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 dollars, is a manifestation of the magnificent relationships between the executive president of that institution , Dante Mossi, with the head of the Nicaraguan Government, Daniel Ortega.
In response to this close relationship, which made CABEI the main external funder of the regime, the opposition, the diaspora, and the Nicaraguan exile, sent letters to the Bank’s foreign ministers and governors – who will meet on November 26 and 27 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic- denouncing the assistance to the regime, and calling for a boycott of the inauguration of the building in Managua.
After some multilateral financial organizations closed their sources to Ortega, in response to the human rights crisis caused by state repression and the police state since April 2018, CABEI became the main provider of public resources for the Government, to which approved 2,289 million dollars in new projects, between January 2017 and June 2021.
According to the former representative of Costa Rica to that Bank, Ottón Solís, one of the reasons why the Bank decided to build a new headquarters in Managua is that Mossi (of Honduran nationality) has an “obsession to go to inaugurate, and appear in a photo . It’s a sick thing! ”, He emphasized.
An expert who knows the management of the multilaterals, and asked to comment from anonymity, agreed with Solís when assuring that the Honduran suffers from a desire to appear, for which he has spent “money on buildings; buy land in Honduras without bidding; approve headquarters for Taiwan, Korea, and Spain, and build this headquarters in Nicaragua, ”added Solís, who recently denounced the privilege system that prevails in that Bank.
In reference to the inauguration of the headquarters in Managua scheduled for December 15, an economist who left CABEI said that this “is an old project approved a few years ago, which is being executed until now, but the land it had been bought for a long time, and both the design and the plans were also elaborated for a long time ”.
“Mossi’s visit was in the media when it came to laying the first stone, (in October 2019), so it is not something that is being done on purpose ‘at this time.’ It is a project in execution with signed contracts, with construction firms that cannot be stopped without incurring fines or damages to the contracting parties ”, he insisted.
For the former director for Costa Rica before CABEI between 2015 and 2018, Alberto Cortés, “although it is a project that comes from behind, it is necessary to take into consideration the current context, in which electoral fraud has just happened in Nicaragua, and This inauguration will be used as a form of legitimation of the Government. For this reason, it would be advisable for the Bank not to send representatives to this inauguration, ”he suggested.
The long-awaited Nicaraguan vote
Former representative Solís notices another reason to explain the Honduran’s affinity with Ortega: Mossi’s desire to be reelected for five more years, as the Bank’s executive president.
The day the building is inaugurated, the major plane of the regime will be there, along with that of the Bank. That day they will be seen sharing, united, as a preamble to what Mossi hopes will happen next, which is to have the vote of Nicaragua to seek his re-election.
“When the president of CABEI has to be elected, he will seek re-election, and of course, having the Nicaraguan vote is important to him,” because he knows that if the ruling National Party wins the November 28 elections in Honduras, he will to have that vote, but if Xiomara Castro wins the elections, he will not have the Honduran vote, Solís considered.
It would not be the first time that Nicaragua has supported Mossi. In 2018, while the Bank was looking for the replacement of Nick Rischbieth Gloë to preside over the Bank for five years, Nicaragua proposed the economist Francisco Mayorga “but the Board of Directors was not very comfortable with his candidacy,” said the source.
At that time, the strongest candidate was the Costa Rican Alejandro Rodríguez, (Rischbieth’s vice president), but the lack of support from the Directorate and the governor for Costa Rica led several countries to lean towards Mossi as a way out of consensus.
Mossi came from working in Ghana (Africa), as a World Bank official. His position in the World Bank was not the most solid, when the opportunity to apply to the Directorate of CABEI came up, obtaining the position in a surprising way “after several rounds of internal negotiations, with the support of the Nicaraguan vote, which explains his attitude. for Nicaragua ”, explained the source.
“He commented in various forums upon taking office, that for himself it had been a surprise, but not only for him, but for many beyond the Board, because the previous director -Rischbieth- was also from Honduras,” he added.
CABEI has always been a good support for the Government of Nicaragua, regardless of who holds the presidency of the country, recalling that in electoral years, the Bank made available to the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN), a contingent credit line, for support commercial banks, should they suffer a capital flight, for fear of an electoral victory for Daniel Ortega.
Later, when the 2008 global financial crisis raised concerns about the strength of local financial institutions, CABEI approved a $ 200 million credit line that it made available to the BCN. “While the others said: ‘let’s see what we do’, CABEI was the only one that kept the inflow of resources fairly stable, especially to commercial banks, with lines of credit,” said the source.
These funds are still available, now with the figure of a “Credit Program to Support the Liquidity Management of the Central Banks of the Founding Countries of CABEI”.
“The third moment is now,” says the source, recalling that “the Bank needs to place funds, and the countries were not requiring these resources, each one for their own reasons, while Nicaragua’s strategy explicitly indicated that it was interested in increasing its portfolio of loans at CABEI, where it lagged: while Nicaragua occupied about 13% of the Bank’s portfolio, the other countries were at 20% or more ”.
“The Nicaraguan portfolio went from fourth to second place – coincidentally in the period of greatest repression – while Costa Rica, which was the second portfolio, fell to fourth, but there is no logic or comparison,” despite the fact that the Costa Rican economy is three times greater than the Nicaraguan economy, explained the former director before CABEI for Costa Rica, Alberto Cortés.
Nicaraguan opposition demands CABEI governors
Nicaraguan opposition organizations in exile, sued foreign ministers and governors of CABEI from Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica Korea, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Taiwan, all members of the Assembly of Governors and the Board of Directors of CABEI who do not participate in the inauguration of the new CABEI building in Managua, scheduled for this December 15.
In addition, they demand that they condition “any disbursement” to Nicaragua on respect for human rights, the release of political prisoners, the cessation of repression, and compliance with the resolutions of the Organization of American States (OAS), which establish minimum conditions for holding elections.
In the communication sent this Monday, the organizations suggest to the CABEI board of directors that they reevaluate “the reputational and financial risk” that means continuing to grant financing to a government considered “illegitimate.”
“CABEI has not only maintained, but has increased its financing to the Ortega-Murillo regime, becoming the main financial support of the dictatorship,” says the communication signed by the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, the Peasant Movement, Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), Initiative for Change, Nicaraguan Medical Association of Exile (AMEN), Reflection Group for Political Ex-Prisoners (GREX) and Nicaragua Freedom Coalition.
This is happening “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 claim suggests the need for CABEI to include a mandatory democratic clause to approve a loan or financing program.
Ottón Solís assures that such discussion did not exist while he represented Costa Rica. “July 18 was my last day at the bank, and that clause was not there. I think that now things are going to change. This is a good time for the bank to move due to the ignorance of the elections in Nicaragua, “he said.
“I don’t know if there should be a specific ‘democratic’ clause, but something that goes beyond the financial aspect. There are already environmental considerations, but that there is something that ensures the fulfillment of human rights is not that far away, ”said the professional who knows the management of multilaterals.
In the case of the murder of Berta Cáceres, CABEI was the last to leave, until after a Dutch bank did, which was also part of the institutions that were financing the loan to build the dam, but “CABEI does not have this facility management, because the countries are the owners ”, he added.
“What will happen if Central America ignores the Ortega government when its new term begins, and then Nicaragua requests a loan? Are they going to recognize the Minister of Finance as governor, the director for Nicaragua, appointed by Ortega, and the loans they present? Let us remember that, when they gave the coup to Manuel Zelaya, CABEI did not recognize the subsequent government, “he recalled.
For former director Alberto Cortés “development is not possible if it is not based on a society that respects fundamental human rights and the democratic rule of law. That is why it is necessary for CABEI to establish a democratic clause, so that resources are not channeled to authoritarian governments and the pattern from 2018 to 2021 is not repeated, when Nicaragua’s financing was significantly increased, obviating the authoritarian drift and the violation of human rights -including crimes against humanity- that were taking place in that country ”.