Salinas ducks rumors of his removal

Tourism Minister won’t address rumors that he is being removed or resigning over Teonoste row

(posted Feb. 20, 8:20 p.m.)- Rumors that President Daniel Ortega is preparing his guillotine for Tourism Minister Mario Salinas continue to swirl as the tourism minister himself ducked questions today about his future as the head of INTUR.

Following a meeting with hoteliers on Monday afternoon to revealed INTUR’s new county promotion strategy for 2012, The Nicaragua Dispatch asked the tourism minister about his own future at INTUR. The minister didn’t respond with much clarity or confidence.

“No one knows,” he said with a nervous laugh, as he made his way to the door. “I don’t want to comment on this. Rumors are rumors.”

Last week, both opposition daily newspapers published unsubstantiated reports that Salinas is resigning or getting fired for allegedly questioning the government’s handling of the Punta Teonoste land dispute.

Salinas, one of the most respected members of Ortega’s cabinet,  has questioned the manner in which the government handed last week’s actions against Hotel Punta Teonoste. In declarations to the daily El Nuevo Diario, Salinas said, “We are not in agreement with this form of intervention of Punta Teonoste.”

Rumors immediately started that Salinas’ comments had cost him his job.

The minister has avoided the press since the rumor mill started spinning, and not issued any comments or clarifications on the matter. As of Monday afternoon, Salinas was still acting minister of INTUR, but still wouldn’t clarify his job status when asked a simple question.

Salinas’ sudden vagueness about his future contrasts strongly with the enthusiasm he expressed during a recent interview with The Nicaragua Dispatch.

If the rumors of Salinas’ removal prove true, the tourism minister would be the second highly placed official in Ortega’s government to be ousted this month for questioning the behavior of the government and stressing the importance of rule of law.

On Feb. 14, Central Bank President Antenor Rosales resigned unexpectedly after challenging President Ortega’s plans to use part of Nicaragua’s international reserves to help capitalize the new Bank of ALBA, or BALBA.

  • Trevor Barran

    The article glossed over the substance of the meeting, which was a $3.0MM USD investment commitment the government has made along with a detailed plan for how to market and roll-out our hotel and tourism products to the world market. We’re thrilled with the level of organization, effort and commitment the government is showing to the tourism sector. See for the website they just launched.

  • Louis

    Here we go again “What Democracy” it’s a dictatorship!!! The minute you question the government, you better check your back, because the ax is coming.

  • Ken

    Actually, US presidents usually keep letters of resignation written by all their cabinet heads in a drawer in case they ever want to pull them out and get rid of one. Sometimes they do. US presidents also insist that cabinet heads toe the administration’s line. I’m not saying this situation in Nicaragua is right, but it’s no assault on democracy for a president to exercise authority over appointees.

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