November 2016, the United States are worried about Nicaragua. In order to assure ‘democratic and fair’ elections The US House of Representatives passed the so called Nica-act (Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act), which would block international loans towards Nicaragua if their elections turn out not to be fair and transparent.
It is November 2016, president Daniel Ortega closed the last legal gap between his candidacy and his reelection. Illegal according to the group which shares the same concerns as their Northern neighbors: the consolidation of Ortega’s power which smells like the dictatorships of Nicaragua’s past. Fear, concerns or own political intentions?
However on the other side the majority of the Nicaraguans I met, admit openly to vote for Ortega and support the Sandinista regime. They consider Ortega’s reelection as legal since Ortega let the Supreme Court reinterpret the Law, rather than breaking the law.
They reinterpret in favor of Ortega and made the reelection legal.
What has this to do with Renewables, you ask? A lot. Ortega’s presidency let to an autocratic but efficient energy policy. During his presidencies (from 2008 until today) the degree of electrification and the share of renewables in the electricity matrix rose spectacular.
Ortega set up tax arrangements to attract foreign investors to Nicaragua, not exclusive to the energy sector. These advantages however might not always be beneficial to the local communities or the Nicaraguans, which casts a shadow on those projects.
Any form of development creates winners and losers.
Any form of development creates winners and losers at the same time, which became obvious during my investigation. Both sides have their own story which are definitely worth consideringwhile working on development strategies or writing about them.
In the mean time it was the 6th of November 2016, early morning the Nicaraguans started attending the election offices, voting for the future of their country. In the afternoon the first results entered the houses via television, radio or other government channels. In the end – and as expected – Ortega turned out to be the winner, not only of the election in numbers, but for sure of the Nicaraguans hearts as they took the streets, not to protest, but to celebrate.
It was the same week President Trump would become president of the United States. People would take the streets as well, but in contrary of Nicaragua there was fear and anger, against their president. In Nicaragua some might have been worried, but the majority celebrated their president, however the renewable energy sector expressed their concerns about the Nica-act. ‘We will see,’ most of my sources said. ‘See’ in terms of what the Americans would do, rather than what their president would do.
One Man rules it All, Ortega does, creating winners … and losers.