Nicaragua (Conversation) – Protesting is now illegal in Nicaragua, according to President Daniel Ortega. The Central American country has been embroiled in deadly political turmoil for months. Demonstrations that began in April against an unpopular social security reform quickly transformed…
Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.
In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.
With grand caudillos toppling across Latin America, President Daniel Ortega’s disparate opponents have caught the scent of opportunity. A chaotic clamber has begun.
On the first Sunday of November this year, Nicaragua will go to the polls. Its president, and a 92-member National Assembly, are up for election. The revolutionary ex-comandante Daniel Ortega will run for a third successive term since his return to executive power in 2006. His influence is far-reaching, the support base of his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) solid. The party has entrenched itself among a fragile state, and it continues to be seen by many as the only one on the side of Nicaragua’s abundant poor. The institutions which facilitated the fraud of 2011 are identical. Despite all of this, there are reasons to believe that 2016 will be no verbatim replay of elections past.
Firstly, because the expectations of potential international observers will, this year, be greater felt. The centre-left Uruguayan Luis Amalgro’s vocal leadership of the Organization of American States (OAS) has bolstered that body’s relevance in recent months. As the source of over half of Nicaragua’s aid, the European Union (EU) will also expect an invite to November’s party. And with over a third of Nicaragua’s oil now coming from the United States, its strengthened influence will be as unwelcome as it is unavoidable.