Former Vice President Sergio Ramírez has launched an appeal to the international community not to recognize the outcome of November's presidential elections in Nicaragua.
The now-banned political leader and writer said in an interview with Chile's newspaper La Tercera that “it would be a very serious mistake by the international community to give them some legitimacy bias.” By “them” he meant President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, Ortega's wife and running mate.
Ramírez, who was vice president under Ortega between 1985 and 1990, added that “I know that the Nicaraguan crisis is not going to be solved outside the borders, but if the international community hesitates to say that Ortega must not be recognized in power, it would be a mistake because it would be to recognize elections where all electoral rules are being mocked,” said the 79-year-old Ramírez from exile in Madrid.
Ortega will seek his third consecutive re-election on Nov. 7.
An arrest warrant from the Nicaraguan Prosecutor's Office is out on Ramírez on conspiracy and money laundering charges, basically, the same argument under which dozens of political leaders have been imprisoned since June, particularly those who represented some challenge to Ortega's candidacy.
Ramírez insisted these are elections in which the real candidates are imprisoned and the fake ones will want to legitimize the Sandinista Front as the only party in the country.
In Ramírez's view, Ortega had decided to accelerate his repressive escalation when the candidacy of Cristiana Chamorro –daughter of former president Violeta Chamorro– was announced. Ortega has already lost one presidential bid against Violeta Chamorro after overthrowing dictator Anastasio Somoza.
The fact that he had to give the presidential sash to the daughter of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, to whom he had already given it before, filled him with great fear, Ramírez said.
The former Sandinista leader also said that there was nothing left from the revolution which ended Somoza's regime. “Nicaragua is a very young country, 70% of the inhabitants are less than 30 years old. For young people, it is a bad memory or they do not remember it at all. And for those who took to the streets to protest in April 2018, the choice is not left or right, but dictatorship or democracy. So, what young people want is to live in freedom, in a country of normal institutions, of respect for human rights. It seems to me that the ideological issue is not that it has disappeared, but it has not been involved,” Ramírez explained.
Other groups such as the Nicaraguan Peasant Movement have endorsed Ramírez's plea before the world by staging a protest Friday outside the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), in San José, Costa Rica, to demand more pressure on Ortega.
The protesters also demanded the release of all political prisoners and called on the international community not to allow citizens' rights to be violated in Nicaragua.
Nicaraguan peasant leader Francisca Ramírez said in San José that they would continue to demand justice before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for damages and losses committed against the peasant community by the Nicaraguan government and the Chinese businessman Wang Jing, Ortega's partner in the failed interoceanic canal project, which sought to create another passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in addition to the Panama Canal, which, in Francisca Ramírez's words “was a scam.”