Two months after the overthrow of President Anastasio Somoza, Nicaragua's Sandinist leaders are facing a new battle -- how to repair the country's shattered economy.
Two months after the overthrow of President Anastasio Somoza, Nicaragua's Sandinist leaders are facing a new battle -- how to repair the country's shattered economy. With high unemployment, massive reconstruction bills and little foreign exchange, the government is pinning much of its hope on a new agrarian reform programme.
SYNOPSIS: Agriculture was once Nicaragua's biggest money spinner. During the civil war it came to a virtual halt -- little was planted and fields remained fallow. The cotton crop, traditionally Nicaragua's largest Foreign Exchange earner is down to a quarter of normal levels. The reform programme aims to restore full production.
This sugar mill at Montelimar is on property once owned by President Somoza --- it's been taken over by the government. Much of the money earned from agriculture over the last two years was said to have gone with the former President when he fled the country. It's hoped this year's coffee crop will bring in some desperately needed funds and every effort is being made to ensure the harvest is successful.
The agrarian reform will help pay for a massive reconstruction effort. In the government's own words - Nicaragua has been destroyed and will have to be raised from the ashes. Unemployment is officially put at 33 percent but is believed to be much higher.
The success of the government's new measures depend to a large extend on the amount of foreign aid. Observers say Nicaragua will need at least 800-million dollars over the coming year.