The latest opinion poll by the prestigious CID-Gallup polling firm has revealed a bleak picture of Nicaragua: the lack of employment as the country’s main problem, coupled with a political and economic crisis that has caused an exodus of at least 328,000 citizens in just 2022, especially towards the United States, while 55% of the population disapproves of the management of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. A perception of the Sandinista administration that has remained in the red since the social outbreak in 2018, with an index of -20%.
“At the beginning of the year 2023 and just after Christmas, when there is family reunion, celebratory dinners and the best gifts that were acquired with remittances from distant brothers, the Nicaraguan people show ‘resignation and trust in God that there will soon be a change of government. Within this feeling, they coexist with the social, economic and political situation of the country and they have or are adjusting to this new life with the reduction of expenses and lifestyle changes”, sums up the survey carried out between 3 and 16 from January. The sample is 1,204 people over the age of 16, random phone calls. Those consulted, adds CID-Gallup, are “waiting for a better life” and “hoping that the situation will change and they will be able to find work, so they do not have to leave their families and country.”
In this sense, 62% of Nicaraguans agree that “the course of the country is on the wrong path.” The perception of the cost of living (68% believe that it has risen a lot) is related to the estimate of the country’s course: “If the country is heading in the right direction, it will have a better economic condition.” The mothers and fathers of families are the ones who have felt the blow the most in all fields: “Food, clothing and transportation.”
The opinion study reveals that the economic projections of Nicaraguans for this year are negative by 47%, compared to 42% who believe that it will be better. This last group, which sees an improvement and a feeling of stability, is motivated by sending family remittances from abroad.
“That was evident at Christmas, when in some homes it was possible to celebrate Christmas as a family with a special dinner –stuffed loin, chicken, shellfish and drinks– and there was also an opportunity to buy a larger television and remove the drawers -old ones with drawers- . Some also received help to improve their homes with the money they received from their relatives,” explains the polling firm.
What CID-Gallup reveals about remittances is in line with the record recorded in 2022, when they increased by 38%. In other words, Nicaragua received some 2,970 million dollars in 2022, an amount that exceeds the General Budget of the Republic for 2021, which was 2,918.4 million. This injection of foreign currency has been motivated by the flight of almost 4% of the Nicaraguan population abroad only last year, especially to the United States, not counting the 161,269 who left before, in 2021. It is a Unprecedented exodus that began after the social protests of 2018 with a first wave of 180,000 exiles who, like everyone else, upon reaching their destination and managing to settle, begin to send money to their relatives.
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According to the researcher and specialist in migration issues of the Inter-American Dialogue, Manuel Orozco, of the 1.6 million Nicaraguan family nuclei, 850,000 received remittances by the end of 2022. And the dependence on that money is around 70% in those families. Despite the immigration measures imposed by the Joe Biden government to stop the herd of Nicaraguans on the southern border with Mexico, the majority continue to leave due to political persecution and lack of employment. It is, according to political analysts, the “perverse profit” that the Ortega and Murillo regime makes by expelling people: family remittances that are injected into the economy. For example, between January and October 2022, they represented 18.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
A disapproved management
CID-Gallup notes that the Ortega-Murillo presidential duo continues with an evaluation “more negative than positive” that reaches citizens of all strata of residence, age and education. In the evaluative index of the polling firm, the decline of the Sandinista leaders is noted: in January 2012 it had a positive 27%, in 2017 a 16% favorable balance and now, in January 2023, -20%. The Ortega-Murillos maintain the support of the Sandinista followers, who are the only national political force, after the opposition parties were decapitated by the ruling party, and in November 2022 the Sandinistas won all 153 mayoralties in the country in cataloged elections. as “sham”.
Despite the fact that Sandinista sympathizers have “loyalty and trust” towards the Ortega-Murillos, CID-Gallup reveals that “few believe that the presidential couple has the capacity to solve their unemployment and food problems and needs, as a result of the low supply sources of work and the increase in the cost of food and basic services, which are the main difficulties of the country and the family”.
When asked if Nicaraguans “approve or disapprove of the way in which Daniel Ortega is performing as president,” 57% said they did not, and another 62% agreed that it is “not at all or unlikely” that the Sandinista administration, which maintains an authoritarian management, “resolve family concerns.” 56% believe that Ortega does not do “what is best for the people” and those who think so are especially “women and low-income people.”
“Within this environment, there is an issue that attracts attention and to a certain extent generates some concern, and that is ‘the bad relations with the United States.’ On the one hand, there is satisfaction with the measures that have been taken by the US government (sanctions), and on the other, they feel that, at this time, President Ortega owns the country’s main assets and has everything “in his hands.” : gasoline services, television channels, radio stations, hotels, digital newspapers, universities, stores of various items such as clothing, accessories, food. This position gives power and access to the majority of the population”, highlights CID-Gallup.
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