Bogota (CNN)Nicaragua's upcoming predetermination connected November 7 is expected to clasp nary surprises, aft strongman president Daniel Ortega spent most of the year tightening his grip connected the country.
With 7 absorption candidates down bars and thousands of critics overseas to flight the oppressive power of Ortega's police, the septuagenarian person and his colorful wife, Rosario Murillo, look undisputedly successful power of the ballot outcome. The biggest question present isn't who volition triumph -- but however the remainder of the portion volition respond erstwhile Ortega declares victory.
Democracy has been eroding crossed Latin America: From northbound to south, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a inclination of determination caudillos seizing the governmental signifier and moving to weaken antiauthoritarian checks and balances.
In February 2020, El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele ordered the military to raid parliament to "spur" lawmakers to authorize a indebtedness to his government. In August this year, his illustration was followed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who organized a subject parade successful Brasilia conscionable arsenic Congress was debating a Bolsonaro-backed betterment of the voting strategy (the betterment did not pass).
According to a determination survey of implicit 20,000 radical by polling steadfast Latinobarometro, little than 50% of Latin Americans polled successful 2020 accidental ideology is preferable to immoderate different signifier of authorities and much than 1 successful 10 openly advocator for an authoritarian regime.
Support for authoritarianism is strongest successful younger generations, showed the poll, with 49% of radical aged 16-25 saying they either enactment an authoritarian authorities oregon are indifferent to the signifier of government.
And indifference to antiauthoritarian authorities seems peculiarly acute successful Central America, with the bulk of canvass respondents successful the impoverished Northern Triangle nations Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador saying they would beryllium successful favour of a non-democratic authorities "if it resolves the country's problems."
Two challenges for the region
In June, erstwhile Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla described a spate of arrests by the Ortega medication arsenic "the nighttime of the agelong knives successful the tropics," portion US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said repressive conditions successful Nicaragua are simply "not accordant with credible elections."
But the ballot is going up anyway.
And present having intimidated oregon locked up each viable governmental opponents, Ortega's expected reelection successful Nicaragua presents 2 challenges to the remainder of the region: Will different leaders talk retired against this subversion of antiauthoritarian processes? And however volition the galore multilateral systems designed to support ideology successful Latin America -- the Inter-American Commission connected Human Rights (IACHR), the Organization of American States, and smaller groups similar the Pacific Alliance oregon the Andean Community -- reckon with their nonaccomplishment to forestall Nicaragua's descent toward a dictatorship?
While galore countries person condemned the apprehension of absorption figures successful Nicaragua -- and the US has adjacent imposed sanctions -- they whitethorn beryllium hesitant to propulsion overmuch further aft being burned by their acquisition with Venezuela successful caller years.
After a contested predetermination successful 2019, dozens of overseas governments chose not to admit strongman Nicolas Maduro arsenic Venezuela's morganatic leader, favoring alternatively absorption person Juan Guaido. But the strategy backfired -- 2 years later, Maduro retains power of the state and has efficaciously won his conflict against planetary pressure.
"I deliberation the Venezuelan situation caused a definite caution among the planetary assemblage implicit what to bash successful Nicaragua," says Tiziano Breda, a Central American expert astatine the International Crisis Group.
"After investing truthful overmuch connected Guaidó, and creating this impasse successful Venezuela that has not resolved the situation there, determination is little clarity of what an alternate strategy for Nicaragua could be: opposing Ortega, sure, but what is the alternative?" Breda told CNN.
One apt crushed Venezuela's governmental situation triggered truthful overmuch determination absorption is due to the fact that it went hand-in-hand with a migration crisis: 4.6 cardinal Venezuelans person truthful acold fled the country, according to UNHCR. In contrast, governmental oppression successful Nicaragua has not triggered a akin wide exodus that would unit its neighbors to enactment -- astatine slightest not yet.