Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 244 | Noviembre 2001




Envío team


Exactly two years ago, Daniel Ortega’s stepdaughter Zoilamérica Narváez filed a suit with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) against the Nicaraguan state for denying her access to justice by unjustifiably not acting to strip Ortega of his parliamentary immunity to answer her charge of 19 years of sexual abuse. On October 18, only weeks before this year’s elections, the commission announced that it had decided to recognize the "admissibility" of her charge. On learning of the decision, Narváez reiterated her desire that her story not be manipulated for electoral purposes "either by those who want to downplay the charges, reducing them to issues in the private sphere, or by those who want to use them now but earlier remained quiet, becoming accomplices of impunity." It was an obvious reference to both the FSLN and the PLC. The FSLN responded to the CIDH resolution with a four-paragraph communiqué decrying what it called the commission’s "destructive intentions."
Despite her express wishes, her denunciation, first made public in March 1998, was alluded to throughout the campaign. Liberal voices recalled it, with Enrique Bolaños himself mentioning it at least two or three times, while the FSLN campaign, directed by Zoilamérica’s mother, Rosario Murillo, tried to sweep it under the rug. Murillo herself referred to incest as "a private tragedy" and used press and TV images presenting her husband Daniel Ortega as the head of a happy and close family.


Rains from a tropical storm battered the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) between October 25 and 30, only days before the elections. It was the same storm that later turned into Hurricane Michelle and passed over Cuba, devastating huge areas in its path. According to Civil Defense workers in the RAAN, the disasters resulting from the heavy rains were as serious as those produced by Hurricane Mitch during the same period of 1998. They calculated some 20 dead and 40,000 homeless, mainly in Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas), Waspám on the Río Coco, the mining town of Rosita and surrounding communities. The flooding destroyed bridges, highways and access roads to communities, as well as over 14,000 hectares of rice, beans, bananas and cassava. Material damages were assessed at some US$ 650,000.


On November 23, the Central American Sports Organization (ORDECA) named Managua the seat of the VIII Central American Games in 2005. Only Panama, which has better infrastructure, competed with Managua for the honor. But, as Managua Mayor Herty Lewites explained, "solidarity among Central American brothers prevailed, and now with all sectors working together for sports and our youth, this will clinch our democracy." The Sandinista mayor’s speech requesting that the games be held here played a pivotal role in the decision, as did the letter of support sent to ORDECA by President-elect Enrique Bolaños.

The joint work that the two men have proposed for these coming years to ensure the games is a good sign for the nation. As headquarters for the games, Nicaragua must build an Olympic Village, a multiple-use sports center, an Olympic-size pool, a stadium for athletics and soccer that can hold 40,000 spectators, stadiums for basketball and volleyball and a cycle track. The costs to adequately ensure the games are calculated at US$40 million.

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