On 3 October, the US House of Representatives unanimously approved the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017, known as the NICA Act, which will now move on to the Senate.
If approved by the Senate and signed off by Trump, it will mean that the US will use its influence in international lending institutions to block all loans to Nicaragua from the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and other institutions. Running at US$250 million annually, these loans are being invested in education, social programmes, electrification, roads and other infrastructure initiatives.
“Irrational, offensive, harmful to the human rights of Nicaraguans, and a violation of Nicaragua’s sovereignty”, was the Nicaraguan government’s reaction.
The NICA Act would create economic instability and mean the reversal of the Nicaraguan government’s highly successful poverty reduction programme; those who are most impoverished will suffer the most serious consequences.
Behind the Act are Representatives Albio Sires and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Cuban-American politicians notorious for targeting and undermining socialist and left-leaning governments in the Americas.
The NICA Act has met with near unanimous condemnation in Nicaragua by the government, the National Assembly, trade unions, the private sector, almost all political parties, and religious leaders.
The Organisations of American States (OAS) that has a delegation in Nicaragua to observe the 5 November municipal elections, has also criticised the Act as “counterproductive”