Commitment for Life newsletter – stories for change April 2017

CENTRAL AMERICA: NICARAGUA

Nicaragua has experienced ongoing corruption at the highest levels, including during its last elections held in November 2016. President Daniel Ortega won a third term in office, alongside his running mate, Rosario Murillo, who also happened to be his wife. The election went unchallenged in terms of there being no organised political opposition, however there was significant disenchantment and anger throughout the country, with many demonstrations against his re-election. To date, he remains unchallenged, but the Organisation of American States (OAS) has now requested an open dialogue with President Ortega and his regime, and in January 2017 the OAS presented an official report to the government, making recommendations to improve democracy and transparency over the next three years. Simultaneously, the EU Parliament has condemned Nicaragua’s regime due to the prevalence of human rights abuses and political repression – most cases of which are related to the defence of natural resources and conflict linked to the development of large scale projects on inhabited land.

New US Administration

Following the election of Mr Trump in the US, and his immigration policy, more controls are being put in place to avoid citizens from Central America entering the US. Many of the Central Americans that have been entering the US, have been escaping violence or climate change events that have hindered their attempts to pursue a secure livelihood, and live in safety. For example, many people have been fleeing significant drought and crop failure in Central America over the last year. Governments and UN authorities now believe that there is significant risk of a humanitarian crisis ensuing over the next year in Central America, especially in the so-called ‘Dry Corridor’ where the poorest population are located. In June 2016, it was noted that 3.5 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance across Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and this is only expected to get worse.

Christian Aid is supporting various ACT Alliance initiatives to support some of these extremely vulnerable small farmers and indigenous communities who are currently experiencing considerable food and water shortages.

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