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Ortega’s police raid FIDEG, research center on poverty issues

The NGO is the main independent research center on socio-economic poverty studies in Nicaragua

The NGO is the main independent research center on socio-economic poverty studies in Nicaragua

Iván Olivares

6 de noviembre 2021


The offices of the International Foundation for the Global Challenge (FIDEG), located in Managua, led by the economist and businessman Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, were raided by the Ortega Police on Thursday, November 7, confirmed several sources that do not know the causes of the police occupation.

In the same building where FIDEG operates, there are, in separate offices, the headquarters of the companies Joya of Nicaragua, exporter of premium cigars, and the commercial company Plisa, duty-free, also chaired by Martinez Cuenca. This morning the entire building was occupied by the Police.

FIDEG is an independent think-tank founded in the early 90’s that is dedicated to conducting studies on economic and social development, including issues of education, the fight against poverty and gender equality.

Its main product is the biannual Household Surveys to Measure Poverty in Nicaragua, in which the same households are repeatedly surveyed, in order to present an image of how poverty is evolving in the country.

Latest research

The findings of the latest FIDEG research contradict the Ortega government discourse. While the Nicaraguan Central Bank (BCN), citing data of the Nicaraguan Institute of Development Information (INIDE), systematically decreases the percentages of people who are in a situation of general poverty and extreme poverty, FIDEG’s findings say otherwise.

This was what happened in August 2017, when the foundation postponed indefinitely the presentation of the results, citing a temporary situation. On that occasion, Martinez Cuenca, assured that the survey would be presented that year, when there are “better conditions.”

That would finally occur more than thirteen months later, in September 2018, when the data presented showed a discrepancy of 17.1 percentage points from the official data. While the Government claimed in its surveys that poverty has been reduced from 29.6% in 2014 to 24.9% in 2016, FIDEG’s independent measurement indicated that poverty had rather increased from 39% in 2015 to 42% in 2016.

The survey carried out in 2019, whose data was presented in December 2020, showed that general poverty continued to increase, reaching 44.4% of the inhabitants, while 8.9% lived in extreme poverty. The results of the survey conducted by FIDEG in 2021 have not yet been released.

At the time of publication of this information, the reasons why the regime ordered the raid on FIDEG are not known, neither the Foundation itself nor the Police communicated anything on their respective websites, and the sources consulted did not answer calls.

Martinez Cuenca was Minister of Foreign Trade and Secretary of Planning in the Ortega Government in the 1980’s, and as of 2011 was a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nicaragua, a position to which he resigned in August 2018.

Around 50 NGOs of all types, social, economic, educational and political, have been assaulted and/or closed by the regime in Nicaragua since 2018.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times



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Iván Olivares

Iván Olivares

Periodista nicaragüense, exiliado en Costa Rica. Durante más de veinte años se ha desempeñado en CONFIDENCIAL como periodista de Economía. Antes trabajó en el semanario La Crónica, el diario La Prensa y El Nuevo Diario. Además, ha publicado en el Diario de Hoy, de El Salvador. Ha ganado en dos ocasiones el Premio a la Excelencia en Periodismo Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, en Nicaragua.