3. NICARAGUA: FAIR ELECTIONS VERSUS UNFAIR PRESS

Contrary to U.S. media predictions and popular belief, the November 4, 1984, Nicaraguan national elections were not rigged by the ruling Sandinistas nor were they the rubber-stamp of Soviet Communism.

News stories circulated before the elections suggested that the Sandinistas were staging the elections to present the guise of democracy, while holding on to complete political control. Further, reports spoke of intimidation and military coercion at the voting booths and pointed to the withdrawal of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI) from the ballot as proof that a fair election was not forthcoming.

In fact, as events were to prove, the election was the very model of fairness itself. Over seventy percent of eligible voters cast ballots, with a third of the votes going to opposition parties on both the political left and right. Further, had the Sandinistas wanted to "rig the election," they would have chosen the United States' version of representative democracy in which the "winner-takes-all" format would have given the Sandinistas virtually all. the seats in the assembly.

Instead the proportional representation form of democracy was chosen, based on Western European models, in which the percentage of votes garnered translates directly into percentage of seats won in the National Assembly. This method actually favors the opposition by allowing them fair representation, and supports the means to form political power bases at a national level -- something the American political system thwarts.

The election also revealed the fallacy of official U.S. claims of Soviet domination of Nicaraguan politics: total Communist Party votes accounted for only 3.9 percent of votes cast.

The PLI's withdrawal prior to the election came just after PLI presidential candidate Virgilio Godoy had met secretly with U.S. Ambassador Henry Bergold and members of the right-wing coalition "Coordinadora," formerly major opponents of the PLI. Evidence suggests that Godoy struck a deal with the "Coordinadora" to stall the election by his withdrawal and to bolster official U.S. claims that the Sandinistas were not interested in democracy.

Accounts of election day revealed no evidence of election fraud and no violence -- except by the CIA backed "Contras."

Given the amount of negative predictions made by the U.S. press before the Nicaraguan elections, the silence of the news media after the elections amounts to dishonesty as well as censorship

SOURCE:

CHRISTIANITY AND CRISIS, 12/24/84, "what Really Happened on November 4?," by Andrew Reding, pp 488+.