TITLE:NICARAGUAN CALLS FOR AID, AND TIME, TO HEAL WOUNDS (10/19/93)
NICARAGUAN CALLS FOR AID, AND TIME, TO HEAL WOUNDS
(Pallais urges international donors to be patient) dc (490)
(With Lsi209 of 10/19/93)
By Daniel Cento
USIA Staff Writer
WASHINGTON -- Nicaragua is in urgent need of foreign aid, but international
donors must allow more time for the government's policy of national
reconciliation to show results, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Jose
At an Oct. 19 news conference at the Nicaraguan Embassy here, he cited
Nicaragua's long list of political, economic, and social problems.
Nicaragua, Pallais said, faces the highest foreign debt per capita of any
country in the world, terrorism, insurrection by former combatants in the
civil war, and a host of other crises that merit patience from the
The government of President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro is making
appropriate reforms but "the government can't do everything by itself. We
need the participation of all Nicaraguans and this, perhaps, is the most
difficult challenge we have before us."
Pallais cited Chamorro's Sept. 2 announcement of her intention to bring the
military under civilian control, the Oct. 15 creation of a new Bureau of
Intelligence Affairs under the Ministry of the Presidency, reforms to
create a free-market economy, and changes that will make the national
police more responsive to the public.
But the institutionalization of these reforms will take time, he said.
"In our country, we don't have an established tradition of working together
for the good of our country," Pallais said with some frustration. "We have
had a tradition of total confrontation for more than 100 years.... Our
task of national reconciliation through dialogue is costing a lot, despite
Nicaragua's ambassador to the United States, Roberto Mayorga, added that
without the rapid disbursement of $40 million from the U.S. Agency for
1nternational Development (AID), economic reform plans could be
Nicaragua is also seeking the payment of another $25 million in aid already
promised by the Inter-American Development Bank and $25 million from the
The disbursement of these $90 million has been held up pending "structural
reform," which is underway in Nicaragua, said Pallais.
"For the first time, (opposing) groups are sitting face to face discussing
their political differences" bilaterally, he said. Trilateral negotiations
-- a move that would encourage foreign aid -- among the government, the
Sandinistas, and the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO) which once
supported but has since broken with Chamorro can be expected, according to
"We recognize that the government has a lot more to do and contribute to ...
this ideal (of national reconciliation) that President Chamorro is strongly
committed to," he added.
Mayorga asked international financial institutions, especially the IDB,
World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, to be "more flexible" with
We want a "workable" agreement, he said, emphasizing the "enormous
difficulty of achieving consensus in Nicaragua... Political positions all
too often supersede the needs" of the country.
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