Just days after President Daniel Ortega was overwhelmingly re-elected as leader of Nicaragua, U.S. President Joe Biden signed off on a new round of sanctions on the Central American country under the RENACER Act. Polling shows more than two-thirds of Nicaraguans support Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), whose social welfare programs benefit the country’s poor. Meanwhile, Western nations now call the election fraud and Ortega a dictator.
So what’s really going on in Nicaragua? Why all the criticisms of this latest election? And what did a developing country with a population roughly the same size as the state of Indiana do to draw the ire of almost the entire U.S. establishment?
Nicaragua-based journalist Ben Norton, who is assistant editor at The Grayzone & co-host of the podcast Moderate Rebels, breaks it down for us.
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Eugene Puryear is a longtime journalist and community organizer currently-based in New York City. Eugene helped to organize a number of the large-scale demonstrations that took place against the continuing U.S. war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, he was a key leader In the struggle to free the Jena Six in 2007, and a founder of the anti-gentrification group Justice First, the Jobs Not Jails coalition, DC Ferguson Movement and Stop Police Terror Project-D.C. Puryear is the author of the book Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America, and spent five years in radio prior to helping found BT News.