These are the news that you need to know on Monday, October 19th | The Orteguista majority in the National Assembly approved the Law for the Regulation of Foreign Agents, which divides Nicaraguan citizens into two categories: the “real” citizens and the “foreign agents”, who are threatened with the suspension of their political rights and the confiscation of their property.
The approval came despite criticism and warnings from international organizations, which demanded that its ratification be stopped as it was considered harmful to the democratic rights of Nicaraguans.
It is also expected that the government will steamroller the so-called Cybercrime Law, which establishes the crime of “false information”, threatening to impose censorship on the Internet and social networks.
2. OAS will discuss the Nicaraguan political crisis in its next session
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) will take advantage of its 50th regular session to discuss the Nicaraguan crisis.
A draft resolution confirms that the countries of the continent will insist on the re-establishment of democratic institutions and respect for human rights through free and fair elections
Meanwhile, opposition organizations and associations of political prisoners have asked the OAS to pressure the regime into releasing the more than one hundred prisoners of conscience in Nicaragua.
3. European Union extends legal framework for sanctions
The Council of the European Union extended the legal framework that allows it to impose sanctions on officials and companies of the Ortega regime for another year. The sanctions are for those that Europeans hold responsible for human rights violations or repression of civil society, or the democratic opposition in the country.
Last May, the EU sanctioned six Ortega officials, including four senior police leaders, a former minister, and a presidential adviser.
4. Political prisoners expand methods of protest
A group of political prisoners warned that they will sew their eyelids shut in a dramatic gesture of protest to demand their freedom.
As of last September 30, some 53 prisoners of conscience started a hunger strike and three of them also sewed their lips in protest.
Through their relatives, the prisoners announced that they will maintain the fast in a staggered manner since the authorities of La Modelo prison beat them and prevent them from accessing serum.
5. Central Bank of Nicaragua forecasts a 4.5% drop in GDP
The BCN maintains its forecast that the Nicaraguan economy will decrease by -4.5 percent this 2020.
Ovidio Reyes, president of the Central Bank, pointed out that the Gross Domestic Product grew 1.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, but that as of March the negative effects of the pandemic manifested themselves.
For its part, the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) projects a fall in GDP of -5 percent.
Funides warned that open unemployment will go from 5.5 percent in 2019 to 6.8 percent in 2020; while poverty will reach 2.1 million inhabitants of Nicaragua.
6. Proposal for the General Budget of the Republic contemplates expenses greater than the country’s income for 2021
Finance Minister Iván Acosta presented the proposal for the General Budget of the Republic for the year 2021 to the National Assembly, which contemplates expenses in excess of income with a deficit of more than 25 million dollars.
The bill reflects the failure of the tax reform in its collection goals, to the point that the government will be forced to cut “current” spending, which will mean fewer purchases of goods and services or cuts in personnel in the public sector.
This article has been translated by Ana Maria Sampson, a Communication Science student at the University of Amsterdam and member of our staff*