From his unique perspective as Ambassador of Argentina to Nicaragua from 2013 to 2019, Marcelo Valle Fonrouge published an account of the present traumatic Nicaraguan.
Fonrouge was a privileged witness to the tragedy triggered by the 2018 protests. In his new book, Democracy violed: Actions and Measures for Institutional Strengthening and the Protection of Human Rights in Nicaragua (2021), he reviews the main points for the he future of the Central American country, where – as he admits – he feels the two links and mixed emotions.
In the book, Valle Fonrouge reviews one by one the main characteristics and actions of a hitherto largely forgotten country, eclipsed by Cuba and Venezuela. It is the Nicaragua of the matrimonial dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo.
Nicaragua had largely been out of the spotlight until the protests that began on April 18, 2018 and the fierce crackdown that followed. It was the build-up of the electoral farce that took place on November 7, when Ortega and his wife made every dictator’s dream come true: an election without opposing candidates.
The author presents the family dictatorship of Ortega and Murillo. It traces their erratic foreign policy, their close relations with Chavez’s Venezuela and its petrodollars, including the drying up of those dollars in the last period. It evokes their links with the United States, and describes a diplomatic corps within the family circle and in the service of the regime.
Valle Fonrouge does not forget Managua’s relations with China and Taiwan, and the fantasies of the interoceanic canal so tried through Nicaragua, as an alternative to Panama. He discusses the regime’s ties to Iran, a country that shares with Nicaragua the unique circumstances of a 1979 revolution. He notes the role of Mexico’s regional hegemony, and presents a detailed description of the organizations’ behavior. multilateral organizations in the face of the Nicaraguan tragedy. As such, it covers regional organizations as well as reactions within the United Nations.
Beyond that, the author details the regime’s ties to Russia, ties that have led Nicaragua to formally support the Russian position in recent past conflicts, such as the 2008 war in Georgia and the 2014 Ukrainian conflict. , which is still ongoing.
Fonrouge also reviews Ortega’s underhanded pact with former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman (1997-2002). The deal paved the way for Ortega’s return to power, with a series of constitutional reforms that reduced the percentage of votes needed to be declared president.
The book describes the country’s economic model and the regime’s co-optation of the upper class business. Fonrouge notes the paradox of a country where the number of millionaires has increased exponentially, in the midst of enormous general poverty. The author highlights the incredible reality in which – according to publications – there are more millionaires in Nicaragua than in Costa Rica, despite the fact that the latter’s GNP is five times higher. This situation illustrates in black and white the enormous inequality in Nicaragua.
Valle Fonrouge also devotes time to the key figure of Rosario Murillo, the all-powerful wife and vice-president of Ortega. With her, Ortega built a real “reigning dynasty”, as the author emphasizes. He said: âToday’s Daniel Ortega cannot be explained today without Rosario Murillo. They complete each other. Ortega found in Murillo the things she needed, and Murillo found in Ortega the vehicle she needed.
Unfortunately, the case of Nicaragua illustrates how fragile democracy can be in the Americas.
It is here that the author highlights the persistence of a political culture inherited from 16th century Spain, in which vices such as authoritarianism, nepotism, the use of the State to enrich a few and contempt of the law.
Another great quality of the work is that of inviting other witnesses to share their experiences and visions after having fulfilled important public functions.
* This article originally appeared on the Argentinian website Infobae
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times