Social Inequality

By any reckoning, any resolution to the current crisis will  still leave a very polarized society. In fact current government pronouncements fuel the polarization by continuing to refer to the opposition as coup supporters, many of whom were actually FSLN members shocked at the willingness of the government to kill their own people.

But another reason for the polarization – and one of the key arguments the government makes to garner support – is that it  has implemented, and continues to implement, policies that benefit the poor majorities, i.e. building public parks, investing in health care infrastructure, rural roads, providing subsidies for production, etc. Any glimpse at the official website el 19 Digital provides daily updated lists of examples. The unspoken but obvious question the government poses to the population is whether another government would implement such policies. 

This article stresses how important it is that any future government  address this key issue. The position of the opposition is that the current  “pro-poor” policies of this government are forms of political patronage, financed with  money siphoned from the Venezuela oil deal that Ortega used to enrich his family, and has also used to buy popular support. Therefore some of them argue that such policies should be terminated by any responsible future government, because in fact they are unsustainable. While this may seem a logical argument, if the end result is that the poor feel abandoned again, it will only feed the polarization.

The opposition now legitimately asks the question where the government is getting the money to finance all the police and paramilitary activity. But if a future government is not able to find the resources to respond to the social inequality, it will be asked a similar question about their own increased spending on “security”. Because if history is a gauge, what is saved by cutting social spending, ends up getting spent on social control.

Social Inequality

By Oscar René Vargas, published in electronic newsletter Artículo 66

June 30, 2019

[see original Spanish at https://www.articulo66.com/2019/06/30/la-desigualdad-social/ ]

If the people below move, those above will fall.

  1. The social inequality that prevails in Nicaragua has reached such levels that it conspires against social harmony, the environment, the security and development of the country.
  2. The social inequality is also violence on the part of the higher social strata toward those “below”, and every day moves us as a country away from the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  3. Important changes have only happened in the spheres of those above, the lives of those below continues not to be of interest the powerful.
  4. This growing inequality is not sustainable, and the way to attack it, the master key, is: employment, decent, well paid, productive work with rights and social protections.
  5. The phenomenon of child labor has its origins in the inequality, poverty and extreme poverty that leads families to send their youngest members out to work, as well as the different forms of domestic violence that force minors to earn their own living.
  6. The discrepancy between the volume of services provided and the meager health results have several explanations of a social, economic and political order, but the deficient and disfunctional public [health] system has a very direct influence with direct repercussions on the most vulnerable sectors.
  7. Also undeniable are the different forms of corruption that have grown like a cancer with multiple metastases in all the health sector to the detriment of the poor.
  8. We are immersed in a mind-boggling and monumental corruption of the Ortega-Murillo government that has lost even the smallest trace of honesty in the so called mafia of power.
  9. All of this are effective obstacles to health care services, and get translated into social inequities and inequalities.
  10. The social inequality must be the future of the country agenda from here to 2030. It is where we should go because the dominant, authoritarian and despotic style of development is not sustainable.
  11. Equality has to be in the center of the future economic policy of a progressive government, because what has increased is the disparity, the inequality between the one who has the most and the one who has the least; the inequality of income, distribution of wealth, opportunities and access to public goods.
  12. In the future the logic of zero corruption has to be implemented, zero cronyism, zero nepotism; eliminate all that blight of the national political culture.
  13. To effectively fight against inequality it is important to close off the tax evasion of big capital and take the case to a national debate.
  14. The country needs a redistribution of income and wealth, above all of profits.
  15. A national debate that would allow us to reach a consensus around a solution to the current imbalance in the distribution of income, social inequality, access to health care, type of education, as well as the appropriation of wealth.
  16. Therefore, the progressive government has to have as its priority objectives: improving equity, reducing social inequality and poverty.
  17. In other words, being in favor of a key point: not imposing poverty salaries as a mechanism for business productivity and bloated profits for capital.
  18. If we should learn anything from these hours of struggle and indignation, it is that without a social and political organization of citizens, the adversities will become a permanent and recurring tragedy from which no one will be exempt.

San José, Costa Rica, June 30, 2019

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