Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 201 | Abril 1998




Nitlápan-Envío team


The managers of various private banks have expressed concern about reforms passed by Nicaragua's National Assembly in February to the Law on Narcotics, Psychotropic Drugs and Controlled Substances. All banks are now required to provide information on the flow in or out of any quantities of money greater than $10,000. This reduces the traditional bank secrecy on behalf of clients reserved to banks operating in Nicaragua. The expressed fear of the bank managers is that this measure to control the laundering of drug money could endanger foreign investment.


More than a thousand men and women who once worked for Standard Fruit Company and were affected by the insecticide called Nemagon demonstrated in the streets of Chinandega on March 8. They marched for three hours, carrying crosses for their work mates who had already died, and showing the irreversible destruction wreaked on their bodies by this venom, which had been used for years on Nicaragua's banana plantations.

In mid-April, the poisoned workers got an injunction order against more than 30 Standard Fruit vans carrying Nicaraguan bananas to the United States through Honduras until the company indemnifies the over 1,500 affected workers with $20,000 each. After a protected and complex hearing, the transnational fruit company has so far compensated several dozen affected workers with only $100.


The Korean plywood processing company SOLCARSA was finally forced to put an end to its two-year exploitation of the forestry resources in the North Atlantic region's Bosawás reserve through the 62-hectare concession provided it by the Chamorro government. Nicaraguan and US ecologists had been denouncing the company's activities for many months and the Supreme Court of Justice finally declared the concession unconstitutional.

At the same time that the Korean company finally stopped its devastation, environmental groups announced that the Nicaraguan company Plynic was preparing to exploit 60,000 hectares of forest in the protected area of Wawashán, in the South Atlantic's Pearl Lagoon area, thanks to a concession granted in 1996. In early April, the Comptroller General's office announced that it would send a team of its own officials to the Atlantic Coast for six months to begin an environmental audit that will analyze whether the lumber operations provided concessions by the state institutions are following the Environmental Law and other norms.


Following the review by the Supreme Electoral Council, the results of the elections for new regional autonomous governments in the North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions (RAAN and RAAS, respectively) varied somewhat from what envío reported in its last issue. The final results are as follows:


President Arnoldo Alemán had a private audience with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in the third week of March. Alemán requested the Pope's support for the efforts that Nicaragua and many other impoverished countries are making to alleviate some of the weight of their foreign debts. President Alemán also spoke with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, about the controversial case of Nicaraguan Bishop Bosco Vivas' chauffeur, who has been the main suspect in the killing of a female prostitute in January of this year. After Alemán's initiatives in the Vatican, the National Police arrested other individuals and charged them with the crime.


When the FSLN daily Barricada, directed by Tomás Borge for the past four years, closed its doors definitively in February, 35 of its workers and all 16 of its national correspondents were not paid the salaries and severance pay due them. On March 28, after 20 days of a hunger strike by several of the workers, they all finally received their money.

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