Nicaragua lurches into crisis

A damning UN human rights report has put Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, on the back foot. Emily Hohler reports.


Daniel Ortega: wrecking the economy
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"Nicaragua has quietly become the next Latin American crisis zone," says Harriet Marsden in The Independent. Last week the UN human rights office published a "damning report" into abuses that have taken place since April's protests, which left 300 killed and 2,000 injured. In response, President Daniel Ortega has ordered the expulsion of the UN team and demanded that Costa Rica divulge the names of some of the 26,000 citizens who have sought political asylum there.

The four-month rebellion and ensuing repression have "wrecked" the country's economy, but left the autocratic Ortega "firmly in power", says The Economist. The economy had been the strongest in central America, with annual growth of 5%. This year GDP is expected to shrink by nearly 6%. Some $1bn in capital has fled. Yet the momentum of protestors seems to have "ebbed" since the massacre of 16 protestors on a Mothers' Day march on 30 May.

That's not true, says Alejandro Bendaa in the Havana Times. Several forces are ranked against the Ortega regime, from an "organised, courageous youth" and the Catholic Church to the private sector and the US government. Powerful financial interests in central America are losing faith in Ortega's ability to stablise the country and the US government is convinced that he can "no longer guarantee interests in the region". Slowly but surely, the "political bloc of an authentic opposition is taking shape".

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The US Congress is considering sanctions, says Dan Boylan in The Washington Times. On Tuesday, America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley used her powers as this month's president of the UN Security Council to urge it "to take up the crisis". Bolivia, China and Russia have opposed the move, saying that interference is unwarranted, but as Haley said, "How many people have to die before it's a matter of peace and security?"

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.