NICA Act: Perpetuating Suffering in Nicaragua

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The Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act) is a congressional bill introduced in July 2016. The NICA Act focuses on limiting long term aid to Nicaragua from financial institutions such the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank due to the Nicaraguan government’s restrictions on transparent elections and limitations on political freedoms (i.e. political opposition parties).

The NICA Act (H.R. 5708) was passed in the House in September 2016 and is currently being reviewed in the Senate. The House sponsor for the bill is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Senate sponsor for the bill (S. 3284) is Senator Ted Cruz.

Adverse Impact

Many individuals are in support of the NICA Act without fully understanding the negative impact of this bill if passed. “Nicaragua is the poorest country in Latin America and second poorest in the Western Hemisphere.” (Foundation for Sustainable Development) Financial opportunities are rare to come by in Nicaragua because of the limited amount of job opportunities. On top of that, financial institutions i.e. banks are extremely limited; throughout the country there is between 10 – 20 banks throughout the country.

The NICA Act is the United States’ solution to punishing the current Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. Although we do not agree with or condone Daniel Ortega’s approach to politics and human rights overall, the NICA Act is not an appropriate response. The reason being is because the NICA Act will perpetuate poverty within the country. The U.S. is the primary advocate for human rights around the world but by making it impossible for people to have access to food, shelter, and innovative job opportunities that will help their community grow are not actions of human rights activist. The NICA Act will also perpetuate the unbalanced relationship between the U.S. and Latin American countries by continuing to view the Latin American region as the “backyard” to the United States.

By making micro loans impossible for the Nicaraguan people to attain with the presence of the NICA Act, the United States will be taking a strong hold approach to systematic change in the Americas. History is repeating itself with this bill because we have seen it before with the Cuban embargo. In an effort to punish the late Fidel Castro by banning trading opportunities to Cuba, the Cuban people suffered severely, not so much Fidel Castro. It actually gave more leverage for Fidel Castro to preach to the Cuban people more animosity towards the United States.

Change the Policies

At The Center we advocate for better U.S.-Latin American foreign policies that uplifts every country in the Americas. Therefore we are against the NICA Act because of the negative effect it will have on the Nicaraguan people and U.S.-Nicaragua relations overall.  We ask that you stand with the Quixote Center as we oppose this bill by contacting your state Congressional representative. Express to your congressman/woman that they have the opportunity to alleviate the suffering of the Nicaraguan people by not enacting the NICA Act.

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