Nicaragua's Shift Toward Dictatorship Is Part of a Latin American Backslide

By David Luhnow and José de Córdoba

"The hard-won lessons of the 20th Century of the evils of dictatorship are now being forgotten," said AS/COA's Brian Winter to The Wall Street Journal.

Nicaragua, following a presidential election called fraudulent by the U.S., is now widely seen to have become Latin America’s third dictatorship and part of a broader trend of democratic backsliding across the region, say U.S. officials and political analysts.

President Daniel Ortega coasted to a fourth consecutive term in Sunday’s vote by winning about 75% of the ballots cast, according to Nicaragua’s election authority. The election took place after Mr. Ortega’s regime jailed seven leading presidential candidates, allowing only a handful of relatively unknown candidates to oppose him

Fewer than one in five registered voters cast a ballot, according to Urnas Abiertas, a local electoral watchdog.

The vote removed “any last shred of doubt that Nicaragua is, sadly, a dictatorship,” a former Panamanian vice president, Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, wrote on Monday in Americas Quarterly, a policy journal. Most of the international community also bills Cuba and Venezuela as dictatorships.

Ms. Saint Malo de Alvarado urged the international community to show it wouldn’t tolerate another dictatorship in the region by withdrawing their ambassadors and stopping any international loans to the Central American nation…

“The hard-won lessons of the 20th Century of the evils of dictatorship are now being forgotten and many people are being tempted by the aura of one-man rule,” said Brian Winter, the editor in chief of Americas Quarterly

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