Samuel Santos López, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua , said that although his country had been impoverished by historical circumstances like so many others within Latin America and the Caribbean, it had remained a land of beauty and natural resources and, indeed, was symbolic of reconciliation and national and international unity.
The country is one of the safest in the continent and it permanently and decisively combated organized crime, not only with coercive and punitive measures, but with an alternative model of development that transformed the structures of poverty and marginalization that were the breeding ground of public safety problems. He said: "Our model is based on democratic reform, expressed in popular will which we call 'Citizen Power'."
He noted several of his country's successful development-oriented campaigns, including the "From Marti to Fidel" initiative, which had reduced illiteracy to slightly over 3 per cent. He also noted a strategy dealing with the H1N1 virus that had controlled the virus' spread, as well as a nutrition programme that had been selected by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as one of the top four in the world. In addition, President Daniel Ortega had proposed a Central American Agriculture Policy that would transform the region into a food-production zone. Clean drinking water had been made available to 217,000 families and programmes such as "Zero Hunger" and "Zero Usury" were launched.
Turning to energy issues, he mentioned the country now had a reserve of electrical power of almost 43 per cent, whereas two years ago it was negative by 3.2 per cent. Nicaragua had made efforts to promote the use of alternative energy sources and supported initiatives aimed at developing civilian nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He mentioned the urgency of climate change, and the need for Copenhagen to be a place to act and not simply debate and called for a true commitment to counteract the harmful effects of global warming.
On regional issues, he said Nicaragua embraced the cause of Puerto Rico's independence, as well as the return of the Malvinas Islands to their rightful owner. Moving on to the issues of the economy, he mentioned that unfortunately the global financial crisis came upon the heels of decreased official development assistance (ODA), which was still made conditional by international financial institutions. There was reluctance by developed countries to replace the present model with one that was more just.
He said economic policies should be decided within the most representative institution, not within groups such as the Group of Eight and G-20, which were "promoters of the model of domination by the few over the majority, a model which is characterized by exclusion". In addition, it was not possible to put a kind face on perversion, or on arrogance; that was the essence of the prevailing economic system, which promoted "the exploitation of one human by another, the subjugation of nations, the hoarding of wealth by the few. This is why we are in the crisis, not due to lack of resources."