A group of Nicaraguans in the United States began a campaign to demand US investment firms to stop administering the Nicaraguan Army´s pension fund, which they say “provided war weapons to irregular armed forces and, in many cases, have joined these irregular forces in killing civilians.”
The Nicaraguans prepared a letter, which they intend to send to the general managers of the investment firms hired by the “Instituto de Prevision Social Militar” (Military Social Security Institute). The companies in question are: Russell Investments, Reverence Capital Partners and TA Associates.
“We must let them know that they are sitting on money soaked in the blood of our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, requesting they break relations with the criminal regime of Daniel Ortega and his benefactors in the Army,” states the document entitled “Blood Diamonds Operation” in reference to another campaign calling not to buy African diamonds obtained in war zones.
The Nicaraguan Army handles its investments through the “Instituto de Previsión Social Militar” (IPSM), that in 2002 had a capital of $29.5 million dollars, which by 2009 had increased to $72.3 million, according to the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche, published in 2012 in a report of “Confidencial”. Sources from the military entity affirmed, at that time, that IPSM funds could be between $90 and 100 million dollars, of which at least 35% were invested in bonds in the United States.
This would be the second campaign to be presented in the USA questioning US companies that have businesses with Nicaragua. On social networks and WhatsApp circulates a video in which it is urged not to buy products under the sport brand Under Armour, because many of the articles are made by companies based in Nicaragua.
The video on Under Armour repeats in various ways that in Nicaragua the government violates human rights and represses its citizens, so the products of that brand are “stained with blood” of Nicaraguans. “Made in Nicaragua, made with Nicaraguan blood,” is one of its messages.
In her farewell speech to national business people the now former Ambassador of the United States in Nicaragua, Laura Dogu warned about the risk to companies’ reputation by this political crisis, which has left at least 325 citizens killed by governmental repression against citizens’ protests. “In today’s global economy, companies cannot afford to take reputational risks. I have already seen campaigns in the United States asking companies why they are buying products from Nicaragua,” said Dogu.
Nicaraguan blood money
In the letter, the citizens indicate that “the Nicaraguan diaspora in the United States” are approaching these investment firms “because the United States government” has informed them that “the Nicaraguan Army has several million dollars deposited” in these companies.
“Both retired and active service members (of the Army) have participated in the violent repression against citizens of Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan military provided weapons of war to irregular armed forces [paramilitary] and, in many cases, joined these irregular forces to kill civilians,” they affirm in the letter, in which they also state that “the money Russell Investments pays in dividends to these killers, is used to finance the murder of innocent people…Russell Investments is sitting on Nicaraguan blood money.”
“The Nicaraguan diaspora sincerely believes that Russell Investments had no idea that the money from their coffers is dripping with the blood of Nicaragua’s youth, so we implore you to close their accounts and keep your promise of “exceptional standards of corporate responsibility,” they continue.
They warn that they are reaching “all organizations based in the United States doing businesses with the government of Nicaragua, to educate them on the seriousness of the situation. We believe that no good corporate citizen wants to condone crimes against humanity. But, now that they have been informed, we are prepared to escalate this publicly if those ties are not cut immediately.”