John Perry (Letters, 31 December) suggests that we should learn from the Nicaraguan government’s management of Covid. He doesn’t mention that 700 Nicaraguan health professionals wrote an open letter begging the government to acknowledge the extent of the crisis, or that at least 10 health workers have been fired for criticising the government response. In the absence of accurate government data, an independent citizen observatory has been established, which attempts to keep track of the rate of infection. They estimate 11,935 cases in the period to 23 December, nearly double the official number.
On 21 December, Nicaragua’s national assembly passed a law that gives President Daniel Ortega the right to unilaterally declare that citizens are “traitors to the homeland” and ban them from running for office. The new legislation ensures that elections, scheduled for November 2021, will not be free and fair. There are no lessons to be learned from Ortega’s policies, but Nicaragua’s descent into dictatorship demands much closer attention.
Dr Hilary Francis