As a Nicaraguan, my vote means nothing — so please listen to me

There I was, 16 years old, not old enough to drink but old enough to vote. I had just received my government-issued ID and voting was one of the things for which I could use it. It felt cool. For the first time in my life, I was going to “exercise my constitutional right.” It was 2008.

But my first time voting was also my last time voting. And not by choice.

In polling centers in Nicaragua, we would submit our ballots into these ballot boxes, pictured above. Each ballot box could hold up to around 400 ballots.

The process seemed quite normal at the beginning. A bunch of people dressed in white t-shirts, the most neutral dresscode; people forming lines… I was given a ballot…

Claude Campobello

De Nicaragua para el mundo. I write under an alias out of fear that my country will pursue me.

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