INCAE Rector Welcome Speech – 2019 Professional and Business Forum

11 de Enero 2019

Good morning everyone. Welcome to INCAE.

As Rector of INCAE I was asked permission to use these facilities to hold this business meeting and I agreed.

Upon receiving the invitation I noticed INCAE’s logo on it, giving the wrong impression that INCAE was behind it. To clarify, INCAE is not behind this event, we just simply provided the venue for this meeting.

And now that I am here, let me share some reflections with you. The invitation to this event read, "We are on the verge of the collapse of our business financially, economically, and socially." It also says: "As a group of businessmen and professionals, we met to take urgent action in the face of this overwhelming situation."

This shows that entrepreneurs are concerned for their businesses.

However, in my opinion the crisis impacting all Nicaraguans goes far beyond economy.

This crisis impacts us in every possible aspect of life. Nicaragua is undergoing a crisis of values, a total lack of institutionality, human rights, a crisis resulting in hundreds of deaths, imprisoned citizens, tens of thousands emigrating and accusations from the IACHR related to crimes and violation of freedom of expression. A crisis where the OAS secretary general is citing the Democratic Charter. A crisis leading to high unemployment levels and a national economy on the verge of collapse

As we all know, in 1979, owing to the crisis at that time, instead of improving Nicaragua sank into another crisis that lasted 10 years. At that point Nicaragua went from a development level close to that of Costa Rica to being the poorest country in the Americas.

In the 90s Nicaragua began a recovery and economic development process which brought a good level of growth.

In 2007, with a healthy foreign debt, a solution to fiscal deficit and with CAFTA signed, this government inherited a viable country for the first time in 40 years and for some time it managed to maintain that development engine that had been in place since the 1990s.

And I say for a time, because the crisis we are in since April 18th is devastating this growth. The country is at risk of sinking, leading to increased poverty and misery for Nicaraguans. Clearly the growth achieved with this last model was not sustainable.

Sadly, these crises are recurrent in our history.

In 1909 we experienced a crisis. Then again in the 20s, in 1936, 1947, 1956, 1979, in the 80s and now one more time, only this time it is much harder.

History shows that the behavior of our leaders in their search for power results in their impoverishing the country in every single aspect -morally, socially, economically, and culturally.

By analyzing the crises mentioned above we see that they take place because we as a society have neglected the institutional aspects of our country. That is, we overlooked demanding the rule of law, clear rules of the game, a credible judicial system opposing corruption, and a higher level of education. We overlooked these elements that are key to achieve sustainable, long-lasting development with social peace.

Today we are going through one more cycle in our history, and the challenge we all are facing is to see this as the historic time to break that cycle forever.

I want to stress the fact that the cycle is broken through democracy and institutionality. Once that cycle is broken, the economic issues will be solved.

Nicaraguans are resourceful, industrious, and hardworking. We need to find the way leading to progress and sustainable well-being for all. We need the seed for the rebirth of Nicaragua, the dignified Nicaragua we all long for.

Let's plan a future where we are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. Thank you very much and may God bless Nicaragua.