US threatens Nicaragua with sanctions
News from Nicaragua | Tuesday, 1 August 2017 |
On 27 July, a bill known as the Nica Act (Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act), was approved by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
If signed off by Congress and President Trump in the autumn, this legislation would mean that the US, who effectively has veto powers within international lending institutions, could block all loans to Nicaragua from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.
Currently running at US$250 million annually, these loans are being invested in education, social programmes, electrification, roads and other infrastructure initiatives. This economic war could severely destabilise Nicaragua and undermine widely praised progress by the Nicaraguan government in reducing poverty.
It is the poorest and most vulnerable who will be affected most severely by the consequences.
The Nica Act has met with unanimous condemnation in Nicaragua by the government, the National Assembly, the Catholic Church and all political parties. It has also been criticised as counterproductive by the private sector represented in the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce and by the Organisation of American States (OAS).
As Nicaraguan economist Mauricio Peralta points out: “Impoverishing a country will not contribute to democracy”.
One of the backers of the NICA Act is Senator Ted Cruz stated, “Nicaragua and all freedom-loving people in Central America depend on US leadership,” a sentiment ominously reminiscent of the pretext for US aggression against Nicaragua in the 1980s that resulted in the deaths of 30,000 people and the untold suffering of tens of thousands more.
The Nicaraguan government has expressed 'categorical rejection of this interventionist action' against 'families, the communities, the people of Nicaragua and all the countries of the region that promote peace and security as key to socio-economic development.'