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Fears rise in Nicaragua over social security overhaul

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Nicaraguans revolted last April when the government announced it was raising payroll taxes and cutting retirement benefits to bolster a social security program hemorrhaging money.

The unrest led authorities to quickly withdraw the measure, but as the protests boiled for months and broadened into demands that President Daniel Ortega leave office, security forces responded with a harsh crackdown that killed over 300 people.

Now, with the dissident movement cowed, a new plan to cut pension payments by 30 to 40 percent and raise payroll taxes is taking effect. And economists and businesspeople are warning that it threatens to have even more severe effects that could plunge the country into deeper recession.