Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the Western hemisphere, so its people are constantly looking for a leader who can fulfill their everyday needs of clothing, food and shelter. For many years, their chosen leader has been Daniel Ortega, who has secured another term in office in recent national elections.
Ortega's run was controversial because he did everything in his power to make sure he won another term as Nicaragua's president, including changing the constitution to allow him to run again. To counteract criticism, Ortega and his political party, the Sandinistas, launched an all-out PR campaign to show voters that the government services they count on - food and clothing subsidies, vaccines, transportation, entertainment - are all thanks to them.
Ortega's party even closed schools and transported students to major public areas to demonstrate support for his campaign. Ortega has been savvy in courting the support of other countries, especially Venezuela and its controversial leader Hugo Chavez; most recently, he has sought U.S. and foreign business investment in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua's election took place on Nov. 6, and reports indicate Ortega has won convincingly.
"When you have a government that has access to the Venezuelan resources, and uses them with a certain margin of discretion, they can be very effective in doing multiple things which are small for you and me, but that are huge for most Nicaraguans." - Arturo Cruz, Jr., former Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S.
"In Nicaragua, we are extremely poor. I am poor. The re-election of Daniel Ortega could change that. I have faith in God and I have faith in Ortega." - Nicaraguan woman
"The president has forgotten his own fight to bring down a dictatorship. He's forgotten that when dictators close all the roads to democracy, the people can rise up." - Fabeo Gadea, opposition candidate
1. Where is Nicaragua? What do you know about it?
2. What is democracy?
3. What are humans' most basic needs? How do you and your family satisfy your basic needs?
1. Why do you think Ortega is so popular in Nicaragua? Cite examples from the video.
2. What factors do you think are important to consider when choosing who to vote for? Why?
3. Do you think Ortega is a democratic leader? Why or why not?