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NicaNotes: Briefs

Thank you Alliance for Global Justice for this article


By Nan McCurdy

Zero Usury Loans for 3,500 Women
Through the Zero Usury program, 3,500 loans were given to an equal number of women organized in 950 solidarity groups, and in 90 municipalities. The loans are to strengthen their productive and commercial enterprises in rural and urban areas in Somoto, San Juan de Río Coco, San Lucas, San Juan de Limay, Achuapa, León, Masaya, Masatepe, Nindirí, Rivas, San Jorge, Chichigalpa and Somotillo, Managua, Mateare, Tipitapa, San Lorenzo, Teustepe, Matagalpa, and Matiguas. (Informe Pastran 15 April 2021)

New Innovation Center at the UNAN
Authorities of the National Autonomous University of Managua inaugurated the Carlos Martinez Rivas National Center for Open Innovation, a place where students studying for different careers can develop projects to solve problems of the productive sectors of the country, explained Joseph Diaz, coordinator of the center. “The students, through the open innovation seasons, will develop proposals to provide solutions to real needs of the productive sector and at the same time they will be preparing themselves for their professions,” said Diaz. The center is equipped with state-of-the-art computers, design computers, 3D printers, cameras and other tools for the students. (Radio La Primerisima, 16 April 2021)

71 Homes for Families Relocated by Highway
Construction of the first stage of the Villa de Santiago housing development, with 71 homes, located in Sábana Grande, Managua, has concluded. The houses will be turned over to families that have been relocated due to the expansion and construction works of the modern San Juan Pablo II expressway. This is a fully urbanized area with hydraulic concrete streets, potable water, sewage, and electricity. Each house is 560 square feet, within a lot of 1227 square feet; 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, and garden. See Photos: (Radio La Primerisima, 19 April 2021)

Thousandth Home Ready in Managua’s Bismarck Martinez Project
Vice President Rosario Murillo confirmed that the thousandth house of the Bismarck Martínez housing project in Villa Jerusalén will be inaugurated in Managua and said that at the end of the month a ceremony will be held with all the inhabitants once the finishing and painting phase is completed. The plan is for at least 50,000 homes around the country. Bismarck Martínez was a Managua municipal work kidnapped and brutally tortured by the opposition in 2018. His remains weren’t found until May 2019. (Informe Pastran, 20 April 2021)

Assembly Deputy Highlights Confidence from Financial Institutions
Deputy Wálmaro Gutiérrez said the almost US$900 million in loans contracted by Nicaragua in 2020 represent a sign of the confidence of the international financial organizations in the country’s economy. “At the same time, it is a blow to the opposition sectors bent on harming international cooperation,” observed the president of the Economy Commission of the National Assembly while speaking on the magazine En Vivo of Channel Four of Nicaraguan television. “For them [the opponents] it is totally frustrating,” said Gutiérrez in his analysis of how the economy begins to improve just three years after the failed coup attempt. “The opposition has less and less popular support,” he said about the protagonists of the acts of violence that interrupted an annual growth rate of close to 5% of the GDP during the preceding decade. Gutiérrez highlighted the stability and dynamism of the exchange, monetary, credit and mortgage markets and recalled that Nicaragua’s economy is expected to grow in the range of 2.5-3.5% in 2021, after registering negative numbers of four, three and two percentage points, respectively, in 2018, 2019 and 2020. “As the opposition failed to prevent the inflow of external resources to the economy, it now brings out the critical flag of over-indebtedness,” Gutierrez said. “It is a sustainable indebtedness and the financing granted is highly concessional,” said Gutiérrez. “The problem is not getting into debt but what you are getting into debt for.” He mentioned that the loans are for public infrastructure which generate employment and reduce poverty. “With all the limitations and challenges (coup, pandemic, hurricanes) faced, Nicaragua has not failed to honor a single cent of the indebtedness, he concluded.” (Prensa Latina, 19 April 2021)

Russian Support for School Meals
In support of the Nicaragua School Meals Program that provides more than 1,200,000 daily meals nationwide, the Russian Federation announced the delivery of a donation of 800 tons of sunflower oil and 32 thousand metric tons of wheat flour last week. The Russian Federation Ambassador in Managua Alexander Khokholikov, stated that” the donation made jointly with the World Food Program is in support of the program that the Government is implementing to promote socioeconomic development and school nutrition in the country”. (Nicaragua News, 19 April 2021)

1,000 New Businesses Created
Vice President Rosario Murillo presented the monthly report on the growth of new small business ventures in Nicaragua. The Vice President noted that 1,051 new businesses were created between March 16 and April 15, 2021, generating 5,255 new jobs. These new small and medium size businesses are in sectors such as sale of food products, miscellaneous stores, veterinary clinics, transportation services, carpentry, and mechanical workshops.  A total of 4,068 businesses have been established this year, creating 20,825 new jobs in the country. (Nicaragua News, 19 April 2021)

Major Expansion of Hardware Stores
The HOLCIM-Nicaragua Company announced that, between 2021 and 2023, it will invest more than US$40 million in its Nicaragua DISENSA hardware store network, going from 74 to 240 branches in the country. The Nicaragua General Manager, Marcelo Arrieta explained that “the investment is the second made since 2017 and is due to the excellent investment environment and dynamic construction sector in Nicaragua.” (Nicaragua News, 19 April 2021)

Possible Changes to Electoral Law
Liberal deputy Wilfredo Navarro said on Channel 4’s En Vivo Magazine on April 14 that the election of new magistrates for the Supreme Electoral Council will have gender equity: 50% of positions for women and 50% for men. He said that some of the magistrates whose terms have expired could well be re-elected and that if the opposition wants to have a presence, it must present its candidates through National Assembly deputies of the opposition parties. The Special Constitutional Commission has until April 29 to receive proposals and issue an opinion; then the National Assembly plenary will decide and elect the seven magistrates and three substitutes in the first days of May. Navarro said that the FSLN deputies are in favor of reaching a consensus to have a politically plural CSE. Some of the reforms to the electoral law, respond to suggestions of the Organization of American States (OAS), Navarro said.

Navarro said that the rejection by the opposition of the electoral reform package is a product of ignorance and lack of knowledge of the law and that is why their alleged experts “come out saying nonsense because as they have not been immersed in the effort, they are more concerned about the changes.” To see more details about possible reforms:

(En Vivo Magazine, Channel 4, 14 April 2021)

Rivas Beaches in Good Environmental Condition
The results of an UNAN research study indicate that the environmental quality of the waters of the bays on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast are between optimal and suitable for recreational activities and the preservation of flora and fauna. But there is contamination by microplastics in the beach sand and large variations in acidity and temperature that compromise conditions for organisms such as oysters. So there are still actions to be taken for the conservation of marine resources in the area. The study provides information for decision-making that will lead to sustainable management of the marine-coastal areas. A group of researchers from the Center for Research in Aquatic Resources of UNAN-Managua in conjunction with the Paso Pacífico Organization carried out five environmental studies in the south Pacific Coast area of Nicaragua in the period 2011-2019. These were financed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a number of Nicaraguan institutions. This research is ongoing. (Radio La Primerisima, April 20, 2021)

Weekly COVID-19 Report
For the week of April 13 to 19 there were 43 new registered cases of COVID-19, 36 people recuperated and one death. Since March 2020 there have been 5,450 registered cases of COVID, 5,212 people recuperated and 181 deaths. (Radio La Primerisima, 20 April 2021)