by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The criminal indictment and imprisonment of former heads of state by ruling regimes in other countries is more common than most Americans probably realize. Today, former presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, and Costa Rica are all imprisoned — and that’s just in Central and South America.
The world is replete with corrupt leaders who criminalize the opposition and politicize domestic law enforcement. That’s why, for example, Daniel Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007. When you jail your political opponents and potential rivals, as Ortega did with gusto ahead of Nicaragua’s 2021 presidential election, it’s easy to stay in office. One of the salient features of these so-called “developing countries” is that they have not developed a way to transfer power peacefully. Brute force, not free and fair elections, is how rulers of the Third World seize and retain power.
Soon, the United States might join their ranks. On Monday evening, dozens of FBI agents raided the Florida home of former President Donald Trump. The absurd pretext for the raid was a dispute over documents with the National Archives — a circumstance by no means unique to the Trump administration and one that no serious person believes could ever justify such a raid. …
… Everyone in America knows the real reason for the FBI raid: to tarnish Trump as unfit for office and to intimidate and dissuade him from running again in 2024. Nothing like this has ever happened in American history. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was exactly right to compare the FBI raid to the kind of thing you see in Ortega’s Nicaragua. It’s what ruling regimes do to rob the people of their voice and avoid the consequences of elections.