The massive closure of NGOs in Nicaragua, ordered by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, affects more than a million Nicaraguans who benefited from various social programs, reveals an investigation by the Inter-American Dialogue.
“Most of these organizations had projects related to community development, social infrastructure, projects for access to drinking water, citizen participation; that is to say, everything that has to do with community development in rural areas where these organizations served,” says environmentalist and activist Amaru Ruíz, who participated as a consultant in the investigation and is president of the canceled and confiscated NGO Fundación del River.
The study analyzed a sample of 53 canceled Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) – out of a universe of 1,000 outlawed organizations selected by the investigation – that at that time were executing projects for 41 million dollars when they lost their legal status and operation registration, in the case of international organizations.
However, the loss of resources and the social and economic impact is even greater if all organisms are considered. According to a projection by the Inter-American Dialogue, the losses due to the closure of NGOs could exceed 200 million dollars a year.
2,000 jobs lost
“The sample that we have of the impact allows you to identify that at least one attention of more than a million Nicaraguans who were being attended by the development projects generated by these civil society organizations has been lost and we are also talking about loss of formal employment of around 2000 formal jobs”, added Ruíz, during the presentation of the investigation in a interview on the show This week.
“The impact also translates into an increased vulnerability of the Nicaraguan population, which stops receiving these programs and above all because there is no process of attention by the Government once the civil society organizations close,” Ruíz commented. .
A report of CONFIDENTIALhad already revealed that the economic losses of the international NGOs would amount to “25.5 million dollars a year in cooperation with Nicaragua that directly reached 550,000 people, especially in rural areas,” according to a source who knows the behavior and impact of international cooperation.
In total, the regime has eliminated 110 NGOs of foreign origin between August 2021 and October 2022, mostly from the United States, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada.
Most NGOs were active
The Ortega guillotine affirms that many of the NPOs were inactive at the time of canceling their legal status and operation registration. However, the Inter-American Dialogue investigation reveals that 53% of the universe of 1,000 NGOs they analyzed were carrying out projects that remained unfinished.
“Certainly there were other organizations that had closed before 2018, others were without any action. In other words, they did not have projects due to the reduction in development cooperation, but it is important to deny (that discourse) because here more than 50% of the sample tells us that they did have an activity in the country, that they did have development projects” , he emphasized.
Some of these organizations were carrying out projects on democracy, women’s rights, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, children and adolescents, sexual diversity, and human rights. Also, other projects related to education, health, environment and community development, to which the State does not follow up and therefore the benefited populations are now vulnerable.
“All these care programs were neglected, there is no substitution of these programs by the Nicaraguan regime and in the end, the big loser is the citizenry because they are going to increase vulnerability and are left unprotected,” he adds.
The analysis of the sample taken by the Inter-American Dialogue details that most of these organizations developed their projects in Managua, but also covered vulnerable areas of Matagalpa, Estelí, the Caribbean Coast, Chinandega, Nueva Segovia, Río San Juan and Jinotega.
Among the canceled associations, the Padre Fabretto Foundation stands out, which carried out nutrition and education projects. With its nine study centers, 40,000 boys and girls were benefited. However, after its closure on February 16, 2022, it was moved to Honduras.
For its part, the Egdolina Thomas Foundation, founded in Bilwi in 2013, did not continue to operate after its closure. According to details, this NGO promoted the rights of indigenous peoples in 31 communities, with its programs benefiting 500 people each year.
The researcher believes that despite the closure of these organizations, which already show an economic and social impact, they can continue to support the Nicaraguan population. This can be achieved by making cooperation mechanisms more flexible.
“It is important to make a call to development cooperation so that it continues betting on Nicaraguan cooperation and makes some mechanisms more flexible. The organizations can also continue as long as they have a link and maintain the territorial fabric with the population and here the responsibility that the general public has to support the work that the civil society organizations have been doing is also important”, he opines.
On average, these NPOs had been working in Nicaragua for 25 years, therefore, Ruíz adds, “they have created a network of trust that would allow them to continue working in the midst of repression and in the midst of what it means to work within a dictatorship. in a country”.
Modality of cancellation of personalities and registrations
To execute the massive closure of NPOs, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo points out that they have failed to comply with their registration with the Migob and, in some cases, of not registering as foreign agents.
Several members of these organizations denounced that the Migob refused to receive the documentation required by law to then execute the cancellation order. The closure of these NGOs was also accompanied by the confiscation of their assets. According to the Inter-American Dialogue investigation, with the closure of these civil society organizations it seeks to “protect” its political model that controls everything.
“The regime not only closes and criminalizes, but also wants to seize the common good, who manages the common good and who manages care programs for vulnerable groups so as not to have competition, that is, here there is a monopolization of civic space all the activities (…) to maintain the ‘political hegemony’ of those who distribute the common good so as not to generate opposition to their politics,” says Ruíz.
In principle, the Ministry of the Interior executed the cancellation orders through the National Assembly, in this process the deputy Filiberto Rodríguez López was in charge of submitting the petition. However, in August a reform to the General Law of Regulation and Control of Non-Profit Organizations was approved so that this instance can cancel the legal status and operation records directly.
The amendments to the Law came into force on August 16, 2022. Since then, the Migob has canceled 800 national and foreign associations and foundations. The last hundred cancellations occurred this Wednesday. These are now promoted by the Migob minister, Amelia Coronel Kinloch.
An analysis of CONFIDENTIAL revealed that between January 19 and October 5, 2022, the Ortega guillotine eliminated 2,207 NPOs. The month with the most cancellations was June, with a total of 514, followed by September with 500.