Shareholders of mining companies in Nicaragua cannot claim innocence. All they have is ignorance. This from IKN679, out last weekend.
Nicaragua political risk update (including some mining this time)
In March this year we ran a small series of political risk updates on the worsening conditions for human rights under the dictator Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, documenting how his increasingly authoritarian government was closing down press outlets, hundreds of NGOs and arresting people speaking out against the oppressive regime. Recently, Nicaragua has been the centre of a small political storm when the USA (as hosts this year) uninvited Ortega and his government from the upcoming Organization of American States (OAS) summit in June. For a while, the US move threatened to see other countries boycotting the event until Nicaragua said that it wasn’t even interested in attending (thereby letting AMLO of Mexico and Arce of Bolivia, among others, off a hook of their own making).
However, the latest news from Nicaragua has its mining industry as backdrop. Two weeks ago, the regional Catholic bishop, Monseñor Rolando Álvarez, spoke out at an assembly mass and decried the development of the Pavon mining project located in his diocese at the nearby town of Rancho Grande. The project, owned and developed by Calibre Mining (CXB.to), is now in feasibility stage and nearing the moment when EIA and construction permits are set to be awarded. It is highly unpopular in the zone and historically opposed by the local population, even to the point when a few years ago Daniel Ortega (via his wife) agreed with locals and told the previous operators, B2Gold, to shut down development. Now that has changed, which brought the bishop’s words (translated (23)):
“The area (Cerro Pavon) is again being exposed to death, a crime is being committed against nature and the people of Rancho Grande are being disrespected, because a ministerial resolution said there would be no more mining in Rancho Grande, and now there’s the mining company in Cerro Pavon. We want to say, with sincere hearts, no more mining in Rancho Grande, no more mining development in Cerro Pavon.”
The reply from the Ortega government came this week. This Thursday 19th May, Monseñor Álvarez announced via the Catholic church TV channel that he and another bishop had been aggressively tailed by members of the Nicaragua secret police all day and that, when he had confronted the people tailing him, they answered that they were following orders. The next day, Friday May 20, the Nicaragua government ordered the immediate closedown of the Catholic church’s TV channel (24). This adds to the recent accusation made by Ortega that the bishops in his country have “a criminal terrorist mentality” and are “demons in cassocks”. Nice man. This publication feels it important you know exactly what you are sponsoring by buying and owning shares of Canadian mining companies operating in Nicaragua.