Category Archives: Nica Update

LAW FOR THE REGULATION OF FOREIGN AGENTS (effective Oct 15, 2020)

This is a translation of the law that was approved on Oct 15, 2020

LAW FOR THE REGULATION OF FOREIGN AGENTS

(approved by the National Assembly October 15, 2020)

Chapter I

General Dispositions

Article 1 Purpose

The current law has the purpose of establishing the legal regulatory framework applicable to national natural or legal persons, or from another nationalities,  who responding to foreign  interests and obtaining foreign financing, use those resources to carry out activities that lead to the meddling of foreign governments, organizations or natural foreign persons  in the internal and external affairs of Nicaragua, undermining the independence, self-determination and national sovereignty, as well as the economic and political stability of the country.

Article 2 Sphere of application

The current law is applicable to natural and legal persons considered to be obligated subjects, as well as foreign capital or financial resources, goods, assets and objects of value connected to them.

Article 3 Definitions

Notwithstanding the definitions that may be established in the norms that are derived from the current law, the following definitions are established:

  1. Publicity Agent: Natural or legal person that is directly or indirectly dedicated to the publication or dissemination of oral, visual, graphic, written or pictorial materials, or any other type of material, including the publication through announcements, books, newspapers, conferences, transmissions, movies, information and communication technologies or others.
  2. Foreign Agent: Natural or legal person, Nicaraguan or of another nationality, who within Nicaragua receives funds, assets or any object of value coming directly or indirectly, from foreign natural persons, governments, agencies, foundations, societies or associations, no matter what type or nature they may be, who work, receive funds or respond to organizations that belong to or are controlled, directly or indirectly, by foreign natural persons, governments or entities, except the exemptions anticipated in this law.
  3. Competent Authority: Ministry of the Interior responsible for the regulation, supervision and sanction on matters of Foreign Agents through the designated body for that purpose.
  4. Foreign Capital: Refers to capital, funds, assets and objects of value from a Government of a foreign country, from a foreign political party, from a foreign natural or legal person, be it a society, association, corporation, organization or other combination of people organized according to the law, or that have their principal office in a foreign country.
  5. Political Consultant: Person who is dedicated to informing or advising another natural or legal person in terms of national or international policies of Nicaragua, with a political interest and purpose of having an impact on them, in the name of or in favor of a foreign natural or legal person, a Government, or foreign political party.
  6. Employee of Information Services: Person who is dedicated to supplying, disseminating or publishing stories, descriptions, information or data related to the benefits, advantages, facts or conditions of a political, industrial, labor, economic, social, cultural nature or of any other type from any country which is not Nicaragua, from any Government from a foreign country or from a foreign political party or society, association, corporation, organization or any other combination of organized people  in accordance with the laws of a foreign country, or that have their principal office in that country.
  7. Foreign client: Refers to a Government from a foreign country, a foreign political party; a foreign natural or legal person be it a society, association, corporation, organization or other combination of organized people according to the law or that have their principal office in a foreign country.
  8. Public Relationist: Natural or legal person who is directly or indirectly involved in informing, advising or in any manner representing a foreign client in any matter with political or public interests, in terms of that client, including the development of strategies of communication, organization and development of events, image programs and media monitoring.
  9. Registration of Foreign Agents: The Entirety of ordered and systematized information that the Ministry of the Interior maintains through the body designated for that purpose, responsible for the regulation, supervision and sanction in matters of Foreign Agents.

Article 4 Obligated Subjects

Obligated subjects in accordance with the current law are any natural Nicaraguan person, or from another nationality or legal person who, within Nicaragua, performs or works as an agent, representative, employee, attendant, or in any other activity under the order, requirement, instruction, direction, supervision, control of a foreign organization or of a natural or legal person, whose activities are directly or indirectly  supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized completely or in part by foreign natural persons, Governments, capital, businesses or funds directly or through third natural or legal parties.

Likewise, people who within Nicaragua act as advisers, public relationists, employees of information services or political consultants for or in the interest of foreign natural or legal persons, Governments, foundations, businesses, societies or associations; who request, collect, receive, employ in any manner or disburse funds, contributions, loans, money or any other things of value for or in the interest of foreign natural persons, Governments, agencies, foundations, businesses or organizations; or directly or indirectly represent the interests of foreign natural persons, Governments, foundations or organizations before any ministry, public entity, official business or organizations of the State of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Natural or legal persons exempted from this law do not form part of the obligated subjects.

Article 5 Exceptions

Exempt from the scope of the application of the current law are:

  1. Resident pensioners and Retirees in accordance with Law 694, Law for the Promotion of Income from Resident Pensioners and Retirees.
  2. Natural persons who receive family remittances, understood as family remittance what the Central Bank determines for that effect through a Resolution of the Board of Directors
  3. Foreign productive and commercial enterprises with subsidiaries or branches in Nicaragua;
  4. Factories, industries and supermarket chains from foreign investment, their workers and service providers.
  5. People who establish commercial relationships under conditions of valid commercial Agreements, Treaties, Covenants, particularly investments, service provision and temporary entry of business people, in accordance with the current legislation on the matter;
  6. Intergovernmental organizations of a humanitarian nature, as well as Missions, Diplomatic and Consular, International and Regional Organizations, International Aid agencies and the staff of those entities, duly accredited in Nicaragua in accordance with the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations and Consular Relations and signed and valid agreements with International and Regional organizations.
  7. International social communications media and their reporters, and
  8. Legal persons of a religious nature who are duly registered before the Ministry of the Interior based on law 147, General Law on Legal non-profit persons.

In this sense the current Law does not affect valid commercial agreements nor treaties nor those that could be signed in the future. Nor foreign investments, nor connected natural or legal persons or those who carry out strictly economic or commercial activities or those related to foreign investments.

In the case that persons exempted by the current law enter into carrying out activities that lead to the meddling of foreign natural or legal persons, Governments, or organizations in the internal and external affairs of Nicaragua, the corresponding dispositions of the current legislation will be applied.

Chapter II

Registration of Foreign Agents

Article 6 Registration of Foreign Agents.

Let the Registry of Foreign Agents be created, which will be under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior through the designated body for such purpose. In this Registry should be inscribed all obligated subjects and provide the information that is required of them in accordance with what is regulated in the current law and the respective norms.

Article 7 Competent Authority

The competent authority for the application of this law is the Ministry of the Interior through the designated body for such purpose, that has the faculties for regulation, supervision and sanction in this matter. The Ministry will reorganize itself administratively to put together the corresponding body for the development and functioning of the Registry of Foreign Agents.

Public, private or mixed entities are obligated to collaborate with the competent authority at its request, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the current law.

Article 8 Faculties of the competent authority

The faculties of the organ for the application of the current law are the following:

  1. Administer the Registry of Foreign Agents in accordance with the dispositions contained in the current law.
  2. Receive detailed and documented reports from Foreign Agents:
  3. Request and receive from Foreign Agents all the information necessary to ensure the application of the Law
  4. Regulate, verify and supervise the activities and compliance with the obligations of Foreign Agents
  5. Require the registry of natural and legal persons that act as Foreign Agents
  6. Process consultations from natural or legal persons about their registration in the Registry of Foreign Agents
  7. Issue the corresponding norms for the regulation, supervision and sanctions for Foreign Agents
  8. Apply the sanctions that correspond to Foreign Agents for non-compliance with the dispositions of the law and norms
  9. Coordinate with relevant bodies to ensure effective compliance with the current law and the current legal framework
  10. Any other measure that the current law and respective regulations determine.

Article 9 Obligation of information on use and purpose of assets

Foreign agents are obligated to report to the competent authority prior to any transfer of funds or assets that they are going to receive directly or indirectly from foreign natural persons, Governments, agencies, foundations, organizations, societies or associations whatever type of nature they may be, for carrying out their activities as foreign agents, having to express in that report the use and purpose of those funds.

Likewise, they must provide identification data of the foreign government or governments, foreign political parties and their connected entities, natural or legal persons that they finance, provide funds or in any other way facilitate economic and material means, or any other type of means, to carry out their work as foreign agent. This information will be public.

The competent authority must review and analyze whether the information presented by the foreign agent is satisfactory.

Article 10 Presentation of reports

Natural or legal persons who perform as foreign agents must present monthly to the competent authority a documented, detailed and verifiable report of expenses, payments, disbursements, contracts and the rest of the activities connected to their performance as foreign agents. The total expenses must correspond with the amount of income and assets received.

Article 11 Use of donations

The donations that natural or legal persons inscribed in the Registry of Foreign Agents receive will not be able to be used to finance activities not previously declared. In the case of legal persons such donations cannot be used in activities that do not correspond with the purposes and objectives established in their Charter and Statutes.

These activities will not be able to be carried out without prior registration in the web portal that the competent authority establishes for said purpose, and they will not be able to change the declared purpose for which they received the funds, without prior notice to the competent authority.

Article 12 On Anonymous donations

Natural or legal persons inscribed in the Registry of Foreign Agents cannot receive donations, funds or material assets of any type coming from anonymous sources or people.

Article 13 Financial resources and material goods

Financial resources must be received and channeled through any supervised and/or regulated financial institution that is duly registered in Nicaragua. Material goods coming from outside the country must comply with the legislation concerning customs.

Article 14 Concerning Foreign Agents

Natural or legal persons, Nicaraguans or of other nationalities who act as foreign agents must abstain, under penalty of legal sanctions, from intervening in matters, activities or topics of internal and external policy. Nor can they finance or promote the financing of any type of organization, movement, political party, political coalitions or alliances or associations that carry out internal political activities in Nicaragua.

In the case of natural persons, they cannot be functionaries, public employees or candidates to public posts of any type or nature. This impediment will end one year after the competent authority has approved the withdrawal from the Registry of Foreign Agents, which will be done once accredited before the competent authority that effectively and in a documented way the person has quit being a foreign agent.

The presentation of false documents or evidence is sufficient cause to incur in administrative and penal responsibilities depending on the case, determined by the respective entities.

Article 15 Non-compliance for not registering

When the competent authority becomes aware of the existence of natural or legal persons who act as foreign agents and have not complied with the obligation of registering, it will proceed to notify the duty of complying with said obligation within a term of no longer than 5 days.

In the case that natural or legal persons have not registered, once the term indicated in the previous paragraph has passed, the competent authority will apply fines, will be able to request the cancelation of the legal status of the respective body, in the case of legal persons. All without affecting the penal responsibilities for carrying out acts that threaten the sovereign security of the nation, determined by the judicial authority.

In any case, the refusal to register authorizes the competent authority to block the realization of the activities, and after judicial authorization, it will be able to intervene in the funds and assets of the natural or legal person that refuses to comply with the law.

Chapter III

Transitory and final dispositions

Article 16 Transitory

Obligated subjects must be inscribed in the Registry of Foreign Agents within a term of 60 working days, starting with the effective date of this law.

Obligated subjects will not be able to carry out movements of financial resources nor material goods until they have complied with the obligation of registering in the established period.

Article 17 Complementary application

To ensure the effective application of the current law, the competent authority will apply the corresponding dispositions of the following laws in a complementary way:

  1. Law 976, Financial Analysis Unit Law, whose complete text was published in La Gaceta No 190 on Oct 7, 2019;
  2. Law 977, Law Against Laundering of Assets, Financing for Terrorism and Financing for the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, whose complete text was published in La Gaceta No 165 on Aug 29, 2019; and
  3. Decree 14-2018, Regulations of Law 976, Financial Analysis Unit Law, published in La Gaceta No 190, on October 3, 2018.

The public officials who know about the reception of funds on the part of foreign agents and the supervised financial institutions that receive the financial resources for the Foreign Agents must report to the Financial Analysis Unit, in accordance with the current legislation in effect.

Article 18 Norms

The competent authority will issue the necessary norms for executing the regulation, supervision and sanction of Foreign Agents.

Article 19 Publication and validity

The current law will enter into force based on its publication in La Gaceta.

Issued in the Session Hall of the National Assembly, in the city of Managua on the fifteenth day of the month of October of the year two thousand twenty.

 

The history of Miguel Mora: from Sandinista to politician persecuted by the Ortega Murillo Regime

This article recounts the personal story of Miguel Mora, founder of the news program 100% Noticias [100% News] which originally was a very pro- government, privately owned channel, but in spite of government threats to stop, continued to cover the citizen protests of April 2018. It was definitively closed down by the government on Dec 21, 2018 and he and his news Director, Lucía Pineda were jailed for 172 days. The government continues to occupy the news station.

The history of Miguel Mora: from Sandinista to politician persecuted by the Ortega Murillo Regime

by Amalia del Cid, La Prensa, Oct 18, 2020

[original Spanish]

At one time Miguel Mora defended the policies of the Sandinista government for which he has asked pardon. Since 2018 he has been one of the principal targets of the attacks of the Ortega Murillo dictatorship. This is his evolution.

In the reception area of the Vivian Pellas Hospital is seated a man who appears to be incognito. He has a mask, glasses and hat, but the people who pass by his side recognize him anyway. Some stop for a second to take a better look at him, and then extend a fist to him. “Keep your chin up!”, they tell him. Or they ask him right away, “How is your wife?” “She is in a lot of pain, but she is fighting,” Miguel Mora responds to everyone.

On Sunday October 11 his wife, the journalist Veronica Chavez, was wounded in the head when Sandinista supporters stoned an opposition meeting held in the city of Masaya. The rock caused a fissure in her cranium and minor internal hemorrhaging. “She was between life and death”, Mora says, with wet eyes. Since that day he almost never leaves the hospital.

Before April 2018 Miguel Mora had no problem in being recognized as a Sandinista supporter, but things changed at that time. After the explosion of citizen protests, and the violent repression orchestrated by the State against the demonstrators, the journalist and political activist has become one of the principal targets of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. Illegally they confiscated his channel, including the building and technical equipment; they jailed him for 172 days and since his liberation in June 2019 he has lived under constant police harassment.

Now he defines himself as a “democratic citizen.” “For me Sandinism represents death, imprisonment, confiscation, repression and dictatorship,” he states. “I believe that he has to be removed from power for our survival as a country.” In fact, in July of this year, when he announced in a public letter that he was leaving journalism to go into politics, he asked forgiveness for having been a defender of the Sandinista Front.

“On different occasions I admit that I made the mistake of believing and defending some policies of the Sandinista government; I ask forgiveness for that,” he wrote. “I ask forgiveness from you, I ask forgiveness of my own family, which has been greatly affected and personally experienced the brutal repression of this dictatorship.”

“The Word of God says that we should repent, ask forgiveness and remove ourselves from evil to achieve his mercy,” he added. “I give thanks to God that he opened my eyes, and all this came to its end on April 18, 2018.”

There are those who think that the cruelty that the Sandinista Front has exhibited against Mora and his family in some way is connected to his previous relationship. He thinks it has nothing to do with it, that it simply is the policy of a “terrorist State” and that the persecution that he has suffered is due to the “aggressive” attitude of 100% Noticias in the face of the massacre committed by the dictatorship in 2018.

Origins

Miguel de los Angeles Mora Barberena was born on August 20, 1965 in the Quinta Nina neighborhood, along the shores of lake Managua. His maternal family are from peasant origins and in the 1940s migrated from Santo Domingo, Chontales, to settle in what at that time was a private farm populated by dozens of families who were installed in shantytowns.

Miguel Mora was born and lived his childhood there. The farm was full of “mango trees”, he remembers, and he ate so many that now he can´t stand to look at them. His mother, Auxiliadora Barberena, washed other people´s clothes on the coast of Xolotlán, while he attended a private school in the settlement itself. There was not much of a relationship with his father, who was a boy a little more than 15 years old, and left when Miguel was a child.

Later on, the family moved to a home located close to Gancho de Caminos in the Eastern Market, and Miguel got a scholarship to study fourth grade of primary school in the Loyola Colegio, where he also did his secondary school. In the afternoons he would study, and in the mornings help his mother sell merchandize brought in from Panama. He graduated from high school at the age of 21, because his participation in activities of the Sandinista Front put him back.

First, he joined the National Literacy Crusade and then the Sandinista Youth; later he picked coffee, and in 1982 joined a reserve battalion, until in 1984 he was finally taken into Patriotic Military Service (SMP). They did not have to trap him in one of the typical raids of the SMP, because he arrived on his own to present himself in a health center of Managua. They put him on a truck and took him to Mulukukú, which in Sandinista propaganda was known as “paradise for the youth”, but in reality was only jungle.

In the following two years he participated in several firefights and saw many friends die. He had to wrap up their cadavers and carry them for up to a week through the jungle, or leave them buried in some site with a marking that would allow them to be found later on, he recounts. He continued having nightmares until a little while ago about the things that he saw in the war, but he has now gotten over them. He is convinced that “God” has helped him.

When he finished his service in 1986, he was then tired of the activities of Sandinism, he states. He took up his high school studies where he had left them, in third year, and did not leave school again. From his maternal grandfather, a peasant who passed the time reading newspapers and listening to the radio, he had acquired an affinity for the news, and in 1989 he registered in the Journalism School of the Central American University (UCA). There he met Veronica Chavez two years later.

At that time, he was a skinny young man with thick glasses who already had two children and who, after a lot of begging, had been able to join the news program Extravisión to do his professional practicum. On the other hand, she was a “highly desired” young woman who had “everything needed to be Miss Nicaragua”, he remembers about her. They did not like each another.

The young woman arrived at the news program to “seek to do her practicum” and the director, Manual Espinoza, assigned her to the intern.

“I don´t want to be saddled with an impediment,” protested Miguel.

“You came to me and begged me,” responded his boss. “besides, I am not asking your permission, I am ordering you to do it.”

Veronica was not happy either.

“Don Manuel,” she said, “I do not want to go around with him, send me with someone else who knows [the business].”

None of their requests were listened to, and they had to work together. Soon they became friends who gave one another advice about their respective love lives, and over time Miguel “like poverty” got more deeply involved in the family of his colleague, until one day she ended the relationship with her boyfriend and began to look on her skinny friend with new eyes. “They dated” for three years before getting married, and then had two children. The little girl died within forty days due to a heart problem, and the boy, Miguelito, was born with severe cerebral paralysis.

“She has been a woman who has suffered much,” said Miguel about his wife, seated in the reception area of the Vivian Pellas hospital.

The News program and Sandinism

He stayed at Extravisión for five years. There he specialized as an economic journalist and learned “the ins and outs” of a news program. One day he decided that he could put together his own program and came up with 100% Noticias, which he started in 1995 as a 15 minute report.

“Those were good times for reporting,” he says. “You could talk with Doña Violeta and with any minister, but they were also convulsive times, and everything was news. I went with three important stories every day. Within a year, Nicho Marenca called me to Channel 4.”

The Sandinistas wanted to have a news program and thought that 100% Noticias could be that program. But not much time passed before they expelled Mora from his own space. “The owner of Channel 4 is Daniel Ortega, when I said that I cannot be a Sandinista news program, they pulled me out and kept all the staff and the name, they simply did not allow me to enter the building,” he states. “That was the first censorship that Daniel Ortega imposed on me.”

He fought over the name of his news program for a year, through a lawsuit that he was able to win, because at that time the Sandinista Front was not in power, he recognizes. Meanwhile he led a news program on Radio Magic, that was called 100% Noticias, and when he finally recovered his television news program, he took it to Channel 8, where he stayed from 1998 to 2000. He left there over certain “economic conflicts” with the businessman Carlos Briceño.

He went out renting spaces on Channel 23 and Channel 37 until “cable came in.” In the beginning there were only a handful of channels, but when “Carlos Pellas brought in fiber optics, everyone wanted to be on cable,” he tells. He went to request a channel, and after a lot of insistence, they put him on Channel 63, where he remained for 13 years, until 2018 when the Sandinista regime took him off the air.

What type of relationship did Miguel Mora have with the Government before 2018? According to him, “it was very journalistic.” His closest relationship to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo happened in the 1990s, when 100% Noticias was on Channel 4, he maintains. They have never been friends nor has he been a member of the party, he states. “No one is ever going to show me a party identity card that says Miguel Mora, militant of the Sandinista Front.”

After 2013 when the church and human rights organizations were already denouncing human rights violations, and the word “dictatorship” began to be used in the country, with a certain amount of timidity, Mora still would express in some forums that there was freedom of expression and press in Nicaragua.

Recently he explained that at that time he was responding as the director of 100% Noticias, and that if he was saying that there was freedom of the press in Nicaragua it was because his channel was on the air and no one kept him from transmitting news about the Peasant Movement, for example.

Prior to that in 2012, he was photographed with Laureano Ortega Murillo in a Christmas cocktail party. Mora was there as a member of AMCHAM [American Chamber of Commerce] and the son of Daniel Ortega came up to talk with the business people, he explains. “Until 2018 I saw COSEP seated with the Government, I would see everyone, I found them at cocktail parties, in embassies. We had not reached this level of brutality.”

According to Mora, he began to sense that Ortega and Rosario Murillo were “evil” people when he saw the repression of the marches of the Peasant Movement, “but I thought that they could still manage the situation.”

He states that when the citizen revolt exploded in April 2018, and 100% Noticias began to cover it, Orlando Castillo (former director of Telcor, now deceased) called him to a meeting to ask him to not report on the protests, and to demand the head of two opponents who had spaces on the channel: the activist Jaime Arellano and the journalist Luis Galeano.

“What do you want? Whatever you want we will give you but stop reporting. Give us those two programs and if you don´t, you will have to face the consequences,” Castillo threatened him. “Tell the president that we are going to continue as he knows,”, responded Mora, and the Sandinista Front assumed that he was going to cede; but instead the channel took a frontal approach.

Mora quit playing “the devil´s advocate” in the debates on the program “IV Estate” and forgot about journalistic “balance”. “The situation no longer called for half measures,” he maintains. “Everyone turned against the massacre.”

With that Channel 63 became the target of censorship of the regime, and on December 21, 2018 it was raided by dozens of men with high powered weapons. The journalist and his wife had spent around 2 weeks sleeping in the installations of 100% Noticias to avoid the harassment on the route between their home and the station. Police entered by the main door and as they moved in “they upset everything.”

In the back on the second floor, Miguel Mora, Veronica Chavez and Lucía Pineda Ubau put into action the emergency plan that they had prepared. They closed down their emails and accounts of the company, turned off the computers, reported through Whatsapp groups that they were being invaded, and when the police entered the office, raised their hands. “They came in like they were going to trap Chapo Guzmán.”

Jail and politics

Accused of inciting hate and violence, in a process without evidence, Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau were jailed for 172 days. Before being transferred to La Modelo and La Esperanza [male and female penitenciaries, respectively], they coincided in the preventive jailcells of the Judicial Support Office, el Chipote.

In spite of everything, he remained “always optimistic”, stated Pineda Ubau, one of the journalists who had worked the longest with Mora. “He said to me, `don´t be concerned, Lucy, you are going to get out.´ The next day they took him to court. Maybe he thought that they would free me, and he was cheering me up as he tended to do, that in the midst of the storm stay calm and continue to have faith.”

According to the journalist, even though Mora had a Sandinista tendency he always asked that “it not influence” the agenda of 100% Noticias. He would say that “we report on what is happening and with balance”, she stated.

Currently Miguel Mora has distanced himself from the news agenda of the Channel, a responsibility that he left in the hands of Lucía. Politics and journalism are antagonistic powers, a journalist cannot be a politician and in no way can a politician do journalism. Mora knows it, and that is why he has distanced himself from his life project. He states that he is willing to continue the struggle as part of the opposition, even though this might mean more repression.

Suddenly a phone call comes in to his cell phone. It is the peasant leader, Medardo Mairena, another prominent opposition figure. “Medardo is my brother, we were prisoners together and we have developed a great friendship. He is concerned about Veronica, but I imagine that he is calling about something to do with the Coalition,” Mora explains. Now his world revolves around something larger than 100% Noticias.

Two visions

For Lucía Pineda Ubau, the director of 100% Noticias, Miguel Mora “has always had a positive attitude” and has encouraged young journalists to learn different skills, like editing, being controlers, and managing social networks and cameras. “!00% Noticias is a school where many were trained and today are in other news programs,” states the director of the channel.

“As boss he always was asking, ¨What breaking news do we have today, Lucy? Let us call our sources, put a lot on economic issues which is what people want to know, how their economy will be every day, the social, political and judicial situation,” relates the journalist. For her, Mora “is a friend, he knows how to detect the talents of each person and give them opportunities.”

Nevertheless, several of his old workers describe him as an “authoritarian” and an “absentee” boss who did not watch out for the well-being of his employees. “He is a person who is not very close to the workers, he was almost never at the station, but he was into his things. For him the Channel was first, second and third. There was no harmony, he was the boss and what he said had to be done,” stated the journalist Matilde Sequeira, who worked in the Channel from April to December of 2018.

“He never treated me badly personally, he never showed lack of respect by shouting at me,” Sequeira says. “But that sense of lack of closeness did exist.”

 

Personal notes

His favorite food is indio Viejo.

When he was in high school they called him “Octopus”.

He does not like going to the woods because he got “tired of it” during military service.

He is afraid of spiders, bats, rats and cucarachas. All of those were in the jail cells.

He likes to watch TV series and films, and his favorite book is “La Cabaña”.

He is an evangelical and has three children. Two (boy and girl) from his first marriage and one with Veronica Chavez.

In 2019 he stated that if he won the lottery the first thing he would do is buy equipment for 100% Noticias.

In November 2019 Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau received the International Freedom of the Press Award in New York, granted by the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ for its acronym in English).

According to Miguel Mora, the last time that he voted for Daniel Ortega was in 1996.

Currently he lives “off the love and solidarity” of his family and friends, he says.

Lottie Cunningham: “They want to exterminate us, create ethnocide”

Lottie Cunningham: “They want to exterminate us, create ethnocide”

By Fabián Medina in La Prensa, Oct 11, 2020

[original Spanish]

Lottie Cunningham abandoned her Rio Coco in 1982 with “Red Christmas” studied four professional careers and has become the voice of the indigenous who are being exterminated in the Caribbean Coast.

Lottie Cunningham wanted to end her days along the shore of the Rio Coco that saw her grow up. She has a house in Bilwaskarma for her retirement. “I would like this struggle to end soon to be able to go to my community,” she says hopefully. Even though she thinks it will be difficult for her to live long enough to see “the end of the struggle.”

As a child she ran around the crystal-clear creeks, fishing in the river, or participating in “pana-pana”, an activity where the entire community joyfully harvests what was planted. “The planting is done collectively, and the harvest is done collectively,” she says.

Returning to where she was happy. The life of that girl in the stilt house of her grandmother Elvida Cunningham Davis, a woman who “talked to the trees”, complained to them when they did not produce and taught little Lottie, and another 11 grandchildren, the principles that would lead her today to be one of the most recognized defenders of indigenous rights. So much so that a few days ago she was awarded the 2020 Right Livelihood Award, the prize popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel”.

Cunningham studied Nursing to serve her community, and when she felt that as a nurse her claims were not being heard, she studied Law.

“I identify myself as a Mískita indigenous person,” says this 61 year old woman who abandoned her river in 1982 with the forced displacement operations known as Red Christmas, carried out by the Sandinista government. She studied four professional careers and has become the voice of the indigenous from the Caribbean Coast who are being exterminated.

You abandoned your community with Red Christmas. How was that?

I was then working as a nurse in Bluefields. I was not there at the moment that it started, nevertheless, I was transferred there and personally experienced the displacement of my communities as a nurse. When I was in the south (Bluefields) the Ministry of Health was looking for nurses who spoke Mískito and I signed up as a volunteer.

What happened with your family?

My grandmother lost her house, her animals, they took her to Puerto Cabezas and she stayed in the home of a cousin. I went to the settlements where all the people the government had removed were found. More than 200 communities. Four settlements known as Tasba Pri (Free Land): Wasminona, Sahsa, Sumubila, and Columbus. For me it was devastating.

Was life very difficult there?

Of course, we lived in tents. I built the clinics with the community from bamboo. I worked 29 communities with a mobile brigade that I organized and prepared within nine months. In the Wasminona settlement, it was just Mískitos, and another, Españolina, Mayangna people. I also treated poor peasants who lived there.

Did you support the Sandinista Revolution?

In my youth I did, because I felt that they were talking about a progressive philosophy. I felt that they were going to improve the conditions of the indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples. That we were no longer going to be excluded from national development. But when I began to see all the destruction that they did, the human rights violations, then in 1988 I made the decision to resign. At that time a professional who resigned  was persecuted. I said that I was going to study. But I was never a member of the party.

At what time did you begin to get interested in human rights?

When I saw that they forcibly displaced people without their consent. I remember the grandmothers asking the members of the Army that at least they should let them take a sheet or a pot, and they said no, that for national sovereignty they had to remove them from there. Even though I felt that I was helping my community through my profession, I felt that as a nurse they were not listening to my opinion, and at that moment I could not choose a profession that subordinated me to the State. So, I chose Law.

Do you believe that there is a confrontation between the Pacific and the indigenous communities of the Caribbean?

What exists is institutionalized discrimination on the part of the State of Nicaragua. It is not a matter of Northern Pacific – Costal Pacific, but rather that there are different types of discrimination or racism that the system has been creating.

Cultural racism.

Of course. When I was studying Law in the UCA and spoke Mískito with other young women, they would tell me, “hey, don´t speak that here, here we are in Nicaragua”. But they were not to blame, when you analyze properly that pyramid of colonialization. Making some believe that they are better than others. I have felt discrimination since my childhood. In the legislation in the time of Somoza they spoke about bastard children. Children within marriage had more privileges than ones outside of marriage, like myself.

Is that racism also manifested among different indigenous ethnic groups? For example, between Miskitos and Mayangnas…

There are different forms of racism, but internal colonialization and external colonialization have been promoting it. The person who has power and economic resources is the person from the Pacific, who speaks Spanish, to whom the bank can make loans, and then when he works that loan in the Coast, he goes to look for someone who is fluid in Spanish, and then the Spanish person is going to look for an Afro-Descendent person because he speaks English and can have a relationship with an export business, and then comes the Mískito, and then the Mayangna, and so on. And the State, instead of establishing equality, has promoted it (racism). There you see it, most of the people who are in power right now are Afro-descendent. Of course, this has created racism between Mískitos and Mayangnas or between Mískitos and Afro-descendents and vice versa.

What does the figure of the settler mean for you at this time?

This word settler we did not start using. It came from the communities. Law 445, the Law of Communal Property, talks about “third parties”, and a third party is a natural or legal entity that has come to occupy their land without their consent and without any document. The law says that those people who are third parties who have an agrarian reform title from before 1987 will be recognized, will be respected. There are other people who have come but did not have any type of title and have occupied the land in an illegal way, but continue being third parties. When the massive invasion began, I began to hear “settlers” in some assemblies. Settlers and third parties. What is a settler for you? I asked in an assembly with approximately 200 indigenous. For us, they told me, third parties are those who the law mentions, but settlers are the people who have come to occupy our lands after the government gave us land titles. The government wants to take over everything and is sending these people to our land to settle it. They [the indigenous] call “third parties” those poor peasants who already were living with them and who have been respectful of the traditional norms. The settlers are not respectful. They are people who are armed, who do not respect neither the ancestors nor the traditional authorities, they have carried out kidnapping and murders.

Do they see the settlers as enemies?

They see them as people who they cannot live with.

Is there a war?

I would not say that it is a war. The State of Nicaragua has promoted the invasion of the settlers through concessions and permits to usurp the ownership of the land. They do not believe in communal property. The municipal governments themselves order that taxes be collected on the felling of the forests and extractive activities. It is not a declared war, but institutionalized discrimination. The State of Nicaragua has never protected communal property as it protects private property. It is a form of racial discrimination.

Is the survival of the indigenous in Nicaragua in danger?

Of course it is. Just like it happened to the indigenous brothers and sisters in the Pacific, Center and Northern Nicaragua. What they tell is something very similar. They left them without land and have denied them their autonomy. They want to exterminate us, create ethnocide, because by uprooting [indigenous[ where there is a greater population of settlers within indigenous lands, they are going to try to dominate the other population. Ethnocide is that in addition to losing our territory, this generation loses their cultural identity. You should see the letters from the settlers. They murder and leave letters with a stake in the body of a Mískito, or they leave letters in plastic bags tied to a tree where the indigenous pass by. They tell them, “You the Mískitos – they use a very degrading word, they call them “flies”[1]– must understand that you have no government. The government protects us. And as Nicaraguans that we are, we have rights to these lands. You are never going to get rid of us”. We have several notes. They are harsh messages.

Have you gone to the Police or the Army to seek protection? Do you have any backing from these institutions?

At no time. When the communities call me to advise them, we tell them, “First go to the closest military post and tell them to accompany you.” Example, when there is a kidnapping. The Army and the Police have told them that they have no authorization from their hierarchy to provide them accompaniment. But if we go in our boats and we go to meet with them, then we are stopped and seized by the Army.

It could be said that this State does not respect the rights of other citizens as well. Let us say that it is more egalitarian in its abuse.

The crisis of the indigenous is not from 2018. We were already experiencing it and it was getting worse, from intimidation, death threats to murders, kidnappings and disappeared indigenous. The Nicaragua society was not sensitive to the fact that they were killing us. It was in 2018, with the human right crisis which got worse in the country, that many of the civil society organizations have recognized it. The students even have apologized, “We would hear about that, but we didn´t pay attention to it.” And we continue struggling within this crisis because in the midst of the struggle of the country, the struggle of the indigenous and Afro-descendent people can be made invisible.

What does the prize that you just received mean for you?

I have accepted this recognition with a lot of humility, because first of all I am not taking it on in my personal capacity. I have accepted it in the name of the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua. And in particular for those people who have given their lives defending the land. I could not do what I do without those human rights defenders within the communities. This prize comes to make visible this crucial context of the people of Nicaragua. It is not the same to say it, the humanitarian, the food crisis that exists. You hear mothers say that they only have food for one meal and that meal is just bananas with salt.

Personal plane

Lottie Cunningham Wren was born 61 years ago in Bilwaskarma, a community along the shore of the Rio Coco, bordering on Honduras, which is known as the Nicaraguan Mosquitia.

She was born outside of marriage but was raised since the age of four months by her paternal grandmother, Elvida Cunningham Davis, a fundamental person in her life. She did not meet her mother until she was 20 years old.

She decided to study Nursing, influenced by an aunt who was a nurse, and because in Bilwaskarma there was a nursing school administered by the Moravian Church. In 1979 when she was one semester short of finishing her major, the Sandinistas closed the school of Bilwaskarma and Lottie Cunningham went to the UPOLI to finish her studies in 1980.

In the home of her grandfather she lived with 11 other cousins. She spoke Mískito and Creole English. When she started school she was forced to learn to speak Spanish. “For us Spanish was very difficult,” she says.

She has studied Nursing, has a Licentiate in Public Health Administration, Law and Masters degrees in Local Law and another in International Environmental and Human Rights Law. In 1997 she cofounded the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN), which she currently directs and is the legal representative of 197 communal governments and nine territorial governments.

She is married to an Afro-descendent person and has one son and two granddaughters. “When we got married I told him, “You are clear that you are marrying a woman from the countryside? Are you willing to go with me to my community when I go back?”

[1] In Spanish it is a play on words, “Moscos” means flies, but the area is also known as the Mosquitia

We Welcome the Forceful Resolution of the European Parliament and We Demand that Ortega Withdraw the Proposed Bills

The European Parliament on October 8 passed a forceful resolution warning the Government of Nicaragua that it would apply sanctions on government officials if it passed 3 recently proposed bills – one changing harshest sentence from 30 years to life; another obligating all citizens receiving money from organizations outside the country to register as “foreign agents“, and another bill on “cyber-crimes”which is so broad it includes punishment for “fake news”. This is the press release of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy reacting to this news.  

We Welcome the Forceful Resolution of the European Parliament and We Demand that Ortega Withdraw the Proposed Bills

October 8, 2020

Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy

[original Spanish]

 

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy welcomes and subscribes to the resolution approved by an ample majority of the more than 609 votes this morning by the European Parliament in terms of the upsetting bills which violate fundamental rights which the regime intends to approve in the National Assembly.

We are grateful for the expressions of solidarity from the European Parliamentarians, as well as the role that they have played since the crisis began in April 2018, being especially concerned about hearing from the victims of the repression. From the Civic Alliance we support the call made by the Parliament to allow a visit to the country of a delegation of Euro-deputies, as well as authorizing the return of the different international commissions to the country. We hope that the regime will not block the entry into the country of the mission composed to visit the country as soon as possible.

We make our own the expressions of the European Parliament when they said that these laws, in particular, the Law of Foreign Agents “will provide the Government of Daniel Ortega a new repressive instrument for silencing not only his critics, but also any person or organization that receives foreign financing, which will increase the number of victims of this repression and will aggravate even more the general climate of intimidation and threats, leading to inacceptable violations of human rights in Nicaragua.”

We celebrate their expressions urging the regime to stop the criminalization of independent voices, communications media, opponents and Human Rights organizations. For this reason, it is vital that the regime honor the call that the Parliament is making to comply with the agreements signed with the Civic Alliance in March 2019, including the liberation and restitution of the legal rights of all political prisoners.

We agree with what is expressed about the need to achieve electoral reforms “needed to ensure credible, inclusive and transparent elections, currently planned for November 2021, all in accordance with international norms” and to adopt the recommendations of the Electoral Observation Mission of the EU in 2011, which included among other things international electoral observation. These reforms in addition are demands of the citizenry in the process of achieving conditions that would lead us to an electoral process that would help to make the transition to a new stage outside of the dictatorship by democratic means.

We think that what the Parliament warned should be taken with the utmost seriousness when they said that if these laws are approved, the European Union “will quickly expand the list of people and entities susceptible to sanctions, including the president and vice president, taking special care to not harm the people of Nicaragua.”

The call of the European Parliament to activate the Democratic Clause of the Agreement of Association between Europe and Central America will bring very serious consequences for the economy of Nicaragua, and above all for the well-being of thousands of Nicaraguans who could lose their jobs because of a regime that violates human rights in Nicaragua. Once again, the abuses of freedoms on the part of the regime have garnered the attention of the international community, who have responded quickly and decisively in defense of the people of Nicaragua in their struggle for justice and democracy.

 

The desperation of the Ortega Murillo regime

In the last week the Government has submitted three bills for their approval in the National Assembly, which they have the numbers to easily pass:  a bill that would allow for life imprisonment- currently the longest sentence is 30 years; a bill that would require any Nicaraguan receiving any foreign money – other than family remittances and some formal business contracts – to register as a foreign agent; and a cybercrime bill that would penalize with jail any publication “of false or distorted news”. Critics of the government see them all aimed at  threatening  the opposition and curtailing their rights before the elections of 2021. What follows is the analysis by a former high level Sandinista and political and economic analyst.

The desperation of the Ortega Murillo regime

By Oscar René Vargas, Sept 29, 2020 in Artículo 66

[original Spanish]

They are only willing to leave power dead, not through elections. It is the logic of power or death.

The intolerance continues as always and the attack of the Ortega Murillo regime against the opposition is intensifying. The impunity that protects the Police and paramilitaries is the guarantee that the repression will continue. In other words, Nicaragua will continue experiencing a nightmare of political repression and state violence.

The repressive campaign of Ortega Murillo for their continuance in power is carried out within a context of aggression and death, in addition to the police violence. At the same time, the regime counts on the fractioning of the formal opposition, helped by the façade opposition parties, both factors help them in their purpose of staying in power indefinitely.

The social, political and economic crisis will continue in the case that Ortega Murillo continue in power. The consequences are more than predictable. A future will not be seen for the impoverished population nor for economic recovery in the next five years.

The regime is facing the confluence of five crises (economic, social, political, health and international) which is not favorable for their continuance in power, a situation which leads them to implement more repressive laws out of their desperation to control the social movement in order to avoid a second wave of social protests and/or a social and political tsunami.

I think that in the best electoral scenario, Ortega will hold manipulated elections in order to be able to win them and is willing to deal with international sanctions and popular uproar, like Maduro has done since 2018. Meanwhile, he is going to approve laws that further limit the freedom of expression, because for him thinking is dangerous.

This is exactly what he is preparing with the laws that he wants to approve: life sentences as a threat against opponents, cybercrime which censures social networks and foreign agents and other laws that might appear. The regime is digging in for a possible negotiation with the North Americans.

In other words, they want elections, but only with the façade opposition parties and a minimum of electoral reforms, regardless of what might come later. They are willing to leave power only dead, not through elections. It is the logic of power or death.

This does not mean that there is no need to fight for clean and transparent elections in 2021. The regime wants to get to an electoral scenario where the formal opposition is up a creek without a paddle. Nevertheless, the electoral process can be taken advantage of as a stage in the struggle against the dictatorship that we have to exhaust, taking advantage of its international isolation, and the fact that the 2021 elections that will be monitored by the international press. In other words, the electoral process has to be taken advantage of in order to mobilize the population against an electoral fraud that would have a high political cost, internally as well as internationally.

The Ortega Murillo regime is making a poor bet: Nicaragua is not Venezuela, not in terms of resources, military power, and international support on the part of the Russians and Chinese. Also, the regime is mistaken that the real opposition is the National Coalition and that its fracture, they think, allows it to do anything. The real opposition are the people in the streets, in the traffic circles, and in any place in the country that protests against the dictatorship.

PROPOSED LAW FOR THE REGULATION OF FOREIGN AGENTS

The biggest news of last week was the introduction of this bill in the National Assembly by the Government. Some commentators have called it “Putin´s bill” claiming it is modeled on a similar law Putin had passed, which obligates all entities and people receiving any type of foreign funds  – except for family remittances, retired pensions, and foreign business investment- to register with the Ministry of the Interior as “foreign agents.” They need to report those funds prior to receiving them on a monthly basis. Failure to report can result in legal sanctions, including confiscation of assets.  Furthermore it prohibits such persons from being candidates or holding public offices or public employment in any way.  Analysts say this  would effectively prohibit most of the current leaders of the opposition from running as candidates in the next elections.

What follows are the articles to the bill, which is slated to be taken up by the Economic Commission of the National Assembly on Sept 29, 2020

PROPOSED LAW FOR THE REGULATION OF FOREIGN AGENTS

(submitted to the National Assembly Sept 22, 2020)

Article 1 Purpose and sphere of application

The current law has the purpose of establishing the legal framework for the regulation of natural or legal persons who respond to foreign interests and financing, and use that financing to carry out activities that stray into the meddling of foreign governments or organizations in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, putting at risk State security.

It has as its sphere of application obligated subjects, as well as foreign monetary funds, assets, goods and objects of value, established in this law, excepting all foreign retired people who reside in Nicaragua and receive money under the concept of their pension; natural persons who receive family remittances; foreign productive and commercial enterprises with branches in Nicaragua, factories and supermarket chains from foreign investment, their workers and service providers, as well as people who establish commercial relationships under the conditions of operative commercial Agreements, Treaties, and Accords, particularly with respect to investment, service provision and the temporary entrance of business people, in accordance with current legislation on those matters.

In that sense, the current law will not affect operative commercial agreements or treaties, nor those who might sign them in the future. Nor foreign investments, nor connected physical or legal persons, or those who perform strictly economic or commercial activities, or those related to foreign investments.

Article 2. Registry of Foreign Agents

Organizations, associations or natural or legal persons, Nicaraguans or from other nationalities, who within Nicaragua receive funds, assets or any object of value coming, directly or indirectly, from foreign governments, agencies, foundations, societies, no matter what type or nature they may be, are obligated to register in the Registry of Foreign Agents established in the current law.

All organizations, agencies or individuals who work, receive funds or respond to organizations that belong to or are controlled, directly or indirectly, by foreign governments or entities, must register as foreign agents.

Article 3. Obligated Subjects

Any physical or legal person must register as a foreign agent who, within Nicaragua, performs or works as an agent, representative, employee or attendant, or any person who works or performs any activity under the order, requirements, instruction or under the direction, supervision or control of a foreign organization or of a physical or legal person whose activities  are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized completely or partially by foreign governments, capital, businesses or funds, be that directly or through third parties, be they physical or legal persons.

People should also register, who within Nicaragua, act as advisors, public relationists, publicity agents, information service employees or political consultants for or in the interest of foreign governments, foundations, businesses or associations; that request, charge, employ in any way or disburse funds, contributions, loans, money or any other things of value for or in the interest of foreign governments, foundations, businesses or organizations; or represent directly or indirectly the interests of foreign governments, foundations or organizations before any ministry, public entity, business or official organizations of the State of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Natural or legal persons exempted from this law do not form part of the obligated subjects.

Article 4. Definitions

For the effects of the current Law, the following definitions are established:

  1. Foreign Agent: Natural or legal person, Nicaraguan or of another nationality, who within Nicaragua receives funds, assets or any object of value coming, directly or indirectly, from foreign governments, agencies, foundations, societies or associations, no matter what type or nature they may be, who work, receive funds or respond to organizations that belong to or are controlled, directly or indirectly, by foreign governments of entities.
  2. Competent authority: Ministry of the Interior responsible for the regulation, supervision and sanction on matters of Foreign Agents
  3. Registration format: Document prepared by the Ministry of the Interior to implement the Foreign Agent registration
  4. Foreign Agent registration: Entirety of orderly and systematic information that the Ministry of the Interior has for the exercise of the regulation, supervision and sanctions on matters of Foreign Agents.
  5. Obligated Subject: Any physical or legal person must register as a foreign agent who within Nicaragua, performs or works as an agent, representative, employee or attendant, or any person who works or performs any activity under the order, requirements, instruction or under the direction, supervision or control of a foreign organization or of a physical or legal person whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized completely or partially by governments, capital, businesses or foreign funds, be that directly or through third parties, be they physical or legal persons.

People should also register, who within Nicaragua, act as advisors, public relationists, publicity agents, information service employees or political consultants for or in the interest of foreign governments, foundations, businesses or associations; that request, charge, employ in any way or disburse funds, contributions, loans, money or any other things of value for or in the interest of foreign governments, foundations, businesses or organizations; or represent directly or indirectly the interests of foreign governments, foundations or organizations before any ministry, public entity, business or official organizations of the State of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Article 5 Competent Authority

The Ministry of the Interior is the competent authority for the application of the current law, exercise regulation, supervision and sanction in these matters. The Ministry will reorganize itself administratively to establish the Department of the Registry of Foreign Agents.

The Ministry of the Interior will request the collaboration of all public, mixed and private entities to ensure compliance with this Law.

Article 6 Prior Request of the Ministry of the Interior

Foreign agents must present previously to the Ministry of the Interior a report of any offer that is made from their foreign principal concerning funds, assets or any other assets and objects of value being received directly or indirectly to carry out their activities as foreign agents, and explain in what activities those funds or assets will be used.

Article 7 Presentation of Information

The physical or legal persons who perform as foreign agents must present, monthly, to the competent authority, a documented, detailed and verifiable report of expenses, payments, disbursements, contracts and other activities connected to their performance as foreign agents. The total expenses or income should respond to the amount of income and assets received.

Article 8 Donations

Donations that physical or legal persons registered in the Foreign Agents Registry receive cannot be used to finance activities not previously declared; to carry them out without registering them in the web portal that the Ministry of the Interior sets up for that purpose; to change the previously declared purpose for which the funds were received, without notice to the Ministry of the Interior.

Article 9 Prohibition of anonymous Donations

Physical or legal persons registered in the Foreign Agent Registry will not be able to receive donations or funds or material assets of any type from anonymous sources or persons.

Article 10 Monetary funds and material assets.

Monetary funds must be received through any supervised financial institution that is legally registered in Nicaragua. Material assets coming from outside the country must comply with the customs legislation.

Article 11 Information

Physical or legal persons registered in the Foreign Agent Registry must provide the competent authority the name of the foreign government or governments, foreign political parties, businesses and other physical or legal persons who finance, provide funds, or in any way facilitate economic and material means or of any other type to perform their work as foreign agents. This information will be public.

Article 12 Foreign Agents

Natural or legal persons, Nicaraguans or of other nationalities, who act as foreign agents must abstain, under the pain of legal sanctions, of intervening in matters, activities or issues of internal politics. They also are prohibited from financing or promoting financing to any type of organization, movement, political party, coalitions or political alliances, or associations that carry out internal political activities in Nicaragua. Nor will they be able to officers, public employees or candidates to public offices of any type or nature.

The prohibition in this article will end one year after the foreign agent requests being removed from the Foreign Agent Registry, which will be done once accredited before the competent authority that, in effect and in a documented way, he has ceased to be a foreign agent. The presentation of false documents or proof can incur administrative and penal responsibilities, depending on the case, previously determined by the competent authority.

Article 13 Faculties of the Ministry of the Interior

When the Ministry of the Interior has knowledge of the existence of physical or legal persons who are acting as foreign agents and have not complied with the obligation of registering, it will proceed to notify them of the duty to comply with said obligation.

In the case that the physical or legal person, once notified, within the term of 5 work days, does not register, the Ministry will be able to establish fines on natural persons, as well as fines and request to cancel the legal status of the competent authorities, without affecting the penal responsibility determined by the competent authority for the commission of crimes against State security.

In any case, the refusal to register will authorize the Department of Foreign Agent Registry to intervene funds and real estate and other assets of the physical or legal person who refuses to comply with the law, as well as prohibit their activities.

Article 14 Regulations

The Ministry of the Interior will establish the necessary regulations to carry out the regulation, supervision and sanctions on matters of Foreign Agents.

Article 15 Complementary application

The Ministry of the Interior will apply in a complementary form the dispositions that have to do with Law 977, Law Against Laundering Assets, Financing for Terrorism and Financing for the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, whose entire text was published in la Gaceta, Official Daily no 165 of August 29, 2019, to ensure the effective application of the current law.

Public officials who know about the reception of funds on the part foreign agents and supervised financial institutions that receive the monetary funds for foreign agents must report to the Financial Analysis Unit, in accordance with the existing legislation.

Article 16 Transitory

The subjects obligated to register in the Foreign Agent Registry will have a term of 60 days to do so, from the date this law takes effect. Starting with the date this law takes effect, the subjects obligated will not be able to carry out the movement of monetary funds nor material assets, until they comply with the obligation of registering.

Article 17 Registry Format

The Format of the Registry will be prepared by the Ministry of the Interior for the application of this law.

Article 18 Publication and applicability

This law will take effect with its publication in La Gaceta, the Official Daily. (NOTE: date is left blank awaiting approval of the law).

 

 

 

 

To achieve transitional justice in Nicaragua, the victims of the regime should not forgive and forget

Last week the big news story was that Daniel Ortega was recommending changing the longest sentence from 30 years to life, purportedly in response to the rape and murder of two girls in Mulukukú. Nicaragua, and Central America in general, have never had life sentences, because their penal legislation has always recognized the possibility of rehabilitation. However, two leaders of the Peasant Movement Against the Canal, after the rebellion in April 2018, were given sentences of over 200 years each, in clear violation of that law. Paradoxically, this is the context in which this interview was done of an expert on transitional justice.

To achieve transitional justice in Nicaragua, the victims of the regime should not forgive and forget

By Eva Inestroza, La Prensa, Sept 20, 2020

[original Spanish]

The four pillars of transitional justice are: truth and memory, justice, reparations and guarantee of non-repetition.

Monday September 14 was 26 months since Gerald Vásquez  was murdered by paramilitaries who carried out an armed attack on the Divina Misericordia Church, which offered refuge to more than 200 young people who were expelled by gunfire from the trenches of anti-government protests in the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua) on the afternoon of July 13, 2018, three months after the beginning of citizen protests against the regime of Daniel Ortega.

Susana Lopez, mother of the university student killed by para-police at the service of the Sandinista dictatorship, said that the damage that they caused her and her family is irreparable, and even though more than two years have passed without those responsible for the death of her son paying for the crime that they committed, she trusts that a process of transitional justice will be applied in the country.

“The person who shot as well as the person who gave the order to shoot have to pay”, pointed out López, who from the Association of the Mothers of April (AMA), an organization that includes more than 100 mothers and relatives of the people murdered during the rebellion of April 2018, have confronted international bodies in order to get justice, reparation, and non-repetition.

Transitional justice

In order to understand the search for these four fundamental pillars to transitional justice, and the necessary process for its application in Nicaragua, it is important to understand what transitional justice is.

A specialist in the Transitional Justice area of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) explains that transitional justice are judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to enable a transition or change to be carried out, be it because a country wants to get out of an authoritarian regime, or is leaving an armed conflict and wants to get to peace.

The specialist, who asked to remain anonymous, points out that the important aspects that nurture what today is considered transitional justice are war crimes, which can be committed against a civilian population when there is an armed conflict, and crimes against humanity; in other words, crimes that are committed against humanity, which are no longer the responsibility of one country, whether there is a desire or not to judge those who have committed human rights violations, but rather that those crimes now are passed to being the responsibility of the international community.

“The development of transitional justice was very marked by historical events in Latin America between the 70s and 80s, there were several dictatorships, above all military ones, in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. In the mid 90s the concept of transitional justice emerged, which as such basically has to do with judicial and non-judicial mechanisms to carry out a transition to a democratic system,” said the specialist of FUNIDES.

“Since now there have been many experiences on the international level, there is no specific recipe, but there are several mechanisms, which even though they have demonstrated that sometimes they do not function completely, and that are going to depend on the context of the country, they have proven that they help to improve these transition processes,” she argued.

The four pillars of transitional justice are: truth and memory, justice, reparations and the guarantee of non-repetition.

Truth and memory

The specialist pointed out that historically when a country has come out of an armed conflict or a war in search of peace, or from an authoritarian regime toward a democracy, what is wanted is to begin a process of “erasing and starting with a clean slate”, and what this does is make the victims invisible.

“For a sustainable transition process to exist, the victims have to be in the center, because that is the great slogan of transitional justice. The victims have to be in the center, and therefore it is important to know what happened. It is important that the truth be constructed or reconstructed, an inclusive truth that does not only tell what happened from one side, but that can really take up and listen to what the different bands experienced, to say it in that way, and this implies a reconstruction of the historic memory, “ she pointed out.

What is considered to be an entry point for a process of transitional justice to happen, and a classic mechanism, is the creation of a truth commission.

To keep alive the memory of the events occurred since April 2018, the Association of Mothers of April (AMA) created the Museum of Memory against Impunity, which was built for the purpose of contributing to dignifying the victims of the State of Nicaragua and to honor their memory. “The fight to achieve justice has been international, because there is no national justice, and there will not be national justice. As long as this Government is in power, there will be no change. On the contrary, there are reprisals after the harm,” denounced López.

“The Museum of the Memory of April remains alive, especially in the search for that truth and that these crimes not be repeated in the history of Nicaragua,” she added.

Truth Commission

Truth commissions have to comply with certain basic criteria, the specialist explained. For example, they cannot be managed by the Government which has been reproached.

“Because it is clear that it is going to distort everything and is going to tell their story. The truth commission has to be impartial, which is normally created within the State because it needs a budget, but it is fundamental that it be composed of people who have recognition, legitimacy and when the commission has been formed, it needs to begin to do a very concrete report which takes into account and represents the largest amount of human rights violations that happened during the conflict,” specified the specialist.

Truth Commissions do not have penal power as such, she explained, but are an input that afterwards is presented to legal institutions for the information to be processed. In addition to the fact that, those who compose it make recommendations on the other pillars that have to do with transitional justice.

The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, through the National Assembly, approved the creation of a truth commission on April 29, 2018, which was sworn in on May 4 of that same year, to investigate the deaths and harm caused during the protests begun on April 18, 2018. Nevertheless, it was noted by several organization and civil associations for their prejudiced conclusions on the descriptions of the crimes committed, which covered up and benefitted the regime.

“In 2018 a truth and reconciliation commission was created in Nicaragua, but it was not recognized by any human rights organization on the international level, nor nationally, because it was clearly completely prejudiced,” commented the specialist.

Justice

The word transition is added to the word justice, because it deals with a process of transition towards democracy, justice by itself is not enough, states the coordinator of the transitional justice area of FUNIDES.

“Since so many human rights violations have been committed that the traditional judicial systems come up short, then transitional justice says that justice has to be done, but so that what happened not be repeated, one, the victims have to be the center, and two, it is important that several structural reforms have to happen to prevent human rights violations from happening again,” insisted the specialist.

Therefore, the role that justice has is to take up again what refers to truth and memory, and investigate the principal people responsible, ensuring that those who have not been sentenced or accused of crimes against humanity be judged and sentenced, even though the State may not want it.

“An international institution can come in and begin a legal process. Admittedly this is pretty complicated, but it is possible,” warns the specialist. In addition, she states that crimes against humanity cannot be negotiated and cannot be the object of an amnesty.

“Justice is going to depend a lot on the willingness that a new government may have in Nicaragua, to really not allow and not apply amnesty laws, but fundamental there is the role the civil society may have, that can demand and insist, that can oversee whether processes are really carried out, and in the case that there is no state willingness, advocacy can be done from the international community because, as I was saying, there are mechanisms so that crimes against humanity be judged and not prescribed, and can be done on the international level,” recommended the expert of FUNIDES.

Such was the case of the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, she pointed out. “He was tried a long time afterwards. The Chilean State was protecting Pinochet, but at a moment in which he was in England, which was a party to the Rome Statutes, is what allowed these international trials to happen. Chile was not party to it, that is why Pinochet was very protected in that sense, and Spain, that also ratified the Rome Statutes, tried him and England allowed it,” the specialist in transitional justice said, providing the context.

For his part, the political analyst and former ambassador of Nicaragua, Mauricio Díaz, also gave the example of the dictator Pinochet, who was arrested in London on October 16, 1998, because of his presumed implication in crimes of genocide, international terrorism, torture and disappearances of people which occurred in Chile during his dictatorship between the years 1973-1990, and up to the moment of his death had an arrest warrant against him.

“An independent prosecutor pursued him when he left his protection, from his niche that was the Chilean geography. The same is going to happen to the regime here, they are not going to live in peace, at least in the world, even though they are entrenched within the national geography, clad in a concept of sovereignty that serves to clothe them in impunity,” said Díaz.

Nevertheless, the former ambassador indicated that in order to apply transitional justice, the barbarities that have occurred within the country rooted in the explosion of the crisis of 2018 would have to be documented through an impartial and independent Truth Commission, which in his judgement will not be possible, if the State continues being controlled by Daniel Ortega. “Another government would have to do it, in the future, that would say that the more than three hundred and so murders, those tortured, women raped are not going to be left unpunished.”

Reparations

In this pillar, the specialist in transitional justice of FUNIDES indicates that listening to the victims is very important, knowing what it is that happened, and which begins to try those responsible.

“The victims have the full right that their rights be restored to the extent possible, there are several forms of restoration if you wish, a classic one is economic restorations. It is known that everything that a violation of human rights means cannot be recovered through money, but people broke with their life projects, and have the full right to receiving some type of restoration,” expressed the specialist.

Even though there are also symbolic type restorations, among these that the State recognize what happened, that sites be created to remember and commemorate. “So that the population not forget and these crimes not be committed again. In addition are reparations concerning psychological accompaniment, since the surviving victims of the relatives who are the indirect victims, are left with serious trauma and emotional impacts,” she added.

In terms of reparations, the mother of Gerald Vásquez pointed out that more than two years later the Ortega Murillo regime has not even recognized that the youth that were murdered during the protests were students. She deplores the fact that the dictatorship couple continue categorizing them as criminals.

“I have gone through psychological even psychiatric treatments, the harm to me and all the mothers that this regime caused us is irreparable. Nevertheless, we are going to continue being the voices that they silenced with bullets, we are going to dignify their names, their memories, because they have still not recognized that they were students, they say that our children were criminals,” objected López.

Nevertheless, the specialist of FUNIDES recognized that it is not possible for the pain to be  completely repaired, even though the pillar of reparation be applied, it will not be accomplished. “Even though the wound cannot be completely healed, but on seeing that the transition does not forget what happened, that is to say, that we have to deal with the past, shouldering what was done, that these are the victims, and all needed resources have to be sought so that the victims be restored, and above all to prevent a conflict of this magnitude from happening again,” she recommended.

Guarantee of non-repetition

Even though to achieve this last pillar of transitional justice requires medium and lon- term work, in the case that a dictatorship end and a democratic government begin, the principal institutions that committed violations, were accomplices or allowed the human rights violations, cannot continue the same, indicated the expert.

In other words, “for the population to once again have confidence in the State, normally the institutions that are implicated like the Army, Police, judicial system, Legislature, an immediate task is that there has to be a profound transformation, not just of the people who had a role of involvement, but also how to return to allow these institutions to be independent again, have a vision of professionalism and democracy,” said the specialist of FUNIDES, as an immediate response, as long as there is a democratic change.

Nevertheless, she pointed out that in the long-term educational programs should be carried out, where topics about a culture of peace can be developed. “That being able to have peace implies developing skills, also in a collective way, that allow for conflicts to be resolved without having to get to violence,” she said.

For Guillermina Zapata, this last pillar on the guarantee of non-repetition is linked to truth and memory, which has cruelly marked her life and that of her family in the two dictatorships of Somoza and Ortega.

The National Guard of Somoza killed her older brother on April 28, 1978 and four decades later, her oldest son, Francisco Reyes Zapata, 34 years of age, was murdered by a well-aimed bullet, direct to the head, while he participated in the protest march on May 30, 2018, Mother´s day in the country.

“The objective is that the youth not be forgotten, and that history not be repeated again. My family fought against the dictatorship of Somoza. We lived through that war, we lost a brother and 40 years later they killed my son. As mothers we have seen that international organizations have made an effort to support us, that is why I have faith that transitional justice will be achieved,” expressed Zapata. “I know it is not going to happen overnight, justice can be slow, but we are going to achieve it,” she added.

The regime is betting on forgetting

After the overthrow of the dictatorship of Somoza four decades ago, the hostilities of two armed conflicts, like the insurrection and the counterrevolution of the 80s, former ambassador Mauricio Díaz commented that a transition process has not been experienced in the country. On the contrary, he says that Nicaraguans have had a short historic memory, which is why the regime is betting again on forgetfulness.

“These [people of the regime] are betting on forgetfulness, that the people will forget, and it is a historical political curse, because we Nicaraguans forget, we have a short historic memory and they are betting on it being forgotten,” he pointed out. Nevertheless, at the same time, he recognizes that the events that occurred rooted in the civic rebellion of April 2018 are “fresh”, and the ongoing reports and pronouncements of the international community are keeping alive the memory of April and the crimes committed by the regime.

“One of the few things that were achieved in Nicaragua with the National Dialogue was that it permitted the entry of the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), the report done by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and the Special Follow up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI). All of these inputs are key and have been key because they have allowed that everything that has happened in Nicaragua be made visible on an international level, from a well-recognized external organization,” concurred the specialist of FUNIDES.

“There is a very clear, very powerful report, from a recognized institution in terms of human rights, and effectively this is going to serve as an input for judicial processes that can happen in the future. Everything that has been done, and what can continue being done on an international level, is very important to accelerate a process of democratic transition in Nicaragua,” recommended the expert.

 

 

PROPOSAL FOR A COUNTRY AGENDA, Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, NICARAGUA 2020

The week before the celebration of Nicaraguan and Latin Ameican independence (Sept 14 &15), the Civic Alliance published their proposed country agenda, which they expect will be enriched by consultation with people at the grassroots level. That consensus document follows.

PROPOSAL FOR A COUNTRY AGENDA

Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, NICARAGUA 2020

[Original Spanish]

Our Agenda for a New Nicaragua is Humanistic, placing the HUMAN BEING, each Nicaraguan, at the center of development and public policy plans.

Our Principles:

We believe in the right of each Nicaraguan to equal and holistic development

We believe that each man and each woman should have the capacity to achieve their aspirations and enhance their fulfillment, personal and economic well being

We believe in a Nicaragua where dictatorships do not happen again; in a Democratic State

We believe in political pluralism, in the freedom of Nicaraguans to express themselves and form associations

We believe that democracy is based on citizen participation in the governance of the country

We believe in the need to create and strengthen a true Rule of Law

We believe in freedom, in a State that respects public liberties

We believe in the fact that HUMAN RIGHTS are inalienable and sacrosanct.

Aspirations

  1. A new Nicaragua
  2. Eradicating the old way of doing politics
  3. Genuine and fair Rule of law.
  4. Justice for the victims of abuses of Human Rights violations.
  5. Social policy that would ensure equity and sustainable human development
  6. Economic policies aimed at productive transformation, generating quality jobs and development with equity.

Social

  1. The State will ensure quality public services.
  2. Social policy will ensure equal opportunities
  3. Projects will be implemented for social housing, nutrition, attention to children and the elderly
  4. Reviewing rates for water, light, taxes and garbage, as well as other municipal services.
  5. Social Security will have to be reformed without affecting the poor nor retirees.

Health Care

  1. Improvement of salaries and working conditions for health care workers.
  2. Incrementally, appropriate and sustainable financing of health care will be achieved, with equity and efficiency, reducing out of pocket costs.
  3. Health information systems will be strengthened in order to support the formulation of evidence-based policies and decision making
  4. Prevention, detection, monitoring and response to outbreaks of disease will be strengthened, responsibly applying the International Health Regulations.
  5. Revision of the conditions of social security, treatments, guaranties of quality and coverage.
  6. Immediate depoliticization of the health care system
  7. Access to health care without discrimination will be promoted
  8. Reinstatement of all fired health care workers, as well as expelled students.
  9. Begin a program of inclusive holistic health care, including mental health, for victims of the conflict.
  10. Implementation of a program for the return from exile of human talent in health care.
  11. Universal, free and equitable access to to holistic, quality health services and to medicines will be ensured.

Education

  1. Immediate depoliticization of all schools
  2. Reinstatement of all teachers expelled or fired, as well as students
  3. Public education in Nicaragua will be free, high quality and pertinent.
  4. Primary education in Nicaragua will continue being obligatory
  5. Review of the salary table for teachers, in accordance with their capacities and level of study.
  6. Modernization of educational programs
  7. Inclusion in the curriculum of values of inclusion, integrity, honesty, civility, critical awareness, discipline, responsibility, revitalization of cultural identity and protection of the environment.
  8. University autonomy, academic freedom and democracy will be fully respected in the universities
  9. A cultural policy will be designed that promotes the arts and creativity, as well as protect the cultural manifestations of the Nicaraguan people themselves.

Youth

The youth agenda has been thought through in order to respond to the problems of youth in the country, expressed in demands of the State as well as civil society in its entirety.

In terms of the State, youth demand:

  1. Application of the Law for youth
  2. Application of the Law of Access to Public Information, which allows for full accountability, clarity and easily understood, publication in all communication media.
  3. Reestablishment of public freedoms, particularly the freedom of expression, organization, and mobilization of students.
  4. Spaces for employment in accordance with the academic plans offered by different universities and technical schools in Nicaragua.
  5. Eliminate political sponsorship in order to get a job.
  6. Not being discriminated against for ones political decisions and ideas
  7. Education without political biases
  8. Opportunities for new spaces for entrepreneurship
  9. Programs for food and citizen protection for those who live outside of Nicaragua
  10. Voting for youth outside the country.
  11. Protection for reserves and green areas
  12. Access of youth to legislative spaces
  13. Training and recreational spaces
  14. Respect for Human Rights as youth

Youth, also youth demand of civil society:

  1. Unity in action and international lobbying (Coordination of civil society)
  2. Inclusion of exiles in processes of political unity
  3. Promotion of decent spaces for contributing ideas
  4. Preparation and training to participate in elections
  5. Formational spaces for knowledge about political history and current events
  6. Strengthen spaces of trust among citizens
  7. More inclusive system of participation
  8. Organization of all the movements of youth born before, during and after April 2018
  9. Construction and strengthening of this national agenda of youth for youth.

Culture

The State will be a facilitator and promoter of culture, far from any propaganda or ideology. Full independence will be established for creators and their cultural manifestations.

  1. The Institute of Culture will be reorganized to have an appropriate and efficient cultural institution to carry out a cultural policy that cares for the cultural values and assets of the nation, and guarantees the freedom of creation, developing spaces and providing appropriate means so that creators can have support for their creations.
  2. The publication of national or literary or general interest works will be promoted, offering fiscal incentives to national publishers and eventually creating a state publisher.
  3. Human and material resources will be assigned for the conservation of monuments and cultural assets. The export of archaeological pieces will be overseen and controlled, and other artistic works that would be considered national patrimony.
  4. Creation of a Museum of Visual Arts
  5. The teaching of plastic arts, theatre, dance, music, cinema and audiovisual arts will be strengthened
  6. The National Literary Award will be created
  7. Program for the promotion of reading, and network of public libraries, including the use of digital networks.
  8. Fiscal incentives will be offered for the private sponsorship of museums, expositions, fairs, and festivals for poetry, literature, music, dance, cinema, plastic arts, among other cultural expressions.

Sustainable Economic Development

The objective of the political economy will be economic growth with social equity and environmental sustainability, with an emphasis on the development of Nicaraguans and the realization of their aspirations.

  1. The right to private, collective and community property will be protected.
  2. The free market, productive diversification, and the generation of highly productive jobs will be promoted, with well-paid salaries and taking advantage of world trade opportunities
  3. Developing productive skills in the youth that would promote new and better jobs
  4. Policies that stimulate activities like tourism, agro-industry and construction.
  5. The promotion of direct foreign investment and national investment will be fundamental for the process of productive reactivation and transformation.
  6. Holistic reform of the electric energy generation, transmission and distribution system. Promotion of renewable sources.
  7. The safe return of exiles will have to be incentivized and creating programs so that they can invest in new undertakings.
  8. Promoting programs for financing innovations, putting them at the disposition of entrepreneurs.
  9. Designing a credit policy that would promote the production of agriculture, ranching and its derivatives, fishing and other sectors.
  10. Reactivation and/or construction of the highway system and productive roads.

Environment

  1. Natural reserves will be respected and protected, preventing land invasions.
  2. India Maíz and Bosawas will be reforested and the settlement of new inhabitants will be prevented within the reserves
  3. Promoting reforestation and natural regeneration
  4. The exploitation of natural wealth will be rationally regulated.
  5. Water pollution through industrial waste will be prohibited and sanctioned, projects will be done to clean up water reserves
  6. The use of the coasts will be regulated
  7. Campaigns will be carried out to educate the population to take care of public spaces
  8. Fiscal benefits for ecological reserves

Aspirations of the Caribbean Coast

  1. That the programs come from a commitment of the national state, so that there is no interruption by changes of the parties in power.
  2. That the legal advances in matters of the recognition of the rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples which the State of Nicaragua has achieved up to now be maintained and recognized
  3. Completion of the Autonomy Regime.

Justice

  1. There will be justice for those guilty of violations of the human rights of citizens
  2. Creation of an Independent Truth Commission and a special prosecutor
  3. All action of justice will have as its principal objective the victim and their relatives.
  4. Entry into the country of the IACHR and the OHCHR
  5. El Chipote will be closed and torture eradicated.
  6. Reform of the justice system that includes a new national forensic and criminal laboratory system with full autonomy.
  7. The culture of non-violence will be promoted for the resolution of differences between Nicaraguans.
  8. The Statute of Rome will be signed and ratified by the State of Nicaragua.
  9. Amnesty Law 966 will be annulled.
  10. Return of confiscated properties.

The Rule of Law

  1. Nicaraguans will recover all constitutional rights and guarantees.
  2. Independence of the branches of government.
  3. Reform of the Constitution to definitively eliminate presidential re-election.
  4. Corruption will be fought head on.
  5. The freedom of the press, freedom of expression and demonstration will be re-established.
  6. Strict compliance with the civil service and administrative career, access to public information and citizen participation laws.
  7. Gender equality, non-discrimination will be promoted, and violence against women, minors, indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples will be fought.
  8. Reforming the Army and National Police.
  9. Paramilitary groups will be eradicated, who will be put into the hands of justice.
  10. The functioning of municipal autonomy will be reinforced.
  11. Canal Law 840 will be repealed.

Equality before the Law

  1. Adherence to the reformed Constitution
  2. No one is above the law, regardless of their religious beliefs, political affiliation and gender.
  3. Respect for private, collective and community property.
  4. Respect for the mechanisms of the free market, formal and informal.

Electoral Reforms

  1. The electoral branch will be reformed in a holistic manner in accordance with the already prepared reform proposals by the electoral reform roundtable. Among the most urgent reforms are:
  2. a) A new Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) composed of honest citizens, along with changes in the structures of the CSE
  3. b) Unrestricted national and international observation
  4. c) Clean-up of the electoral rolls
  5. d) Access and functioning without impediments for political party poll watchers.
  6. e) Publication of electoral results in real time.
  7. f) Access of all citizens to free identity cards
  8. g) Elimination of two-party system
  9. h) Flexibilization of requirements for the registration of electoral alliances
  10. i) Voting from outside the country
  11. The electoral branch will fulfill its function with transparency, communication, information and integrity during all the phases of the electoral process.
  12. A new Political Party law will be created that facilitates the formation of new young political parties.

A Social Contract

  1. This proposed program is conceived as the basis which should be enriched with the contributions of different social sectors.
  2. We do not believe in programs imposed from above.
  3. This Agenda is the basis for a SOCIAL CONTRACT where all of us commit ourselves to working together for this just country.

Decalogue

  1. We Nicaraguans will be equal before the law.
  2. We will be equal in our rights to receive social benefits from the State.
  3. All of us Nicaraguans will contribute to the development of our country through our taxes.
  4. Respect for public freedoms: freedom of the press, to organize, to demonstrate, freedom of expression.
  5. The environment, water and reserves will be respected and cared for.
  6. Independence among the branches of the State.
  7. Free, transparent and supervised elections that prevent forever strong men and dictatorships.
  8. A clear Social Contract in effect of democratic exercise from the national level to the communities.
  9. Justice. The crimes suffered by the population will be prosecuted.
  10. Army and Police will be reformed to fulfill the law, obey civilian authorities and be apolitical and professional.