The World Bank predicts that Nicaragua is moving away from economic recovery by 2021. The entity estimates that the economic fall of the country is -0.9%. Thus, the country would register its fourth consecutive year of recession, since the beginning of the sociopolitical crisis in 2018.
The World Bank’s calculations are below the figures of other institutions, such as the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), which projects economic growth of 1.0%. For its part, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects a growth of 1.3%, showing a slight economic recovery in the country, after a drop of -4% in 2020, according to December’s projections.
2. Nine people dead due to Covid-19 during the first six days of the year
Medical sources and health personnel in different departments of Nicaragua revealed that at least nine patients died and more than 100 people have been hospitalized due to coronavirus during the first six days of the year.
These reports contradict the official figures of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), an entity that only admits one death and 51 infections during the most recent week of the year.
The Multidisciplinary Scientific Committee confirmed that Nicaragua is facing the beginning of the second wave of Covid-19 infections. The group, made up of doctors, specialists, and scientists studying the impact of the pandemic, urged the population to resume prevention measures.
3. Ortega Government promises Coronavirus vaccine
After weeks of silence and without offering specific information about negotiations or agreements for the acquisition of the covid-19 vaccine, the former health minister and presidential advisor, Carolina Dávila, assured that vaccination against the pandemic in Nicaragua will begin in 2021, prioritizing groups at greater risk. However, she did not detail which vaccine she is referring to.
The Nicaraguan government remains tight-lipped about the process of acquiring a vaccine against covid-19, while the other Central American countries, including neighboring Costa Rica, already began the vaccination process in December 2020. Or, they are preparing for their populations to be immunized when the vaccines arrive in their countries.
4. House arrest regime against Ortega’s opponents
Ortega illegally maintains dozens of opponents in Nicaragua in a regime of house arrest. They include Karen Lacayo in Masaya; Ivania Álvarez in Tipitapa; Róger Reyes in Jinotepe; Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro in Managua, among others.
The National Blue and White Unity (UNAB) reports that at least 80 people are experiencing a house arrest situation, some permanently and others in phases of days and hours. Meanwhile, the Civic Alliance registers 12 to 15 sieges at the homes of opponents.
The dictatorship continues to expand its forms of repression and human rights violations by having opponents locked up in their homes, with the aim of preventing people from organizing in the face of a possible electoral process, estimates Dr. Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh).
María Asunción Moreno, jurist, academic, and member of the Civic Alliance, explains that “there is no argument or legal basis that empowers police agents to prevent the free mobilization or movement of Nicaraguans in the national territory in the way they are doing through roadblocks, requisitions, and siege.”
Moreno affirms that this “de facto house arrest” violates the fundamental rights provided for in the Constitution and in international treaties on human rights.
Read the full report (in Spanish).
5. National Police detains Medardo Mairena
Peasant leader Medardo Mairena denounced having been the victim of new aggression by police when he was detained along with his brother, Alfredo Mairena, and the driver who was transporting them.
Mairena denounced that when they tried to move to have lunch outside of a hotel where he was staying, he was followed by police who seized the vehicle and beat his brother to take his cell phone.
6. Double raid on the home of the director of Radio Darío
The home of Anibal Toruño, director of Radio Darío, was raided twice this week by National Police officers. The businessman from Leon described the events as an “act of hate and terror”.
Toruño denounced that, on the first occasion, they entered without prior notice and without a warrant, searched the house, room by room, and asked which one was Anibal Toruño’s. The officers alleged that they were looking for drugs.
National and international human rights organizations condemned the illegal search that “attacks the right to private property, the presumption of innocence, and the liberty and personal integrity of Toruño and his family”.
This article has been translated by Ana María Sampson, a Communication Science student at the University of Amsterdam and member of our staff*