Nicaragua’s Electoral Farce

The New York TimesNicaragua’s first couple hailed Sunday’s election, which gave President Daniel Ortega his third consecutive term, and his wife, Rosario Murillo, her first as vice president, as “nearly perfect.” From their standpoint, that it was.

The Ortegas have spent the past decade consolidating power, sidelining political opponents and destroying a system of checks and balances with the clear intent of establishing a dynastic dictatorship. On Monday, election officials said the first couple obtained 72 percent of the vote, well ahead of their closest rival, who got just over 14 percent. The landslide victory was a widely anticipated outcome of a contest whose outcome was preordained.

Mr. Ortega, 70, has relied on acolytes in the courts and procedural maneuvers to purge the ranks of genuine rivals. His party did away with term limits in 2014, paving the way for his perpetual re-election. By tapping Ms. Murillo, 65, as his running mate, he formally made her the heir apparent. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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