Ortega-Murillo Government Closes Down Six Foreign NGOs
and threatens to confiscate their assests
HAVANA TIMES – The Ortega-Murillo government continues to be at war with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). On August 16th, the government abruptly canceled the legal status of six foreign NGOs, stripping them of permission to operate in the country. They join the 34 Nicaraguan NGOs that lost their legal status.
The government warned that since the international NGOs have assets in the country if their articles of association do not stipulate the fate of these should they lose legal status, they will become State property.
This time, the following organizations were affected:
- National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from the US, which had been registered in the country since February 15, 2006;
- International Republican Institute (IRI) from the US, registered since April 14, 2004;
- Fundación Oxfam Intermón, from Spain, registered since March 10, 2000;
- Oxfam IBIS, from Denmark, registered since December 4, 2002;
- Diakonia, from Sweden, registered since November 12, 2007;
- Helping Hands the Warren William Pagel, M.D. Foundation from the US, registered since October 29, 2001.
Accused of not complying with handing in reports
News that these NGOs were being stripped of the status that allowed them to operate in the country came via a Ministry of Governance (MIGOB) resolution published in the August 16th edition of official newspaper La Gaceta.
Just like what happened to the national organizations, MINGOB’s department of Registration and Control of Associations accused them of not reporting financial statements according to tax years, or to executive boards in their countries of origin. In addition to violating transparency regulations established for receiving donations and informing MIGOB of actions before receiving them.
They are also being accused of not reporting a detailed breakdown of their financial statements, that include revenue, expenditure, balances, details of donations with origin, source and final beneficiary.
Furthermore, MIGOB claims that these organizations didn’t present agreements signed between them and the NGOs, which clearly set out sources of financing, project portfolios, the social impact of these and whether they are in line with the organization’s purpose and objectives.
They are also being accused of not presenting the agreements between them and their local counterparts in terms of the donations they receive and the matching funds beneficiaries contribute.
Goods and assets will be seized
MIGOB also argues that the six organizations they suddenly closed did not have ID documents for their funders or proof of the good reputation of their beneficiaries and associated organizations.
In terms of these organizations that will no longer be able to operate in the country, the agreement stipulates that their goods and assets will be “liquidated according to what’s stipulated in their articles of association or statutes,” and if this is not stipulated, the General Law about Legal Nonprofit Personalities will be applied, which means they will become State property.
With these six NGOs, there are now 40 that the Ortega-Murillo regime have stripped of their legal status since the beginning of the crisis in 2018. In these new cases, the affected organizations supplied funds for projects carried out by local NGOs.