Nicaragua: Tangible Transformations

Carmen Parejo Rendón

Nicaragua is a living example of the implementation of two antagonistic models: the neoliberal and the Sandinista.

Nicaragua, a Central American country, is a living example of what we can call: the implementation of two antagonistic models. We are referring to the fact that, on the one hand, from 1990 to 2007, during three right-wing governments, neoliberalism was implemented in this country, with the privatization of public service goods, such as electricity and telecommunications, and the outsourcing of social security health care. Public spending in all spheres was reduced to a minimum. This meant the precarization of health services, public education, technical education, housing, etc.

The results: in 2007 the Central American country was the one with the highest poverty and extreme poverty rates, illiteracy, the highest social inequality, the least access to culture or sports, the country with the lowest rates of patent registration, oligopolies that prevented economic growth and access to ICTs. To top it all off, a paralyzed country, with energy blackouts lasting more than 12 hours, and the worst roads in the region, among so many other ills. This sums up what neoliberalism, economic and social stagnation, institutional paralysis and mono-dependence mean.

From 2007 to the present, with the arrival of Sandinismo again, an opposite model was applied and the transformations are tangible: public investment was increased, in health, education, culture, and sports, benefiting the entire population free of charge, in a scenario of consensus with small, medium, and large producers and investors, putting into practice a development model that is based on effective public policies: recognition, incentive and redistribution, of alternative growth, the growth of small producers was promoted as a model of economic development, and with the accompaniment of alliances such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), it served as an impulse for the tangible results of the current Nicaragua.

Today’s results: The best roads in the region (none with tolls), more than 20 new public hospitals properly equipped and distributed throughout the country, the land connection between the Caribbean and the Pacific, communicated until 2019, reduction of poverty and extreme poverty, eradication of illiteracy, the highest economic growth in the region for a decade, free quality education, change of the energy matrix to 77% renewable energy, from 90th place to number 5 worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum, in reducing the gender inequality gap, among many other achievements and progress.

The results of both models are undisputed. Although every model can be improved, it is certain that it will evolve, and the Sandinista model is always in this process, evolving and rearranging itself, as must happen with every living model that meets the demands and new demands of its population.

In this sense, we can affirm that where the Latin American left has reached power democratically it does not lose the elections and achieves a majority popular support: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela and when it does not, it recovers the path, as in the case of Argentina and Mexico. The right wing in Latin America, with a mixture of frustration and radicalism, is led to seek violent and illegitimate paths to power: coups d’état, confrontation, hybrid wars, calls for intervention, all with the support of various dark sectors, which for years have tied their international policy to the fate of American imperialism.