Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 346 | Mayo 2010




Envío team

In an event held in Managua on April 13, Argentine geologist José Viramonte was awarded honorary membership by Nicaragua’s Academy of Geography and History for his specialization in Nicaraguan volcanoes. Viramonte, who directed the Geology Office of Nicaragua’s National Geological Service for over 30 years, gave a masterly talk on the latent danger of Managua being destroyed, not so much by damaging earthquakes such as those of 1932 and 1974 as by a volcanic eruption of devastating dimensions. According to Viramonte, the crater lakes of Managua and nearby areas (Tiscapa, Asososca, Nejapa, Xiloá) and also of Masaya (Laguna de Apoyo) are in permanent contact with chambers of magma that could explode at any moment. Upon doing so, they produce steaming horizontal clouds and speeding waves of lava that could bury our capital in minutes. “Managua is a densely populated zone in the middle of a first grade explosive volcanic area that has already experienced recurring volcanic eruptions in its recent past,” said the expert, who dates them at some 15,000 years ago. “These eruptions will happen again and we have no idea when. There’s no reason for alarm, but we have to be aware of the dangers stalking us.”

La Prensa reported on March 26 that President Ortega had dissolved the Anti-corruption Unit of the National Police (PN) while PN Chief Aminta Granera was out of the country. This elite PN corps was created in 2005, during the government of Enrique Bolaños. It was made up of 25 police agents, 2 of them women, and conducted investigations and specialized actions against drug trafficking and organized crime in coordination with the US Drug Enforcement Agency. The news, which aroused justified suspicions, was confirmed by various official authorities the following days. When Granera returned, she called the decision “retooling,” assuring that it had been under discussion for some time and that the Unit’s members would be reassigned to other police missions. In a public act on April 16, President Ortega decorated the Unit’s officers and referred to them as “anonymous heroes”—they received their medal with their faces covered by hoods—but he didn’t explain the reasons for his decision, which the US Embassy in Managua regretted. In his speech, Ortega said that “in the map of the region, Central America is stained all over by the presence, even the installation of organized crime. Nicaragua, to the contrary, appears clean, thanks to God and to this police force, which is the daughter of the Revolution.”

Although the government of Nicaragua has still not officially recognized the Honduran government of Porfirio Lobo, President Ortega opened the door to normalized bilateral relations by receiving Lobo with clear displays of congeniality during his lightning visit to Managua on April 9, two days after a visit from Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom. Like Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, Colon believes the Lobo government should be fully recognized in Central America. Among Ortega’s reasons for opening up to Lobo was to reaffirm the Joint Honduras-Nicaragua Declaration of October 2007 regarding the shared border in the Gulf of Fonseca, which at the time Ortega and then-President Mel Zelaya declared a “zone of peace, sustainable development and security.” The Honduran resistance movement, which arose in opposition to the coup that toppled Zelaya and ultimately led to Lobo’s election, expressed its disappointment at the welcome Ortega gave Lobo. In his declarations at the end of his visit, Lobo highlighted the role played by Ortega’s wife in orchestrating the meeting, thanking her for the “fine attention and hospitality” she had offered during the get-together.

In its April 28 inauguration of the first Forum on the Fight against Maternal Mortality, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) reiterated its determination to completely eradicate maternal mortality and announced the implementation of Plan Parto (the Childbirth Plan) in rural areas. The plan consists of having each health facility take a census of pregnant women and guarantee that they all receive prenatal check-ups and emergency assistance, if required. MINSA will implement the plan with its doctors and health volunteers, especially midwives. With the same objective, the new health minister, gynecologist Sonia Castro, announced the “humanization of birthing” campaign, which will permit pregnant women to be accompanied throughout labor and delivery by their partner or a trusted family member. Contributing to the controversy over the criminalization of therapeutic abortion, Castro was categorical: “The Ministry of Health’s position with respect to any obstetric complication is that there is no position. One has to act. Because it’s not about a position. There are health norms and policies that indicate that everything possible must be done to save the woman’s life. It’s the same in any pathology, call it what you want. The woman’s life has to be saved first.”

The Nicaraguan feature film “La Yuma” finally premiered in Managua on May 5, after winning prizes in the Cartagena, Havana, Guadalajara and Malaga film festivals. Its female lead, professional dancer Alma Blanco, who plays a young boxer in the film, won the prize for best actress in Cartagena, Guadalajara, Marseille and Malaga. “La Yuma” was written and directed by Franco-Nicaraguan filmmaker Florence Jaugey and the camerawork was by Nicaraguan Frank Pineda. While both have made a number of award-winning documentary films together, “La Yuma” is their first fiction film, and is also the first made by Nicaraguans since the eighties.

On May 4, after swearing in the Regional Council members who won the March 7 elections in the autonomous Caribbean region and installing those elected to the directorial posts, Supreme Electoral Council president Roberto Rivas stated that he and the other current magistrates of that fourth branch of state will direct the 2011 general elections. It was an audacious and confrontational statement, given that their term officially ends in June of this year and the opposition parties are so far firmly united in opposing President Ortega’s stated preference that they all be reelected. A day later, Constitutionalist Liberal Party strongman Arnoldo Alemán registered as his party’s only presidential pre-candidate for those same elections.

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