Nicaragua: A Return to Caudillismo

Issue Date April 2017
Volume 28
Issue 2
Page Numbers 157-169
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Nicaragua’s 2016 elections saw President Daniel Ortega win a third consecutive term, and his wife, Rosario Murillo, become Vice President, in the face of an opposition abstention campaign. Since winning the presidency in 2007, Ortega has consolidated control over Nicaragua’s institutions and economy while rejecting his revolutionary roots, stifling opposition parties and civil society, and enriching his family and associates. Ortega’s move from electoral victory to caudillo-style strongman rule offers a Latin American parallel to contemporary autocratic transitions in cases like Russia, Turkey, and Hungary. Absent a crisis, Nicaraguans face an uphill battle to restore democracy and avert a new family dynasty.

About the Author

Kai M. Thaler is assistant professor of global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

View all work by Kai M. Thaler