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Montevideo, September 25th 2021 - 00:02 UTC

 

 

Former Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolaños Geyer dies, at age 93

Wednesday, June 16th 2021 - 08:50 UTC
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Under Bolaños, Nicaragua launched a free trade agreement between Central America and the United States Under Bolaños, Nicaragua launched a free trade agreement between Central America and the United States

Just when Nicaragua is going through a wave of mass arrests against political opponents of incumbent President Daniel Ortega, former President Enrique Bolaños Geyer, who had beaten him at the 2001 elections, has died Tuesday at the age of 93.

Bolaños was known for promoting austerity in the public service during his administration between 2002 and 2007. He also stood out for his anti-corruption drive and in a way postponed the return of Sandinismo to power for 5 years.

“The Nicaragua I have dreamed of ... is a Nicaragua in which truth, honesty, and justice reign for all,” said Bolaños when he began an almost personal battle against corruption and in favour of austerity.

For this purpose, he brought to justice his predecessor Arnoldo Alemán, under whom he was Vice President, accused him of laundering millions of dollars from the public treasury in an investigation that involved officials and relatives.

Bolaños managed to prevail over Daniel Ortega in the 2001 elections when Sandinismo made its second attempt to return to power, at which it would not succeed until 2007.

The Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC, right), Alemán's force, had a majority of its own in Parliament when Bolaños came to power.

He also rivalled Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), who from the opposition generated a serious crisis with the occupation of the headquarters of public institutions.

During his presidential term, Nicaragua launched a free trade agreement between Central America and the United States and succeeded in getting the country - one of the poorest in the hemisphere - to have 80% of its foreign debt forgiven.

At the time of the Sandinista Front revolution, Bolaños headed at least six business entities, including the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) between 1983 and 1988. His autobiography describes that his “tenacious fight in defence of human rights and individual freedoms” led to some arrests and the confiscation of the entire family wealth in 1985.

Father of five children with his late wife Lila, he dedicated himself in the last years of his life to building a virtual library that bears his name, in which he collects the history of his management and research. He was the author of several works, such as “The Struggle for Power”.

The Ortega government decreed a three-day National Mourning with flags at half-mast throughout the country.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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