San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

IMF Gives O.K., Asks for Clarity on Venezuelan Aid

The Internaional Monetary Fund (IMF) on Nov. 19 approved Nicaragua’s fourth and fifth program revisions, but told the Sandinista government they must open their books on Venezuelan aid.

Central Bank President Antenor Rosales told the daily La Prensa that Nicaragua will have to present the IMF with a detailed report on Venezuelan aid by next March to account for the $1.44 billion the Sandinista government has received from Venezuela since 2007. Of that amount, only $436 million is stipulated clearly as donations.

The entire $351 million that Venezuela has given Nicaragua this year has been in the form of loans, according to the Central Bank. And it’s still unclear whether the remaining $650 in Venezuelan “cooperation” was donations or loans that Venezuela will try to collect payment on at some point.

Under Nicaraguan law, the National Assembly has to approve all new loans. Opposition lawmakers, therefore, argue that Nicaragua cannot be held legally responsible for any new debt to Venezuela under the secretive cooperation agreement between Presidents Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chávez.

Following the final revisions by the IMF, Nicaragua is now eligible to remain in the program for another year and receive an additional $20 million in IMF funding.

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