Hemisphere Focus: The Triumph of the "Pact" in Nicaragua
Vol. 14, Issue 8 — November 27, 2006
November 27, 2006
The political resurrection of Daniel Ortega in this month’s Nicaraguan elections briefly captured headlines in media around the world. Pundits portrayed the Sandinista victory as yet another manifestation of a leftist trend in Latin America, a blow to the United States, and a shot in the arm for President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. In reality, however, Ortega’s return owed little to international factors and much to domestic political variables. The old political order dominated by the Sandinista (FSLN) and Liberal (PLC) machinery was challenged in the 2006 elections by breakaway reformers from both camps who held out the vision of a more democratic Nicaragua. The subsequent split in the Liberal vote ushered in a Sandinista victory. Whether this reform movement congeals into a sustainable force that can erode the FSLN-PLC hold on power or promote positive change within those parties will be key to Nicaragua’s future.