In late 2021, three decades after the end of Nicaragua’s civil war, the government cracked down harshly on opposition parties and staged a rigged election that confirmed President Daniel Ortega’s intention to establish a dynastic authoritarian regime. Thousands have fled the country since 2018, when a mass uprising spurred by an unpopular reform to the social security system was met with state violence, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Through its fieldwork and advocacy, Crisis Group seeks to contribute to a negotiated exit from the crisis and prevent further bloodshed.

CrisisWatch Nicaragua

Unchanged Situation

Govt dismissed hundreds of justice officials amid ongoing crackdown; ties with Russia and China deepened as Managua formally withdrew from Organization of American States (OAS).

Govt dismantled judiciary and continued crackdown on civil society. Govt late Oct dismissed President of Supreme Court and dozens of officials in justice system; by 6 Nov had removed 450 officers from posts, including four Supreme Court magistrates; media report 7 Nov suggested vacancies would be filled by loyalist politicians and former members of security forces. Govt 6 Nov proscribed 25 NGOs, including religious institutions and 27 Nov closed or dissolved fifteen others. Indigenous party YATAMA 13 Nov announced it did not know whereabouts of party leaders seized by security forces late Sept.

Managua strengthened ties with Russia and China, and withdrew from OAS. Commander of armed forces 7 Nov visited Russia to negotiate technical cooperation, reiterated support for Russia’s war against Ukraine. Economic Congressional Committee 14 Nov announced National Assembly would soon ratify Free Trade Agreement with China. Meanwhile, Nicaragua 19 Nov formally withdrew from OAS following two-year process launched in 2021 by Ortega regime in response to condemnation from body about rights violations. Ahead of withdrawal, OAS members 8 Nov approved resolution calling for continued monitoring of rights in country.

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In The News

14 Feb 2023
[Nicaraguan President Ortega] would prefer to revert to a steady, low-level authoritarian government in which there are perhaps none of the more visible forms of abuses b... Los Angeles Times

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean

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