Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega seems to have decided to win the upcoming elections by hook or by crook, as his regime has continued to detain potential presidential contenders in addition to stifling press freedom.
More than two dozen opposition party leaders have been detained this year so far, with the crackdown forcing thousands of Nicaraguans to seek protection in neighboring countries.
As many as 11,000 Nicaraguans sought refuge in Costa Rica in July and August alone, with the US Customs and Border Protection estimating that more than 13,000 people from the Central American country could have crossed into the US in July.
The government of Ortega has reportedly withheld newsprint for some newspapers. Its policemen recently raided the headquarters of the country’s leading news daily La Prensa and charged its managers with money laundering.
Ortega, whose wife is the country’s Vice President, is seeking a fifth term in office in the general election scheduled for November this year.
The detention of opposition leaders has made it easy for him to win the election. Just about every other candidate on the ballot has a history of collaborating with Ortega’s government, according to the New York Times.
The United States and the European Union are unlikely to recognize the outcome of the election if it does not prove to be free and fair.