December 13, 2010 in News
U.S. diplomats accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government of taking bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for freeing suspects, in cables released by Wikileaks. The bribes formed a kind of “judicial ‘campaign finance’ machine” in return for not-guilty verdicts, according to a May 5, 2006, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Manangua, Nicaragua. It says the ruling Sandinista party regularly accepted cash from drug traffickers, “usually in return for ordering Sandinista judges to allow traffickers caught by the police and military to go free.” The scheme, the cable said, was run by the director of the state security service and overseen by Supreme Court judges, including Rafael Solis and Roger Camillo Arguello. The Nicaraguan Consulate in Washington declined to comment, deferring to the Foreign Ministry, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. Government representatives in Managua couldn’t be reached. The State Department didn’t respond to a request for comment on the cable.
September 18, 2010 in United Nations
Stability in Afghanistan – where it exists – is terribly fragile. Security is a daily concern for Afghan people, and even those living in more secure areas of the country face a fluid and volatile security situation that sees rapid changes, often for the worse. Central government control is tenuous, especially in rural areas and parts of the country that are the scene of conflict with insurgents. Access to even the most basic of government services – health, education, electricity – is tenuous at best and often unavailable. Complicating matter exponentially is the extreme poverty of Afghanistan – a country struggling with some of the most daunting statistics in the world for literacy, maternal mortality, food security, and life expectancy. In this context, simply to survive from one day to the next is a terrible challenge for many people.