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Ortega’s Survival Plan: More Police + Public Employee Layoffs

It proposes a cut of 30% of public employees, in order to adjust to the spending cuts caused by the Nica Act (US sanctions)

The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo is set to launch a new “national defense policy” for 2019, which includes increasing the recruitment of more police officers and cutting 30% of the payroll of different ministries of the State and autonomous entities, according to a working document attributed to Vice President Rosario Murillo.

The draft, which does not have Murillo’s signature but appears on letterhead with the stamps of her calligraphy and official slogans, is called “Defense is first … for peace, for the common good, for production,” has begun to circulate between the high cadres of the party and the public sector, who leaked it through social networks.

President Ortega, with his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, during the inauguration of the Las Piedrecitas overpass, in Managua.   Photo: EFE / Jorge Torres

“In the new context of aggression, we must reinforce our moral and combative conviction on all fronts. The Nica Act, as an imperial tool, is further recognition that our path of Peace, Unity and Reconciliation is the right one. Today more than ever we say to them in a haughty voice with the light of the Sun that does not decline: They could not, and they will not!”, Justifies the document.

The Sandinista police, one of the main violators of human rights during the civic rebellion, will exercise one of the main roles as set out in the strategy, which does not mention the Nicaraguan Army. The regime maintains its insistence on a policy of “reconciliation” and how this policy must be carried out by these police agents.

The strategy proposes an “increase of 15% of the recruitment of new agents by the year 2020, professionalizing our current officers and expanding their territorial base according to the previous point”, meaning more police in rural areas. At the same time, it proposes a 12% salary increase for police officers in the year 2019.

Daniel Ortega visits the police station in Masaya after operation clean up. Photo: Presidency / Confidencial

It also establishes that the “Citizen Security Groups” will be integrated by retired officers from the Ministry of InteriorPatriotic Military Service, and of the Sandinista Popular Army. She calls them “community leaders and defense instructors for institutions, that are strategic for the security of each community.” It has been these veterans that have served as paramilitaries to repress citizens who protest.

“A National Defense Group for Peace and Security will be created, which will include: one representative of the Financial Analysis Unit, three representatives of the National Police, the top FSLN Departmental Political bosses, and two representatives of the Ministry of the Interior. The task of this office will be to coordinate, inform and execute, by presidential order, the plans for the promotion of peace and security in the country”, states this defense strategy.

At the local level the City Halls and Police will create the “Defense and Production Battalions, organizing the Voluntary Police and coordinating the security plans from the town and for the town” with the cooperation of the mayors’ offices and the police delegations of each community.

“Austerity and honesty”

Foreseeing the economic impact that the NicaAct sanctions would cause in the funds to finance the (national) budget, the “defense strategy” proposes to cut the personnel of the ministries and autonomous entities of the Government by 30%.

This proposal is called “Austerity and Honesty: The Moral Base for the Construction of a Christian, Socialist and Solidarity Model”. “This new context forces us to make decisions that, although tough, will serve as the basis for a more solid, strong and mature Revolutionary Project that will be a part of the legacy of Peace and Harmony for the new generations,” the document states.

To decide where to make the cuts in public employees, the draft proposes to create a “State Layoff Committee”. It will be chaired by the president of the Central Bank, Ovidio Reyes, along with Coordinators of the Sandinista Leadership Councils at each state institution, members of the pro-government National Workers Front (FNT), representatives of the Ministry of Labor and the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS).

“The objective of the streamlining strategy is to reduce the labor force in the Ministries and Autonomous Entities by 30%. With the exception of the Ministries of the Social Services, where the decrease will be 10% “, says point” B “of that section of the strategy.

A public employee told Confidencial that the effects of this austerity had already been reaching the ministries since before the publication of this strategy. They have been required to only use air conditioners between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. In some cases, there will be a reduction in salaries, and in the areas of acquisitions they have advised that they cannot purchase from suppliers who are not up to date with their tax payments.

According to the defense strategy, the “Layoff Councils” of each institution will hold biweekly meetings as of January 2019, to present their staff reduction proposals “with the objective that by June 2019 they meet the quotas established in the Strategy”.

The strategy also proposes the guidelines for deciding on the dismissal of public employees. Or in the euphemisms of the dictatorship, an “Integral Evaluation Guide”. According to the document, the main requirements to remain employed are: “Commitment and Defense of the Revolution, Monetary Contribution to the Party, Compliance with their Job Objectives, and Assistance to Party Activities”.

There is an additional parameter called “Characteristics of Special Review”, which will consist of “closeness to the Retirement Age, Duplicate Positions and Technical Specialization Level”.

As a remedy for the dismissed employees, they intend to form “Labor Reintegration Committees” to assist the newly unemployed “apply to the different programs that our Good Government offers them and, in this way, have an opportunity to continue building the homeland from commerce, production and entrepreneurship.”

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