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Nicaraguan Business Execs Call for Unity

It is the commitment that the private sector has, not only as entrepreneurs, but as citizens, explained Jose Adan Aguerri, President of Cosep

The twenty-six organizations that make up the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), defined 15 points for the restoration of democracy, the fundamental rights of Nicaraguans, and the economic recovery of the country. “It is a proposal that we make public to share with all the sectors with which we have been working,” said Jose Adan Aguerri, President of the association.

The document presented to the media indicates that for the business sector democracy is essential to achieve the social, political and economic development of the country. He insists that the structural changes that we require as a nation must be achieved under the rules and procedures of a democratic rule of law. Similarly, he notes the commitment of the private sector to contribute to its consolidation, to resume the path of prosperity in the country and that justice and security be achieved for all Nicaraguans.

Aguerri clarified that this document is a proposal of the 26 organizations that make up Cosep. When asked if these points were “approved” by the five entrepreneurs of big capital, who met with the Government in February to resume the dialogue, he asserted that he could not speak on their behalf and that they were not in the event.

“It is part of the commitment that the business sector has, not only as entrepreneurs, but from what we all are in Nicaragua: citizens. In this proposal we are talking about uniting for democracy, for free and transparent early elections. Unite for a new democratic culture, for respect to the rule of law, to demand compliance with the agreements already signed, for sustainable development. Unite by a nation agreement, unite for Nicaragua,” said the president of Cosep.

According to Aguerri’s statements, the message that has permeated the entrepreneurial sector is that Nicaragua is first. And that they must influence in the restoration of the democratic system so that, in some way, citizen confidence and participation in electoral processes is strengthened and abstentionism is reduced.

“The commitment we have is to strengthen civic and electoral education. The involvement of all in the supervision of elections as a contribution to transparency. Create a citizen platform as a civic instrument to improve this culture and ensure citizen participation in the electoral processes. We are betting on a solution through votes,” assured Aguerri.

The 15 points presented by the businesspeople are the following:

Democracy; early, free, transparent and observed elections. Democratic culture, institutionalism, respect for the rule of law. Likewise, defense of all our rights, demand compliance with signed agreements, justice and respect for human rights. Sustainable development, judicial and citizen security, economic recovery. A facilitator and modern State, equality, equity and tolerance. Education and a nation agreement.

“Without a political agreement there is no solution to the crisis. A negotiated solution is urgently needed before the sociopolitical crisis and its economic effects deepen even more to the detriment of all Nicaraguans. The support and promotion of a democratic transition process must be based on a broad and inclusive dialogue, which allows consensus for the elaboration and implementation of a Nation Agreement that allows us a new opportunity to bounce back as a nation,” says the document.

Aggression in Leon Denounced to the Public Ministry

On Saturday, September 7, Aguerri, Michael Healy, political commentator Jaime Arellano and journalist Anibal Toruno, were attacked by a mob of supporters of Daniel Ortega’s regime while they were in the presence of the Police. The subjects threw stones at them, fired pellets and hit the vehicle in which they were travelling with aluminum bats without the officers doing anything to stop the attack.

Aguerri informed at a press conference that his lawyers filed the complaint with the Public Ministry to investigate the aggression. The president of Cosep said that businesspeople have suffered different forms of repression. He said what happened on Saturday was one more expression added to the list of actions that the dictatorship has taken against them.

“Let’s recall the land take-overs and the customs restrictions. Not providing legal documents, the embargoes against companies. All this produces a situation where two words, trust and certainty, needed for a business climate to provide jobs, remains far from reaching. On the contrary, we move further away,” he said.

Aguerri said that from the private sector they want to make it understood that the country needs an agreement to be able to recover and that, if the paradigm continues in which the solution is to close the doors and impose wills, the nation will go backwards and lose all the growth of recent years.

“We can expect anything when we see situations like these, where respect for the rights of others are lost because they think differently. It is clear that what happened on Saturday rose the level (of violence),” he said.

The president of Cosep recalled the murders which are happening against peasants in the north of the country. “Human rights organizations are keeping an eye on our rural population. The victims have a common denominator: they participated in the protests,” he said.

The Electoral Issue

On the issue of electoral reform, early elections and national and international observation, Aguerri pointed out that they are waiting for a formal response to the letter sent by the Ortega regime to the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, in which they express the wish that these issues be discussed only with the government.

“The fact that, at the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet and the Representative of the Vatican, have been forceful in demanding that the negotiation has to be resumed and electoral reforms that allow free, credible and observed elections are giving you an indication that what we are demanding nationally and internationally, is a reality that the country needs. What they are saying is that you have to sit down and talk,” Aguerri commented.

He added that the Civic Alliance will not allow electoral reforms to be carried out only between the OAS and the Government, but rather that all sectors of civil society, producers, peasants, and students must be present, so that the agreement is not between two parties.

“When we talk about consensus, what we propose is that there should be a negotiation that is not unilateral and includes the viewpoints of others. If there is no real negotiation where others participate, the voting results won’t have the legitimacy that we want for the country,” he concluded.

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