Home | About Us | Archive | Documents | Campaigns & Issues | Links | Contact Us

      Nicaragua Election, Another Defeat for the U.S. in Latin America
      An Eyewitness Account

      By Azza Rojbi

      On Sunday, November 7, 2021, millions of Nicaraguan voters showed up at their local polling stations to exercise their democratic right and cast their ballot in the country’s elections. President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) were re-elected for another term, winning 75% of the vote.

      First Impression

      Over 165 international representatives from 27 countries were present in Nicaragua to act as election accompaniers alongside more than 40 independent international journalists. These delegations traveled to 10 departments and two autonomous regions of Nicaragua to observe the elections at over 60 voting centres.

      I had the opportunity to be part of this international delegation of election accompaniers as one of the two representatives from the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice in Canada. Our delegation arrived a couple of days ahead of the election day. From setting foot at the airport in the capital Managua, I was welcomed by the warmth and friendliness of the Nicaraguan people. Managua is a beautiful city with countless monuments and murals that proudly display Nicaragua's history of resistance and its people’s aspiration to fight against imperialism and be sovereign and live in peace. The streets were calm ahead of the election day, and we observed several banners and posters advertising different election candidates, including opposition parties.

      Walking down the streets of Managua on the eve of the election, it was easy to strike conversations with vendors and people we came across. Some shared with us that they were looking forward to exercising their right to vote and their frustrations with the lies and attacks by mainstream international media against their country and their upcoming election.

      Election Day

      On the day of the elections, I accompanied an international delegation to visit polling stations in Juigalpa, the capital city of the Chontales Department of Nicaragua. My co-organizer from Fire This Time, Alison Bodine, was part of the group that traveled to León, the capital city of León Department and the second largest city in Nicaragua.

      As in other departments that international election accompaniers visited, my delegation witnessed a great turnout at the different voting stations in Juigalpa. Voters had started lining up outside the stations before the doors were open. The process we witnessed was efficient, calm, peaceful, and democratic. My delegation visited four voting stations across different parts of the city of Juigalpa. We didn’t witness any disturbances or disruptions to the process. On the contrary, we saw an overall joyful atmosphere. We watched kids, families, and people of all ages and abilities coming together to vote on this important day in Nicaragua. We also noticed several volunteers assisting people with different mobility issues to ensure they were able to exercise their rights. When we asked people about the elections, voters explained to us that they were voting to exercise their sovereign right.

      Young People Running the Show

      It's important to know that the voting age in Nicaragua is 16, which means a higher presence of young people at all the voting stations we visited. Many young people came with family or friends to exercise their right to vote, and several young people were also actively involved in the process of the elections themselves. Young people were running the voting centres, others worked as poll watchers, and some audited the votes. We saw the involvement of young Nicaraguans in every level of the electoral process on that day. As a young woman from Tunisia, now living in Canada, it was inspiring for me to see young people active and leading in this electoral process in defense of their country’s sovereignty and throughout Nicaraguan society overall.

      U.S. and Canada, The Enemy of Democracy

      While people in Nicaragua were still casting their votes, the governments of the U.S. and Canada had already started their vicious media campaigns to delegitimize the results of the elections. Only a few days after the elections, U.S. President Biden signed into law the RENACER Act, imposing further sanctions on the people of Nicaragua. People in Nicaragua we spoke to from many different political tendencies all stood firmly against U.S. sanctions and attacks on their country and called for an end to U.S. meddling in Nicaragua's internal affairs. It is also important to note that the Government of Canada stands firmly with the United States in its cruel sanctions regime against Nicaragua. In the last three years, the Trudeau Liberal government has also imposed three rounds of sanctions against the people of Nicaragua.

      On November 8th, Mélanie Joly, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, stated, “Nicaragua's November 7th elections do not reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people.” From what we observed in our time in Nicaragua, nothing could be further from the truth. People from many different ages, backgrounds and political parties in Nicaragua stand behind their electoral process and the results of the November 7th election, which saw a massive victory for the Sandinista government.

      Regardless of the futile effort of the governments of the U.S. and Canada to change the government of Nicaragua to bring about the overthrow of President Daniel Ortega, the people of Nicaragua have said, and continue to say, otherwise. On November 7 they defended their sovereignty and self-determination with a massive turnout for the elections.

      People of Nicaragua Fighting Back

      After almost one week in Nicaragua, we have many examples of Nicaraguans expressing their commitment to defending their elections and democracy that we can share. One, in particular, stuck with us. It's from a conversation Alison had while visiting the Escuela Modesto Armijo in León. As Alison approached a line of people waiting to vote, she asked if anyone would like to say anything as a message to people in North America to International elections observers from North America.

      An older woman immediately stepped up named Karina. She spoke about her reasons for voting and her support and pride in Nicaragua’s progress for people under the Sandinista government. She also had a message for the U.S., for us as international elections observers. She asked, “Why is it that the United States wants to get involved in the elections in Nicaragua?” She continued, “We do not have a problem with the people of the United States, but we as people of Nicaragua do have a problem with the government’s policies of the United States.” She encouraged us to “talk to peasants, talk to women, talk to children” and told us to go back home and call on the United States government, not just to respect Nicaragua but “let us live, work in progress, in peace.”

      Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14

      Back to Article Listing