Cuba’s Castro dictatorship destroyed Venezuela. Now they are trying to do the same to Nicaragua.
Nicaragua is the next Venezuela
The Nicaraguan people are desperate for something better. And they need America to help make it happen. Without intervention, it will only get worse.
This time last year, our nation was fixated on the Central American country. April 28, 2018 saw hundredsof thousands of protestors take to Nicaragua’s streets — the largest protests in a generation or more. Students, workers, priests, and farmers demanded reforms and the resignation of the dictator Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Americans stood in solidarity with the marchers, believing that it marked the beginning of a democratic spring for the Nicaraguan people.
Instead, the dictatorship tightened its grip. The past year saw the murder of more than 500 protesters, the imprisonment and disappearance of more than 1,200 others, and the flight of more than 50,000 Nicaraguans. But instead of ratcheting up the pressure, America’s leaders shifted attention from Nicaragua to Venezuela. Sadly, this only makes it more likely that Nicaragua will follow Venezuela’s failed path.
Nicaragua today can be compared to Venezuela five years ago. Daniel Ortega is following Nicolas Maduro’s playbook to a tee.
Much like Venezuela in 2014, the initial protests in Nicaragua threatened to topple the regime. Ortega, like Maduro, cracked down swiftly and brutally, using the military, the police, and paramilitary gangs to target peaceful protestors and even the Catholic Church. After murdering so many, the regime is sparing no expense at suppressing further protests. Earlier this year, new police officers were seen training with Russian military equipment, including submachine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Ortega copies dictator playbook
Simultaneously, Ortega bought time to cement his rule with the promise of dialogue. The first round of talks, held with a group called the “Civic Alliance,” collapsed last summer. The second round fell apart last month. The regime, which recently tried to buy goodwill by releasing into house arrest roughly 200 political prisoners, still says it will “continue working toward national understanding.” A gullible international community seems to think he means it.
Finally, Ortega has copied Venezuela by turning to communist Cuba, which specializes in repression.
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