The Land Takeovers Put Many into Checkmate, and They are Trying to Convince Pellas to Negotiate with Ortega

This article appeared on the nicaraguainvestiga.com website. The context is that the business sector for 11 years had been in an alliance with the Ortega government that provided them with tax breaks, macroeconomic stability and favorable business climate; in return the business sector refrained from criticizing the government. After the 40 some  deaths -mostly students – in the first few days after April 19, the students pressured the business sector to take a stand, and COSEP called for a  march in support of the students on April 23rd. That marked the break in an alliance which Ortega in his speeches repeatedly refers to as part of his strategy for poverty reduction. Since then thousands of acres of private land have been taken over by masked armed groups, often with FSLN flags or other markings, where settlers have set up makeshift housing. It is widely recognized as pressure from the government on the business sector.  Carlos Pellas is considered the wealthiest person in Nicaragua, and his hospital attended many of those wounded in the uprising, as hundreds of victims said they were refused treatment by the public hospitals. Some public hospital personnel also reported being pressured to change hospital records to reduce the number  wounded or killed by gunfire in the public record. That did not happen in Pellas´ hospital. 

The Land Takeovers Put Many into Checkmate, and They are Trying to Convince Pellas to Negotiate with Ortega

August 27, 2018 in nicaraguainvestiga.com

According to the latest information from the National Union of Producers and Farmers of Nicaragua UPANIC, the land takeovers at the hands of Ortegista envoys is over 8,742 manzanas [14,861 acres], which is equal to some US$16.4 million in economic losses. Added to the fall in commerce and tourism, this has business owners overwhelmed, many of whom, according to what sources close to them are reporting to us, are pressuring the leadership of COSEP [The Superior Council of Private Enterprise] to negotiate with the government.

The business owners met recently with Bayardo Arce, Economic Advisor to Ortega, who sent him as his emissary recommending that everyone should work along the same lines as they had worked for 11 years, before the social and political crisis. “All of us said that if all of us said yes, we were going [to do so], because we had not started this, but Carlos Pellas refused”, a source that asked to remain anonymous revealed to us.

According to our source the businessman Carlos Pellas said, “The problem here is what do we do with the 400 deaths, which you cannot tell me did not happen, I know, because I had to take care of them in the Hospital, the people are going to make us all pay for that.” He assured me that was what the decisive multimillionaire Nicaraguan said.

With this powerful response the business people began a debate that only revealed the enormous fissures that are opening among the business sector of the country, whose majority are convinced that Ortega twisted their arm with the land takeovers and with the fiscal persecution to get them to accept again the “previous way of working.”

THEY ARE GOING TO THE UNITED STATES THIS WEEK

The serious differences among the business owners who are debating between conserving the benefits that the Government is offering them, under the risk of being massively savaged by the people who demand justice; or openly and ferociously declaring war on Ortega, was not able to be settled, which is why this week several of them will travel to the United States to hold talks in a safe, peaceful environment without pressure, and it seems also far from the national press, according to what a another source connected to the local business sector revealed to us.

“All of the leadership of millionaires of this country are going to meet in Miami, is it a meeting only of them. The only one that I see as the strongest is Carlos Pellas, the rest would already be with him, but if not everyone goes along, none are going, that is what has been agreed”, our source said emphatically.

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