Urgent Action Still Needed: No New Illegal Coercive Measures against Nicaragua

Help to stop new sanctions on Nicaragua.  The RENACER Act is quickly moving through Congress.  The RENACER Act will impose a new set of sanctions on Nicaragua (Illegal coercive measures). Please see talking points below for background information on the RENACER Act.

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Bill. Please do still contact your Senators, because it has not yet had a vote on the Senate floor.  However, we are asking you to focus efforts on the House of Representatives where it has not yet advanced in Committee.

CALL and EMAIL — these are two ways you can help stop the RENACER Act!

CALL:

1 – The offices of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services. Ask her not to support the RENACER Act of sanctions against Nicaragua, and not to mark it up in Committee.  Call all three offices to log your concern:

Rep. Waters LA Office (323) 757-8900 /  DC Office: 202-225-2201

House Committee on Financial Services Committee (202) 225-4247

If anyone who answers the phone questions you for not being from her district, say: “Please give the Representative my message.  She is the head of a committee with jurisdiction over this bill and as such she is my Representative.”

2 – Both the DC and local offices of your Senators and House Representative.  You can reach their DC offices by calling the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121, and asking for them by name.  You can find their local office phone numbers on their websites.  Also send emails to your Senators and Representative (see easy links below).

When you call, 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 apply some pressure to talk to them. But a short chat is worthwhile, as you want to establish a relationship.  Let them know you care about Nicaragua, and that Nicaragua is doing well but would be unjustly hurt by more sanctions. Ask them NOT TO SUPPORT RENACER or any more sanctions against Nicaragua.

Brief script for your phone calls: 

I want Representative/Senator ——– to vote NO on the sanctions bill against Nicaragua entitled RENACER.

(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 and hindering the function of government agencies.

(3) The sanctions target over half the people in the country – all those who support the government or are public servants.  They pressure the country to choose new leadership favored by the US, but 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.

EMAIL:

Please Tell Your Representative: No Sanctions on Nicaragua

Send Your REPRESENTATIVES an email! 

Send Your SENATORS an email!

 


ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS

Here are talking points for background and to support your advocacy work as we move forward.

The RENACER ACT in the Senate is meant to reinforce the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act (Nica Act) of December of 2018, whose purpose was to deny Nicaragua access to development financing from multilateral sources such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Interamerican Development Bank. Although it was not supposed to be used to block loans to assist poor and vulnerable populations, it is being used exactly for that purpose. The NICA Act has caused suffering, and the RENACER Act will multiply the harm.

It was expected that President Biden would review US policies towards Central America to distinguish himself from the previous administration.  His team announced their priorities, concentrating on Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, to address their severe problems of corruption, poverty and violence, which have continued to force thousands of desperate families to go north. (It should be noted that past US interventions in each country have exacerbated these problems.)

Nicaragua did not qualify as a priority with those criteria. Nicaraguans are not fleeing north. Compared to its northern neighbors, statistically it has 0 people migrating to the US. That’s because it is safe.  It has the lowest homicide rate in Central America according to international organizations like the UNDP.  There are no gangs or drug trafficking cartels.  In fact, the armed forces of the US and Nicaragua used to work together to stop the flow of drugs to the US. Nicaragua continues to block cocaine going north and money to pay for it going south, with drug and money busts every week.

Recently, one of the heads of the US armed forces stated that Nicaragua poses a serious threat to the national security of the Unites States.  Really?  How does that make sense?  Nicaragua is the third poorest country in Latin America.  It is in the bottom ten countries in the world in armaments.  To see the level of “threat” Nicaragua poses to the US, one can take a look at its priorities as evidenced by its budget:  the elimination of poverty, achievement of 100% food security, 100% renewable energy, and the best health system in the region.

Rather than viewing Nicaragua as a threat, why not see it as an inspiration?  Our country would do well to study what Nicaragua has achieved in the last 14 years, to understand how best to help our own people in the US and to avoid further harm in other Central American countries.  See the list below of Nicaragua’s impressive progress.

Here are some of Nicaragua’s achievements over the past 14 years:

  • The World Bank, IMF, Inter-American Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration all affirm that their Nicaragua portfolios are managed with transparency and efficiency, contributing to poverty reduction and economic development.
  • Nicaragua was one of the few developing countries that achieved the UN Millennium Development Goals.
  • 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 Central American region while keeping all of its borders open under rigorous safety protocols.
  • Nicaragua has an exceptional emergency response system as seen this past November with Hurricanes Eta and Iota, the most devastating hurricanes to hit Nicaragua in 40 years.  Days before the hurricanes struck, the government mobilized 100,000 emergency volunteers, evacuated 160,000 people, prepared 1195 shelters and 2,300 safe houses, and sent supplies of food, mattresses, medicine, and water.
  • Poverty has decreased from 48.3% to 24.9%, and extreme poverty from 17.5% to 6.9%.
  • Nicaragua is connected physically by the best highways in Central America (and is in the top five of Latin America), according to the World Economic Forum.
  • Nearly 99% of the population have electricity (compared to 54% in 2006), and about 80% will soon be generated from renewable sources (compared to 26% in 2006).
  • In 2006, 65% of people had potable water, in contrast to 91.8% in 2018, with projections of 95% in 2023.
  • Nicaragua has the best hospital system in the region. Nineteen new hospitals have been constructed, with 8 more now under construction.
  • 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 is under 5%.
  • Nicaragua is 5th in the world in gender equity (World Economic Forum).
  • Maternal and infant mortality have been cut by well over half since 2007.
  • Nicaragua has a high level of food security.  Small farmers produce 90% of the food consumed in the country.