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Nicaragua Downplays Potential Impact of US Bill on Lending

  • Associated Press

FILE - Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega addresses a massive rally, Nov. 29, 2016, in Havana in honor of the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

President Daniel Ortega downplayed the possible impact of a U.S. bill that would condition international lending to Nicaragua on a range of democracy and rights issues, saying it's more of a political than an economic threat to his country.

"The world is not going to disappear, the economy is not going to disintegrate'' if the so-called Nica Act passes, Ortega said late Thursday after meeting with representatives of the International Monetary Fund during a visit to the Central American nation.

The bill before the House and Senate calls for the U.S. to oppose most loans to Nicaragua's government through organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, with the exception of funds for humanitarian purposes or to promote democracy.

That would be the official U.S. position unless the secretary of state certifies that Nicaragua is taking steps to hold fair and competitive elections, safeguard political rights, strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption, among other conditions.

Similar legislation last year failed to advance in Congress.

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