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The Uses of Sanctions in Foreign Policy: Nicaragua’s Elections 2021

Image - The Uses of Sanctions in Foreign Policy
Image - The Uses of Sanctions in Foreign Policy

In a new article on Nicaragua, “The Uses of Sanctions in Foreign Policy: Nicaragua’s Elections 2021,” Richard E. Feinberg, professor at the University of California, San Diego, and former official in the White House and State and Treasury Departments, argues that the Biden administration and others in the international community face an urgent decision: “With a rational appraisal of [their] limited leverage, how far can they push [President Daniel] Ortega to yield some of his advantages?”

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 2021, and Feinberg states that President Ortega is unlikely to accept conditions that would ensure his defeat.  Nonetheless, he asks whether, in the absence of a level playing field, international actors can “press Ortega to lift restrictions on opposition political activity and the media and the safe return of exiles living abroad? What reforms in the electoral system might make it more difficult for Ortega to rig the results?”

Feinberg predicts that “Ortega will probably yield to international pressures to a degree,” and electoral conditions will be “a matter of intense negotiations between the international community, the Nicaraguan opposition (whether unified or fragmented), and Ortega.”  He notes that “if the opposition, currently fractured along generational and party lines, can unite behind a single attractive candidate, victory might just be within reach.”

About the Author

Richard Feinberg

Richard E. Feinberg

Former Global Fellow;
Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Diego; Former Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council
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