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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 181 | Agosto 1996
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Envío team

CHAMORRO VETOES 6% FOR UNIVERSITIES

On May 10, President Chamorro vetoed the law, passed by the National Assembly on April 18, that affirms the government's obligation to provide 6% of the national budget to the universities. Among the President's reasons was the argument that giving the 6% "would create an atmosphere of instability in the upcoming electoral process" and "would end up consecrating and deepening a situation of flagrant social inequality that benefits higher education to the detriment of basic education, which reaches the great majorities.


On June 20, when the 40 working days the legislators had to accept or reject the veto were up, thousands of students demonstrated in front of the National Assembly to demand rejection of the veto. On July 1, the Assembly commission in charge of the issue rejected it, but there is every reason to believe that the government will not assign the 6% in 1996.

EX CONTRAS DEMAND US INDEMNIFICATION

A group of former commando chiefs of the National Resistancewhich fought the Sandinista government with US government financial, training and other support during the 1980s will file a legal suit demanding that the US government indemnify the families of the 8,000 who died and the 5,000 with war disabilities. "We supplied the dead, and the United States, in its own interests, supplied the weapons,Ĵ explain the leaders of the initiative. The plan grew out of the acceptance by the CIA and the US government to pay $20 million indemnification to 500 Vietnamese former spies and commandos who worked for the United States during the war in their country.

DANIEL BACK AFTER FUNDRAISING TOUR

FSLN presidential candidate Daniel Ortega returned to Nicaragua at the end of June after a long tour of several Arab and African countries in search of funds with which Nicaragua's next government can reactivate the economy, if the FSLN wins the elections. In Tripoli, Libya, on May 22, Ortega decorated Libyan leader Mohammar Khadaffi with the FSLN's maximum honor, the medal of the Augusto C. Sandino General Order of Free Men, among other reasons because "he has consistently identified with the struggle of Sandino's people," explained Ortega.

ANTI SMOKING LAW COMES TO NICARAGUA

National Assembly legislators passed a Law to Protect the Rights of Non Smokers at the beginning of June, as part of the effort to flesh out the regulations for article 123 of the new General Environmental and Natural Resources Law, approved on May 2. Among other things the new law prohibits smoking in public places, advertising for tobacco products in the mass media and the selling of cigarettes to minors under 18. Advertising companies and the Nicaraguan Tobacco Company (TANIC) announced that they will ask President Chamorro to veto the law. She will be probably not be reticent to do so, since over 5% of the indirect taxes coming into central government coffers are from tobacco sales. Led by the Ministry of Health, 25 organizations of civil society are defending the law and reminding public opinion that similar or even more drastic laws already exist in over 50 countries.

IS ASIAN SUPER MOSQUITO COMING TOO?

The possibility that the Aedes albopictus, a mosquito of Southeast Asian origins, will spread throughout Central America is causing worry in the region, including Nicaragua. It has already been detected in some zones of Guatemala and El Salvador since the end of 1995, and health authorities in Honduras have decreed a "maximum alert.Ĵ This mosquito, which is resistant to all climates, can transmit some 20 different diseases through its bite: all kinds of dengue fever, yellow fever, equine encephalitis, etc.

NEXT STEP TAKEN ON DRY CANAL

An environmental impact study on the proposed interoceanic dry canal got under way in early July in the Atlantic Coast seaboard zone of Monkey Point. A consortium of international companies is interested in financing the project.

The entire feasibility study, including this impact study, will cost $15 million and will be paid for by the consortium, which is encouraged by the Nicaraguan government's "political willĴto see this project, the most sizable in the country's history, come to fruition.

VIOLENCE V. WOMEN

A number of women's collectives began some months ago to push for a bill of reforms to the Penal Code. Among other things, the reforms would criminalize and punish violence in the home. According to these groups, one out of every two women has been physically abused at some point by the man she lives with, while, given the limited protection for battered women, only two out of every ten women report such mistreatment.

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