Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, in his bid to become a regional leader in Central America and help coordinate the region’s efforts to confront the world economic crisis, has convoked a regional ‘’summit in defense of employment’’ in Managua on May 19-20. The summit, which will feature all the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, will bring government and business leaders together to develop a common strategy – something business leaders in Nicaragua have been asking Ortega for unsuccessfully for some time.
“We feel that the crisis unites us even more and obligates us even more to struggle to overcome the problems of this crisis and generate work for our people,’’ Ortega said.
The closing of U.S. free-trade zones in Central America has already led to 20,000 lost jobs in Honduras, and independent economic analysts in Nicaragua predicts an additional 30,000 – 50,000 jobs will be lost in Nicaragua this year, on top of the thousands already lost at the end of 2008.
Last month, U.S. textile giant Cone Denim, which has made a $100 million investment in Nicaragua — the single largest investment in Central America under CAFTA – announced it has suspended operations indefinitely in Nicaragua, potentially affecting thousands more workers.