Your Help Is Needed to Stop the RENACER Act
Alliance for Global Justice
(May 9, 2021) — We’re contacting you to ask urgently for your help to stop new sanctions on Nicaragua. There is currently a bi-partisan bill in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called the RENACER Act that will impose a new set of sanctions (Illegal coercive measures) on Nicaragua.
US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is sponsoring a bill that would apply more sanctions against Nicaragua on top of those in the 2018 Nica Act. Menendez is joined by Senate co-sponsors Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Chris Murphy (D-CT). The bill includes various aspects; but the most harmful to the population, especially in time of pandemic, is that it would make it even harder for Nicaragua to get development assistance.
Most Congress members have bought the media lies about Nicaragua in recent years. We know the US, through institutions like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has provided hundreds of millions of dollars just in the last five years for the Nicaraguan opposition, especially for their media. Much of this is used to further opposition lies to the US media and lawmakers.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Sires (D-NJ) has introduced a companion bill to the RENACER Act. Thanks to your timely advocacy, Rep. Meeks (D-NY), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has not co-sponsored this bill.
Right now, we have a small window of opportunity to continue to push back on this initiative in the House of Representatives.
Your help is needed to stop the RENACER Act.
This week, calls are needed to the office of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Rep. Waters is the Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services which also has jurisdiction over this bill. Ask her not to support the RENACER Act of sanctions against Nicaragua, and do not mark it up in Committee.
You could call all of these numbers to register your opinion.
Rep. Waters DC Office: 202-225-2201 . LA Office (323) 757-8900. House Committee on Financial Services 202) 225-4247
Also, please continue to call Rep. Meeks office. Thank him for not co-sponsoring the RENACER Act and register your concern about the bill. Request that as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Meeks not mark up the RENACER bill in Committee.
DC Office: (202) 225-3461. Constituent Offices: Jamaica Office: (718) 725-6000. Rockaway Peninsula Office (347) 230-4032
If anyone who answers the phone gives you a hard time for not being from their districts, say: “Please give Rep. Meeks/ Rep. Waters my message, He/she is the head of their respective committee and as such he/she is my representative.”
Please continue to call all of your Senate and House Representative’s DC and local offices (find phone number on Representative’s website) and send emails to your Representative.
If you have more time, ask to speak with the Foreign Affairs Aide. If they put you through to this person’s phone, leave your message and ask that they return your call. You will have to pressure some to talk to this person. But a short chat is worthwhile as you want to establish a relationship and let them know you care about Nicaragua, that Nicaragua is doing well, but would be unjustly hurt by more sanctions.
If you don’t have time to make phone calls, please contact your Representative by email. Below is an easy way that takes only five minutes.
Thank you for taking action!
Brief script for your phone calls:
I want Representative/Senator ——– to vote NO on the sanctions bill against Nicaragua entitled RENACER, Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform. (1) Nicaragua does not pose any threat to the United States. It is a small nation of 6.3 million, in the bottom ten countries in arms. (2)
This bill would harm the Nicaraguan people, especially the most vulnerable, by blocking development aid from international financial institutions. (3)
The bill also appears to pressure the country to choose new leadership favored by the US, but I believe the Nicaraguan people should select their own leaders.
(4) In contrast to other Central American countries, Nicaragua is functioning very well — for example, very few migrants are coming to the US, and the poverty rate has been cut in half.
President Daniel Ortega and US Senator Bob Menendez
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS
Here are talking points for background and to support your advocacy work as we move forward.
The RENACER ACT in the Senate is meant to reinforce the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act (Nica Act) of December of 2018, whose purpose was to deny Nicaragua access to development financing from multilateral sources such as the World Bank, the IMF and the InterAmerican Development Bank. It was not to be used to block pro-poor loans (loans for poverty-related items), though it is being used exactly for that purpose.
It was expected that President Biden would review US policies towards Central America to distinguish himself from the previous administration. His team announced their priorities, concentrating Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, to address their severe problems of corruption, poverty and violence, which has continued to force thousands of desperate families to go north.
Nicaragua did not qualify as a priority with those criteria. Nicaraguans are not marching north. Compared to its northern neighbors, statistically it has 0 people migrating to the US. That’s because it has the lowest homicide rate in Central America according to international organizations like the UN Development Program; there are no gangs, or drug-trafficking cartels; the armed forces of the US and Nicaragua used to work together to stop the flow of drugs to the US. Nicaragua continues to be a retention wall against cocaine going north and money to pay for it going south, with drug and money busts every week.
The World Bank, IMF, International Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration have all affirmed that their Nicaragua portfolios are managed with transparency and efficiency contributing to poverty reduction and economic development, especially in health, education, water, energy, roads and sanitation.
Nicaragua was one of the few developing countries that achieved the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Yet recently, one of the heads of the US armed forces stated that Nicaragua poses a serious threat to the national security of the Unites States, which does not make any sense, given that Nicaragua is the third poorest country in Latin American, is in the bottom ten countries in the world in armaments, and Nicaragua’s priorities for her people are the elimination of poverty, to achieve 100% food security, 100% renewable energy, and the best health system in the region.
It would be much more useful for our country to study how Nicaragua has achieved the following in the last 14 years in order to understand how best to help the rest of Central America and even our own people in the US.
• Nicaragua’s strategic response to the pandemic has resulted in the lowest number of infections and deaths per capita, and the highest recovery rate in the region whilst keeping all of its borders open under rigorous safety protocols.
• Nicaragua has developed an exceptional emergency response and mitigation capacity as seen this past November with Hurricanes Eta and Iota, the most devastating hurricanes to hit Nicaragua in 40 years.
• Days before the hurricane, 100,000 emergency volunteers were mobilized, 160, 000 people were evacuated, 1,195 shelters and 2,300 safe houses were identified before the hits and supplies of food, mattresses, medicine, water, etc. were sent days earlier. No deaths were attributed to Era but 16 died in Iota, unfortunately all related to people who refused to leave their homes or went back against advice.
Social Gains Over the Past 14 Years Include:
- Poverty reduced [from] 48.3% to 24.9% and extreme poverty from 17.5% to 6.9%.
- Nicaragua is connected by the best highways in Central America (and in the top five of Latin America), according to the World Economic Forum.
- Nearly 99% of the population have electricity and about 80% will soon be generated from renewable sources (26% in 2006). 65% of people in 2006 had potable water, 91.8% in 2018 and projections are 95% by 2023.
- Best hospital system in the region. 19 new hospitals were constructed, 8 more are now under construction. There are 6,045 doctors now compared to 2,715 in 2006. The country´s health budget has risen 319% since 2006.
- Illiteracy rate under 5%
- Nicaragua is fifth in the world in gender equity (World Economic Forum).
- Maternal and infant mortality have been cut by well more than half since 2007.
- Nicaragua has a high level of food security. Their small farmers produce 90% of the food consumed in country.
Please vote against the bill being promoted by Senators Menendez, Rubio, Kaine, Durbin, Cardin, and Murphy to apply more sanctions against Nicaragua entitled Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER).
These Sanctions are meant to harm Nicaragua in the run-up to November elections.
The US through USAID, NED and other government conduits has provided over 200 million dollars to the Nicaraguan opposition in recent years, much of it to attempt a coup in 2018.
In August 2020 a USAID document called Responsive Action in Nicaragua (RAIN) was leaked from the US Embassy in Managua. It is a playbook for a multi-faceted destabilization campaign and is going on now.
I do not want my country to carry out coups or to destabilize other nations; unilateral sanctions are illegal and harm the most vulnerable in society.
Unlike its neighbors, very few people are leaving Nicaragua so it poses no migration problem for the US. It has the lowest homicide rate in Central America, no gangs or cartels. Multilateral funders (World Bank, IMF, Interamerican Development Bank, and the CABEI) have, without exception, praised the transparent management and the results of their loan portfolios.
Yet it is Nicaragua that the US describes as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security. This doesn’t make sense.
Please also take a look below at some of the amazing advances in Nicaragua, ignored by the US media. The US could learn from its universal health and education systems, starting with its success in managing the Covid pandemic.
• Fifth in the world in gender equity (UN Women).
• First in the world: women in Ministerial positions (UN Women).
• On Aug. 14, 2020 the IDB presented a report that found the Nicaragua government is one of the most respectful of the rule of law and the most transparent in administration and management of public entities.
• Nicaragua has very high transparency in public debt with full data on each Institution’s website about execution of loans (July, 2020, World Bank).
• Nicaragua is praised for its excellent project execution. (CABEI, Aug. 2020).
• “The quality, planning, and effectiveness of Nicaragua’s project management is excellent, and the Finance Ministry is extremely organized and transparent, allowing CABEI to plan projects easily and without concerns.” (CABEI, Oct. 7, 2020).
• The IDB ranked Nicaragua fourth in all of Latin America in health investment.
• Poverty, maternal and infant mortality have been cut by more than half since 2007.
• It is 90% food sovereign
• The World Food Program says Nicaragua prioritizes food security, and it praised the school meal program that reaches at least 1.2 million children.
• A 2020 World Bank report says that a child in Nicaragua has a 98% chance of living to age 5, one of the highest survival rates in Latin America.
• 99% electricity coverage. 76% of energy from renewables.
• First in best roads regionally.
• Nicaragua is the safest country in the region (UNDP).