This week I want to draw your attention to a report on the delegation I led in February to Honduras and Nicaragua. The delegation compared and contrasted the two counties in the areas of rural development, citizen security, and women’s empowerment. In Nicaragua we were hosted by the ATC farmworkers union. You can read or download the 27-page report here. Special thanks to Llana Barber for most of the narrative and to John Mejia for the photographs. Feel free to use all or parts of the report with credit to Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice.
- A Moody’s rating agency report issued last Thursday, assigned a B2 score to the Nicaragua sovereign debt with a stable outlook. The report noted that Nicaragua has maintained a 4.5% sustained economic growth rate, with moderate public debt and high levels of foreign direct investments. “The Nicaragua government has maintained a close working relationship with the International Monetary Fund and has established a successful Tripartite Alliance Model between government, employers and labor,” the Moody’s report said. (Nicaragua News, May 26)
- A two-day OAS Mission met last week with “members of the Constructive Dialogue Commission, representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations accredited in the country,” according to Vice-President Rosario Murillo. The OAS has offered technical support to the Supreme Electoral Council to improve voter registration, issuing of identification cards, and updating of voter rolls. “Through these efforts we want to reaffirm the strong commitment of Secretary General Luis Almagro to work on strengthening democracy and the improvement of electoral processes in Nicaragua,” OAS Chief of Staff Gonzalo Koncke stated. Gerardo de Icaza, director of the Electoral Cooperation Department of the OAS also announced that a mission of 120 electoral observers will cover Nicaragua’s Nov. 5 municipal elections. “The electoral observation mission will arrive in Nicaragua on June 15 and observers will be deployed in the 15 departments of the country and the two autonomous regions of the Caribbean Coast,” he said. (Nicaragua News, May 24, 25)
- A CID Gallup poll carried out between May 11-19, found that President Daniel Ortega has a 64% popular support among the Nicaraguan people. Fifty-four percent of respondents said President Ortega always does what’s best for the country and 56% expressed strong approval for the management of the government. (Nicaragua News May 25)
- According to the Nicaraguan Energy Institute annual report, in 2016 Nicaragua generated 52.8% of its electricity from renewable sources compared to 26.86% in 2006. Energy expert Patricia Rodriguez said that Nicaragua has the best potential in Central America to generate clean energy. She noted that the initial investment is high, but in the long run energy from renewable sources is more profitable because the hydro, wind, and geothermal systems are cheaper to operate than petroleum based systems. “A renewable plant does not change its prices year after year as happens with petroleum plants where at any time prices can rise with the price of crude oil,” she said. (El Nuevo Diario, May 29)
- One quarter of Nicaraguan children under two years of age are underweight for their age, according to a Ministry of Health study carried out between February and April of this year and released on May 29. Pediatrician Katherine Bradford said that malnutrition in children under two could be prevented if mothers would breast feed their babies exclusively longer. These figures have gone down from the Ministry’s Nutritional Census of 2015 and 2014. However, Dr. Ivania Gonzalez, an expert in pediatric nutrition, said that obesity in small children is on the increase with 10% overweight and 5.3% obese. She said that this type of malnutrition is due “above all because the children are including in their diet very sugary drinks and they have less physical activity.” (El Nuevo Diario, May 29)