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U.S. Silent as Ortega Assaults Democracy

n Nicaragua, a determined and autocratic President Daniel Ortega has weakened Nicaraguan institutions to extend his grip on power. He has manipulated elections, corrupted the courts and threatened opposition members with mob violence.

Together, his efforts allowed him to illegally campaign for re-election, steal an election in November and made his inauguration on Tuesday possible. It is deplorable that the Obama administration has callously watched from the sidelines and refused to condemn this assault on democracy and the basic human rights of the Nicaraguan people.

For three years, the Obama administration’s policy toward Latin America as a whole has been defined by complacency and the alienation of our allies. It has been silent and shied away from defending our interests as the region’s tyrants run amok, as Nicaragua shows. And when the United States should unmistakably align itself on the side of freedom and constitutional order, the sdministration has been missing in action as it is doing today in Nicaragua.

This administration needs to fundamentally reconsider its approach to Latin America and outline a plan to steer U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere towards renewing America’s commitment to promoting the rule of law, democratic values and free markets. It can start with Nicaragua.

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