International Contributions to Nicaraguan Democracy: The Role of Foreign Municipal Donations for Social Development

GT 6.16 Estado de Bienestar en América Latina: experiencias en perspectiva comparada

Leslie Anderson
Won-ho Park (Universidad Nacional de Seúl)
Sesión 1
Día: viernes,20 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 09:00 a 11:30
Lugar: E16SEM02

Beginning in 2000, Nicaraguan municipal elections were separated from national elections.  Municipal elections follow a four-year calendar while national elections are held every five years.  This separation allowed a distinct democratic process to unfold at the local level, separated from the dynamics of presidential coattails.  For six years Nicaraguan mayors were able to develop an autonomous democratic politics at the municipal level, relying in part upon generous donations from foreign countries, national and international NGOs and sister-city relationships.  This paper investigates the extent and contours of foreign donations to Nicaragua's municipalities from 2000-2012.  We analyze the nature, source and recipients of those donations.  We investigate multiple characteristics of the recipient municipalities, including the location, economic status of the municipality, population density and other demographics and the partisan color of the mayor.  We find that, controling for all other variables, mayor's partisan color is the most predominant determinant of donation levels and stability over time.

Beginning in 2006, with his reelection to the presidency, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has tried to gain control over the autonomous democratic politics developing at the local level.  His efforts have become significantly more forceful after he ran for president again in 2011, against constitutional rules and won yet another 5-year term..  His efforts are becoming effective and are visible both in a decline in muncipal autonomy and in foreign donations.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the ramifications of foreign direct donations for democratic development.

Palabras clave: Nicaragua, foreign donations, subnational government, democracia