Venezuela Salutes FSLN Victory as New US Sanctions Loom Over Nicaragua

In echoes of Washington’s strategy for regime change in Venezuela, US officials said new unilateral sanctions were forthcoming.

Members of an international accompaniment mission said the Nicaraguan election was efficient, transparent, with widespread voter turnout.

Mexico City, Mexico, November 10, 2021 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro celebrated the reelection of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in Nicaragua where the former guerrilla fighter won a fourth consecutive presidential term.

“[Nicaragua] ratified … a political process that has guaranteed in the last decade the restitution of fundamental human rights, stripped by the imposition of neoliberalism,” read a statement by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry on November 9.

The victory of the FSLN last Sunday, with Ortega securing approximately 76 percent of the vote, was welcomed by leaders from Cuba, Bolivia, and Russia as well.

Meanwhile the US, Canada, and European Union were quick to condemn the election, with the strongest criticism coming from US President Joe Biden who released a statement before the results were available calling the process a “pantomime election.”

Biden subsequently signed the “Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021” or the “RENACER Act” into law on Wednesday. The bill, like the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act before it, has been criticized for the harm they cause to Nicaraguans.

In echoes of the US’ strategy for regime change in Venezuela, the RENACER Act also calls for increased coordination with the European Union and Canada and increased scrutiny of international lending to Managua. Restrictions on Caracas’ access to multilateral financial institutions have led to some of the most punishing consequences, restrictions that infamously caused delayed deliveries of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines.

A senior State Department official told Reuters on Tuesday that the Biden administration intends to impose new unilateral sanctions on the Central American “very soon.”

For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned efforts by the US and EU to not recognize the November 7 election in Nicaragua.

“It is clear that these statements have no legal validity for Nicaragua. We will be still fully supporting the Nicaraguans in defending their right to sovereign and independent development,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said US efforts to disavow the vote were “unacceptable.” Moscow’s statements came on the heels of an official visit by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Félix Plasencia, with both countries ratifying their defense of multilateralism and the United Nations Charter.

The Nicaraguan elections were joined by 225 international official election accompaniers from 27 countries.

In a press conference on Tuesday members of the international mission characterized the process as efficient, transparent, with high turnout and participation of opposition parties.

In response to their interventionist role in recent contests in the region, observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) were not invited.

OAS head Luis Almagro was nonetheless also quick to issue a rejection of the vote and call for the organization to take up the issue at the organization’s previously scheduled General Assembly on Wednesday in Guatemala. A 17-page report by the OAS’ Secretariat for Strengthening of Democracy likewise lobbied the international community to “demand the annulment” of Nicaragua’s November 7th elections.

Nicaragua had previously counted on OAS accompaniment in previous elections but ended its cooperation with the body in the fallout from violent regime change protests in 2018 aimed at overthrowing the Sandinista government. The OAS’ electoral mission also played a major role in promoting the false narrative that the 2019 Bolivian election was tarnished by fraud, which eventually led to a coup that ousted the Evo Morales elected government.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.