Ortega’s Motives for Negotiations in Nicaragua

Why is Ortega starting these negotiations? Why now and not before?

Why is Ortega starting these negotiations? Why now and not before?

5 de marzo 2019


We are at the threshold of negotiations between representatives of the Civic Alliance and Daniel Ortega. It is no longer called dialogue. It is important that we analyze the starting point well, to help us glimpse how far we can go.

As usual, let’s start at the beginning.

Why is Ortega starting these negotiations? Why now and not before?

For a very simple reason. All his life he has specialized in negotiating at the edge of the precipice. And he already felt the water reaching his neck.

On the one hand, there is the process of applying the Democratic Charter, initiated within the framework of the OAS. On the other hand, is the threat of sanctions by the European Union. There is also the unsheathed sword of the Nica Act with the threat of stronger sanctions from the United States.

Meanwhile, the economic and social crisis worsens, and Ortega does not have the means available to contain it.

But above all, there is Venezuela. Ortega is looking at himself in that mirror, and he knows that the departure of Maduro, by whatever means it happens, will leave him in the middle of the street, puny and with the spotlights of the international community lined up front.

If these are the motives, does it mean that Ortega goes to the negotiations in good faith and with the desire of finding a solution in the benefit of the country? No way!

We would be very naïve if we believed that. Rather, we would be fools, and irresponsible. Ortega would have to be born again to act different than the way he has acted in the last forty years.

Then, what does he pretends?

The same as always. To remain in power. Absolute power. That is his primary objective. And, if he could, to restore the conditions that existed before April. But if internal and external pressure prevents him from remaining as such, his objective will be to continue as a factor of power, that is to say, preserve levers of domination, such as the judicial apparatus, the police, the army, to return as a player, as in the nineties, to “govern from below.”

But there is more, Ortega is accused of crimes against humanity by the highest international and inter-American bodies in the field of human rights. So, what does he want? He wants impunity for himself, his family and for the perpetrators of the massacre. Although, he would not have the slightest scruple to sacrifice a few.

Ortega now is also an economic tycoon. He accumulates a wealth, of at least, 2.5 billion dollars. Of course, he is determined to retain that wealth.

Stay in power, preserve his domination apparatus, ensure impunity and keep his wealth. These are the purposes of Ortega. There are no secrets.

To achieve them he has displayed a whole strategy that includes international efforts, propaganda, disinformation tactics, bribes, intimidation and, above all, repression. One of the main pivots of his strategy is to paralyze and subdue by fear.

The negotiations are part of his strategy and will try to transform the current harassment of the international community in his favor.

What will Ortega look for with the negotiations?

Above all, confuse and distract the international community and Nicaraguans. He will push and pull with cajolery and delays and try to sell a discourse and an agenda to the gringos; another agenda to the Europeans; another agenda to the OAS General Secretariat; another agenda to internal negotiators and another one to Nicaraguans.

He will try to sell marginal concessions as a sign of flexibility and, since it is a negotiation, will demand concession in return.

With these ploys he seeks to freeze the application of the Democratic Charter and the threats of sanctions, and will use the argument that we Nicaraguans are reaching an understanding in the negotiation process.

What more does Ortega pursue?

To wear down the Civic Alliance. To sow discord, divisions and antagonism among the opposition forces. And it already began. It is enough to see social networks to confirm it.

He also seeks to sow distrust of the population in leadership and opposition organizations, by injecting discouragement and demoralization: “No one can be trusted.” “There is no solution.” “We have no choice.” That is what Ortega wants us to believe. And the campaign has already begun.

He already said it clearly in his speech on February 21. Let us recall: the negotiations, according to him, are to consolidate peace, stability and security.

What peace? The peace of graves. The peace of dungeons that the paramilitary groups have produced.

The stability and safety of whom? The stability and security of his regime. Because the people live in permanent anguish, in permanent insecurity, without rights, without liberties, without guarantees.

He did not mention the word democracy at all.

If this is the starting point and knowing the gruesomeness and unscrupulousness of Ortega, does it make sense to attend the negotiations?

Definitely, yes. We must exhaust this stage.

Ortega has advantages, but he also has great disadvantages and weaknesses. The wisdom and skill lies in taking advantage of Ortega’s disadvantages, for the benefit of freedom, justice and democracy.


This commentary became too long. I invite to read tomorrow.

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Enrique Sáenz

Economista y abogado nicaragüense. Aficionado a la historia. Bloguero y conductor de la plataforma de comunicación #VamosAlPunto