Navarro repeated with a bit more confidence, according to Sandinista media.

The Independent Liberal Party (PLI), which doesn’t have enough votes to represent any real opposition to the Sandinistas’ supermajority, has agreed participate in the process — not that it matters.

PLI lawmaker Wilber López

PLI lawmaker Wilber López

The commission, which will be comprised of three Sandinistas (José Figueroa, Irma Dávila and Alba Palacios), one opposition congressman (Wilber López) and wannabe Sandinista Wilfredo Navarro, will have 15 days to consider the candidacies of the first 29 high officials, including 12 Supreme Court judges, 8 substitute judges, and two Attorneys General, as well as directors of the directors of the Nicaraguan Energy Institute, among a handful of other lesser bureaucrats.

The PLI says it’s participating because they’ve been calling for elections for years. But given the Sandinistas have 60 votes and legislate unilaterally in the National Assembly, the minority opposition don’t expect their role to count much.

“We are respecting the constitution and the institutionalism that should prevail in this country; that’s why we’re taking this first step,” said opposition congressman López.

He adds, “We’d like to change all the magistrates in the Supreme Electoral Council and the Supreme Court— all the government officials that have done harm and brought shame to this country, but we don’t have the votes to do it.”

  • Pepe Turcon

    Not until we eliminate and destroy all vestiges of Chavismo-Castrismo and their Alba will Nicaragua take a turn for the better. We will also have to wait for the true Conservatives and Tea party to take over the Senate in Nov 2014 plus the Oval office in 2016 then can we ALL turn for the better.
    Lets hope the Obozo effect doesn’t force the Israelis to nuke Iran or vice versa before the above happens.
    Looks interesting!

  • Peh

    The Sandinista thugs are attempting to do the political equivalent of money laundering: trying to make a dirty process (cargos vencidos) clean (with sham elections).

  • randypower

    Brilliant photo choice for Rivas. Thank you for the laced humor in an otherwise very sad story.

  • Pepe Turcon

    Believe it or not:
    The Chavista government in Venezuela is in a free fall, Venezuela and Latin America is living a historic moment, finally the Castro Monarchy is being flushed down the toilet, where it belongs from day one.