“Creeping coup” in Nicaragua

12 October 2005

Political tensions in Nicaragua between the president, Enrique Bolanos, and Sandinista leader and former president Daniel Ortega, are seen as a threat to the country’s democracy.

In the last days, the Sandinista-majority National Assembly has cut back the powers of four ministers and two vice presidents. Also, Sandinistas have threatened to lift President Bolanos’ immunity from prosecution for misuse of state funds.

The crisis has cross border implications. The US has warned that Nicaragua could be removed from CAFTA (the Central American Free Trade Agreement) for its lack of democratic stability.
But on Thursday, Bolanos and Ortega agreed to postpone controversial constitutional reforms, easing a political crisis.

Bolanos said after a six-hour meeting on Monday night with Ortega, that the reforms would take effect in January 2007, after he finished his five-year presidential term.
Ortega, who is favoured to win the elections in late 2006, now controls the judicial and legislative branches of Nicaragua's government. He is one of many popular left wing candidates in the wider region – Lopez Obrador in Mexico, Evo Morales in Bolivia. There is a growing trend of Latin American nations electing leftist presidents critical of Washington, such as Chavez in Venezuela and Lula in Brazil.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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