Nicaragua Is the Next Venezuela
This time last year, our nation was fixated on the Central American country. April 28, 2018 saw hundreds of thousands of protestors take to Nicaragua’s streets — the largest protests in a generation or more. Students, workers, priests, and farmers demanded reforms and the resignation of the dictator Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Americans stood in solidarity with the marchers, believing that it marked the beginning of a democratic spring for the Nicaraguan people.
Instead, the dictatorship tightened its grip. The past year saw the murder of more than 500 protesters, the imprisonment and disappearance of more than 1,200 others, and the flight of more than 50,000 Nicaraguans. But instead of ratcheting up the pressure, America’s leaders shifted attention from Nicaragua to Venezuela. Sadly, this only makes it more likely that Nicaragua will follow Venezuela’s failed path.
Nicaragua today can be compared to Venezuela five years ago. Daniel Ortega is following Nicolas Maduro’s playbook to a tee.
At the time of publishing, Marion Smith was executive director and Carlos Ponce was senior fellow and director for Latin American programs at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Originally published in USA Today.