TODAY NICARAGUA – Daniel Ortega, seeks to place Nicaragua in the space race, with the creation of a “National Secretariat for Outer Space Affairs, the Moon and other Celestial Bodies”, according to a bill to be presented to the Ortega controlled Congress this Tuesday.
The bill intends for Nicaragua to actively join the “international space community.”
The bill proposes that the new body “Secretaría Nacional para Asuntos del Espacio Ultraterrestre, La Luna y otros Cuerpos Celestes” take charge of compliance with the “Treaty on the principles that should govern the activities of States in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies.”
The so-called “Treaty on Outer Space” was signed by Nicaragua and other countries before the United Nations (UN) in the 1960s. The UN itself has its Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
What is Ortega looking for?
Ortega has already shown his interest in putting Nicaragua in the space race, following his return to power in 2007. In 2012 he announced the acquisition of a Chinese satellite, called Nicasat-1, which was to enter orbit in 2016.
Valued at US$244 million, the government announced that it had entrusted the project to the Gran Muralla China, and its progress is unknown.
The future secretariat will be subordinate to the Presidency and coordinated by an official appointed by the president.
The Ortega government launches this initiative at a time when the country has dragged on a political crisis since 2018, after the repression of protests by civil and opposition organizations that demanded his resignation.
Nicaragua, a target of United States sanctions, is also affected by the pandemic and the drop in foreign investment.
“It seems to me that there are issues in the country of greater importance that must be addressed,” opposition legislator Jimmy Blandón told AFP.
He mentioned as an example the existence of more than 80,000 Nicaraguan exiles “who are going through difficult times abroad” because of the pandemic, whose repatriation, he says, should be a priority for the government.
Blandón pointed out that the political crisis, the pandemic and the passage of two hurricanes in 2020 – Eta and Iota – and have accentuated poverty levels and thrown thousands into unemployment.
According to a report by the NGO Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), Nicaragua planned to close 2020 with 36.9% of the population living in poverty, higher than 32.2% in 2019.