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The Role of Big Business in the New Nicaragua

Private enterprise should be conducted with transparency. An honest business class is an asset to the country

Manuel Ignacio Lacayo

8 de junio 2018


Four decades ago, the popular armed insurrection deposed the dictator Anastasio Somoza, while the FSLN presented itself as the only protagonist, baptizing the process as the “triumph of the Sandinista Revolution”.

Today we Nicaraguans are experiencing a kind of déjà vu with the new dictator Daniel Ortega, who has not only systematically betrayed the ideals that so many young people fought and died for, but also had taken on as his principal allies the “Big Capitalists,” because he himself is now a multimillionaire who has accumulated a large fortune in the shadow of the corruption and squandering of the public treasury.

We need to meditate deeply to understand what should be done from now going forward, learning from the errors committed in these four decades. The brave university students of the 19th of April Movement and their classmates and family members who’ve supported them with firm and peaceful decisiveness, have been examples of high-minded convictions and straight-forward and important objectives.

The complex circumstances that Nicaragua is dealing with, in which approximately a hundred people have tragically lost their lives, urges an immediate solution to be carried out within six months. This would entail a clean-up and total reform of the Electoral Council and the State Powers; Constitutional reform, early presidential and congressional elections, restructuring of the National Police, and the bringing to justice of all those found to be directly or indirectly responsible for the killings of April and May, killings that must be investigated by the International Truth Commission. In the new Nicaragua there can’t be a democracy with impunity.

During the democratic transition, private companies should conduct their business with transparency, and their business leaders should commit to directing their transactions within the most elevated canons of law, in which under the table arrangements aren’t allowed. This would permit the exercise of a free play of supply and demand and fair competition. There should be crystal clear relations in which the best person with the best prices, quality, delivery conditions, etc. for goods and services wins.  The taxpayers want to feel at ease that the institutional structures are in honest hands and that the business world doesn’t award contracts through the use of bribes or other undue ruses, whatever their origin. As a result, any suspicion of a shady transaction should be able to be denounced with no fear so that it can be investigated and punished if found outside the law.

The business leaders should offer their workers effective benefits and permanent training programs that allows them to learn the necessary skills for attaining opportunities for professional or personal advancement, and that will be of benefit to their children so that each generations does better than the one before. To develop a prosperous and safe country, an iron will is needed with enough of a desire to rise above difficulties, improve the qualifications of the labor pool and in this way raise our competitiveness on a global level.

It took the “large capital” sector a very long time to make the decision to publicly criticize the nefarious actions of the government and para-government apparatus in their efforts to bring about the total submission of the population. Abusive decisions and actions of all kinds have been made by the national government and other authorities at different levels, as well as representatives of the judicial branch, the legislature, the military and politicians who make deals behind the people’s backs with concrete benefits for certain business figures. All of this must end, and all of the current authorities must be replaced by new and better, while those who have acted in bad faith be investigated, indicted and tried even if they’re members of any of the country’s ruling bodies, including the business sector.


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Certainly the business sector should promote the independent democratic process so as to end the practice of influence trafficking. An honest business class is an asset to the country. Their behavior should be flawless. We can go back to showing and conducting ourselves as we did many decades ago when the mere word of a person was taken with great trust, since it was assumed that they were going to follow through on it.  Recently, the custom has be to sign anything knowing that there would be other tacit understandings and “palm-greasing” that would leave businesses to be divided up or repeated in a way that offered advantages to some but discriminated against others.

It is time to be inclusive, to welcome the contribution of the Nicaraguan brothers and sisters who wish to collaborate in the creation of a new national social agreement in which there are no continuous political re-elections of the same individuals or their relatives, partners or other close associates. The public sphere is everyone’s business and employers must set a good example, avoiding deals that only benefit the economically superior groups.

Once the current difficult situation has been overcome, with the possible participation of some international organizations and the advice of more successful countries in these processes, Nicaragua must embrace with confidence the new administrators and clean business rules in which the people win, since every citizen is a co-owner of the country.

Six weeks have passed in which the most costly aspect is the loss of human life that has occurred. Many were young people with dreams and aspirations, dedicated to their studies, but disillusioned by the dishonest way in which things were being conducted in the country, they protested by exercising their right to freedom of expression. Therefore, we are at a point of political inflection in search of an inclusive economic stability.

There can be no going back, the steps without violence on the part of the future group that will make decisions at different levels in the country, have been given. How can the business class propose that elections be held, but under the supervision of the OAS under the command of an individual [Luis Almagro] who has been an ideological and adventurous partner of the unconstitutional president of Nicaragua?

What does the big business sector hide by not fully supporting this peaceful uprising of the population against the government system? If big business wants to be part of this patriotic rebirth, it must join the struggle in a clear and decisive way. A clean break from the big business-government collusion is needed, likewise the unjustified and unnecessary tax exemptions that have only promoted the widening of the gap between those who have a lot and those who do not.

Hopefully, those of the business community who make the decisions will welcome this new opportunity and channel their actions for the future in a constructive alliance with the leadership of democratic young people, whose abilities are being well demonstrated, without resorting to armed struggle.

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Manuel Ignacio Lacayo

Manuel Ignacio Lacayo