Daniel Ortega of the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party was sworn in as president of Nicaragua for a fourth consecutive term on January 10. Alongside Ortega, Rosario Murillo, also the first lady, was sworn in as his vice president for a second term. The duo won the general elections held in the Central American country on November 7, 2021, with around 76% of the votes.
They were sworn in by the president of the National Assembly, Gustavo Porra Cortez, who was re-elected as the head of the legislative body on January 9 after the inauguration of new legislators. Before the swearing-in ceremony, the president of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), Brenda Rocha, presented the credentials to the head of state and his vice that accredited them in office for the period 2022-2026.
During his inauguration speech from the Revolution Plaza in the capital Managua, Ortega vowed to continue working for the benefit of citizens and promote socio-economic development in the country as he has been for the past 15 years. He reiterated his commitment to the eradication of hunger and misery, and the continuity of the struggle for dignity and defense of the country’s sovereignty, independence, and self-determination. “We are going to continue fighting to defend the people so they have health care, education, and housing,” said Ortega.
Alluding to the new sanctions from the United States and European Union against members of his government, Ortega urged his US counterpart to respect human rights. He also demanded that the US government respect the verdict delivered on June 27, 1986 by the International Court of Justice, which held that the US had violated international law and established compensation for Nicaragua for financing and organizing military activities against the government and people of the Central American nation for decades.
“They must comply with what the law mandates. It is time for the Nicaraguan people to be compensated, we are not asking for alms but justice,” he said. He also called for the lifting of the blockade and sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela.
Likewise, the head of state celebrated the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with China. “The Chinese Revolution and the Sandinista Revolution have the same north node, path and destiny that is the eradication of poverty,” said Ortega.
The investiture was attended by delegations from more than 20 countries from across the globe. The list of special guests included Cuba President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, outgoing Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, vice-president of the National People’s Congress of China Cao Jianming, vice president for economic affairs of Iran Mohammad Nahavandian, and foreign minister of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Mohamed Salem Ould Salek.
Among other guests were former Guatemala President Vinicio Cerezo, former presidents of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes Cartagena and Salvador Sánchez, former foreign minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño, and the secretary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) Sacha Llorenti, among other delegates from Belize, Bolivia, Russia, and India.
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Hours before Ortega’s swearing-in, on Monday, the United States and European Union imposed new sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials, over accusations of “state acts of violence, disinformation and targeting of independent media.”
The US treasury department announced it will freeze the US assets of the defense minister and five other officials in the military, telecommunications, postal and mining sectors. As with the dozens of Nicaraguan officials already under sanctions, US citizens will be prohibited from having dealings with them.
The US state department also announced plans to impose visa restrictions on 116 individuals linked to Ortega’s administration, mayors, prosecutors, university administrators, as well as police, prison, and military officials, among others, whom it accused of “undermining democracy” in Nicaragua.
While the inauguration day was marked by more coercive measures from imperialist powers, it was marked by the establishment of new alliances with a socialist country. On the same day, Nicaragua signed four cooperation agreements with China.
The agreements include a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration within the framework of the 21st century Silk Road, under the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND) project. The materialization of the interoceanic canal megaproject will allow the advancement of Nicaraguan infrastructure and transportation industries.
The new administrative period will also advance with other changes in foreign policy, among them, the process of withdrawing from the Organization of American States (OAS), a decision taken by the government announced in November, after the regional body accused it of acts of repression and rigging the elections. In recent years, different states have left the regional forum and condemned it for repeatedly violating the institution’s norms and intervening in the internal affairs of the member states.