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Daniel Ortega’s Threats and the Failure of the Police State

Daniel Ortega threatens, orders, and commands, but no longer governs. He has no solution to offer the country

The moral resistance of the priest Edwin Roman and mothers of political prisoners on a hunger strike proves the failure of the police state of Daniel Ortega

Carlos F. Chamorro

19 de noviembre 2019


The Ortega-Murillo dictatorship has unleashed an indiscriminate escalation of threats, supposedly as a reaction to what happened in Bolivia and as an act of solidarity with the deposed former President Evo Morales. Daniel Ortega himself alleged that after the fall of Morales in Bolivia, the electoral route to access power has been ruled out and now the use of weapons is justified.

In fact, Ortega has never believed in democracy, and has only considered the electoral route as a ladder to reach power. He has never ruled out the use of political violence to repress and crush people opposing him.

Precisely, because he does not believe in democracy as accountability, he corrupted the justice and the electoral systems and imposed electoral fraud to consolidate himself in power.  When he faced the challenge of a massive opposition in April 2018, he repressed it with blood and fire, creating a paramilitary army. And that has no relation to the crisis in Bolivia or the departure from power of Evo Morales.

What happened in Bolivia, which has caused nervousness in the Ortega and Murillo bunker, was the decision of the police in that country to refuse to repress the protesters. In Bolivia, the Police joined the protests of the demonstrators, while the Army turned its back on Evo Morales and forced his departure from power.

The delirious threats of Ortega and Murillo and their call for violence are not only directed against citizens who protests civically in Nicaragua, whether they are students, women, or members of the Blue and White Movement, priests, peasants, business people, producers, or merchants. They are also aimed against Police officers and the Army. A police institution that has suffered hundreds of defections, because many of its members have already refused to repress, and a military institution that has already undergone a systematic purge, separating professional officers who refuse to comply with the Ortega party and family control.

To justify the use of violence and divert attention away from the social and economic collapse of his regime, Ortega has fabricated a warlike environment, fueled by a hate narrative. At the same time, he cannot hide that his de facto state of siege, imposed for over a year, has failed flatly, because in Nicaragua there is no civil war, only a repressive State against a population that it has not been able to break.

The Police state has failed because the regime cannot defeat with weapons, the moral resistance of the priest Edwin Roman in Masaya, and that of ten mothers of political prisoners who went on a hunger strike in his church.

The Police state is being defeated, from the moment the regime orders the arrest of 13 Blue and White Unity activists and former political prisoners who in an act of solidarity brought water to the mothers of the political prisoners, who are fasting in a church hemmed in by a police cordon. And now it turns out that bringing water to the mothers of political prisoners is a crime, an offense of national relevance, invented by the Public Ministry to criminalize solidarity.

The de facto state of exception is failing, because Ortega has caused three years of consecutive economic recession, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the impoverishment of more than two million people. Under this police regime, with responsibility for hundreds of people killed and whose families demand justice, and with tens of thousands of citizens in exile, Ortega rants threats, orders and commands, but no longer governs. He has buried the minimum confidence that some big business people still had in him, and now the whole country is demanding the immediate suspension of the state of siege, to clear the way towards electoral reform and early elections.


The suspension of the police state, the reestablishment of all democratic freedoms, the dismantling of the paramilitary gangs, and the return to Nicaragua of international human rights organizations—IACHR, OHCHR and GIEI–, are the only things that can channel Nicaragua towards a political and constitutional solution, through an electoral reform that must be negotiated, with or without Ortega and Murillo, to carry out free elections.

Ortega can continue to exacerbate a climate of intimidation and maintain the agony of the regime for a while. However, he is making it clear to everyone, including supporters of the Sandinista Front and public employees, civilian and military, that his political time is over, and he cannot offer the country a national solution.

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Carlos F. Chamorro

Carlos F. Chamorro

Periodista nicaragüense, exiliado en Costa Rica. Fundador y director de Confidencial y Esta Semana. Miembro del Consejo Rector de la Fundación Gabo. Ha sido Knight Fellow en la Universidad de Stanford (1997-1998) y profesor visitante en la Maestría de Periodismo de la Universidad de Berkeley, California (1998-1999). En mayo 2009, obtuvo el Premio a la Libertad de Expresión en Iberoamérica, de Casa América Cataluña (España). En octubre de 2010 recibió el Premio Maria Moors Cabot de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad de Columbia en Nueva York. En 2021 obtuvo el Premio Ortega y Gasset por su trayectoria periodística.