Inside Story

Five years since a crackdown began, what’s next for Nicaragua?

Daniel Ortega is one of Latin America’s great political survivors.

The leftist rebel leader who seized power after toppling a right-wing US-backed regime in 1979, accepted defeat in elections in 1990. But he was voted back as president in 2006, and has been in the top job since, after three further elections. During this time, he has been accused of increased repression and has been ostracised by the US and its Western allies.

Demonstrations that began five years ago marked the start of the crackdown on dissent – with more than 300 people killed and tens of thousands leaving the country.

Ortega has also moved closer to China and Russia. What’s next for Nicaragua?


Folly Bah Thibault


Ben Norton – Investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of Geopolitical Economy Report, a Nicaraguan news website, in Managua

Astrid Montealegre – Supervising lawyer for the Nicaraguan American Human Rights Alliance, in Los Angeles

Dan Kovalik – a human rights lawyer and author of, Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention and Resistance, in Pittsburgh