Courtesy Reuters

American Supervision of the Nicaraguan Election

ON January 1 Nicaragua witnessed for the first time in her history a peaceful change in party government. On that day General José Maria Moncada, the successful Liberal candidate, was inaugurated as President to succeed don Adolfo Diaz, Conservative. For this historic eleccion libre, United States supervision under Brigadier General Frank R. McCoy was responsible. Acting as personal representative of President Coolidge, in accordance with the Stimson agreement which ended the sanguinary revolution of 1926-27, General McCoy successfully superintended a large organization of American and Nicaraguan election officials to the satisfaction of both political parties. Conservative and Liberal leaders alike declared that the American supervision was fair and just, a most happy outcome to months of delicate negotiation.

Rarely have so much thought and effort been applied to the mechanical task of conducting an election. Measured by the standards of our election machinery at home, the Nicaraguan poll, down to the work of the humblest precinct boards, was a model of efficiency. Yet the mechanics were but part of the job. By far the greater effort went to maintaining a pre-election atmosphere of freedom and fairness for all parties and persons.

The result was sufficiently close to demonstrate the shallowness of the charge that the United States, during the years in which the Conservatives were in power, had deliberately supported a small minority party because it alone was friendly to us. Of a total of 133,000 votes cast, General Moncada received a majority of 20,000 over don Adolfo Bernard, his Conservative opponent. Although election day fell in the season of heaviest rains, and in spite of bandit threats in the disturbed northern sections of the country, ninety percent of those who had registered voted. Such a high registration and vote had never been experienced before.

The election was the fulfillment of a most important item of the Stimson agreement of May, 1927, between the government of Nicaragua and the rebellious Liberals under General Moncada. When Colonel Stimson arrived in Nicaragua in April of that year

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