USAID Cooperation could be suspended

Today, U.S. Ambassador in Nicaragua, Robert Callahan asked the government of Nicaragua to provide an accounting of aid received from Venezuela and how it is spent. He warned that the United States may suspend aid over this issue

…Speaking to the press, the diplomat stated that in addition to the Waiver related to property issues, there is another Waiver required to receive aid that is related to budget transparency based on a law approved by the U.S. Congress, although he did not specify the law he referred to…

Callahan’s demand to know how Venezuelan aid is spent comes just as the Central Bank of Nicaragua has published its 2009 Report on International Cooperation. “There are two Waivers. One is for property, but that will be decided in June or July. This (other) Waiver is specifically related to the lack of budget transparency,” explained the Ambassador adding that his government “has had reservations about the lack of budget transparency here and Nicaragua needs a Waiver”…

“In the United States, at the highest levels of government, this Waiver is being discussed and we want to have a response within one to two weeks but I can’t speculate as to what that decision will be,” stated Callahan. He warned that failure to meet the demand could have consequences for Nicaragua, “consequences for bilateral aid, consequences for some programs, not all, but some USAID programs”…

He explained further that some of these programs involve disbursements of between 10 and 12 million dollars. He stated that the United States wants to know how Venezuelan aid to the country is used…”We have had problems - our government, our congress - with the aid from Venezuela. Frankly, we don’t know where it is and where it goes,” underscored the Ambassador.

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