Santos defends Nicaragua’s democracy

Foreign Minister says Nov. 6 general elections "ratified the advance and consolidation of our democratic process"

Foreign Minister Samuel Santos today responded to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments about Nicaragua’s democratic “setback” by issuing an official statement defending Nicaragua’s democratic process and calling for respectful relations with the United States.

“The elections of Nov. 6 ratified the advance and consolidation of our democratic process, whose strengthening and deepening continues to be decided, without any meddling, by the sovereign people of Nicaragua,” Santos said in his statement.

On Wednesday, Clinton released a statement saying, “Nicaragua’s recent elections were not conducted in a transparent and impartial manner, and the entire electoral process was marred by significant irregularities.”

She said the elections “undermined the ability of Nicaraguans to hold their government accountable,” and promised the U.S. government “Will continue to apply aggressive scrutiny to project loans at the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank.”

Santos defended Nicaragua’s projects with the IDB and World Bank.

“In the last five years the Government of Nicaragua has prepared its proposals and projects with the highest technical quality, based on the high standards that these Financial Institutions require to give loans,” the foreign minister said.

Indeed, World Bank country representative Camille Nuamah told The Nicaragua Dispatch last week that she is “optimistic” about Nicaragua’s performance on World Bank projects, such as water and sanitation and education reform. Just last week the World Bank signed a new $25 million loan to help fund the Sandinista government’s new strategic plan to fund education reform.

“Nicaragua reiterates its disposition to continue developing relations with the United States of America based on respect and collaboration in areas of mutual interest,” Santos said in his missive.