The inauguration of the CABEI headquarters in Managua will seal the Mossi-Ortega alliance


The upcoming inauguration of the new headquarters of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), in Managua, which is being built in Plaza Cobirsa at a cost of $ 16.5 million, testifies to the magnificent relations existing between the executive president of this institution, Dante Mossi, with the head of the Nicaraguan government, Daniel Ortega.

In response to this close relationship, which made CABEI the main external donor to the Ortega regime, the opposition, the diaspora and Nicaraguan exiles wrote letters to the Bank’s governors and foreign ministers. , who will meet on November 26 and 27 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, denouncing aid to the regime and calling for a boycott of the building’s inauguration in Managua.

After some multilateral financial organizations shut down their sources in Ortega in response to the human rights crisis caused by state repression and the police state since April 2018, CABEI has become the main provider of public resources to the government, to which it has served. approved $ 2.289 billion in new projects, between January 2017 and June 2021.

According to Otton Solis, Costa Rica’s former representative to this bank, one of the reasons the bank decided to build a new headquarters in Managua is that Mossi (of Honduran nationality) has an “obsession with going there. ‘inaugurate and be in the image. It’s disgusting ! », He underlined.

One expert with the ins and outs of multilaterals, and invited to comment anonymously, agreed with Solis that the Honduran is eager to make himself known, so he spent “a lot of money on buildings; buy land in Honduras without bidding; approved branches in Taiwan, Korea, Spain and built this headquarters in Nicaragua, ”added Solis, who recently denounced the system of privileges prevailing in the Bank.

Referring to the inauguration of the headquarters in Managua scheduled for December 15, an economist who dissociated himself from CABEI, declared that it is “an old project approved a few years ago, which is put implemented so far, but the land had been purchased. some time ago, and therefore the design as well as the plans were also drawn up a long time ago.

“Mossi’s visit was publicized when he came to lay the foundation stone (in October 2019), so it’s not something that is being done on purpose“ right now. ”It’s an ongoing project. execution with signed contracts, with construction companies that cannot be stopped without incurring fines or damages to the contracting parties, ”he insisted.

Alberto Cortes, the former Costa Rican director before CABEI between 2015 and 2018 suggested that “although this is a project that goes back a long way, it should take into consideration the current context, in which electoral fraud just happened in Nicaragua, and this inauguration will be used as a form of government legitimation. For this reason, it would be desirable for the Bank not to send representatives to this inauguration ”.

The coveted Nicaraguan vote

Former Rep. Solis remarks another reason for the Honduran’s affinity with Ortega: Mossi’s desire to be re-elected for another five years, as executive chairman of the bank.

The day of the inauguration of the building, the senior officials of the regime will be present, as well as that of the Bank. On that day, we will see them participate, together, as a preamble to what Mossi hopes will happen next, which is to have Nicaragua’s vote to seek re-election.

“When it comes to electing the president of CABEI, he will seek re-election, and of course having Nicaragua’s vote is important to him,” because he knows that if the ruling National Party wins the elections from November 28 in Honduras, he will have this vote; but if Xiomara Castro wins the elections, he will not have the Honduran vote, ”says Solis.

It would not be the first time that Nicaragua has supported Mossi. In 2018, as the Bank sought the replacement of Nick Rischbieth Gloe to chair the Bank for five years, Nicaragua appointed economist Francisco Mayorga “but the board was not very comfortable with his candidacy. “the source said.

Nicaraguan Minister of Finance and Public Credit Iván Acosta with CABEI Executive Chairman Dante Mossi during the laying of the foundation stone for what will be the bank’s new headquarters in Managua. Photo taken from the Bank’s website.

At that time, the strongest candidate was Costa Rican Alejandro Rodríguez (deputy director of Rischbieth), but the lack of support from the Costa Rican board and governor led several countries to lean towards Mossi as a consensus solution.

Mossi was returning from working in Ghana (Africa), as a staff member of the World Bank. His position at the World Bank was not the strongest. When the opportunity to apply for the CABEI board of directors presented itself, he unexpectedly got the job “after several rounds of internal negotiations, with the support of the Nicaraguan vote, which explains his attitude towards Nicaragua. The source explained.

“He commented in various forums when he took office saying it came as a surprise, but not just to himself, but to many beyond the board, as the former director Rischbieth was also originally from Honduras, “he added.

CABEI support

A source also points out that “CABEI has always been a good support for the government of Nicaragua”, regardless of the holder of the presidency of the country, recalling that during the electoral years, the Bank put a line of contingent credit available to the Central Bank of Nicaragua. Nicaragua (BCN) to support commercial banks, in the event of capital flight, for fear of an electoral victory for Daniel Ortega.

Later, when the global financial crisis of 2008 raised concerns about the soundness of local financial institutions, CABEI approved a $ 200 million line of credit which it made available to the NCB. “While the others were saying, ‘let’s see what we can do,’ CABEI was the only one that kept the flow of resources fairly stable, especially to commercial banks, with lines of credit,” the source said.

These funds remain available, henceforth in the form of a “Credit program to support the liquidity management of the central banks of the founding countries of CABEI”.

“The third moment is now,” said the source, recalling that “the Bank needs to place funds, and countries did not need these resources, each for their own reasons, while the strategy of the Nicaragua indicated that it was interested in increasing its loan portfolio to CABEI, where it fell behind: while Nicaragua absorbed nearly 13% of the Bank’s portfolio, the other countries were at 20% or more.

“The Nicaraguan portfolio fell from fourth to second place – coincidentally during the period of greater repression – while Costa Rica, which was the second portfolio, fell to fourth place, but there was no has no logic or comparison ”, despite the fact that the Costa Rican economy is three times the Nicaraguan economy, said the former director of CABEI for Costa Rica, Alberto Cortés.

Opposition in exile urges CABEI governors

Nicaraguan diaspora and exile opposition organizations urged foreign ministers and CABEI governors from Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Korea, El Salvador, Spain , Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic and Taiwan, all members of the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of CABEI, not to participate in the inauguration of the new building of CABEI in Managua, scheduled for December 15.

In addition, they demand that they make “any payment” to Nicaragua conditional on respect for human rights, the release of political prisoners, an end to the repression and respect for the resolutions of the Organization of American States ( AEO), which set minimum conditions. for the holding of elections.

In the document sent on Monday, the organizations suggest to the CABEI board of directors to reassess “the reputational and financial risk” which consists in continuing to grant funding to a government considered “illegitimate”.

“CABEI not only maintained but increased its funding to the Ortega-Murillo regime, becoming the main financial support for the dictatorship,” said the communication signed by the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), the Civic Alliance for justice and democracy. , the Peasant Movement, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), the Initiative for Change, the Medical Association of Nicaraguan Exiles (AMEN), the Reflection Group for Former Political Prisoners (GREX) and the Nicaraguan Coalition for Freedom .

The above occurs “despite serious human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, which have been widely documented by international organizations,” the letter adds.

The democratic clause

The Nicaraguan opposition’s request suggests the need for CABEI to include a mandatory democratic clause to approve loans or finance a program.

Ottón Solis assures us that such a discussion did not exist when he represented Costa Rica. “July 18 was my last day at the Bank, and that clause wasn’t there. I believe that now things will change. Now is the right time for the bank to move away from the Nicaraguan elections, ”he said.

“I don’t know if there has to be a specific ‘democracy clause’, but something that goes beyond financial matters. There are already environmental considerations, but there should be something that ensures respect for human rights. It’s not that far, ”said the professional who knows how multilateral organizations work.

Workers are finalizing details of what will be CABEI’s new headquarters in Managua. Photo: Confidential.

In the Berta Caceres murder case, CABEI was the last to speak out. This was after a Dutch bank did it, which was also one of the institutions that financed the loan for the construction of the dam, but “CABEI does not have the capacity to manage this because the countries own it. “, he added.

“What will happen if Central America does not recognize the Ortega government at the start of its new term and Nicaragua then requests a loan?” Will they recognize the Minister of Finance as governor, the director for Nicaragua, appointed by Ortega, and the loans they present? Let us remember that, during the coup d’état against Manuel Zelaya, the CABEI did not recognize the government that followed ”, he recalled.

Former director Alberto Cortés said: “Development is not possible if it is not based on a society that respects fundamental human rights and the democratic state based on the rule of law. This is why it is necessary that the CABEI establish a democratic clause, so that the resources are not channeled towards authoritarian governments and that the pattern from 2018 to 2021 does not repeat itself, when the funding of Nicaragua has been considerably increased, ignoring authoritarian drift and human rights violations. , including the crimes against humanity that were taking place in that country.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times


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