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Nicaragua’s new plan

Eduardo Montealegre points to the rehabilitation his
country has made

IN NOVEMBER 2001, a 73-year-old businessman defeated an anti-US ex-president to lead a troubled central American country. The news was celebrated in the US, but more because Daniel Ortega had lost again than because of any hopes surrounding Enrique Bolanos. What no one-expected was that Bolanos would turn out to be something of a revolutionary himself, embarking on a crusade to clean up Nicaraguan politics and rehabilitate his country not only in the eyes of the world, but, more important, in the eyes of its own citizens.

Bolanos had been the vice-president of outgoing leader Arnoldo Aleman, who then became senator for life, with the same sort of immunity from prosecution that Augusto Pinochet had in Chile. People could see why Aleman might want such immunity: his lifestyle had become significantly more lavish over the duration of his presidency, and his administration was known to be corrupt.

Crusading against corruption

The European countries providing bilateral aid to Nicaragua, especially, were concerned at the level of corruption in the country: they were worried that their money was going to waste.

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