Summary

Footage Information

ABCNEWS VideoSource
Nicaragua Economy - Voters hopeful change of gov'ment will bring relief to needy
11/03/2006
APTN
VSAP501834
NAME: NIC ECONOMY 20061103I TAPE: EF06/1041 IN_TIME: 10:24:57:01 DURATION: 00:02:35:05 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION DATELINE: 27 October 2006 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST 1. Various of man rummaging through empty plastic bottles 2. Wide of children playing in slum area 3. Various close ups of children faces 4. Pan over street in shantytown 5. Close-up of Maria Isabel Gonzalez's feet as she clears wood 6. Medium Maria Isabel Gonzalez clearing wood 7. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Maria Isabel Gonzalez, Unemployed: "Sometimes, we simply cannot handle this situation. Sometimes all we have to eat is some rice, beans and that is simply not a normal diet. But, what can we do? This is how we live, this is what we have to do to survive. We cannot do anything else. We could go steal, but we won't because that is a sin." 8. Medium of seamstress Ana Maria Castillo with her sewing machine while her son Elvio Montoya Castillo helps her thread the sewing machine wheel 9. Close-up of hands threading the machine's wheel 10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Ana Maria Castillo, Seamstress: "We are waiting. The only thing we are waiting for is change of government." 11. Medium of Castillo sewing 12. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Elvio Montoya Castillo, Ana Maria Castillo's son: "They used to say that we could not receive any benefits because there was a lack of resources under the economic sanctions, but now we simply don't earn enough money to eat. The country seems to have everything and yet we don't have any money." 13. Wide of buses in Managua 14. Wide of Managua 15. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Nestor Avendano, Economist: "Blatantly speaking, human poverty has increased with an annual growth of 3 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). During Bolanos (current President of Nicaragua Enrique Bolanos) five year term, I think the economy instead of focusing on social needs by concentrating on the needs of a small group of people, has caused an expansion of the country's poverty." 16. Wide of shantytown 17. Medium of elderly woman washing dishes 18. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Vox Pop, Elderly retired woman: "(Q: What do you need?) A: We need jobs, in order to not be lacking anything and scholarships for the students." 19. Wide of people walking down busy Managua street 20. Close up of pineapples on fruit stand 21. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Vox Pop, Young woman: "I want to make something out of my life." 22. Wide of Managua 23. Wide of people on horses cart in shantytown STORYLINE As voters in Nicaragua prepare to go to the polls on Sunday, there are calls for more to be done to battle widespread poverty. While shopping malls have gone up in the capital Managua, large sections of the city remain covered in shacks. Maria Isabel Gonzalez, an unemployed young woman, has two children who live with his father. She has not visited them for the last three months because she feels so embarrassed she has nothing to give them, not even food. "Sometimes, we simply cannot handle this situation. Sometimes all we have to eat is some rice, beans and that is simply not a normal diet but what can we do? This is how we live, this is what we have to do to survive," she told AP Television. Barefoot children beg on main thoroughfares, where new cars speed alongside people in horse-drawn carts. Sprawling, abandoned lots haven't been developed since being levelled by the 1972 earthquake and many of Managua's streets are still just packed dirt, laced with raw sewage. Recent rolling blackouts have sometimes forced incoming planes to circle over the darkened capital, waiting for electricity to return so they can land. At his closing election rally on Wednesday night, tens of thousands of supporters, many from the capital's slums, came out to cheer Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, lured by his promises of better education, more hospitals and reconciliation. "We are waiting. The only thing we are waiting for is change of government," seamstress Ana Maria Castillo said. Her son Elvio Montoya Castillo, who works as a bagger at a local grocery store, agrees. "They used to say that we could not receive any benefits because there was a lack of resources under the economic sanctions, but now we simply don't earn enough money to eat. The country seems to have everything and yet we don't have any money," he said. But many find it hard to forget that it was Ortega who seized land and allowed the cordoba, Nicaragua's currency, to devalue by 33-thousand percent. Ortega's main opponent, Harvard-educated economist Eduardo Montealegre, has capitalised on those fears, saying Nicaragua would return to the "dark days of Sandinista rule" if Ortega won on Sunday. He needs 35 percent of the vote, while beating his closest opponent by five percentage points to avoid a December runoff. "The only thing he has done is make Nicaraguans poorer," Montealegre said this week. "The poverty we have today is because of Daniel Ortega." Economist Nestor Avendano argues that the country's poverty level rose during current president Enrique Bolanos' presidency. "Blatantly speaking, human poverty has increased with an annual growth of 3 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). During Bolanos five year term, I think the economy instead of focusing on social needs by concentrating on the needs of a small group of people, has caused an expansion of the country's poverty," Avendano said. Nicaragua is the Western Hemisphere's second-poorest country, after Haiti. Its distribution of income is one of the most unequal in the world, with more than half the population living on less than one US dollar a day. While the country has progressed toward economic stability in the past few years, slow growth has forced it to rely on international assistance to finance its budget and debts. The United States is its number one market for exports, principally coffee and bananas. Experts say high levels of unemployment and migration, both internal and external, mainly to Costa Rica and the US have repercussions, for family development, health and access to services.
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