A lot has been said lately about the close relationship that the private sector maintained with the Ortega-Murillo government, a relationship that was expressed especially, but not exclusively, through the government’s bilateral dialogue with the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP).
There’s also been talk about the rupture of that alliance since April 19th. Nevertheless, little has been said about the role of the multilateral organizations in supporting the Ortega-Murillo government. That role, as far as we know, still remains unchanged.
According to the Nicaraguan Central Bank’s report of external public debt from January to March 2018, the international financial organizations are at this moment the principal source of external financing for the government, following the drop-off in foreign aid from Venezuela. In 2017 alone, US $442 million dollars were disbursed to Nicaragua from the International Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
In the first quarter of 2018, 52.7 million dollars were paid out, of which 95.1% came from multilateral sources. The creditors who paid out the most were: CABIE (55.3%); IDB ((29.9%); and the World Bank (7.2%).
According to this same report, from January to March of 2018, the government contracted two loans from multilateral sources, specifically from CABIE and the European Investment Bank, for a total of US $254.3 million dollars.
One month into the civic insurrection that began on April 18 – a struggle involving many distinct sectors of the country including business leaders, students, civil society, farmers and the general public – the National Assembly approved new credits from the international financial organizations. At that point in the struggle, 100 people had already been assassinated by the Ortega-Murillo regime. Nonetheless, the World Bank, through the International Development Association, granted the sum of US $60 million dollars for health services, and a second credit for US $35 million dollars was arranged, to be administered by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Source: the governmental website El 19 digital , May 22, 2018).
My question is: Why up until this date (June 21) haven’t we heard any declaration from the representatives of these organizations regarding the massacre that the Nicaraguan people – the supposed beneficiaries of this financing – are suffering? Could it be that the interest payments that these loans are going to generate, or the bureaucratic promotions that will be awarded for having finalized them, are worth more than the lives of Nicaraguan men and women?
In a recent interview with former Foreign Minister Francisco Aguirre, he commented that in the final stage of the people’s fight to depose the dictator Mobutu in Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – there was pressure applied from three countries and the international financial organizations. This forced him to resign within the one month’s deadline he was given. In Nicaragua, the valiant position of the IACHR, Amnesty International and the European Parliament have filled us with hope that international pressure could be a very positive factor in putting an end to the Ortega Murillo regime.
Nevertheless, we’re still waiting for the international financial organizations, who’ve been so ready to finance the Ortega-Murillo government, to finally break their silence. We’re waiting for them to abstain from granting credits and pay outs to a genocidal government that’s determined to maintain its repression of an unarmed people. The least these organization could do after more than 200 Nicaraguans have been killed for demanding freedom, is to stop the flow of disbursements and not award any new credits to the Ortega Murillo government. It would be a great help to Nicaraguans if they could abstain from continuing to grant financing to a government that’s using these resources to repress an unarmed people.
*Educator and director of the Center for Social and Educational Research and Action (CIASES); vice president of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences (ACN)