from NicaNet: Trivelli warns that Nicaragua could be put on money laundering "blacklist"
US Ambassador Paul Trivelli warned that Nicaragua could be put on a "blacklist" of countries with inadequate legislation to prevent financial crime if the National Assembly fails to pass a bill which would facilitate the creation of a Financial Intelligence Unit. Trivelli said that Nicaragua is one of the only countries in the American continent which doesn't have a Financial Intelligence Unit. According to the US diplomat the FIU is an essential tool in the combat international financial crime often linked to terrorist activity.
Should Nicaragua fail to join the other 106 countries which already have FIUs and form part of an international financial intelligence network then the country would be classified as "high risk and would mean that the cost of financial transactions would increase and the competitiveness of the country could be reduced," said Trivelli. "Legitimate bankers and investors would not be willing to come to Nicaragua," he went on, should the country be "considered vulnerable" in terms of financial security. Trivelli said the US would be willing to provide technical assistance for the creation of a FIU in Nicaragua.
Nicaraguan Superintendent of Banks Victor Urcuyo agreed that Nicaragua must look to create its own FIU. Urcuyo said that in 2008 the Financial Action Group will reevaluate the financial intelligence situation in Nicaragua and, should the country still not have a FIU, there could be a "devastating" impact on the national economy. President of the Caribbean Financial Action Group William Zapata urged the Nicaraguan deputies to pass the bill proposed by Washington and offered the group's support for the creation of a Nicaraguan FIU.
On Sept. 26, Supreme Court President Manuel Martinez rejected Trivelli's warning saying that the creation of a FIU as proposed by the US government could turn Nicaragua into a police state. "I'm a Liberal [Constitutional Liberal Party]," said Martinez, "and I wouldn't create a law that would allow that." According to Martinez the Nicaraguan financial intelligence system is very effective but "we don't talk openly about [how it works] because that is confidential state information."
from El Porvenir:
2008: The International Year of Sanitation
El Porvenir Continues Moving Toward the Goal!
The United Nations has announced that 2008 will be designated "The International Year of Sanitation". The declaration is intended to bring greater attention to the enormous need for sanitation facilities throughout the developing world and coincides with calls in the Millennium Challenge to reduce by half the number of people living without basic sanitation by the year 2015, and to provide all rural areas with sanitation coverage by the year 2025.
Often eclipsed by rising public awareness of issues surrounding potable water, access to sanitation facilities is less widely discussed and consequently under-emphasized for its role in community health and sustainable development. The UN Human Development Report for 2006 stated that "in all regions and in almost all countries sanitation provision lags far behind access to water" and that "these gaps matter not just because access to sanitation is intrinsically important, but also because the benefits of improved access to water and sanitation are mutually reinforcing".
Study after study has demonstrated the dramatic impact that a combined approach to water and sanitation development has on the overall health of a community. To maximize the health benefits of potable water access, communities must also tackle the significant hygiene issues associated with insufficient sanitation facilities. In many areas with successful water projects, high levels of uncontained excreta undermine the potential health benefits provided by access to potable water.
El Porvenir has always promoted an integrated approach to water resource development and has been committed to not only assisting in the development of sustainable water systems, but also in the building of individual family sanitation facilities. We receive many more requests for latrines than for water projects because villagers in Nicaragua understand that latrines offer dignity as well as obvious health benefits. Over the last eighteen years El Porvenir has helped families build nearly 6000 latrines in rural villages and barrios throughout Nicaragua. This upcoming year, 2008, El Porvenir has already planned for over 832 new latrines and needs funding for 352 more.
El Porvenir will be commemorating The International Year of Sanitation by continuing to develop and support community-based projects throughout Nicaragua. Please consider helping us to provide more families with basic sanitation facilities.
Building Partnerships to Help Support Nicaraguan Communities
El Porvenir continues to build partnerships with other organizations committed to promoting community-based sustainable development in Nicaragua. During the last year El Porvenir received funding and worked with many diverse groups with an interest in Potable Water, Sanitation, Reforestation, and Health/Hygiene Education. These emerging partnerships not only focus greater resources on the important work of El Porvenir, but also promote the productive synergy that results from shared ideas and experience. In the next several newsletters we will introduce you to these valuable partners.
Water For People is a US-based NGO working around the world in the development of water and sanitation facilities (see www.waterforpeople.org) In addition to the large impact made with "bricks and mortar" projects in many developing countries, Water For People is also focusing on capacity building in the communities in which it works; helping to build the skills necessary to maintain long-term sustainability. Because this an approach promoted by El Porvenir for over eighteen years, the partnership is a very good fit. This partnership will result in three wells and 144 family latrines in 2007, and much more in the future.
Water for People and El Porvenir are working toward the development of a Baseline Data Mapping system in Nicaragua providing a mechanism for long-term monitoring and oversight of El Porvenir projects. A World Water Corps will develop mapping surveys to inventory community resources and create a precise picture of conditions on the ground at the beginning of all future projects. El Porvenir and Water For People welcome the assistance of volunteers with experience in engineering and the operation of electronic mapping systems. Please contact us if you think you might be able to help!
Upcoming Work Trips and Educational Tours
Have you been thinking about joining an El Porvenir work trip or taking an educational tour? Then join one now! Help build a sustainable project with villagers, make new friends, and get to know Nicaragua! All work trips offer recreational activities.
January 27 to February 3, 2008 - Educational Tour with Ray Finney (see below)
February 15 to 24, 2008 - Birding Tour (see sidebar)
February 23 to March 1, 2008 — Open
March 29 to April 6, 2008 — Open
July 24 to 31, 2008 — Elderhostel intergenerational trip *
August 9 to 18, 2008 — Open
October 4 to 13, 2008 — Elderhostel trip *
See the travel section at www.elporvenir.org for details or email us at email@example.com
* Elderhostel trips are for people aged 55 and older; please see the Elderhostel website for details at www.elderhostel.org or call toll-free 1-877-426-8056.
Visit Nicaragua with El Porvenir Board Member Ray Finney, January 27 to February 3, 2008
Socially responsible tourism supports clean water, sanitation, and reforestation in Nicaragua.
Learn about Nicaragua by meeting with environmentalists, doctors, artisans, teachers, religious, and political leaders. Experience the natural beauty of this Third World country, with a visit to the colonial city of Granada, driving to the top of a volcano and hiking around the crater, bird watching around the "isletas" on a comfortable, safe boat in Lake Nicaragua.
The tour includes visits to several communities where you will see first hand how El Porvenir's self-help process makes a difference in the lives of rural Nicaraguans. Visit self-help potable water and sanitation projects that are making health education and community action a reality in rural Nicaragua. You will also see village seedling nurseries and the construction of more efficient wood-burning stoves.
Working together we can make a difference!
Limit 10 people, so sign up now!
Cost: $1200 per person, plus airfare. $250 deposit will hold your spot!
Cost includes food, lodging, travel/health insurance, two bilingual guides, all in-country transportation, activity costs, as well as project visits.
El Porvenir can help find good and economical flights.
The group would arrive Managua Sunday afternoon and leave Managua the next Sunday morning.
For additional information or to sign up, contact:
Mario Bandes, Delegation Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Ray Finney at email@example.com, or by phone at (office) 970-731-2100, (home) 970-731-6367, or (cell) 970-946-7491
Prayer Alert: Offices of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra
Valley (ACVC) raided and four Association leaders arrested
On Saturday, Sept. 29 during a community meeting in the village of El Cagui, in the rural part of the municipality of Cantagallo, Andrés Gil, Evaristo Mena and Óscar Duque, three members of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra Valley (ACVC) were detained by members of the Department of Administrative Security or DAS (Colombia's equivalent to the FBI). In the face of protests by community members, the agents fired their weapons into the air.
Gil and Duque are founders of ACVC and sit on the association's board of directors. Duque was also detained for several days by the Army in October of 2006.
At the same time in the city of Barrancabermeja, approximately 50 DAS agents and soldiers raided the offices of ACVC and an apartment used by its members. Authorities detained five people temporarily and removed three of the organization's computers. The authorities also arrested Mario Martinez, another director of the ACVC, at his home in Barrancabermeja.
Gil, Mena, Duque and Martinez are accused of collaborating with guerrilla groups, an accusation they deny. The men are being held at DAS headquarters in Bucaramanga. They face an initial hearing on Tuesday October 2. Authorities have also announced that they have arrest warrants for an additional 18 members of ACVC.
CPT is concerned about this new offensive by the state authorities against the ACVC, a legitimate and legally constituted organization, that just this July negotiated an agreement with the Colombian national government to address the humanitarian crisis taking place in the region the ACVC represents.
We ask you to hold the detained leaders and their families in your prayers, and to pray that the Colombian government respect the independence and integrity of the ACVC and the peasant farmer communities they represent.
For updates about the arrests (mostly in Spanish): http://prensarural.org/spip/
MISSION STATEMENT: Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia is a community made up of trained volunteers from different cultures that forms part of the international, ecumenical organization, CPT. Our work is based in, though not limited to, the Middle Magdelena region of Colombia. We work together on grassroots initiatives to expose and transform structures of domination and oppression through active nonviolence in order to make possible a world grounded in respect, justice and love, even of enemies.
Get article background
HE CALLED it the "mother of all battles" and Rafael Correa, Ecuador's new young president, appears to have won it. According to an unofficial count of the results of an election on September 30th for a Constituent Assembly, Mr Correa's supporters, grouped in a new outfit called Acuerdo Pais ("Agreement for the country"), won some 70 or more of the 130 seats. That gives the president a clear mandate to write a new constitution reflecting the "21st century socialism" he espouses.
Just what this will entail remains unclear. On the one hand, Mr Correa says the assembly has the power to dissolve the Congress, dominated by his opponents in the traditional parties, which was elected at the same time as him last year. This is the same modus operandi deployed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, with whom Mr Correa is friendly.
But on the other hand, Mr Correa has recently stressed that his intentions are not authoritarian and that he doesn't want to copy Mr Chavez's project of abolishing presidential term limits. Socialism is a "principle not a regime," he said. He added that he was willing to hold friendly discussions with private business about his plans for a "solidarity economy". The signs are that his constitutional plans will involve an increase in presidential powers and in the role of the state in the economy--but by how much?
The uncertainty partly stems from the president's mercurial personality: he has flip-flopped between belligerence and moderation over the past year. It is also because Acuerdo Pais is a heterogeneous lot. Some of Mr Correa's advisers would be happy to see him hew closer to the chavista path; others are moderate centre-leftists.
What Mr Correa may already have achieved is a decisive break in the pattern of Ecuador's politics. Three presidents have failed to finish their term since 1996. Real power has lain with two parties, the right-wing Social Christians, based in Guayaquil, the main port, and the Democratic Left, strong in Quito, the capital. Between them these two parties appear to have won just five seats in the assembly.
Misgovernment by Congress has caused Ecuador's economy to languish: at least 750,000 people migrated after bank collapses triggered a slump in 1999-2000. Mr Correa, an economist who studied at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, is popular because he rails against the "partyocracy" and the bankers that he claims have bilked the country.
Since Mr Correa took office in January, he has increased subsidies and social spending. But economic growth and investment are both slowing. He says he has not yet had time to transform his country. He now has the power to do so. But time may be short: ethnically and geographically diverse, Ecuador has rarely united around anyone for long.
You can make Guantanamo Bay disappear -- and help tear down detention camps that have become synonymous with torture, injustice, and an utter betrayal of human rights.Tearitdown.org is a powerful new Amnesty International project dramatically visualizing the commitment of 500,000 people to tear down Guantanamo Bay.