Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 435 | Octubre 2017



Nicaragua briets


Not surprisingly, Vice President Rosario Murillo issued a communique responding to the unanimous approval of the Nica Act by the US House of Representatives on October 3, calling its passage “a violation of Nicaragua’s Sovereignty and a denial of all Political, Social, Cultural and Economic Processes developed in our Blessed, United and Always Free Homeland to improve the Life of all and promote Joy, Harmony and Wellbeing.” Turning to the domestic audience, she wrote that “Once again we reiterate to the People of Nicaragua, to Nicaraguan Families, to the Youth and to the International Community our unwavering Commitment to Democracy and the Paths of Harmony, Coming Together, Understanding, Security and Prosperity which all Nicaraguans travel in Union and Hope, in Faith and Trust, with God’s Grace and Hand.”


Merza Hussain Hasan, dean of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, spoke on September 18 in the name of 11 of their number in Nicaragua for a project assessment visit. He praised Nicaragua’s results in the 12 projects the Bank is currently financing at a cost of some US$560 million, US$150 million of it approved just in the past three years. Among other projects, Hussain especially mentioned those developing renewable energy, calling them a “critical point in this dynamic of climate change.” Coming only two weeks before the House passage of the Nica Act, which instructs US representatives to the World Bank and other international financing institutions to vote against any Nicaraguan loan request, it’s hard not to interpret as a consciously independent stance Hussain’s statement that “the alliance between the World Bank and Nicaragua [was] reinforced, as we continue to support them in areas where they need support in order to improve growth in the country.”


María Rubiales, Nicaragua’s permanent representative to the United Nations, spoke on the next to last day of the UN’s 72nd General Assembly Sessions (September 19-26). She criticized Trump’s military threats to Venezuela and the continuing blockade of Cuba, defending the Constituent Assembly promoted by President Maduro as a “sovereign decision” and “the only path to peace.” With respect to Nicaragua she warned that the Nica Act is aimed at “damaging the economy of Nicaragua’s families,” and indirectly reminded the congresspeople who plan to vote for it that Nicaragua is still demanding indemnification, in line with the sentence issued in 1986 by the International Court of Justice of The Hague for what she called “acts of terrorism committed by President Reagan despite the opposition of the US Congress.” Rubiales also expressed concern about North Korea’s nuclear tests. She did not, however, make any reference to President Ortega’s rather unspecific announcement that Nicaragua plans to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement after refusing to sign it in 2015, considering it too weak.


Together with Cuba and Haiti, the Nicaraguan government did not send a representative to Washington for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ 164th extraordinary period of sessions held on September 4-8. Nicaragua was represented, however. Francisca Ramírez, leader of the Council in Defense of the Land, Lake and Sovereignty, formed in opposition to the 2013 interoceanic canal law and to the canal’s construction, described to commission members the repression the peasant movement has suffered since that time. “In Nicaragua we have no right to raise our voices to ask for justice,” she said. “Only a few of us are daring to lose our lives if necessary to speak for those who cannot.”


José Adán Aguerri was reelected as president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) on September 8 for the ninth straight time, this time for a three-year term. In his speech honoring the Day of the Entrepreneur, Aguerri alluded to recent criticisms by different members of Nicaragua’s big business elite, saying “Talk is easy, building isn’t.” Enrique Bolaños Abaunza, former President Bolaños’ eldest son and the rector of the Central American Business Institute had commented a week earlier that if the Nicaraguan economy continues growing at only 4% annually, a figure COSEP boasts about, it will take 40 years just to reach Costa Rica’s current gross domestic product. Buttressing that critique, but more constructively, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, director of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES), presented proposals to add value to Nicaragua’s primary export products, which have been exported for the past hundred years with virtually no processing. Aguerri also implicitly responded to declarations by FUNIDES president Gerardo Baltodano regarding both public and private corruption in the country, and while he was at it took a cheap shot at various independent media who have criticized COSEP’s alliance with the government by charging that there is also corruption in the media, without naming any specifically. It’s hard for COSEP to successfully defend itself against such charges as 43 COSEP business leaders hold executive posts in state institutions, making them co-responsible for the government’s anti-democratic course and surely aware of, if not complicit in, the corruption charges that have been gaining momentum.

On September 16 the ten bishops of Nicaragua’s Episcopal Conference traveled to the Vatican to pay the “visita ad limina” required every five years for all bishops around the world to report to the Pope on their work. In a private audience Nicaragua’s bishops brought Pope Francis up to date on the situation in each of their dioceses and on the country’s social and political reality. Auxiliary bishop of Managua Silvio Báez, who is of the Carmelite Order, described the meeting as “two long hours of pleasant and spontaneous conversation, full of frankness and fraternity.” In response to the bishops’ invitation to visit Nicaragua, the pope merely assured that “it is possible.” A communique the bishops published on September 21 added that “Pope Francis is not removed from the sociopolitical reality of our country. He has exhorted us to call on you, laypeople, to take responsibility for the political task.”


According to official figures, 13 flights between January, when Donald Trump took office, and September 6 have brought at least 405 Nicaraguans to Managua from the United States after being deported as undocumented immigrants. They join the 9,349 deported between 2007 and 2015, corresponding to the last two years of the Bush Jr. government and first seven of the Obama government. Some Nicaraguans are beginning to ask why there are so many gringos down here opening businesses, repatriating their profits and freely walking the country’s streets while Nicaraguans who only want that same opportunity in the United States are refused residency and deported.

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