MANAGUA Hundreds of agricultural producers and small business owners from northern Nicaragua marched on the capital Aug. 12 to demand that the government buy their multi-million dollar debt with microfinance institutions.
The debtor group, known as the No Payment Movement, marched to President Daniel Ortega s home (which also serves as Sandinista party headquarters and the casa president s offices) to ask the president to buy their debt, which is estimated to be between $16 -25 million. The debtor group, which numbers more than 13,000 individuals, promised to repay the debt interest free over the next 10 years.
We want the government to help us resolve a great socio-economic problem of debt caused by high interest rates charged by financial institutions, which are hard to pay in this economy, said protest leader Omar Vilchez, an ex-Sandinista mayor from Jalapa.
The daily La Prensa reported that the debtor group has pledged to support Ortega s controversial reelection bid next year if he agrees to purchase their debt.
At press time, Ortega had not commented on the protest or responded to the group s demands.