The publication in the Official Gazette of Nicaragua ordered the cancellation of the legal status and registration of the Central American Institute of Business Administration (Incae). Hours later, the educational entity recognized the fact “with deep sadness,” promising to continue with its purpose of “transforming lives, for a better future in Latin America, from its campus in Costa Rica.”
“Over the course of all these decades, Incae has been faithful to its mission of actively contributing to the sustainable development of Nicaragua and the region,” the institution said in a statement.
Incae, with headquarters in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, is defined “as the best business school in Latin America” and that “has promoted the progress of Latin American society through the training of talent for regional leaders through the Master’s Degrees and Executive Programs”. According to the statement, more than 4,000 professionals have graduated from the campus in Managua.
“It’s a barbarity. One more abuse of the dictatorship,” said the economist and former vice minister of Finance and Public Credit, Juan Sebastián Chamorro. The president of the Libertad Foundation, and former student of Incae, Felix Maradiaga, noted that “this type of attacks on “Private property should also be treated with the utmost severity by the international community.”
As part of its offensive against organized civil society, the dictatorship led by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has ordered the confiscation of more than 3,000 non-profits, including dozens of universities, most recently the prestigious Central American University (UCA).
Now the turn has come for Incae, “which does not come as a surprise. We were already waiting for that,” as Chamorro explained, considering that this regional house of studies in fact began to migrate all its operations to its campus in Alajuela, Costa Rica, since 2018, to guarantee the safety of its international students, in a moment when the streets were blocked in Nicaragua.
When trying to understand the reason for this decision, Chamorro asserted that “the dictatorship passes the bill to this institution, basically for its role at the second negotiating table, and for having protected the students,” in reference to the fact that Incae offered a place for students to be safe, so they could participate in the 2019 Dialogue.
Maradiaga said this decision responds to a strategy of controlling education, which is common to “totalitarian regimes that seek to exercise absolute control over education to shape the minds and beliefs of the population. By confiscating private universities, as they previously did with the UCA and many others, the Ortegas are determined to ensure that there is no educational space left that is not aligned with their propaganda.”
He added that another reason for appropriating such prestigious houses of study is because the dictatorship considers universities and thought centers as critical intellectual spaces, where diverse ideas and opinions are freely expressed, in addition to wanting to eliminate any possible incubator of free thought that provide youth with platforms to express their concerns and mobilize political and social change.
By confirming that the decision of the Minister of the Interior, María Amelia Coronel Kinloch, only affects its operations in Nicaragua, the president of the Incae Board of Directors, Roberto Artavia, and the rector of that house of studies, Enrique Bolaños Abaunza, recalled that “Incae “is a business school recognized and internationally ranked among the best in the world, with operations in several countries in the region.”
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.