Thank you for actions you have already taken to call and write your Congresspersons.
This is important because the RENACER Act (new sanctions on Nicaragua) is now being discussed in both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It is relatively unusual to have a bill considered at the same time in both houses. Clearly the powers that be in the United States want this bill with more illegal coercive measures against Nicaragua passed ASAP to try to hurt Nicaragua in the lead-up to the November elections.
And this means we need to keep up our work and attempt to involve more people in this campaign.
Please continue to call your Congresspersons – phone calls are most effective. Leave your short message with whoever answers and ask them to give your message to your Senator or Representative. You can call local and DC offices.
If you have more time, ask to speak with the Foreign Affairs Aide. If they put you through to this person’s phone, leave your message and ask that they return your call. You will have to pressure some to talk to this person. But a short chat is worthwhile as you want to establish a relationship and let them know you care about Nicaragua. Tell them that Nicaragua is doing well, but would be unjustly hurt by more sanctions.
Please share this with anyone you think might be willing to make a phone call. Thank you!
And if you don’t have time to make phone calls, please contact your Representative by email. Below is an easy way that takes only five minutes.
Thank you for taking action!
Brief script for your phone calls:
I want Representative/Senator ——– to vote NO on the sanctions bill against Nicaragua entitled RENACER, Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform. (1) Nicaragua does not pose any threat to the United States. It is a small nation of 6.3 million, in the bottom ten countries in arms. (2) This bill would harm the Nicaraguan people, especially the most vulnerable, by blocking development aid from international financial institutions. (3) The bill also appears to pressure the country to choose new leadership favored by the US, but I believe the Nicaraguan people should select their own leaders. (4) In contrast to other Central American countries, Nicaragua is functioning very well – for example, very few migrants are coming to the US, and the poverty rate has been cut in half.
- If you speak to the aide or someone else in the office you could ask, “Has the Congressperson taken a position on this bill?” If they say they’ll have to check, ask them to get back to you with the answer.
- Please forward this email to supportive people in your network, and add a note asking them to take action.
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS
Feel free to use these talking points to tailor your message when you speak with your representative, the aide or whoever picks up the phone:
This new sanctions bill is meant to reinforce the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act (Nica Act) of December of 2018, whose purpose was to cut off access to development financing from the World Bank, the IMF, the Inter-American Development Bank and others. It was not to be used to block pro- poor loans (loans for poverty-related items), though it is being used exactly for that purpose.
Nicaraguans are not marching north. Compared to its northern neighbors, statistically it has 0 people migrating to the US. That’s because it has the lowest homicide rate in Central America according to international organizations like the UNDP; there are no gangs or drug trafficking cartels; the armed forces of the US and Nicaragua used to work together to stop the flow of drugs to the US. Nicaragua continues to be a retention wall against cocaine going north and money to pay for it going south, with drug and money busts every week.
The World Bank, IMF, International Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration have all affirmed that their Nicaragua portfolios are managed with transparency and efficiency contributing to poverty reduction and economic development, especially in health, education, water, energy, roads and sanitation. Nicaragua was one of the few developing countries that achieved the UN Millennium Development Goals on time.
US officials continue to say that Nicaragua is a threat to US national security, which does not make any sense, given that Nicaragua is the third poorest country in Latin American, is in the bottom ten countries in the world in armaments, and Nicaragua’s clear priorities for her people are the elimination of poverty, the achievement of 100% food security, 100% renewable energy, and the best health system in the region.
It would be much more useful for our country to study how Nicaragua has achieved what it has in the last 14 years in order to understand how best to help the rest of Central America and even our own people in the US.
Nicaragua’s strategic response to the pandemic has resulted in the lowest number of infections and deaths per capita, and the highest recovery rate in the region whilst keeping all of its borders open under rigorous safety protocols.
Nicaragua has developed an exceptional emergency response and mitigation capacity as seen this past November with Hurricanes Eta and IOTA, the most devastating hurricanes to hit Nicaragua in 40 years. Days before, the government mobilized 100,000 emergency volunteers and evacuated 160,000 people; 1195 shelters and 2,300 safe houses were readied and supplied with food, mattresses, medicine, water, etc. For its excellent management of the disaster it has been recognized by the United Nations and The World Food Program Director for Latin America, Miguel Barreto, who lauded the preparation work done by the government to prevent deaths from hurricanes Eta and Iota, and emphasized that the work was essential to avoiding loss of life.
The 2020 Hanke Annual Misery Index (Hami), which calculates the wellbeing of countries based on economic statistics, ranked Honduras as the country with the most misery in Central America, closely followed by Panama and Costa Rica. According to the misery report, Nicaragua has the least misery in Central America – one reason very few people are leaving.
Social gains over the past 14 years include:
- Poverty has been reduced from 48.3% to 24.9% and extreme poverty from 17.5% to 6.9%.
- Nicaragua has the best highways in Central America (and in the top five of Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum.
- 99% of the population will have electricity by the end of 2021 (2006 – 54%) and about 80% will be generated from renewable sources (26% in 2006). 65% of pop in 2006 had access to potable water, 91.8% had it in 2018 and projections are for 95% in 2023.
- Best hospital system in the region. 19 new hospitals were built and 8 more are under construction; and there are 6,045 doctors now compared to 2,715 in 2006. The country´s health budget has risen 319% since 2006.
- The illiteracy rate under 5%
- Nicaragua is 5th in the world in gender equity (World Economic Forum) and first in percentage of women in ministerial positions.
- Maternal and infant mortality have been cut by more than half since 2007.
- Nicaragua has a high level of food security. It produces 90% of the food its people eat and lunch is provided free to all students in public schools.
Ironically, there has been no shortage of US AID funding for the people who directed the terror campaign, manned the violent roadblocks, and shut the country down by not allowing trucks to pass through from Costa Rica to Honduras for over three months in an attempt to effect “regime change” in April of 2018. These so-called popular protests quickly turned into months of terror and destruction fed by years of preparation in the use of social media to stoke the initial flames. Those three months caused more economic damage than the pandemic and the hurricanes combined. The US openly funded the groups involved in the 2018 violence through USAID, NED, IRI, Freedom House, etc. In the three years leading up to the attempted coup USAID alone provided US$97,620,294 with US$4,537,248 for the opposition media.
Now is not the time to promote more destabilization in the region. Instead, Nicaragua´s government has expressed the need to promote a green alliance between developed and developing countries in order to face the combined consequences of climate change and the Covid 19 pandemic. The world urgently needs peace, stability and a new economic order prioritizing life, health, and the fight against poverty. We need a just and responsible world, with countries who cooperate and complement each other – not sanctions, which are aggressions in violation of the Charter of the United Nations to which the US is a signatory.
By Nan McCurdy
Nicaragua: Highest Wellbeing in Central America
The 2020 Hanke Annual Misery Index (Hami), which calculates the wellbeing of countries based on each country’s economy, ranked Honduras as the country with the most misery in Central America, closely followed by Panama and Costa Rica. According to the report, Nicaragua is the best positioned nation of the Isthmus. The methodology takes into account unemployment rates, inflation, bank loans, and the percentage variation of real GDP per capita. The formula for the misery ranking is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank loan rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. (To see the full list, click here.)
National Assembly Elects Magistrates and Passes Electoral Reforms
On May 4 the National Assembly elected seven magistrates and three alternate magistrates for the next five-year term out of a total of 42 nominations made by National Assembly Deputies. Only two of the ten were previously part of the CSE – Lumberto Campbell and Mayra Salinas. The full list is Brenda Rocha Chacón, Alma Nubia Baltodano Marcenaro, Mayra Salinas Uriarte, Lumberto Campbell, Cairo Amador, Leonzo Knight, and Devoney McDavis and the alternates are Adriana Marina Molina Fajardo, Maura Lissette Álvarez and Alberto Blandón. There are six women and four men. Two of the alternates were proposed by PLC Deputies.
On May 2, the FSLN party presented the candidacies of Lumberto Campbell, president of the Supreme Electoral Council, and Magistrate Mayra Salinas. They did not include current magistrates Emmet Lang, Norma Moreno, Judith Silva and Virginia Molina. Campbell’s candidacy was presented by Deputy Gustavo Porras, and Salinas was proposed by the FSLN Deputy for the Department of León, Gladys Báez. According to the list published on May 2, Deputy Loria Dixon, first secretary of the Assembly, presented Brenda Rocha, a former Sandinista combatant and native of Bonanza. Deputy Maritza Espinales, first vice-president of the Assembly, proposed Alma Nubia Baltodano Marcenaro. Deputies Juan Ramón Obregón and María Agustina Montenegro supported the candidacy of Adriana Molina. Mauricio Orúe and Byron Jerez, Sandinista ally, proposed the candidacy of Cairo Amador, member of the Truth, Justice and Peace Commission. Alternate Deputy Ana Valeria Rafael proposed Devoney McDavis Álvarez, who has held positions as member of the Regional Electoral Council of the Caribbean Coast. The Sandinista deputies presented as candidates for electoral magistrates five women, two of them from the Nicaraguan Caribbean, and two men. One of the variants is that the Sandinista bench did not present a block of candidates, but rather the deputies presented their proposals. See photos and more details: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias-generales/destacado/frente-sandinista-presenta-candidaturas-al-cargo-de-magistrados-al-cse/ (Radio La Primererisima, 2 May 2021, 4 May 2021)
Vaccination Information for May
Vice President Rosario Murillo said that the third phase of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign will begin May 3 when front line workers from the Health Ministry, Customs, border posts, police and those over 55 years of age will begin to be vaccinated. (Earlier phases included people with serious health conditions.) In the first week of May about 100,000 people will be vaccinated. The second dose of the vaccine must be applied, according to the technical recommendations of the World Health Organization and the laboratories, nine weeks after the application of the first dose, so starting June 8, this process will begin with the same sequence. Murillo explained that the first dose offers 70% immunity, which means that people must continue to take care of themselves, social distancing, carrying out their activities in open spaces, the use of masks, continuous hand washing and precautions with the elderly, as indicated by the Health Ministry. Voluntary vaccination will continue in Managua, Ticuantepe, San Rafael del Sur and begin in Las Minas, Paiwás, Mulukukú, Siuna, Rosita and Bonanza. “In the penitentiary system of Tipitapa, people in the corresponding age range who wanted to be vaccinated against Covid-19 were vaccinated,” she said.
Murillo also announced that between May 10 and 20, all health centers will vaccinate senior citizens against influenza with the 190,000 doses of flu vaccine that the WHO helped them acquire. (Radio La Primerisima, 28 April, 2021)
70,000 Doses of Sputnik V Received
On May 4, 70,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines, purchased through the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the first delivery of a total of 1.9 million vaccines contracted by Nicaragua, arrived in the country. More shipments are expected soon. Ambassador Alexander Khokholikov said that the vaccines are proof of the high development of science in Russia and added that by the end of 2021 a new vaccine containing the virus in its dead form will be produced. “After vaccinating many millions of people in Russia and in the world its efficacy grew from 92% to 98% and zero mortality,” he said. This is the second batch of the vaccine purchased by Nicaragua after the initial donation from Russia in February. Beginning May 3, front-line health workers and adults aged 55 and over are being vaccinated. (Radio La Primerisima, 4 May 2021)
More support for Fisher People Affected by Hurricane
In support of the Indigenous community of Tuapí, Puerto Cabezas municipality, in the Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region, affected by hurricanes IOTA and ETA, the Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture (INPESCA) delivered 28 Fishing Production Packages that include canoes, coolers, and tools to make shrimp nets. The purpose is to promote recovery of production and increase yield of the fishery sector, strengthen food security and nutrition for families in the communities. The donation is part of the Zero Hunger Program that the Government is implementing throughout the country. (Nicaragua News, 30 April 2021)
Nueva Guinea Technological Institute Upgraded
The National Technological Institute (INATEC) reported that US$286,123 has been invested to rehabilitate, expand, and equip the Augusto Sandino Technical Center in Nueva Guinea municipality, Southern Caribbean Autonomous Region, ensuring greater access to free and quality technical training for more than 1,000 students. Funding for the project came from the General Budget. (Nicaragua News, 30 April 2021)
Seafood Exports Grow
Executive Director of the Chamber of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAPENIC) Armando Segura reported that 17,961,724 pounds of seafood were exported in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 8.9% in comparison to the same period in 2020, representing US$52 million in sales. The seafood products that registered the highest growth were shrimp representing US$17.6 million and lobster, US$14 million. (Nicaragua News, 4 May 2021)
Weekly Covid Report, May 4, 2021
The Health Ministry Reported that from April 27 to May 3 there were 77 new registered cases of Covid-19, 48 people recuperated and there was 1 death. Since March 2020 there have been 5,575 registered cases of Covid, 5,301 people have recuperated and there have been 183 deaths. (Nicaragua Sandino, 4 May, 2021)