The current FSLN administration promotes itself as a pro-poor government, and rallies its supporters with the threat that the current opposition would not be as beneficial to the poor as the FSLN is. Yet this recent post by a key analyst in exile examines the economic policies that have resulted in ever increasing inequalities in Nicaraguan society after 11 years of FSLN rule. He then goes on to address the current political struggle.
An interesting aside is to note the similarities just between the economic policies as such applied here with the economic policies implemented in the US since the 1980s.
The Strategy of Termites
By Oscar René Vargas, July 30, 2019 published by Las Mesa Redonda, online magazine
- The waves of the sea grow gradually, they can be impressive in size, reach a maximum and then they fade away. One wave follows the next and so on. Social and political waves do not have the same regularity as those of the ocean. But in the present and the foreseeable future it is probable that we might have new social and political waves; lived social experiences do not die, they revive.
- In spite of being a country with a lot of natural wealth (minerals, water resources, forests, an extensive coastline on both oceans and enough agricultural land to feed its inhabitants), more than 50% of the population is found in conditions of poverty, the problem is that the distribution of wealth is very unequal.
- Wealth combines physical assets (buildings, cars, home goods and the other articles that individuals possess), as well as financial assets (bank deposits and financial investments), distributed in an unequal way.
- Nicaragua is a society where inequity predominates, with “unfocused” social spending that does not promote equity. The regressivity is the product of fiscal transfers in favor of large capital. Taxes are reduced and the capacity of large capital to evade them is increased.
- In Nicaragua the tax system is inefficient, generates a low level of collection – which limits social investment, maintains many subsidies to capital, and to sum it up, is unfair.
- In recent decades (1990-2019) the banking and financial sectors established their control over the economy. Transactions and investments were made and are made more and more to the image and likeness of the circulation of financial capital.
- The cycle of productive capital was more and more subordinated to the dictates of the interests of the banking sector. And the priorities of macroeconomic policy became a simple reflection of the needs of the banks and other agencies of the financial sector.
- Among the measures that constitute the basis for the economic model adopted by the regime is the indiscriminate promotion of large investment, which occupies a privileged place. Reality does its best to debunk the idea that any investment promotes growth and the distribution of wealth.
- The regime promotes, authorizes and supports agroindustrial, mining, logging or housing projects without taking into account the negative impact that they can have on the equilibrium of ecosystems, destruction of forests, water pollution, aquifer recharge areas, and the undesirable consequences derived from altering things.
- Insecurity, corruption and the repression of the regime are blocking productive investment, which has a negative repercussion on social investment or spending.
- Social spending or investment is slanted against the population with less resources, and principally benefits the wealthiest 10% of the population, who need it the least.
- Average capital yield in recent years has been higher than the increase in the minimum salary and the median nominal wage per worker. That is why we have growing inequality in income distribution.
- There is profound inequity in asset ownership that has a negative impact on income distribution. More wealth implies more income and viceversa, principally among those whose receipts come from income from property.
- The Somoza and Ortega-Murillo dictatorships were and are exclusive, and their policies have created strong authoritarian states that, in addition, have interest in keeping the population from knowing one another, communicating with one another, and mixing with one another, and on the contrary, do everything possible to turn their neighbor into a potential enemy.
- To organize those who authoritarian society and the dominant ideology do everything possible to keep as isolated individuals opposed to their peers, it is important to start from what is local, where people know one another well and interact, and where they have more security and trust.
- The governing caste is systematically destroying the economy of the country; it is wiping out the cream of the population and leading us toward a catastrophe.
- The regime promotes the political opportunism of the traditional politicians, which consists in passive adaptation to the regime and the parasitical nomenclature.
- It is clear that brutal social justices remain in the country, along with poverty, overabundance, unending increase in inequalities, the independence of institutions is ended, the lives of “those below” did not improve, sectors of the middle class were impoverished, and it is evident that the country exists immersed in a corrupt sea.
- The Ortega-Murillo regime did not transform the State, it went backwards in terms of human rights, did not progress in transforming the production model, there is an absence of fiscal transparency, many decisions are concentrated in few hands, the concentration of wealth was promoted, and for this reason it is not possible to provide continuity to the current model, a change in direction is needed.
- The democratic struggle against the dictatorship is a labyrinth and complex fight. It is important to begin from the cracks in the Ortega-Murillo regime, widen them, plant seeds in them, directly apply solutions to the small and large difficulties that arise in the fight against the dictatorship.
- At this point, the most reliable gamble of the regime aims at wanting to negotiate directly and only with the United States. For now it is only a gamble, a game of representiveness. There is an asymmetry between desire and reality.
- The crux of the democratic struggle consists in how to pave the way to defeating the dictatorship, how to find a way that would make the triumph of the social movements easier, how to mobilize the masses at each specific moment that would allow for the end of the regime. Finding the bridge that would allow the ebb tide to move to the second social wave; that is the task.
- It cannot be forgotten that one of the keys to politics resides in knowing how to correctly manage different moments. The most important part of a negotiation is listening to what is not said; to do so, an a prior analysis and strategy are needed.
- As known, the strategy of termites is based on their collective and coordinated action, which allows them to reach the point of eating up the structure of a house until making it uninhabitable or causing its collapse.
- The challenge of the social movements is to act like termites, collective and coordinated action, to defeat the dictatorship.
San José/Costa Rica, July 30, 2019.