Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 296 | Marzo 2006




Nitlápan-Envío team

A hand-rolled cigar riddled with pins and dripping with sulfur appeared in the Supreme Court’s plenary hall on February 22, following a Court resolution on the Supreme Electoral Council crisis that favored the FSLN and was denounced by all other parties. Although the Court president declared, “I’m a Christian and don’t believe in these things,” he ordered the area sprinkled with holy water “just in case.” The creepy event got front-page coverage in the newspapers. Those in the know about such esoterica said it was difficult to ascertain which party was behind this “cigar ritual,” which they claimed is a recognized expression of a deal with the devil to cause someone harm.

The government of Brazil has offered to help the countries of Central America and the Caribbean through projects to produce ethanol as an alternative to petroleum derivatives. Ethanol is obtained from sugar cane, of which Brazil is the world’s largest producer. A full 70% of the cars sold in that country already run indistinctly on gasoline or ethanol. Last year Brazil produced 16 billion liters of ethanol, of which it exported 2.6 billion.

Although Nicaragua has greater water sources than any other Central American country, dozens of Managua neighborhoods and rural districts around the country have been experiencing acute shortages of drinking water since the start of the year, with homes typically receiving water for a few hours in the morning or even going entire days with no pumped water at all. Some three thousand of the country’s seven thousand public schools receive little or no water either.

The most serious part of the shortages, caused by damaged wells, burst main pipes and other problems, is that in a clear sign of inefficiency and irresponsibility the state drinking water enterprise, ENACAL, declared itself unable to fix anything due to lack of resources. The Consumer Defense Network has warned for some time that the failure to repair the accumulating problems is consciously designed to make privatization seem an attractive “solution” and thus undermine the movement opposed to selling off the drinking water service. Independent legislator Jaime Morales Carazo, who chairs the National Assembly’s Environment Commission, agrees, and suggests that several power groups are involved in this project. He has fruitlessly insisted that the Assembly finally approve a water bill that in its current form would put a stop to any privatization project by declaring water a basic public service that must remain in state hands.

The Second International Poetry Festival, this year in homage to Nicaraguan poet and thinker José Coronel Urtecho, was held in Granada on February 6-13. In their final declaration, poets from Nicaragua and around the world “categorically” supported the idea of UNESCO declaring Granada and its surroundings “Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” The poets themselves dubbed this beautifully preserved colonial city—founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and according to Nicaragua’s Tourism Institute the oldest standing Spanish city on the American continent—“the Poetry Capital of Latin America.”

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