Wednesday - Jul 17, 2019

Nicaragua kicks off controversial campaign season

by the El Reportero’s wire services

Nicaragua kicked off its presidential election campaign season on Saturday amid opposition calls for a boycott, as the hugely favored President Daniel Ortega seeks a third consecutive term.

A former Sandinista guerilla rebel who has led the Central American nation with an authoritarian hand, the leftist Ortega is running against a fragmented opposition weakened by a court ruling that changed the leadership of a key party and booted many of its deputies from parliament.

Calling on Nicaraguans to boycott the November 6 election ? in which the 70-year-old Ortega named his wife as his running mate ? the opposition dismissed the vote as a “farce” aimed at allowing the president to start a family dynasty.
Ortega has 79 percent of support among the electorate and Murillo 73 percent, a survey by the M&R polling agency taken between July 27 and August 1 showed.

“Who will win these elections goes without saying,” said Yasser Matus, a worker at Managua’s vast outdoor market Mercado Oriental. “There is no more to say, the Sandinista Front will continue to govern.”

Managua’s streets feature giant pictures of Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo.

More than 80 percent of Nicaraguans are afraid to express political opinions in public, M&R found in January.

The opposition has called for the Organization of American States, the European Union and the US Carter Center to monitor the vote.
Ortega has vowed not to allow international monitors to observe the election, calling them “shameless observers.”

Opposition and civil society groups have scheduled protests to demand free and fair elections. Reported by EFE.

A silent swell of a different type is starting to emerge on the U.S. southern border

In 2014, a wave of unaccompanied children from Central America caught the U.S. government off-guard when they flooded into Texas in record numbers, triggering what President Obama called an “urgent humanitarian situation.”

Two years later, a silent swell of a different type is starting to emerge on the U.S. southern border. And it could be a harbinger of another immigration crisis in the making.

Salvadorans are fleeing to the United States in massive numbers, and now they’re bringing the whole family along. Though the number of unaccompanied Salvadoran minors crossing the border has not returned to the surge numbers seen in 2014, the number of Salvadoran family units apprehended on the southern border has increased by a whopping 96 percent over the past year.

Undocumented Salvadoran families are arriving in the U.S. in greater numbers than immigrants from any other Latin American nation. Ten Salvadoran families are apprehended here for every one Mexican family, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics.
There are now more Salvadorans in U.S. immigration deportation proceedings than any other nationality.

For those paying attention to the situation in El Salvador, the timing of the new surge might seem strange considering that the country’s murder rate, which was the highest in the world in 2015, has dropped significantly during the first half of this year. The country’s death toll has dropped from an average of 25 murders each day in January to around 11 murders per day over the past four months.