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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 221 | Diciembre 1999
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Nitlápan-Envío team

JARQUÍN WARNS OF A RETURN TO THE PAST

From his jail cell, Comptroller General Agustín Jarquín sent a letter to the members of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Inter-American Human Rights Court who were meeting in San José, Costa Rica, at the end of November to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Inter-American Human Rights Convention and the 20th anniversary of the installation of both the court and the commission. In the letter, Jarquín warned that “events in Nicaragua right now are threatening to recreate scenes from the past that would represent a regression on the road to full democracy and integral development that we have started down.” The letter was delivered by Jarquín's wife, Ninoska Robles, who declared that Jarquín is “Nicaragua's first political prisoner in this period and defined the Alemán government as a dictatorship propped up by the FSLN.” She also accused the FSLN of acting as the government's accomplice in the project to turn the Office of Comptroller General of the Republic into a collegial body and thus pervert its watchdog functions.

SUIT FILED AGAINST ALEMÁN

The Coordinating Body in Defense of Democracy, created the very day after the comptroller general was imprisoned and made up of political and business leaders from the center-right and center-left, announced that they are filing suit to remove President Alemán from office for acts of corruption. They were inspired by the process that led to the removal of President Abdalá Bucaram in Ecuador.

FOREIGN SERVICE LAW APPROVED

The Law of Foreign Service was finally passed by the National Assembly on December 2. This law regulates appointments and the stability of Nicaraguan diplomats in foreign missions, and seeks both to make the foreign service career more attractive and to prevent inexperienced people without professional training from occupying diplomatic posts just because they are relatives or political cronies of the President or other top government officials, as is often the case today. This law is one of many required of Nicaragua by the IMF and the donor community as an expression of governance. It still needs enabling legislation.

ARMY GETS NEW CHIEF

President Alemán approved the unanimous proposal presented to him by the Army's Military Council to name General Javier Carrión as the new chief of the Army of Nicaragua. Carrión will replace General Joaquín Cuadra, who will leave his post on February 21, 2000, and is widely expected to head an alternative presidential ticket to the pacted two-party scheme in the 2001 elections.

THE NEW MILLENNIUM: END OF THE WORLD?

In a survey of Managua residents carried out two months before the end of the century, 45.5% of those interviewed said they expected the year 2000 to be “just like any other year,” while 43.5% stated that they expected “something special” from it. Surprisingly in this deeply religious and superstitious country, the answers were not appreciably divided along religious lines. Only 4.6% of the Catholics and 12.5% of the Protestants surveyed responded that the first thing that comes to mind with the arrival of 2000 is “the idea of the end of the world.”

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