What was most surprising about
After Ortega was proclaimed the winner with nearly 64 percent of the vote, Insulza was quoted by an OAS election observation mission statement as saying that "in
Really? I asked Insulza in a telephone interview after reading the statement in several Latin American newspapers. Do you honestly think that?
Most independent observers agree, for starters, that Ortega's reelection is unconstitutional.
The Nicaraguan Constitution's Article 147 specifically bans sitting presidents from seeking reelection. In addition, the Constitution bans any president who already served on two occasions to seek office for a third term, which would have also prevented Ortega from running, since he has already served on two occasions.
But, in a near surreal maneuver, after failing to win enough votes in
Since then, he has taken a series of steps that made the entire process "illegal and unconstitutional," according to
Among other irregularities, the election was supervised by a pro-
Also, several independent election monitors have verified government "interference" in the issuing of voting credentials, which left tens of thousands of people unable to vote. And there were "flagrant violations" of laws that prohibit the use of government funds for electoral campaigns, Chamorro added.
Asked about the OAS statement quoting him as saying that democracy has taken a step forward, Insulza told me right away, "That was an error."
Insulza said the OAS electoral observation mission had included that quote in a press release about a phone call he had made to Ortega after the election. Insulza later asked that the quote be removed from the statement, and it's no longer part of the press release posted at the OAS website, he said.
"I asked that it be taken out," Insulza told me. "I considered it to be a mistake, because the OAS Secretary General is not supposed to issue an opinion about an electoral process until the OAS electoral observation mission has issued its report," he said.
Okay, but did you say it, or didn't you, in your conversation with Ortega, I asked. "It was an interpretation of something that was said during my conversation with Ortega," Insulza responded.
Insulza added that whatever was said took place in the context of a conversation in which the two were expressing satisfaction about the fact that the elections had been peaceful, despite previous fears of violence.
As for his general sense of the Nicaraguan election, Insulza told me that it was a "demonstration of civility" by the Nicaraguan people, and that "the result was clear."
A full report on the election by the OAS electoral observation mission, including complaints by international observers of difficulties to get access to the polling places, is scheduled to be released within the next two weeks, he said.
My opinion: The OAS electoral observation mission made a bad mistake by not offering a more comprehensive view in its first statements about the Nicaraguan election. Comparatively, the mission of
Now, the original OAS mission's press communiqué, which Insulza is now partially recanting, is being promoted by Ortega and his international allies as alleged evidence of an immaculate election victory. That will make it even easier for Ortega to grab even greater powers and remain in power indefinitely.
We can only hope that the OAS final report on the election will reflect its true nature: a relatively normal
The final OAS report will be hard to take seriously unless it concludes that -- contrary to what it said in its previous communiqué -- democracy and peace have suffered a setback in
- Never-Ending Drug War Moves to Central America
- Venezuela Among World Leaders in Red Tape
- OAS Makes Bad 'Error' in Nicaragua
- Condoleezza Rice Book Shows 'Inattention' to Latin America
- Anonymous vs. Zetas Amid Mexico's Cartel Violence
- Child Poverty and Access to Education: Hidden Costs on the Hispanic Community
- Rafael Correa Remains the Strongest Leader in Ecuador, but his Influence is Waning
- Brazil's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- Panamanian Corruption Spreads to Land Holdings and Prominent Politicians
- Cuban Economic Reform Allows Private Home Sales
- Cuba's Communist Party Condemns U.S. Immigration Policy
- Submarine Near Venezuela Prompts Accusations Against United States
- Seven Billion People: So Why Do Some Fear Population Decline?
- The Broken Contract: Inequality and American Decline
- The Wisdom of Retrenchment: America Must Cut Back to Move Forward
- Colombia and Panama Trade Deals Just a Chance
- Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner Wins Re-election by a Landslide
- Families of Illegal Immigrants Search for Lost Relatives in Mexico
- A Way Out of Mexico's Morass
- NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
- Redeployment of Mexican Soldiers to Urban Areas Boosting Illegal Drug Production
- Mexicans Complain About Secret U.S. Infiltration of Drug Cartels
- Cuba's Culture of Dissent
- Latin America's Blind Love With China May Be Over
- Drug War Madness
- Brazil's Really Big Problem
- Ex-Border Security Chief Calls Fence a Dumb Idea
- Argentina: Funding for a Cause
- Mexico and the United States: Surgical Strikes in the Drug Wars
- Despite Victory, Argentine Leader Faces Hard Choices
- Chilean 'Model' Is Shaken, but Very Much Alive
- Student Protests May Lead to a Better Chile
- Winds of Change: Uruguay's Sustainable Energy Plans
- The Pain in Spain
- Latin America's Security Dilemma
- A President-for-Life in Argentina? Not Likely
- There's Hope for Mexico and Central America
- Chile: The Fight to Make Education a Guaranteed Right
- Death of Layton Poses Challenge for NDP Interim Leader
Copyright 2011, Tribune Media Services, Inc.