Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 339 | Octubre 2009




Envío team

On September 10, the National Police dismantled a clandestine laboratory on the outskirts of the municipality of Achuapa, department of León, in which the Sinaloa drug cartel was processing amphetamine and storing it for later export to Mexico and the United States. It seized 250,000 amphetamine tablets, 50 pounds of powder plus liquid of the same drug. Each kilo of amphetamine goes for about $120,000 in the United States. Two Mexican and three Nicaraguan men were arrested for their connection to the lab. It’s the first time a small-scale laboratory servicing the illegal drug trade has been discovered in Nicaragua. National Police Chief Aminta Granera announced that “we have broken the social base and the effort drug cartels were making to put a drug processing lab in Nicaragua for the first time,” adding that the success was the fruit of six months of work by the National Police intelligence agencies and other specialized bodies.

Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border,” scripted by Pakistani writer Tariq Ali, which premiered at Venice’s annual Mostra de Cine, seeks to document for the world the shifts to the left produced in Latin America. The film’s principal protagonist is Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who attended the showing of the film, but it also contained interviews and scenes with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández and former President Néstor Kirchner, Uruguay’s Fernando Lugo, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Cuba’s Raúl Castro. Significantly, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega does not appear in the movie.

Olivier De Schutter, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on the Right to Food, paid a visit to Nicaragua during the week of September 6. On September 11, at the conclusion of his trip, he offered his preliminary conclusions to national and international reporters after evaluating a series of initiatives the government has taken to improve food security in the country. He said he was very impressed with them, particularly the government’s insignia social program Zero Hunger, but added that he is encouraging the government to ensure the incorporation of human rights principles in the design and application of such schemes and application of the programs with more transparency so they are as inclusive as possible. Specifically, the requisites that beneficiaries must comply with must be clearly defined in the legislation and a mechanism must be established for presenting any complaints, all to strengthen a strategy that merits being sustainable and whose reach must be expanded.

He also succinctly summed up the conflict with the international community, explaining that a series of issues have undermined confidence between the Nicaraguan government and the donor community in which the country’s dependence on outside aid makes the Nicaraguan government distrust what it believes are efforts to undermine its human development strategy, and that it opposes conditions being tacked on at the moment of providing assistance. The result, De Schutter added, is that the government and international donor community has not sat down at the same table since March 2008.

At the September 26 celebration of the third annual World Contraception Day, various projects funded by the US Agency for International Development to facilitate family planning methods announced an important achievement thanks to the use of modern contraception methods: the average number of children per Nicaraguan woman is now three, down by half from the 1985 fecundity rate. Considering family planning an important step in the struggle to reduce poverty and lower maternal and infant mortality, they highlighted the fact that since 2006 the Ministry of Health has assigned resources to the purchase of contraceptives. For its part, the National Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, to which 18 Nicaraguan and international institutions present in Nicaragua belong, stressed family planning as “a basic human right involving the freedom of men and women to freely and responsibly decide the number and spacing of their children” and reminded the audience of the seriousness of the high number of teenage pregnancies in the country, many of them the product of rape.

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