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Nicaragua's newest tycoon? 'Socialist' president Daniel Ortega.

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In 2008, Nicaragua's Central Bank reported that Venezuela gave Nicaragua $457 million in aid, all of which was managed privately by Ortega's ALBA holdings, with no third-party oversight. ALBANISA, a joint Venezuelan-Nicaraguan oil company linked to Ortega, recently signed a 15-year energy contract expected to net the company upwards of $500 million, depending on price fluctuations. And last year's oil imports earned the ALBA group an additional $280 million in revenue, according to calculations by opposition leader and former Inter-American Development Bank analyst Edmundo Jarquín.

"Maybe Ortega isn't the richest man in the country, but he is making more than anyone else in Nicaragua," Mr. Jarquín said.

Blurring the line between state and first family?

Critics say President Ortega and the Sandinista Front have created a web of businesses operations that have blurred the distinction between party, state, and first family. For example, Ortega's personal confidant Francisco López is the treasurer of the Sandinista Front, as well as the president of the government-run Petronic petroleum company, the vice-president of the private-run ALBANISA, the president of ALALINISA, and the administration's representative to power-distributor Unión Fenosa, of which the Sandinista government recently purchased 16 percent. At this point, critics say, it's impossible to know whose interests he or his businesses represent.

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