Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 314 | Septiembre 2007




Envío team

During August some PLC legislators dusted off the shelved general amnesty bill for all officials of the governments of Arnoldo Alemán and Enrique Bolaños. If approved, this amnesty would first and foremost benefit Alemán, sentenced to 20 years for laundering what is estimated at some $100 million in public funds during his term. Although he immediately filed an appeal, it is still sitting in Managua’s Sandinista-dominated Appeals Court nearly five years later. The amnesty would also benefit Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance head Eduardo Montealegre, under constant threat of prosecution for responsibility in the irregular issue of bonds to cover the fraud-related collapse of several banks in 2000, when he was Alemán’s finance minister. And it would benefit Enrique Bolaños, currently under investigation for involvement in the illegal trafficking of Chinese immigrants during his administration.

Alemán declared that he doesn’t need an amnesty, as the proposed sentence for money laundering in the new Penal Code currently being debated is only five years, which he will have served—largely under house arrest—in December of this year. President Ortega could veto the new Penal Code, however, which would put an end to Alemán’s hopes. For his part, Bolaños called such an amnesty “harmful” to Nicaragua and claimed that he doesn’t need it either as he isn’t guilty of anything.

Central Bank President Antenor Rosales recognized in late August that the national economy will only grow 3.9% this year rather than the 4.2% originally projected. The official reasons are a drop in both internal consumption and construction, and the energy crisis, which has produced daily energy cuts of between four and eight hours all over the country. The government also upwardly adjusted its annual inflation projection from 7.5% to 10%, as continual cost hikes for products in the basic market basket are deteriorating long-frozen salaries.

On August 21, poet Ernesto Cardenal, proposed by nominating commissions in Nicaragua and other countries for the Nobel Prize in Literature, released this message: “I find myself in the embarrassing position of having to denounce to both Nicaragua and the world that information has reached me that President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo are alarmed by the promotion (entirely without my participation) of my candidacy for the Nobel Prize because they consider me an adversary, and that they have decided to stop that initiative by launching a campaign to disparage me both nationally and internationally through all media within their reach. If true, I am defenseless against such a campaign by the government of Nicaragua and the only thing I can do is announce it before it happens. The government could launch many media against me and it is very easy to present false evidence, false witnesses and false proof, since all courts and other judicial bodies, even the Supreme Court of Justice, are under its control. Given the helpless situation in which I find myself, I can do nothing but pray to God, as in the Psalm: “He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on him, his violence comes down on his own head.”

US priest Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of the US-based Human Life International, the world’s largest anti-abortion organization with offices in 75 countries, was in Nicaragua on August 25-26. He gave two talks on the evils produced in women and societies by interrupting pregnancies, lauding the country for criminalizing therapeutic abortion and advocating against the overturning of that legislation. He also celebrated the Sunday Mass in the Managua Cathedral. In his homily he said that Nicaragua was “an example for all nations” and a “wealthier” country than the United States because it maintained “respect for life, marriage and the family, devotion to the Virgin and obedience to the Catholic faith,” characteristics based on which “all problems are resolved.” Father Euteneuer’s visit was part of the offensive by those who promoted the criminalization of therapeutic abortion last year and are trying to ensure it remains illegal despite the current National Assembly debate over the new Penal Code.

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