Daniel Ortega could bring forward the elections scheduled for 2026 to gain time and surprise the opposition, predicts sociologist Oscar René Vargas. (Reuters photo)

Oscar Rene Vargas, 76 years old, dating Daniel Ortega since the student struggles of the 1960s. On one occasion, he even saved his life by rescuing him from a National Guard operation, during which they executed the rest of the captured comrades.

However, this debt of life did not prevent Ortega from resenting the criticisms, generally academic, that Vargas leveled at his regime. It arrested him in November last year and in February exiled him to the United States along with 221 other political prisoners.

Oscar René Vargas is a sociologist and economist, author of 36 books in his field, and affirms in this interview that Daniel Ortega has entered a negative period since last November, has lost the political initiative and can no longer impose his agenda and, for survive, applies chaos theory.

-How do you see the political situation of Daniel Ortega’s regime? Because a lot has happened in the last month.

-For me, that has changed since November 22. On November 22, the Ortega regime entered a phase in which the political weather is negative. The longer the political problem goes unresolved, the more complicated Ortega’s life becomes. There has been a change. A qualitative change occurred in November.

-Why in November?

-Because after the fraudulent elections, there was a lack of recognition of its legitimacy…

– So you are talking about November 21, not 22.

-No. It starts on November 21, but it gets complicated on November 22 with the municipal elections. From 2019 to 2021, Ortega has played with the political cards in his favor. Everyone believed he was going to hold transparent elections, and by jailing the pre-candidates, the political hour began to change. He could still play the card of the municipal elections to improve his situation, by not doing so, his positive political time has passed and he has entered a negative phase. A boomerang is thrown at him. The actions you take to improve yourself are returned to you.

-Like freeing prisoners.

-Exact. By releasing us, he wanted to gain time, but the day after our nationality was withdrawn, our erasure from public registers, etc., by boomerang effect, it became negative for him. Ortega is in a phase of decline in his ability to maintain political hegemony in the country.

-If they make mistakes, he seems not to notice, because not only does he not correct, but he takes measures that make the situation worse.

– Pride makes them blind. We must remember Saramago’s phrase: what seeing they do not see. It is political blindness.

-The decision to release political prisoners fell due to Bishop Rolando Álvarez’s decision to remain in prison rather than accept exile.

– This is the first factor. The second is the deprivation of nationality. Both of these were negatives for Ortega.

Oscar René Vargas, sociologist and Sandinista veteran.  (Photo by La Prensa)
Oscar René Vargas, sociologist and Sandinista veteran. (Photo by La Prensa)

– What is happening with the opposition now?

-Ortega is still in the fight for power or death. This sentence of Tomás Borge who said that whatever we do, the important thing is not to lose power. That’s Ortega’s logic. He continues to think that the greatest danger for him is the social explosion. In my personal opinion, I have maintained since April 2020 that this phase of the social struggle in the streets was over and the struggle for social implosion had begun. Most dangerous for Ortega, in my opinion, is the loss of legitimacy in his own social base and in his own circle of power.

-Daniel Ortega and Humberto Ortega said that with the release of the prisoners, the cycle started in April 2018 ended.

-No. The political cycle is not over. They want it to end. Political cycles are not someone’s decisions. Political time is changing, but it’s the same cycle, which is now in negative political time for them. What am I anticipating? Ortega is going to push the election forward. He will not reach 2026. He will try to advance the elections to try to gain time. It should be remembered that Maduro is proposing the elections for 2024. It would not be strange for me if Ortega returned to Nicaragua and brought forward the elections for 2024.

-Elections like those of 2021 or with some guarantees?

-With guarantees. He will promise everything, even if he accomplishes nothing. Your goal is to save time. In 2024 several elements come together: there are elections in the United States, it is the year of elections that Maduro therefore proposes, and if Ortega gets involved in the elections they go unnoticed because the elections in Nicaragua will not be a priority issue in the United States because of the internal crisis we are going through. Moreover, it surprises the whole opposition because they calculate that the elections are in 2026, and they have less time to reunite and less time to create a coherent opposition.

– What meaning do you give to the abolition of Cosep and the rest of the chambers of commerce?

-Chaos. He relies on chaos theory. Scan everything to start something new.

-What would be this new thing that would be started? A Cuban model?

-No. He will renegotiate how to make them legal again.

– What’s the point of eliminating them if you have them under control? Because the impact of Cosep had been reduced to nothing.

-Yeah. But create more chaos. making noise Ortega saves time. He knows that if he loses power, he dies. Politically, he dies. That’s why Humberto Ortega’s speech is about giving people candy. Like what happened in 2018.

-You who know the Ortega brothers well, do you think that they talk to each other and that they have a common plan?

-I believe. These are two trends with the same objective. Daniel plays at being the pendulum. One day he is in favor of the line of Humberto and the next day he is in favor of the line of Rosario Murillo, which is the radical line.

-Are there fractures between Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo or is the common project maintained?

-The fractures are not so deep to say that the common project has been broken. The one proposed by Humberto is not the same project as the one proposed by Rosario, but both propose to stay in power.

– He did not tell me how he sees the opposition remaining after all these events.

They need to reorganize. Inside the country, people are every day more convinced that the solution lies in the departure of Ortega. People have no hope that Ortega will solve the political problem in Nicaragua, which is the key to solving all other problems. And on the outside, what is needed is a strategy. I don’t see a strategy.

Continue reading:

He saved Daniel Ortega 52 years ago and now lives in exile, persecuted by the one who saved him from certain death

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