A social media-obsessed government in Nicaragua is showing the world what social media can do.
It’s been six years since then-Prime Minister Daniel Ortega won an election on a platform of social welfare, including an ambitious plan to digitise social welfare payments and help young people get back on their feet.
But, like all good things in a dictatorship, Ortegas government has been hit with setbacks and a few setbacks along the way.
Ortegas latest setback came in March, when a court in the capital, Nicaraguans capital, San José, dismissed a lawsuit brought by the countrys National Endowment for Democracy (NED) against the government, claiming it had not fulfilled its obligations to fund the NGO.
The NED has since then gone back to its old mission: to raise money for its US-based sister organisation, the Center for Development Research and Development (CDRD), which is currently embroiled in a scandal over allegations that it used state funds to buy fake news to influence public opinion.
A recent opinion poll conducted by the Center of Research and Democracy found that almost 80 per cent of Nicaragans support Ortegs government.
“It is a very different situation from before, and a very positive one,” said NED’s president, Peter Thiel, who also happens to be the co-founder of PayPal.
“There is a lot of trust in Nicaraganas government and a lot more transparency and accountability, and the media is now able to report on the issues that really matter to the population.”
And there is more transparency now than ever.
In April, Ortes government announced a plan to allow local governments to opt out of social service payments, which has been welcomed by many rural residents.
The move has led to protests and some local governments have even taken to the streets in protest.
But it is also raising some eyebrows among the government’s supporters.
“This is something that should be celebrated,” said Eloy Arzola, an assistant professor at the University of New South Wales, who has studied Orteas social policies.
“The government has made it easier to do things that are good for the population.
And the opposition is saying that it is going against the interests of Nicareggia, that it has been too secretive.”
Arzolas concerns are shared by a group of government critics who are pushing for more transparency.
They point out that Nicarags social welfare system has been plagued by corruption for decades and has a notoriously poor record of delivering services.
A new report by the opposition-controlled National Council for Independent Studies, published in April, claims that the government has done little to combat corruption, and is now using funds from the NED to buy the silence of critics.
And Ortegal’s critics also point out the governments poor record in tackling the country’s chronic unemployment, with more than two million people in the country, many of whom have no work.
So, what is the solution?
The latest setback comes amid the country s biggest social unrest in decades.
The National Endowments Social Security and the Nicaraguan Social Security Council (NSSSC) have been negotiating a new contract with the Central Bank for six months.
But the negotiations have not yet been completed.
The opposition accuses the government of delaying the talks to avoid any further protests.
“They’re trying to delay the deal so that they can keep on being president and not face any of the challenges of the next six months,” said Arzula.
“Ortega has been running a very opaque and very corrupt government.
There are still people who are not aware of what is happening.”
The opposition has also demanded that the Nicaragias government release all the documents about the payments it has made to the NESC.
And on Monday, Ors government unveiled a proposal to allow small and medium-sized businesses to receive government subsidies if they offer social services.
But Ortegana’s government says it will not allow any such subsidies.
“We don’t believe that a business should be allowed to pay for its services from a government,” said government spokesperson Jaime Gonzalez.
“That’s the difference between a free market and socialism.
That’s the government.” “
If there are people who think that the economy should be run by private companies, that’s not socialism.
That’s the government.”
But while the government claims it has “no plans” to make any concessions to the opposition, Orreganas opponents have launched a new petition, calling on Ortego to cancel the contract.
“NED has made its intentions clear: it will support any deal that protects the interests and sovereignty of Nicarrya, the country,” it said in a statement.
“Its supporters are in the majority, so we are asking that Ortegovas government reconsider its decision.”
A change of government