Q REPORTS – It was Rosario Murillo, wife and vice president of Daniel Ortega, who designed the master plan that would allow the long-lived couple to stay five more years in power.
Since 2007, when Ortega returned to power after the revolution he led in the 1980s, Murillo has been his sole spokesperson and since 2017 his vice president and, according to some research in Nicaragua, the power behind the throne, since no official lifts a finger without her authorization.
“Rosario Murillo is an expert in manipulation and a good organizer, but she doesn’t know how to govern a country, she would be a terrible dictator, she lacks empathy and limits. She talks about love, but she practices hatred and incites it unscrupulously among her followers, Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli told Colombia’s El Espectador.
This Monday, August 2, 2021, it became official: Ortega and Murillo were proclaimed as candidates to seek a new mandate in the November 7 elections. The congress of the ruling Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) – Sandinista National Liberation Front – ratified the presidential couple with the unanimous vote of 2,932 assembly members, announced Gustavo Porras, one of its leaders.
This is the final chapter in a tangled scaffolding that the presidential couple carefully planned since 2018, when protests erupted that resulted in 328 deaths.
Then Murillo justified the repression against the young people who protested by calling them “toxic.” But the images of the police arresting and killing students only triggered the rejection of Ortega and Murillo.
With the elections getting closer and closer and a family that has taken over all the important positions, companies and businesses, the vice president took action on the matter and invented a legal framework to justify her permanence in power.
Murillo oiled all the political machinery to annul the participation of the opposition forces in the 2021 elections.
But how could she take over an electoral process in which many critics wanted to participate?
Murillo, an expert connoisseur of the political game, made use of the National Assembly, under the control of the parties loyal to her husband. The first thing legislators did was to approve in January a reform to the Constitution that imposes life imprisonment for “hate crimes.”
“But it does not seek to punish racial hatred or against minorities, but rather those who oppose the regime. There is also a cybercrime law, aimed at keeping social networks under control, and another that prevents those who fall under the classification of ‘foreign agents’ from presenting themselves as candidates for public office,” denounced the former vice president and writer Sergio Ramírez.
The so-called Law “Ley de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo a la Independencia, la Soberanía y Autodeterminación para la Paz,” – Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-determination for Peace – a figure under which it has detained 31 opponents (including seven presidential candidates) for almost two months, punishes with jail and dispossesses of the right to hold public office to those who, among other unpatriotic crimes, “exalt and applaud sanctions against the State of Nicaragua.”
Then the presidential couple appointed all the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Council; of course, they filled the chairs with loyal officials who always vote in their favor; They also reformed the Electoral Law, which imposes greater restrictions on opposition parties, in fact, many were stripped of their legal registration and will not be able to nominate any candidate.
Most of the detained applicants had agreed to submit to the selection of a single opposition candidate under the banner of the Citizens for Freedom Alliance (CxL), but the charges against them inhibited them from participating. Ortega accused the imprisoned opponents of “terrorists” and “mercenaries” in the service of the United States.
With its candidates imprisoned, CxL chose as its presidential formula a controversial couple made up of the ex-guerrilla of the so-called “Contra” Oscar Sobalvarro, 68 years old, and the former beauty queen Berenice Quezada, 27 years old. And although Ortega has barely 31% of support, another electoral reform indicates that to win the presidency in that country only 40% of the majority is needed. Not even half plus one.
Daniel Ortega has been the only candidate that the FSLN has had since the elections held in 1984 to legitimize the revolution that ended the Somoza family dictatorship in 1979. It will be his eighth consecutive candidacy since 1984.
He has spent half his life as leader of the FSLN, a party for which he has been the only presidential candidate in the elections of 1984, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 and now in 2021.
Meanwhile, the first lady will appear for the second consecutive time as a candidate for Vice President.
Murillo was sanctioned this Monday by the European Union (EU), before it was vetoed by the governments of Canada and the United States. She does not care. She continues, as she has been for 14 years, reporting every morning on the work of the government, the weather, the saint of the day and, of course, disqualifying his adversaries, whom he calls “diabolical trashy outlaws” on the official government media, El19digital.com.
However, Murillo’s plan is not expected to stop just at being a passenger in the new term, not if, but when they win the elections in November.
Speculation is that her husband would be renouncing power sometime during his mandate, perhaps midway, to make way for Murillo to remain in the presidential chair.
The end game in the master plan is to maintain the family’s dynastic succession in power.