RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Nicaraguan National Assembly (Parliament), controlled by the ruling party, elected this Tuesday the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), mostly Sandinistas, to serve in the general elections of next November, in which President Daniel Ortega aspires to his third consecutive election.
The Sandinista legislators and their allies, who have an absolute majority in Congress, reelected as electoral magistrates former guerrilla Lumberto Campbell and Mayra Salinas.
They also elected as electoral arbitrators the “former Sandinista combatant” Brenda Rocha and Alma Nubia Baltodano Marcenaro, sister of the “guerrilla commander” Monica Baltodano.
In addition, they elected Cairo Amador, a member of the pro-government Truth, Justice, and Peace Commission, and Afro-descendants Devoney McDavis Alvarez and Leonzo Knight Julian.
As alternate magistrates they elected former judge Adriana Molina and liberals Maura Álvarez and Alberto Julián Blandón.
The Electoral Power, integrated by ten magistrates, seven proprietors, and three substitutes, was composed by an ample Sandinista majority and will be in charge of directing the CSE in the general elections of next November 7.
THE U.S.A SANCTIONS REELECTED MAGISTRATE.
Campbell, one of the reelected magistrates, was sanctioned by the United States in 2019 for alleged electoral fraud to guarantee Ortega’s permanence in power, to which he returned in 2007.
Aged 72, the interim president of the Electoral Power is a former “guerrilla commander” who was elected electoral magistrate by the Sandinista-controlled National Assembly in April 2014 and is the brother of Nicaragua’s current ambassador to Washington, Francisco Campbell.
The U.S. considers him involved in anti-democratic tactics to ensure that Ortega and his allies win elections.
Ligia Gómez, a former top official at Nicaragua’s Central Bank, told the U.S. Congress in 2018 that Campbell was one of the executors of Vice President Rosario Murillo’s order to respond “with everything” to the anti-government protests that erupted that year and left hundreds dead.
WHO ARE THE OTHER MAGISTRATES?
The other magistrate re-elected is Mayra Salinas, wife of “guerrilla commander” Manuel Rivas Vallecillo, President Ortega’s security advisor.
Salinas has served as co-director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture and executive president of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism during the Sandinista government.
Meanwhile, Rocha is a lawyer and “ex-combatant” who lost a hand during a “contra” attack in 1982 during the civil war waged in Nicaragua in the 1980s-1990s and was baptized by the Sandinistas as “the smile of the revolution”.
Alma Nubia Baltodano, for her part, is the sister of the “guerrilla commander” Monica Baltodano, currently distanced from Ortega, and of the academic Ricardo Baltodano, who was imprisoned in the context of the socio-political crisis that the country has been experiencing since April 2018.
The brothers kept their distance from Alma Nubia’s decision: “We regret that there are those who turn a blind eye, defend and sponsor the MURDERS, abuses, CRIMES OF LESSE HUMANITY, imprisonment and political persecution of the people of Nicaragua,” wrote her brother on social networks.
In turn, Monica described as “shameful” the candidacy and now election as magistrate of her sister “to represent the interests of the criminal and fraudulent regime of Ortega Murillo” in the CSE.
THE MESSAGE TO THE U.S.
The head of the Parliament, the official Gustavo Porras, said in the plenary, before the vote, that today’s work session was in honor of the national hero Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino (1895-1934), known as Sandino, “for his libertarian deed against the North American intervention, for which May 4 was declared National Dignity Day”.
The day before, the US State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, urged President Ortega and Sandinista deputies to take advantage of the election of magistrates and the discussion of electoral reform to “make the electoral system more credible”.
The Parliament is also discussing reforms to the Electoral Law, proposed by the Sandinistas, which are seen by the opposition as a tool for a possible “fraud” in favor of Ortega’s reelection.