Monday, December 6

Nicaragua makes the end of the era of the “democratizing wave” in Latin America official


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The highest speed with which Daniel Ortega has cut off freedoms in Nicaragua, compared to the slower process followed by Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro on Venezuela, has given the parody of elections that took place last Sunday the character of a symbol of the return of a dictatorship to Latin America (Cuba, which has been under communism for six decades, is a separate case).

What happened in Nicaragua ends up giving more definitive contours to what we have previously seen in Venezuela and it allows for the end of the democratizing wave that swept through Latin America in the early 1990s, after years of dictatorships, guerrillas, and civil wars. Precisely in 1990, Nicaragua ended the

communist regime of Sandinista Front, when own Daniel Ortega He lost the elections (which he believed he had won, that is why he accepted its celebration) in front of Violeta de Chamorro, whose descendants Ortega has now ordered to arrest, along with other opponents, so that they would not win him electorally in 2021.

Three decades ago, then, new democracies were spreading throughout the continent, forming part of what, for the whole of the mundo post-USSRHuntington called “third wave democratization.” Although there were initial setbacks, such as Fujimori’s self-coup in Peru in those early years, the greater institutional framework, the limits to presidentialism placed in the new constitutions, and an international climate that made good democratic practice the only politically correct objective allowed for an intense life politics of normal debate between officialdom and opposition.

But over time there was a left that began to break the game to stay in power. Chavismo promoted the «Bolivianism»Regional, a socialism that was said to be the 21st century because it was no longer a Marxist or led to communism and accepted the holding of elections. However, when their leaders stopped being able to win fairly at the polls, they began to do so through legal fraud, promoting indefinite re-elections despite what the Constitution said, and electorally.

The Bolivarian tide subsided around 2015, with some government color changes. The ideological pendulum in Latin America may swing one way or the other, but the regimes of Maduro and Ortega-Murillo they have crossed the line and have brought the dictatorship back to the region. In an international climate heavily affected by populism, left or right, democracy is no longer the default system that countries must assume and maintain: the wave of democratization is over.

Twenty years after the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) – approved precisely in Lima in 2001 to try to prevent the example of Fujimori, expelled from power a year earlier, could continue to be followed by an aspiring autocrat–, we find ourselves in Latin America with its flagrant violation, without the rest of the countries actually being able to do much to reverse that situation.

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