Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 293 | Diciembre 2005




Nitlápan-Envío team

The great expectations created in the Nicaraguan media about former President Arnoldo Alemán’s trial in Panama were dashed when, alleging their client’s ill health, lawyers representing Alemán’s father-in-law in Panama succeeded in suspending the preliminary hearing against Alemán, his partner Byron Jerez and members of both their families until March 30, 2006. All have been accused of conspiring to launder some $75 million of Nicaragua’s public resources through Panama’s financial system. Nicaragua’s Public Prosecutor’s Office also contributed to the trial’s postponement by the intentional technical maneuver of failing to subpoena Alemán, which is just the most recent of a long series of decisions aimed at favoring Public Prosecutor Centeno’s close political ally. In Nicaragua, Alemán’s family tried to deceive public opinion by declaring that the process had “collapsed due to lack of evidence.”

According to the Environmental Department of the Bluefields mayor’s office, Hurricane Beta caused irreversible damage to 32,000 hectares of forests in the Río Grande Bar and surrounding areas in the RAAS due to Nicaragua’s scant and inappropriate reforestation practice. The same thing happened in 1988, when Hurricane Joan leveled thousands of hectares of forest to the south of the currently hit area, and they never recovered. The ecological disaster will also affect the marine resources that provide an economic livelihood for a large part of the Caribbean coast’s population.

On December 1, in commemoration of the World Day of Struggle Against Aids and responding to an increase of the epidemic in Nicaragua (two infected daily), the high indices of child and adolescent pregnancy (30% of all Nicaraguan children are born to such young mothers) and the high rate of sexual activity among students in the last two years of high school (30%), President Bolaños, Education Minister Miguel Ángel García and Health Minister Margarita Gurdián pledged to promote sex education programs in the public school system.

A year ago, the Catholic hierarchy and a sector of Evangelical churches successfully pressured Bolaños to cancel the distribution of a school sex education manual aimed at guiding teachers on this issue. According to Bolaños, the government will now provide “information that is true, scientific, precise, complete and morally appropriate for each level of child and adolescent development to help prepare them for life, even in difficult contexts, and that will lead to the construction of a healthy and morally acceptable sexual practice.” García expressed the urgent need for a “radical” sex education, assuring that “it’s not about going against moral and religious precepts, but about transmitting necessary information without being puritan.”

For the first time, Honduras and Nicaragua jointly committed themselves to conserving and protecting the “Heart of the Meso-american Biological Corridor” Transborder Biosphere Reserve, made up of three protected natural areas in Honduras (the Reserve of Man and Rio Plátano Biosphere, the Tawahka-Asangni Biosphere Reserve and the Patuca National Park) and one in Nicaragua (the Bosawás Reserve). According to the Central American Convention for the Conservation of the Biodiversity and Protection of Forested Areas, this Transborder Reserve is one of eleven priority areas for the conservation of Central America’s endangered biodiversity.

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