Wednesday, October 20

United States Presses for Electoral Reform in Nicaragua

(CNN Español) –– The United States is in favor of an electoral reform in Nicaragua before the November 2021 elections. This was stated this Wednesday by Michael Kozak, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

“The United States is willing to integrate … It is prepared to increase pressure on the Ortega regime, in order to promote the electoral reforms that the Nicaraguan people deserve,” said Kozak.

US sanctions on Nicaraguan officials

Washington has sanctioned dozens of officials and relatives of Daniel Ortega who, it considers, are linked to cases of alleged corruption or violation of human rights.

The European Parliament approved on October 8 in Belgium a resolution establishing sanctions against President Daniel Ortega. Also against his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo.

“To date, US sanctions have blocked 24 members of the corrupt Ortega regime. As well as nine entities that have used the regime to repress their citizens and hide profits of spurious origin. And these entities include the Nicaraguan National Police, “Kozak said.

The sanctions imposed by the United States on various officials are considered by President Ortega as attacks on the sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples.

The OAS General Assembly approved on October 21 a resolution that grants a deadline until May 2021 for the approval of electoral reforms that guarantee a participatory and observed process.

Electoral reforms

The Nicaraguan government has not officially reacted to these statements by the US Acting Assistant Secretary of State. We consulted the Communication and Citizenship Council and for the moment they do not respond to our request.

President Daniel Ortega, who promised in July 2019 to promote electoral reforms, has not taken up the issue. In his last appearances, such as the one on December 11 during the graduation ceremony for military officers, he devoted himself to questioning the US electoral system.

Fraud in America! And not now. Already in several elections these accusations of fraud have come out, and that they have an electoral system where the people’s vote does not count, because the people vote. But it is useless for a candidate to have a majority of votes, if later in each state the delegates of each party decide to elect the one with the fewest popular votes, “Ortega said.

There is no evidence of fraud in the US elections and dozens of lawsuits against the results have been thrown out in several states. The Electoral College ratified Joe Biden as president-elect, and delegates voted based on the popular vote that prevailed in each state.

Questioning of a United States official to the law in Nicaragua

Kozak also reacted to the approval of the Nicaraguan Law for the Regulation of Foreign Agents. On October 15, the Sandinista majority in the National Assembly endorsed the legislation. According to Kozak, the law requires natural and legal persons who receive any type of financing from abroad to register with the government. Also that they comply with rigorous communication requirements and refrain from participating in activities that the authorities consider political, added the official.

“Critics of the law agree that its true intention is to prevent opposition candidates and opposition sympathizers from participating in the 2021 elections. Likewise, this law will have an inhibitory effect on the activities of civil society in the run-up to the elections. elections, “Kozak added.

According to Kozak, various analysts point out that the ambiguity in the language of the legislation expands the discretion to use it as a tool of repression.

Cybercrime Law

Regarding the Special Cybercrime Law, approved on October 27, the diplomat questioned that “it could sanction expressions that are critical of the Ortega regime, including social media publications,” since the law establishes sanctions and fines.

Article 30 of the aforementioned legislation establishes that publications that damage the honor, prestige or reputation of a person will carry a penalty of one to three years in prison. In addition, a fine of between 150 and 300 days of salary. The law warns that “if the publication or dissemination of false and / or misrepresented information incites hatred or violence, endangers economic stability, public order, public health or sovereign security”, a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of between 500 and 800 days’ wages.

Kozak also referred to the analysis of a constitutional reform to impose life imprisonment for those who commit hate crimes, which is awaiting second approval in the National Assembly.

According to the diplomat, the three legislative initiatives condition the participation of voters in an electoral year.

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