Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ortega's 2011 Campaign Strategy

Daniel Ortega
I agree greatly on the opinion that Ortega is probably going to win this year's election, simply because he's the least worst choice for most Nicaraguans. Despite the widespread corruption, Ortega's illegal acts, breakdown of the democracy, his pacts, his orchestrated election fraud and so on. Remember, it's the wealthy and educated Nicaraguan (and gringo) who can afford to look further in Nicaragua's future and to fear for the deterioration of its democracy; for the surviving Nicaraguan the foreseeable future is probably much shorter and therefore he's obviously more interested in the short term gains that Ortega is offering. These gains are a growing economy (4.5% in 2010 and about the same for 2011), huge ALBA monies still coming in, social programs, friendly investors climate and an upgrade of Nicaragua's infrastructure.


Three polls have been held this year in Nicaragua:

                           APRIL    MAY    AUGUST
  Daniel Ortega     FSLN   47.8%    38%    41%
  Fabio Gadea       PLI    12.8%    28%    34%
  Arnoldo Alemán    PLC     5.7%    14%    11%
  Not decided        -     31.8%    17%    14%


While Ortega is still leading the polls with 41%, he continues to campaign very strongly. The opposition is getting stronger and PLI's  Fabio Gadea is the runner up. Unless Ortega is doing very stupid things he probably is going to win the elections. Because of his strong campaigning it looks like he's aiming for an overwhelming victory of more than 50%. 50% + 1 seat in the Asamblea Nacional will make possible any bill or amendment.  A 60% majority in the AN will give FSLN superpower; this enables partial reform of the constitution. I think it would be nice to try to compose here an overview of Ortega's campaign strategy. Besides the standard FSLN propaganda, the things that I found noticeable until now are:
  • Huge billboards everywhere with Ortega's face and with nationalistic slogans long before the official allowed date of August 20th, all paid for by the government 
  • Use of taxpayers money to fund the FSLN campaign. It looks like all FSLN municipalities have been ordered to donate monies in a covert way to the FSLN campaign. See for instance the Garcia/Moreno case of the city of Managua
  • FSLN turbas (mobs) seem to have become slightly less violent this year, however equally intimidating. The media and opposition seem to be the primary target
  • Ortega's speeches seem to have have more Nationalistic statements
  • The San Juan river conflict with Costa Rica, that was supposed to more unite the Nicaragua people with its current leader
  • Ortega & Murillo look more pro-Christian everyday
  • Smart pre-election frauds like: the costly cédula you need to vote with and that's free for FSLN members and sympathizers (according to IPADE); or the official announced refusal of independent foreign monitors
  • Mandatory FSLN membership for many officials, who are obliged to participate in demonstrations, congresses and campaign activities during work hours
  • Ad hoc counter demonstrations held on the same or the next day of the opposition's demonstrations and that will make these look insignificant
  • Sabotage of demonstrations of the opposition with the help of the Police
  • Control the media, Ortega owns 4 radio and 2 tv stations: La Nueva Radio Ya, Radio Estéreo Ya, Radio Sandino, Radio Viva FM, a Large % of Canal 4 and channel 8, El Nuevo Diario newspaper 12%. Ortega tried in 2011 to sabotage/stop/buy the newspaper El Nuevo Diario, because its continuous publishing efforts about the on going corruption of the Sandinista government
The Sandinista revolution was based on three ideals. The first, political democracy, supporting a republican form of government, based on elections with universal suffrage. The second, participatory democracy, meaning active citizen participation in government organizations, task forces, and so on. Finally the third, economic equality, supporting a communistic economy and complete equalization of wealth, incorporating both Marxist and socialist ideas.

While democracy was once one of the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution's ideals and while it even took 11 years to be implemented after the revolution's victory (elections of 1990), it looks like democracy in Nicaragua is rapidly deteriorating. Ortega already said that foreign monitors will not be allowed during the presidential and parliamentary election of 2011 November 6th. The 2008 election fraud isn't forgotten yet and it is known that Ortega is using Venezuelan election "advisers" again.
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