Sweden suspends economic aid to Nicaragua for not allowing abortion

.- The government of Sweden has announced it will suspend economic aid to Nicaragua over that country’s laws defending the unborn from abortion under any circumstances, including so-called “therapeutic” abortions.

In a press release, the Swedish embassy in Managua said Sweden would reduce the number of countries it is economically assisting from 70 to 33, with most of the nations being in Africa and Eastern Europe.  “As a consequence of this concentration in our assistance, the government of Sweden has made the decision to gradually pull out of some countries in Latin America, among them Nicaragua.  This process of pulling out will take two to four years,” the statement said.

Sources said however that Swedish leaders “were very concerned about the issue of therapeutic abortion.”  “What’s happening is that they are very involved in health issues.  The announcement is to see if the discussion on therapeutic abortion can be reopened,” they added.

The former president of Nicaragua’s Central Bank, Mario Arana, said the cutbacks are “very unfortunate, because this kind of aid is the most flexible and is the best for the country,” which is able to decide for itself how to invest the money.

On the other hand, economist Nestor Avendaño said the Swedish government’s decision was “very strange since Nicaragua has maintained a very responsible economic policy, even in this last year in which it has been negotiating an economic agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”

In 2006 Nicaragua received $21 million in aid from Sweden.

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