Ortega Closes Down Nicaragua’s Main Business Organizations

Facade of Cosep, the umbrella for Nicaragua’s main private business organizations in Managua. // Photo: Archive | Courtesy

The news of the shuttering of Cosep, the main private sector representative, and 18 business organizations became official on Monday, March 6th

By Ivan Olivares (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo just canceled the legal status of 18 private sector organizations plus that of the business leadership represented in the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep). Like the over 3,000 non-profits closed by the regime in recent years, they used the catch-all accusation of failing to comply with their obligations under the law regarding the registration and control of non-profit organizations.

The decision outlaws the most representative organizations of the Nicaraguan private sector and constitutes a new blow against the driving force of the national economy. Other assaults have included the 2019 tax reform, the reform of the 2019 social security law, and tax blackmail carried out through the Managua Mayor’s Office and the General Directorate of Revenue and Customs Services. Then in 2021, came the imprisonment of several of their top leaders.

In the decrees published in the Official Gazette on Monday, March 6, the Minister of the Interior, María Amelia Coronel Kinloch, makes effective the cancellation of:

  1. Asociación Cámara Minera de Nicaragua (Caminic)
  2. Asociación Nicaragüense de la Industria Textil y Confección (Anitec)
  3. Cámara de Urbanizadores de Nicaragua (Cadur)
  4. Cámara Nicaragüense de la Construcción
  5. Asociación Cámara de la Pesca de Nicaragua (Capenic)
  6. Asociación de Exportadores de Café de Nicaragua (Excan)
  7. Asociación Nicaragüenses de Formuladores y Distribuidores de Agroquímicos (Anifoda)
  8. Cámara de Microfinancieras (Asomif)
  9. Cámara de Energía de Nicaragua (CEN)
  10. Asociación Unión de Productores Agropecuarios de Nicaragua (Upanic)
  11. Cámara de Comercio y Servicios de Nicaragua
  12. Cámara de Industrias de Nicaragua (Cadin)
  13. Asociación de Productores y Exportadores de Nicaragua (Apen)
  14. Asociación Nacional de Avicultores y Productores de Alimentos (Anapa)
  15. Asociación Nicaragüense de Distribuidores de Vehículos Automotores (Andiva)
  16. Asociación Nicaragüense de Distribuidores de Productos Farmacéuticos (Andiprofa)
  17. Cámara Nacional de Turismo de Nicaragua (Canatur)
  18. Cámara de Productores y Procesadores de Palma Africana (Capropalma)
  19. Asociación Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada (Cosep)

The attack of the Ortega dictatorship against the private sector has been gradual. It began with the decision that the Cosep Chambers should pass from the control of the Ministry of the Interior to that of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce, and then returned it that of the Interior.

Forcing non-compliance

In this process, the institutions delayed the delivery of the letters of compliance, or simply refused to receive the documentation that they themselves requested, to make the business organizations fall into non-compliance.

The cancellation of these business organizations is the culmination of a ‘divorce’ process between Ortega and Murillo, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other, which began in April 2018, when the Cosep board of directors in full, rejected the massacre ordered by the regime, supported the national strike, and even went so far as to declare that Ortega should resign from the Presidency. In practice, this meant the cancellation of the ‘Dialogue and Consensus Model’, with which the private sector came to co-govern the country for a decade.

The arrest of the president and vice president of Cosep -Michael Healy and Alvaro Vargas respectively- added to the previous arrest of the former president of Cosep, Jose Adan Aguerri, and that of the banker Luis Rivas.

These blows raised a wave of regional and continental business solidarity. Now the cancellation of these 19 entities is already generating this type of reaction, inside and outside the Central American isthmus.

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