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Ortega defies Washington

Thursday, June 28, 2012

WHAT Nicaragua is dropping out of the war on drugs, in what may be the beginning of a shift in regional policy. 

WHY Frustrated by what it considers electoral fraud by Ortega’s Sandinista Party, as well as close ties between the Ortega administration and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the United States has in recent years cut off most aid to Nicaragua, and now is trying to persuade various countries to eliminate multilateral donations. In this case, Ortega may feel that he has little to lose, by telling Washington that Nicaragua is not interested in getting funds, just to fight America’s drug war. 

WHAT NEXT Nicaragua’s ability to attract productive foreign investment could be hurt, if Washington starts viewing the country as a pariah state. On the other hand, the United States may be too busy on other fronts, to actively discourage private capital from investing in Nicaragua, which in any case may be part of an emerging trend in the region's attitude to the drug issue.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has in recent weeks expressed strong reservations about the benefits of continuing with the American-backed drug war. So have the leaders of Guatemala and Costa Rica, where interdiction operations seem to have slowed down.

For more information, please contact Esteban Alvarez, at [email protected]