China-financed housing remains bogged down in promises and announcements

China-financed housing remains bogged down in promises and announcements

Rosario Murillo took a pause, and with a triumphant air, made the great announcement in her midday monologue on January 28, 2022: “…the Government of the People’s Republic of China has approved an important cooperation project with our Nicaragua, a great housing program for all families in the country. The plan is for three years, starting this year (2022), benefiting thousands of Nicaraguan families in 84 municipalities of the country.

A year has passed since Murillo made this announcement and the flagship program of the supposed cooperation of the new and richest members of Daniel Ortega’s club of friends remains stuck amid promises and announcements, and without a single house built.

Sporadic announcements have been made about this deal over the months. Murillo announced again, on April 27, 2022, the signing of the formal agreement with the China International Cooperation Development Agency. For Nicaragua, the signature was in charge of Laureano Ortega Murillowho acts as liaison with the Asian giant, and the Minister of Finance, Iván Acosta.

“There are 400 million Chinese yuan, equivalent to more than 60 million dollars for the construction of homes, in the first phase of this program,” Murillo said on that occasion during his speech. Daniel Ortega’s wife, vice president and spokesperson for the regime, did not provide further details on the subject. Among these, if this disbursement would be as a loan or donation and from when the construction of these houses would start.

It was not until August 28, 2022 that more information about the program became known, during a visit to Nicaragua by Zhao Fengtao, vice president of China’s International Development Cooperation Agency, who told the regime’s propaganda media that the first phase The project contemplated the construction of “920 two-bedroom, one-story homes in the city of Managua.”

Fengtao added that the program planned to build 12,034 houses under a “non-reimbursable cooperation modality”, which means that these would be donated. It was the last information that was known publicly about this program.

Margaret Myersdirector of the Asia and Latin America program at the Inter-American Dialogue, told CONFIDENTIAL in a previous report, that a housing program like this could take place in 2023, because it is an initiative that China has financed in other countries with which there are political and ideological ties, such as Venezuela.

However, he warned that the Nicaraguan relationship has its particularities, mainly the low weight of the Nicaraguan economy and the poor political influence of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in the region.

D.ince the Daniel Ortega regime reestablished diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China –on December 10, 2021– the cooperation of the great Asian dragon has been limited to a meager trade, many promises of economic agreements and small miscellaneous aid, some focused on strengthening the de facto police state imposed by the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.

A report from CONFIDENTIAL revealed as the “club of friends” of the Ortega regime – made up of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Russia and, recently joined by China– does not show reciprocal enthusiasm for the frontal support from Daniel Ortega, at least in terms of economic cooperation, donations or loans, which have amounted to zero since 2018, when the regime began to lose the support of the international democratic community, due to the brutal repression and massacre against the citizen protests of the April Rebellion of 2018.

China, the second most powerful economy in the world and therefore the richest member of the club of friends of the regime, does not appear as a donor or lender in the General Budget of the Republic (PGR) 2023, so no type of financing, except for what arises from the commercial exchange between both countries throughout the year.

Beyond speeches loaded with ideological rhetoric or prefabricated communiqués, these countries aligned with the dictatorships of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo have not functioned as the economic alternative that the regime needs to overcome the financial bleeding in their coffers, due to the reduction of loans, budget support and donations, by the severe international self-isolation in which he is trapped.

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