The offices of the International Foundation for the Global Economic Challenge (Fideg) located in Bologna, led by the economist and businessman Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, were raided by the National Police at the end of the afternoon of this Thursday, November 4, confirmed various sources who do not know the causes of police occupation.
In the same building where Fideg operates, there are, in separate offices, the headquarters of the companies Joya de Nicaragua, exporter of premium cigars, and the commercial company Plisa, with a free port, also chaired by businessman Martínez Cuenca. This morning the entire building was still taken over by the Police.
Fideg is an independent think tank founded in the early 90s that is dedicated to conducting studies on economic and social development, including issues of education, the fight against poverty and gender equality.
Its main product is the biannual Household Surveys to Measure Poverty in Nicaragua, in which the same households are repeatedly surveyed, in order to present an image of how this scourge is evolving in the country.
The findings of the latest Fideg investigations contradict the official discourse: while the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN), citing data from the Nicaraguan Institute of Information for Development (Inide), systematically decreases the percentages of people who are in a situation of general poverty and extreme poverty, Fideg’s findings say otherwise.
It was what happened in August 2017, when the Foundation indefinitely postponed the presentation of the results, alleging a conjunctural situation. In that opportunity, Martínez Cuenca, assured that the survey will be presented “in this year”, when there are “better conditions”.
That would finally happen more than thirteen months later, in September 2018, when the data presented showed a discrepancy of 17.1 percentage points with the official data: while the Government alleged in its surveys that poverty had been reduced From 29.6% in 2014 to 24.9% in 2016, Fideg’s independent measurement indicated that poverty had rather increased from 39% in 2015 to 42% in 2016.
The survey conducted in 2019, the data of which was presented in December 2020, showed that overall poverty continued to rise, until reaching 44.4% of the inhabitants, while 8.9% lived in extreme poverty. The results of the survey conducted by Fideg in 2021 have not yet been released.
At the time of publication of this information, the reasons why the regime ordered the search of Fideg are not known, neither the Foundation itself nor the Police communicated anything on their respective websites, and the sources consulted did not answer calls.
Martínez Cuenca was minister of foreign trade and secretary of planning in the Ortega government in the 1980s, and as of 2011 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nicaragua, a position he resigned in August 2018.