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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 229 | Agosto 2000
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Envío team

ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY OF THE REVOLUTION

Some fifty thousand people gathered across the street from the Plaza of the Revolution on July 19 to honor the 21st anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. The plaza itself, traditional site of this annual celebration, is now home to a huge fountain whose waters dance to computerized music to please the residents of the jazzy new presidential palace on the plaza’s northeast corner.
The crowd was perhaps larger this year than last, and even more significant as it was nearly all Nicaraguans rather than the heavy quota of foreigners on hand in 1999 for the historic 20th anniversary. Also, those who came this time got there by their own means, since there were no caravans of busses bringing people from other cities. Finally, it was a much more enthusiastic and unified crowd, given that the upcoming elections have put divisions on the back burner; meaning no acrimonious protesting of the FSLN-PLC pact as there was last year.

Those were the novelties. The same old, same old was Daniel Ortega’s speech. Offering no content, the FSLN secretary general assured the crowd that the party would be returned to power in this year’s municipal elections and next year’s presidential one because "one is nothing" (the PLC occupies box one on the ballot this year), "the Christian Way is the way to hell" and the FSLN "isn’t afraid of the Conservatives." His final reason, capping all that venom, was that "while the other parties are full of hate and resentment, the FSLN is full of love."

US DITTOES WAIVER FOR NICARAGUA

The US Congress has again cleared the way for Nicaragua to continue receiving aid from that country’s government. On July 29, Congress re-approved the waiver exempting it from Jesse Helms’ legislation blocking aid to countries that have confiscated properties from US citizens. The US government can now resume disbursement of the US$65 million approved for Nicaragua this year, and vote in favor of loans to Nicaragua in the international financial institutions. The condition is that the Nicaraguan government must annually resolve a given number of claims for properties that the Sandinista government confiscated from US citizens in the 1980s. Or, to be more accurate: properties that it confiscated from people who were then or at any time since have become US citizens.

PLN MAYORAL CANDIDATE ENDS WEEKLONG HUNGER STRIKE

President Arnoldo Alemán’s brother-in-law Eddy Gómez, erstwhile Managua mayoral candidate on the Nationalist Liberal Party (PLN) ticket, began a hunger strike on July 21 to protest the PLN’s (hence his) exclusion from the November 5 municipal elections. After learning of his son’s decision, Gómez’s father, already ill, went into a coma and died on July 26. Gómez blamed Alemán for his father’s death but ended his strike two days later.

ALEMÁN SETS A NEW RECORD

The Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Central America (CODEHUCA) presented a report on July 14 in San José, Costa Rica, assessing the human rights situation in Central America. It states that an "encystation of corruption and crime" exists in the region’s police forces, governments and justice systems. Regarding Nicaragua, CODEHUCA states that that President Alemán’s leadership "wavers between the ridiculous and a political crudeness never before seen in a head of state in Central America." Lest the point remain unclear to some readers, the report emphasizes that "his arrogance and bullying attitude cause him to fall into the absurd and the comical."

OLD LEÓN DECLARED HUMANITY’S CULTURAL HERITAGE

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization issued a declaration in France on June 28 recognizing the ruins of Old León, in Nicaragua, as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It now falls to Nicaragua’s Ministry of Culture to submit a Site Management Master Plan to UNESCO consisting of projects related to conservation, ecology, tourism and education. The plan must guarantee that the state will take responsibility for administering the US$3 million that UNESCO provides annually to sites designated as heritage of humanity.

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