Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 254 | Septiembre 2002



Alemán’s Choice for Now: Between Jail and Political Asylum

Renowned Liberal jurist and writer León Núñez shared with envío his reflections and "imaginings" about where the country currently stands and where it might be heading in the anti-corruption fight being waged by President Bolaños.

León Núñez

I’m not a political analyst; I’m just a lawyer specializing in stock-market-related commercial law. When I talk to someone about the national political situation, I don’t use the rigorous methodology of a political scientist, I just use the least common of the senses: common sense. For many years I wrote articles presenting the thoughts of "the political analysts of Acoyapa," my hometown, but those analysts have broken up. Nicaragua has had such a proliferation of analysts that they felt that there was no need for more analysis. So we in Acoyapa started to nurture a movement not of analysts but of "imaginists," people who base their opinions on what they imagine might happen. In Nicaragua, where things change so quickly, where affirmative switches to negative overnight, it’s better to imagine things than go around producing great scientific analyses that are quickly reduced to nothing. The role imagination plays in politics is similar to that of the augurs in ancient Rome. The emperor Caligula didn’t call on political analysts for their opinions, he called an augur and asked "How do you interpret the flight of the birds and the appetite of the sacred chickens?" And the augur replied using his imagination, with no scientific or rational basis whatsoever. I doubt whether the great political scientists from the big universities are as wise as they’d like us to believe.

When I spoke to envío a year ago I stated that if Enrique Bolaños won the elections, Arnoldo Alemán would find himself in hot water. I said that because I imagined that would be the case. The theory this imaginist from Acoyapa sustained was quite different from those being put forward by the political analysts from Managua, who said that if Bolaños won the elections he would be Nicaragua’s new René Schick, a puppet controlled by Alemán the same way President Schick was controlled by the Somoza dictatorship.

On stripping Alemán’s immunity

Today, Alemán is indeed in a jam and all of the different analyses focus on the stripping of his immunity as the central issue. Although this is a legal issue, all kinds of people are making all kinds of analyses about the possibility of Alemán losing his immunity. Everyone has something to say and we’re faced with a wide variety of theories. The first, which I personally go along with, is that Alemán can be stripped of his immunity by the votes of 47 National Assembly representatives, which represents a simple majority of the 92 representatives. Another theory claims that this would require the qualified majority of 56 votes needed for constitutional matters as Alemán received his parliamentary seat as the result of a constitutional provision, unlike the other representatives who were all elected by popular vote. This is an outlandish legal interpretation that violates a legal principle dating back to Roman times, which says that the interpreter should not distinguish if the law fails to do so. Another theory complicates things even further. It states that removing Alemán’s immunity as a Nicaraguan National Assembly representative will achieve nothing as he is also a member of the Central American Parliament and the votes of a majority of that parliament’s representatives would be required to remove his immunity privileges. Supreme Electoral Council magistrate Silvio Américo Calderón goes even further by claiming that not even the Central American parliamentarians can remove Alemán’s immunity; only the Central American Presidents have the authority to do so. Yet others, who accept that the Nicaraguan National Assembly would automatically strip his Central American Parliament immunity by stripping his National Assembly immunity, argue—presumably tongue in cheek—that it would take 94 votes rather than 47 as two immunities are at play here and 47 plus 47 equals 94. The debate has been bizarre, outrageous even.

The Immunity Law establishes that once the National Assembly’s board is formally asked to remove a parliamentarian’s immunity it must immediately create a commission to study the request. Once the study has been done, the commission must pass its findings on to the plenary, which must in turn vote whether or not to strip the said member of his or her immunity. If 47 parliamentarians vote against him, Alemán would be deprived of his immunity and would have to appear in court to answer the charges against him.

But as Alemán is president of said board and has packed it with people loyal to him, he has gone out of his way to stretch out the conflict by simply ignoring the Immunity Law, which has led to another theory. As the Assembly’s plenary is sovereign, a simple majority of 47 representatives has the power to declare itself in session, dismiss Alemán and the other board members, elect new ones who would uphold the Immunity Law by naming a commission and, voilà, Alemán could finally be stripped of his immunity. The judge would then call on Alemán to appear in court and should he fail to do so the police would be sent to fetch him, he would be submitted to trial and surely imprisoned. The executive branch would recognize the Assembly’s new board and would send it the money corresponding to this particular state branch in the national budget.

This theory has been gaining ground. It has not only been proclaimed by Daniel Ortega, but also proposed and supported by many others, including Sergio Ramírez, Carlos Tünnerman and Alejandro Serrano Caldera. But this solution is in fact illegal. All representatives in the plenary have to follow the Assembly’s own statutes and internal regulations, which establish that the board of directors is elected for one year and is responsible for setting the Assembly’s agenda. It is also a matter of common sense if we consider the levels of legal insecurity that would prevail if 51% of the representatives of this or any other legislative session decided to dismiss the board of directors every time it disagreed with it. I don’t believe there has ever been such a case in Latin America, and if it were to happen, what would be the point of passing Assembly rules or statutes? Carrying out such a plan in Nicaragua would create a legal conflict that would have to be solved by the Supreme Court; and the problem is that the Supreme Court has never resolved any such conflict.

In this never-ending story, I imagine that, unless there is a political negotiation before December, Arnoldo Alemán will lose his immunity in January, when the 47 votes against him—and there might be more by then—would legally elect a new board that would not be controlled by Alemán. This board would then name a commission to investigate whether to remove his immunity, the plenary would vote and Alemán would lose it. Until then the board holds the key, because it is responsible for deciding which issues to send to the plenary for discussion.

On the other players

The half a million signatures that the National Conscience Movement has collected across the country calling for Alemán to be stripped of his immunity has no real legal relevance; it just has psychological relevance. It’s a form of social pressure. Legally, Alemán’s fate depends on the balance of political forces in the National Assembly. Signatures and protests are all very well, but in reality everything depends on the representatives. When Color de Mello was accused of a number of crimes in Brazil, Brazilian public opinion exerted pressure against him every day in enormous marches and the newspapers openly attacked him, but he remained unperturbed. Only when the Senate withdrew its support was he finally imprisoned. The same happened with Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela. And it was only following the discovery of videos showing how he had bought off representatives that the majority of Fujimori’s parliamentarians withdrew their support and he was left stranded in Japan. The same is true here in Nicaragua, where it’s the National Assembly that holds the key.

I imagine that Alemán’s immunity will be removed in January at the earliest; that is, if another solution hasn’t already been reached through a political negotiation. In my "Dialogue between Machiavelli and Enrique Bolaños," Machiavelli says: "Look, Enrique, if you can’t finish Alemán off then you have no other option than to negotiate with him, because if you don’t he might finish you off. In addition, the Sandinista Front has its own interests and knows how to handle them, and if those interests coincide with Alemán’s, they’ll get together, cook up a constituent assembly and finish you off."
The situation is very complicated, particularly in a country like Nicaragua where positions change in a matter of minutes. Politically speaking, the Sandinista Front has three cars moving around on three different highways at three different speeds, so they can be in any of the vehicles on any highway and traveling at any speed they chose, depending on what is most convenient for them at the time. It suits the FSLN to prolong the crisis, seeking an attrition strategy against the whole Liberal leadership.

On casting the first stone

It’s being revealed in the guaca trial that 200 political figures from the Alemán administration, many of whom now hold posts in the Bolaños administration, personally received money under the table from Alemán. And all of them have admitted it. It’s rumored that many other people who were not government officials also received money from Alemán under the table. And it’s said that Alemán has all of the lists safely filed away ready to make them public and file charges. We are seeing that Alemán functioned like a game-show host, showering everyone with money. And many people are now terrified that they might appear on some list and have to face charges. Obviously, it isn’t right to have received money under the table, because the Budget Law establishes how much each official should earn. And there’s a legal saying from the Germanic Romanists that states in so many words that nobody can receive more money than established by the law. We should also be quite clear, however, that this double salary custom already existed during the Sandinista government and when Toño Lacayo was running things in Violeta Chamorro’s administration.

What would happen if there was a policy of attrition against so many people? It would be said that the whole Liberal leadership and all those connected to Liberalism are also corrupt. But some people are saying, "And what about in Violeta Chamorro’s time? The crimes committed then should also be pursued."
Many people erroneously think that all crimes are automatically subject to the statute of limitations after five years, but this is not actually the case. What is prescribed after five years is the Office of Comptroller General’s faculty to investigate the irregularities committed. But in penal cases, such as fraud, there is a maximum punishment of 12 years imprisonment and the crime is only prescribed after 12 years. The Office of Attorney General could therefore pursue all of the crimes of fraud committed up to twelve years ago. So someone hearing this might say, "It’s true that the level of corruption committed by Alemán is horrific, but all the other crimes that have still not been prescribed have to be pursued as well." And those crimes were big-time, too. An average of US$60 million from the National Development Bank went missing every year during Violeta Chamorro’s administration, a total of $420 million in seven years. Meanwhile, $800 million went missing from the Nicaraguan Investment Fund, $70 million from the Banco Popular and many millions more from BANIC. And what if we start pursuing those responsible for the most recent bank collapses? At the end of the day people would start asking if there are any honest people at all in this country. Maybe that’s why Cardinal Obando has shrewdly been saying, "Let he who is free of guilt cast the first stone."
It’s obvious that corruption is an ill that is not just limited to Alemán or his inner circle and that it affects the whole of Nicaraguan society. While it’s not true that the whole country is corrupt, as Cardinal Obando would perhaps like to suggest, we would discover a great deal of corruption if we started digging around in the nerve centers of economic and political power, among those people with a certain influence in the running of the country, those who define the web of society. Naturally, among the poor who don’t have anything, we’d only find victims of that corruption.

On guilt by association

I don’t believe that Enrique Bolaños participated in the acts of corruption with Alemán and I don’t know how the electoral campaign finances were managed. The President has said that the presidential campaign money was managed separately from the money used in the campaign for parliamentary representatives. In any case, when it comes to whether or not the money was legal, I think we should apply the fungibility theory. Let’s say that a donation of money that originated from drug trafficking operations is deposited into the checking account of someone who has worked and saved all her life and is completely unaware of that money’s illegal nature. If she issues a check, is the money to cover it from the honest deposits or the ill-gotten one? Could we say whether that money came from the legal savings resulting from her honest work or from the funds that came from drug trafficking activities? Quite simply, we can’t; it just isn’t possible to determine. The money received through that check is classified as fungible, interchangeable, indistinguishable. In the guaca trial we must presume that those who simply received checks are innocent. We are now seeing that the money in the Nicaraguan Democratic Foundation (FDN) account was fungible, a mixture of stolen money and donations, and that Alemán issued checks from that account.
I also think that the legality of Bolaños’s election and of all the other elected officials is not under discussion here, as some have tried to insinuate. This would only be the case if it were proven that they had committed an electoral crime, as the Electoral Law states that only people who committed electoral crimes can be deprived of their posts. There is a legal principle that states that the punishment cannot extend beyond the criminal. If the criminals in the guaca case are Alemán and Jerez, why should anyone else be held responsible for their crimes? Why should any other people have to assume responsibilities that do not correspond to them?
It is often argued that Bolaños’ fight against corruption is specifically aimed at Alemán and his cohorts. The pro-Alemán radio station La Poderosa claims that there should be a fight against corruption, but only if it is against all of the corrupt. This is not a valid argument, because the existence of a lot of corruption does not justify the corruption of any individuals. If society is corrupt then undoubtedly this must start changing at some point and someone is going to have to be taught a lesson. It’s just not possible to investigate everyone or construct a hundred new buildings to imprison them all. This time the lesson is being aimed at Alemán and his closest followers.

On timing

Even if everything goes well, the process against Alemán will take a long time. Alemán closed parliament for two weeks and the sessions will start again in the middle of September. According to the Immunity Law, the board must name a commission. Let’s say they name it on the 20th, and we must assume it will be made up of Alemán’s followers, because they dominate the board. The commission then has twenty days to open its investigation into the case. If it starts on the 25th, that would take us up to October 15. Then the law says they can extend their investigation for another 10 days, which takes us up to October 25. Then they might call for some other evidence to give a better ruling, by which time we’re in November. When would the case pass to the plenary? The Assembly closes down for the end of the year on December 15, so Alemán has a bag of tricks to ensure that he remains in his current post and with immunity until December.

If he loses his immunity next January or February, another long process will start, ending with a trial by jury. In the best of cases the process of recovering the stolen money will also be long and complicated and can only start after a definitive guilty verdict. If the money is in Panama, they’ll pay lawyers to defend it there. It’s never easy to recover money. It requires a good number of legal proceedings, and we’re up against people armed with lawyers and determined to fight it out in long trials. In the best of cases the stolen money won’t be recovered in a year or even five years’ time. When the government claims that we’re going to recover it, it’s undoubtedly to give the people some hope, but the cold reality is that it’s not going to happen soon.

On making a comeback

Arnoldo Alemán will end up in jail next year, unless some secret political negotiation is worked out first with Enrique Bolaños’ approval, allowing Alemán to leave Nicaragua and ask for political asylum in some country from which he won’t be extradited. He would thus distance himself from politics for good... or maybe just for a while, because I can imagine the same thing might happening that happened with Peru’s Alan García. Alan García faced 17 accusations in Lima, almost all of which were proven. At that point he engaged in secret negotiations and was admitted to Colombia as a political refugee, from where he could not be extradited. People have such short memories that a few years later Alan García returned to Peru and everybody had forgotten those angry protests against him involving millions of people and García very nearly won the last elections.
Another example was General Perón in Argentina. If you read the newspapers of the time it’s easy to believe that Perón was the biggest thief in history, as well as a rapist of young girls. There were tremendous levels of corruption. In the midst of that storm, Perón fled the country and sought asylum in Madrid. For years he lived flamboyantly in a mansion in the exclusive zone of Puerta de Hierro, surrounded by servants and making million dollar investments. Years later, the General returned to Argentina winner by a landslide in elections in which he used a stand-in. From then on people started regretting having badmouthed him. These and other more recent cases demonstrate that politics is more of a passion than a science and are shaped by the ups and downs of prevailing circumstances. All of this allows us to imagine that Nicaragua might not prove the historical exception.

On Alemán’s popularity

It is important to point out that Alemán has a lot of backing. I’m from Chontales and in that department of Nicaragua nearly all Liberals are followers of Alemán. There are very few Liberals there from Vice President José Rizo’s tendency. Even people holding public posts in the Bolaños government are secretly supporting Alemán. Alemán is undoubtedly a leader, a traditional Latin American politician. He’s a tireless man with incredible stamina. His life is dedicated to going from one rural district to another, showing up all over the place. He’s a typical Latin American caudillo, just like Daniel Ortega.

When Alemán visited Chontales as President, great crowds of people flocked to see him. Someone would go up to him and say, "My mother’s ill in Miami and I need the fare to go see her," and then and there Alemán would produce the money. Another person would say he had five children… and would be given a taxi medallion. The same would happen over and over. He’s always had an open wallet and receives all the people with a great table bedecked with pork, chicken and liquor so there’s food for everyone. He remembers everyone and calls the Liberal political leaders in the towns and rural districts by name, conjuring up a nickname for them. All of those people, and they add up to big numbers, defend Alemán to the hilt and it would never occur to them that the money he gives them really belongs to the Nicaraguan people.

It has been traditional for political leaders in Nicaragua to give like that and if they don’t they’re finished, considered useless. Leaders have to give because people approach them to ask them for something. Now, when President Bolaños goes to Juigalpa, things are different. Once when Bolaños was there I told a friend as a kind of personal study or experiment, "Go up and ask him for something. He replied, "What would I do that for; just to get a smack on the chops?" Nobody in Nicaragua would dream of going up to Bolaños and asking him for $500 to visit their sick mother in Miami. They are two completely different styles. And particularly right now, no one would dare ask.

On the nature of loyalty

Alemán has guaranteed loyalties. The most entrenched are those who are what Mexicans would call "embijados," loosely translated as tarred with the same brush. With the large-scale corruption that the Institutional Revolutionary Party has instigated in Mexico, the first condition that the outgoing President bore in mind when choosing his successor was to make sure he was embijado. That was his insurance that he could retire safe in the knowledge that nobody was going to open a case against him. If any move was made against him, he would reveal all of the atrocities committed by the new President. Alemán has employed the same strategy by smearing people, making them commit crimes, then handpicking them as candidates to the parliament. Those representatives will be loyal to Alemán until the bitter end.

Another kind of loyalty is felt by those who consider themselves indebted to Alemán in a very Nicaraguan way. A politician friend of mine told me, "I could never go against Alemán because when my wife was very ill he sent her to the United States and saved her life. I couldn’t betray him now." Many parliamentary representatives and ministers who are friends of Arnoldo Alemán display the same kind of gratitude over operations or scholarships he provided while President, which is why his supporters brand those who break away as "ingrates," referring to the gratitude that they supposedly owe Alemán.

Those who feel gratitude, however, are not so firmly fixed in their support and a moment will come in which they will have to nail their colors to the mast. When Alemán’s bandwagon starts down the slippery slope, great numbers of followers are going to jump off and the only ones left with Alemán will be the embijados, who I calculate at about 15 representatives. If Alemán is so worried about his immunity reaching the National Assembly plenary it’s because he isn’t sure he has the votes of all the "grateful" parliamentarians in the bag. It’s interesting that in this conflict most of the Liberal representatives have not spoken up and are just hunkering down.

Many have preferred not to speak up because they’re still not convinced Alemán has been defeated. Furthermore, because he keeps on saying, "I want to see who’s going to have the courage to stand alongside me in 2006!" some of them imagine that he’s capable of becoming the next President. And they’re right to think that, because I also imagine that if Alemán stays in Nicaragua and they don’t do anything to him, the two presidential candidates in 2006 will be Daniel Ortega and Arnoldo Alemán. After all, they control the two legally recognized parties and the Supreme Electoral Council. So if he survives the storm, I imagine that the next elections will be between the two of them and that Arnoldo Alemán will win.

On Liberal currents

What’s the current situation inside the Liberal Party? The PLC structures throughout Nicaragua—the party’s convention delegates, the departmental boards of directors, the municipal boards of directors and the boards in the rural districts and neighborhoods of each municipality—are still controlled by Arnoldo Alemán, and all of them answer to his political leadership. The tendency led by José Rizo has failed to gel. There’s no obvious enthusiasm, no organization and no coherent leadership. The anti-Arnoldo Liberals call Rizo’s tendency the "Pronal-ized" Liberals, because it’s dominated by people previously linked to Antonio Lacayo’s attempt at forming the National Project Party (PRONAL) for the 1996 elections, which foundered when he was barred from running for President on constitutional grounds. That’s how Rizo’s challenge is viewed within the party.
Alemán’s political leadership and influence are admittedly strongest in rural areas. In Chontales, Río San Juan, Zelaya Sur [South Atlantic Autonomous Region] and Boaco the kind of pressure against Alemán that you see in Managua just doesn’t exist. In Acoyapa, a town with 18,000 inhabitants, they only sell 15 copies of La Prensa, a rightwing, business-oriented paper that is giving the more leftwing El Nuevo Diario a good run for its money when it comes to the anti-corruption fight. In those parts people just listen to La Poderosa and Radio Corporación, the two die-hard pro-Alemán radio stations. It’s not the same here in Managua, although his influence is still strong.

In those rural areas the people are profoundly anti-Sandinista, because that’s where the war was played out in the eighties, where the Sandinistas committed atrocities. The people there perceive the current situation as a conflict between the FSLN and Alemán. They think that a defeat for Alemán would break up the Liberal Party, that the important political spaces would be occupied by the FSLN and the FSLN would end up as the next government. And many people are terrified of such a possibility. The people in those areas don’t believe that the FSLN has changed at all and take anything that runs against Alemán as favoring the FSLN. They see the choice as a zero-sum game between Arnoldismo and the FSLN, and they prefer Alemán.

On what makes the US tick

I have my doubts as to whether the United States is really behind this fight against corruption and against Arnoldo Alemán. I get the feeling that the initiative came from Enrique Bolaños, as a result of his own moral positioning and personality. After all, he isn’t a traditional politician. I also can’t imagine that the United States has chosen to place Alemán between a rock and a hard place. If that were true, they’d try him for money laundering in the United States. The day the United States decides that Alemán has to go, he’s gone.

I think that the United States is against him, but not at any really profound level, because they feel that taking Alemán apart will lead to the break-up of the Liberal Party and leave the door open for the FSLN’s return to power. And although an FSLN government in Nicaragua will not bring them the same kind of complications as during the Cold War, it would cause problems, particularly bearing in mind the slogan "if Lula [of the Brazilian Workers Party] wins, Daniel will win," that Chávez is still in power in Venezuela and that there are serious problems in Colombia. Given this panorama, I imagine that the Americans don’t want to take Alemán apart, carve up the Liberal Party and open the way for the FSLN to return to power. We saw the expression of that fear during the recent election campaign, when in a totally interfering, interventionist way, the US government tried to twist the arm of all the opinion media, making an enormous effort to ensure that the FSLN lost the elections.

On the state of the union

One of the big criticisms of Bolaños’ government is that it’s focusing all of its activities on the fight against corruption, abandoning all the other economic and social goals that the President himself proposed during his campaign. But what else could he do? I’m pessimistic about Nicaragua current situation. I don’t think anything will change if Alemán goes, or even if he disappears off the face of the earth. This country is in a state of total ruin. When I was working in the Central Bank I mixed with all the IMF and IDB geniuses and US specialists in "velocity of money circulation" and macroeconomics. Well, according to them, if Nicaragua achieves a sustained 7% annual growth of its GDP and continues receiving some $700 million a year in family remittances, it would still take 50 years to recover the 1978 economic levels.
This is a country that exports just $500 million worth of goods, where people can come and donate millions of dollars to set up a first-class hospital like the best in Costa Rica or Florida, but we can’t use the money because there aren’t enough trained human resources to run it. It’s not a question of resources so much as being able to use those resources. The level of training among Nicaraguans is disastrous, production leaves a lot to be desired and the prices of our products are falling every day. The clearest example is coffee: in two years’ time international prices will be 50% lower than production costs.

On where do we go from here?

How can we resolve this situation? We’d have to follow the example of the ancient Greeks. The Greek golden age followed a period of civil war and the appearance of the first Sophists, including Protagoras, coincided with Pericles’ democracy. It’s said that when they lauded Pericles in awe, stating "All this prosperity in Greece, all this democracy…! You’re a genius!" he replied, "No, no, this is a very long process; it started fifty years ago when we began teaching our children." That’s what needs to happen in Nicaragua. People ask, "When are we going to resolve this crisis?" And I just stare at them because there’s not going to be any solution to the crisis here, not even in my grandchildren’s time.

Undoubtedly Enrique Bolaños’ great merit in the fight against corruption is not his attack on Alemán, but rather the fact that we are starting to see people in public administration being more careful, to such an extent that many public administration activities are being held up because people don’t know whether or not to sign. Instead, they ask, verify, find out. Before, there was a culture of obedience, but now officials are starting to balk at automatic obedience. Traditionally in public administration the minister told the vice minister and the vice minister told the next down the line, and so on, and everyone obeyed without a word. But not any more. Now they’re starting to ask questions. There aren’t any credit cards for personal expenses any more and the restaurants are emptier because officials used to turn up and pay with credit cards backed by public funds or asked for a receipt so the ministry could reimburse them later. But that’s no longer the case. Now we are entering a period of restraint, we’re seeing the beginning of a new administrative culture. And that’s the most important result that I can see from Enrique Bolaños’ policies.

On what to do with Alemán

The most important result isn’t throwing Alemán into jail. But if he insists on still playing a leading role in national politics through the Liberal Party and hangs onto his aspiration to be President of Nicaragua again in 2006, then I imagine he’s going to end up in jail. I don’t know how or when but he’s going to be locked up, because there is no way that this man can smugly continue as one of the country’s political protagonists with everything that he’s creamed off and everything that we now know.

I also imagine that we will face a quite dangerous situation if Alemán is imprisoned in the Modelo Jail in Tipitapa. I think it would have a very disturbing influence on national life, because unfortunately Alemán has a lot of supporters in this country, mainly in rural areas. It’s incredible just how much he has pampered and handed out money to the peasants who were contra members. A great many different sentiments could be channeled and organized to create problems if Alemán ends up in jail.

I imagine that the best thing for Alemán and the country would be for the former President to negotiate a way of leaving the country, seeking asylum and going to live somewhere else, thus putting an end to his role here. He should never come back and leave the Liberal Party to democratize itself internally, leaving behind its fondness for caudillos who build their support on personal favors and the practice of handpicking officials and candidates, thus allowing new leaders to emerge from fair internal elections. The same should happen in the FSLN.

On common sense

As you can see, my imagination runs all over the place, guided by common sense. It’s a result of being a peasant from Chontales. Peasants hear something and they sit there thinking whether or not it might be right. They don’t say anything; they just keep thinking it over, considering it... People from Managua and the west of the country are more gullible than peasants. That’s why we have the following saying over there: "It’s from those who say they don’t eat honey that I hide my hive."

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