MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Hundreds of agricultural producers and small business owners from northern Nicaragua marched on the capital Aug. 12 to demand that the government buy their multimillion dollar debt with micro-finance institutions.
The debtor group, known as the “No Payment Movement,” marched to President Daniel Ortega’s home (which also serves as Sandinista party headquarters and the president’s offices) to ask the president to buy their debt, which is estimated to be between $16 -25 million. The debtor group, which numbers more than 13,000individuals, promised to repay the debt interest free over the next 10 years.
“We want the government to help us resolve a great socioeconomic problem of debt caused by high interest rates charged by financial institutions, which are hard to pay in this economy,” said protest leader Omar Vilchez, an ex-Sandinista mayor from Jalapa.
The daily La Prensa reported that the debtor group has pledged to support Ortega’s controversial reelection bid next year if he agrees to purchase their debt.
At press time, Ortega had not commented on the protest or responded to the group’s demands.