Thursday, June 11, 2009

U. S. cuts aid to Nicaragua

The U. S. has stopped 60 million dollars of aid to Nicaragua. The U. S. government cut the aid because of concerns about democracy and free markets in the country.

From this Associated Press story that we found at Oregon Live, reporter Matthew Lee recieves an explanation from the government about the cuts in aid.

The board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. taxpayer-funded operation set up by former President George W. Bush to fight poverty in developing nations, said Wednesday it had cut $62 million from a $175 million program for Nicaragua because of problems in recent elections.

"This decision is made with deep disappointment, as our partnership with Nicaragua has yielded tremendous progress over the past years in reducing poverty through innovative economic growth projects," said Rodney Bent, the corporation's chief executive.

The cut in aid follows a suspension in new U.S. assistance announced last November after municipal elections that the opposition said were marred by fraud. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinistas in the 1980s, declared the protests were unconstitutional.

In March, Ortega accused the U.S. of punishing the poor with the suspension and defended the local elections, in which his Sandinistas won a majority of mayorships, as fair. The opposition said the vote was fraudulent and complained that international observers were not allowed.

Bent said the MCC would only back countries whose "governments actively demonstrate a commitment to democracy and the rule of law, as well as economic freedom and social investment."

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