Why is the IMF cutting funds from Afghanistan, but helping Ortega?

Journalist Andrés Oppenheimer with Commander Daniel Ortega, in an interview for CNN en Español, in 2018. Photo: Presidency | Confidential

As Nicaraguan dictator praises Taliban, IMF withdraws financial aid from Afghan regime to Ortega

By Ivan Olivares (Confidential)

HAVANA TIMES – Nicaragua is not Venezuela or Afghanistan, but Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer has managed to compare us with the two nations: with that of South America, for levels of state repression against citizens, who have claimed more lives here, whether measured in relative or absolute terms. And with that of Asia, to show the different criteria with which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) measures certain nations.

Since the outbreak of the April rebellion, the emergence of political conflicts or natural disasters – from mass protests in Colombia or Chile to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti and protests in Cuba – have served to distract the attention of the international community, with the Covid-19 pandemic as the common global denominator.

During this period, the world had many reasons to forget the “massive abuses” of Daniel Ortega, “against the human rights” of the Nicaraguans. “According to Human Rights Watch, more than 300 Nicaraguans were killed and 2,000 injured by police and paramilitary thugs during anti-government protests in 2018,” the journalist explains.

In comparison, he underlines that the repression dictated by the regime of Nicolas Maduro, killed less than half of this number, underlining the difference in population: 32 million in Venezuela; 6.3 million in Nicaragua, the ratio is therefore multiplied by more than five.

“And while the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro, has allowed some opposition leaders to stay out of prison, to maintain a facade of political openness. In recent months, Ortega in Nicaragua has banned all major opposition parties and jailed the country’s seven main opposition presidential candidates, “accusing them of treason or money laundering charges. , among others.

Daniel Ortega continues to receive funding

In this context, he recalled that on August 23, the regime announced that it had received financial assistance of $ 353.5 million from the International Monetary Fund, and “this and other loans from regional organizations will help the Nicaragua to increase its foreign exchange reserves to a record high of more than $ 3.6 billion, the government said.

Examining the options of the international community to deal with Ortega, the commentator notes that “the Organization of American States should suspend Nicaragua under the Inter-American Democratic Charter… It would have a big impact, because it is a small country that highly dependent on international cooperation. aid.”

Throughout the first half of 2021, Daniel Ortega’s administration received around $ 260 million with the assumption that they would be used to fight Covid-19, help victims of hurricanes Eta and Iota, as well as the construction of roads and the repair of schools, among others, without countries and multilateral organizations – borrowers or donors – taking note of the situation of insecurity in which citizens live, due to state repression.

“Second, the IMF should stop giving money to the Ortega dictatorship. The recent disbursement under the IMF’s special reserve plan to help countries tackle the recession caused by the pandemic goes directly to the Central Bank of Nicaragua. This means that Ortega’s diet can use it for whatever it wants. “

“The IMF can deny such disbursements to countries that seriously violate human rights when a majority of its member countries decide not to recognize a country’s government,” sources close to the financial institution told me. The IMF recently denied such funds to Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power and had already done so with the Venezuelan dictatorship. Why did Nicaragua get a pass? Asks the columnist.

Define more ethical criteria

Indeed, on August 18, 2021, International Monetary Fund spokesperson Gerry Rice said that “as it always is, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community. Currently, there is a lack of clarity within the international community regarding the recognition of a government in Afghanistan, so the country cannot access Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) or other resources ”from the government. Funds.

In this regard, the political scientist and professor of the University of Costa Rica, Alberto Cortes, explained that “in the case … of the IMF, it is clear that there is no criterion in which the question of governance democratic or social crisis have weight or play a role in defining which project is approved or not, when granting funding to a country in a situation like the one in Nicaragua, with a government clearly authoritarian, which violates its own rule of law ”.

“This is one of the issues that multilateral banks must consider in the future, to move towards the approval of a set of principles, in which the issue of human rights must be included in the framework of the analysis carried out during the approval of programs, projects or donations, ”he added.

Finally, Andres Oppenheimer believes that “the United States and other countries could include sanctioned Nicaraguan officials on the so-called no-fly list. A US Treasury Department database of suspected terrorists who are not permitted to board flights to or over the country. Other countries could do the same.

“It is up to all democracies to put an end to the good fortune of the Nicaraguan tyrant”, concludes the journalist.

Learn more about Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

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