The report provides more questions than answers for economists, journalists, and opposition politicians who have been eagerly awaiting its release. It provides detailed and line-item expenses on all foreign aid except that from Venezuela.
“In the case of Venezuela, we find – once again – only large sums of money listed under generic titles," says economist Adolfo Acevedo. "It’s obvious no one can verify any of this data."
For example, while the report mentions certain amounts of Venezuelan funding earmarked for special Sandinista social programs, most of the aid use if listed under vague titles such as “food security” ($19.4 million), “humanitarian assistance” ($15.4 million), or the more ambiguous “other projects” ($35.5 million). Meanwhile, aid given by the US and 20 other foreign donors is detailed in line-item format for specific programs.
The IMF has not yet commented.
Although peppered with ambiguities, the Central Bank report does offer some new insights about Nicaragua’s increasing dependence on Venezuela. As other countries continued to reduce aid to Nicaragua by hundreds of millions of dollars last year – some due to concerns over the government’s commitment to democracy, while others due to internal restructuring of foreign aid programs – Venezuela has more than covered the difference.
Overall, donations to the Sandinista government from traditional donors was down 37 percent last year, while bilateral aid for Nicaragua dropped by 25 percent, according to the report.