Taiwan to the rescue of “socialist” Ortega with a 20-year US$ 100 million loan
Nicaragua’s Congress on Tuesday accepted a US$ 100 million loan offered by Taiwan, giving a line of support to President Daniel Ortega’s government, which has become increasingly isolated after a brutal crackdown on protesters last year.
Lawmakers approved the 20-year loan a day after US President Donald Trump declared that “socialism is dying” in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. The United States enacted a law late last year making it harder for Nicaragua to access multilateral loans.
The Bill approved by lawmakers from the ruling Sandinista party said the funds were destined to support the country’s budget priorities this year. Nicaragua is one of a shrinking number of countries in Central America that still offer US-ally Taiwan diplomatic support over China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.
Former guerrilla leader Ortega’s rule was challenged by the protests against a social security reform last year. More than 320 people died in a crackdown that suppressed the protests but led to deep rifts with the private sector and Washington.
The United States has imposed sanctions on officials close to Ortega, including his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo.
The Netherlands and Luxembourg last year suspended aid funding to Nicaragua, citing repression during the protests.
In the 2019 budget, Nicaragua’s congress forecast a budget deficit of US$320 million, up from US$170 million in December 2018.