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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 241 | Agosto 2001
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Aldo Díaz Lacayo

POLITICIZATION OF CSE GOES ALL THE WAY

Intensifying to the nth degree the two-party politicization of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), the electoral authorities decided in early July that the new municipal and departmental directors of the two sections into which electoral affairs were divided must choose their personnel exclusively from the PLC and FSLN ranks—half from each party. Any existing employees who do not meet this requirement will be fired. The secretary of the CSE union declared that some three hundred workers could lose their jobs to this disposition.

ZOILAMÉRICA AGAIN SPOTLIGHTED THROUGH NO DOING OF HER OWN

The tens of thousands of Sandinistas who waited in the rain for over three hours to see Daniel Ortega speak at the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the revolution were perplexed when the first to take the mike was Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo. For 20 minutes, she read a text that began by convoking "the spirit of the universe that contains all our ancestors" and ended with an explanation of the "promised land," the central concept in Ortega’s electoral campaign (recognizing God in everyone and in everything). She declared that she had come as someone who has "been through it all" and represented "no one other than myself as a woman and a mother." She explained that she was appearing before the multitude "with my heart open and my breast bared" to assure that "Daniel Ortega, his family and his party can offer Nicaragua a future" as well as "the experience of transparent lives that have been exposed to the toughest scrutiny." The news peg of her strange speech was an allusion to her daughter Zoilamérica Narváez, and was aimed at disqualifying her charge of sexual abuse against her stepfather. "Between illusions and the haze of politics, we have lost friends, dreams, comrades, and even now these illusions have kidnapped our daughter."
Not by coincidence, priest and former Sandinista foreign minister Miguel D’Escoto, in an extensive televised interview in Nicaragua four days earlier, minimized the importance of the charge filed by Narváez against Ortega in March 1998 for nearly 20 years of sexual abuse. D’Escoto claimed that the charge would not affect Ortega’s candidacy "not because the things she is saying are not regrettable, but because it has now moved to another plane. In reality, it never took hold, never caught on in Nicaragua."
Breaking a public silence of over two years, Narváez sent a long letter to D’Escoto, part of which was published in the national and international media, in which she held him responsible for being part of "a conspiracy of silence." She added that "my accusations ‘never took hold’ because of the veil of conspiracy woven by you and many like you so the people of Nicaragua would never learn the truth… Your complicity encourages the daily sexual abuse of women inside their own homes in Nicaragua while people like you not only remain silent but applaud so as not to tarnish the image of an idol, a false prophet that you also helped fabricate."
The subject came up yet again in an interview with Ortega himself in the August 6 international edition of Newsweek. After his own long and calculated silence, Ortega responded to a question about the accusations, which he has "resolved" by hiding behind his parliamentary immunity—with support from the male legislators in the National Assembly, both Sandinista and Liberal—to avoid standing trial. "There isn’t a drop of truth in the accusations," claimed Ortega. "I could renounce my immunity to face the accusations, but I prefer to pay the political cost rather than hurt my family. To go before a judge would mean dealing with these accusations and causing harm."

GENETIC WEALTH

Both national and international botanical experts confirmed that the maize called "teocinte" grown in Nicaragua, specifically in areas of Chinandega, is different from other teocintes in Mexico and Guatemala, and gave it the name Zeas nicaragüensis. Teocinte is a not yet domesticated descendant of the wild species of maize eaten by the ancient Meso-American population. Peasants today call it "maizón." The plant, which adapts well to humid terrain, grows up to four meters high, and the kernels are smaller and harder than conventional maize.

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NICARAGUA BRIEFS
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