Nicaragua’s neighbor, Costa Rica, denied reports it was planning to invade the Central American country, but some have begun criticizing the government in Managua for allegedly leaving the government forces seemingly in charge of the protection of Ortega’s electoral base.
Conservative opposition newspapers supported the claims that Nicaragua was threatened this election cycle and they pointed out a number of attacks committed by opposition forces.
According to the report in Costa Rica’s leading newspaper, La Nación, a representative of Nicaragua’s First Lady Rosario Murillo said a “force” was inside Nicaragua’s international airport, plotting to destabilize the country. The article also quoted a country executive saying that pro-government employees had put up fliers declaring a week-long blackout, and warned of “communicants” from a conflict zone.
Nicaragua’s second largest opposition newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, reported that the country’s police chief sent a memo threatening the paper, questioning its owner’s nationality and calling for “important reinforcements.” Another opposition newspaper, La Prensa, ran a story about a policeman shooting a young Nicaraguan citizen.
Sandinista president Daniel Ortega’s re-election bid came amid criticism from the United States, a number of neighboring countries and international observers who warned of the threat to human rights in Nicaragua. Nicaragua had an 11-year civil war that ended in 1992 when Ortega abandoned his nationalist cause and joined a postwar coalition government, but he returned to power at the polls in 2006.
Violence during the 2017 presidential election led to the deaths of 59 people, according to La Prensa.
Marlon Rambales, a former Honduras and Nicaragua senator who is now a lobbyist for the Drug Enforcement Administration, accused Nicaragua of turning the campaign into a “show” and said that in this election campaign it appears as if the National Police did not deserve to be included on the National Electoral Council.