The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) Friday condemned President Daniel Ortega’s electoral victory and adopted a resolution criticizing Nicaragua’s presidential election. 25 countries voted in favor of the resolution, seven abstained, and only Nicaragua voted against it.
On November 7, Ortega won Nicaragua’s presidential election with over 75% of the votes. Leading up to the election, Ortega’s government jailed seven of the leading potential opposition candidates.
“We have witnessed another attack against the free, dignified and sovereign people of Nicaragua, which will go down in history as one of the worst aggressions against democracy,” said Michael Campbell, Nicaragua’s representative in the OAS.
Under Friday’s resolution, OAS Permanent Council is instructed to draw up a report by November 30 assessing the situation and recommending “appropriate action.” The resolution could potentially result in more sanctions on Nicaraguan officials.
Alexa Zamora, a leader of the Nicaraguan opposition group Blue and White Unity, responded positively to the resolution. “The fact that the OAS recognizes the regime as illegitimate gives us a powerful tool to demand the cutoff of outside financing for the dictator,” Zamora said, suggesting that international development loans could be a target of such a cutoff.
Nicaragua’s government rejected the accusations that the elections were “not free, fair or transparent and lack democratic legitimacy,” as described by the resolution. Nicaragua’s OAS representative, Michael René Campbell, said that “the OAS does not have the authority to become our official vote counter…the OAS is not the arbiter or auditor of the elections. ”