Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kick ass or die!

Senior citizens protest outside the National Assembly in Managua, Nicaragua, to demand government pensions of $136 per month. Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti & subject to the same economic predations by US & other foreign investors. Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country; agricultural products constitute 60% of its total exports. Under the US-Central America free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered in 2006, maquila manufacturing industries increased which produce & assemble products for export. The maquila/free trade sector contributes more market value to the economy than agriculture but employs fewer people & makes no provisions for worker’s social security.  Nicaraguans must depend heavily for survival on remittances from relatives working abroad, mainly in the US & Costa Rica (over $900 million in 2011) & 65% of all workers still earn a living in the informal sector. Despite President Daniel Ortega’s rhetoric against neoliberalism, he has implemented an IMF program of “free market policies” which require attacks on worker’s rights & social securities. Pensions have been a focus of IMF attacks in countries around the world because as the neoliberal oligarchs see it, when a working person doesn’t produce profit for them anymore, they’re a drain on the economy & it’s fiscally advantageous to starve them to death. As seniors see it, it's politically advantageous to start kicking ass. (Photo by Esteban Felix/AP)

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