Rioting Grampas

One of the most important rules of political survival in the West is as follows: Don’t piss off senior citizens.

One way to piss them off but good is to make election promises to them and then ignore them once the votes have been counted.

Pursuant to the above, from a public relations standpoint alone, these days it’s not terribly bright for strapping young police officers to billy-club senior citizens in public when the seniors show up at government offices to press their claims. This lesson has apparently arrived rather late in the day for the Nicaraguan establishment as it struggles to emerge from the 19th Century.

To add a dash of Latin seasoning to the recipe, in Central America you know that you have really put your foot in the fresh, steaming faeces of abundantly-fed livestock when the bishops of the Catholic Church accuse you of trampling on the civil rights of old people.

With the attention of the world focused on the Canal to Nowhere, the old people of Nicaragua are on the march against neoliberal wolves dressed up in socialist sheepskins.

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Notice how many young people are portrayed in these photos.

Population of Nicaragua by age... votes are a numbers game

Age: 10 - 14 667,157 (Up and coming voters)

Age: 15 - 19 670,921 (Next election)

Age 60 - 64 119,980

" 65 - 69 90,013

" 70 - 74 76,086

" 75 - 79 54,044

" 80 - 84 54,886

So the entire population of 60 and above represents about a third in numbers of the group aged 10 to 19.

The Juventud Sandinista 19 de Julio (Sandinista Youth) is alive and well



A little Union Bustin?

Is Gustavo Porras going to be the fall guy as the Ortega's bust some balls and some unions.

Remember, the seniors and those watching them are all playing checkers while those two are playing three dimensional color.

INSS is broke

The INSS say they have no money to pay the reduced pension of the 71,658 people who contributed between 250 and 750 weeks, of which only 54,872 are alive.

In 1979, the FSLN gave the right (by statute) to a reduced pension to those who had contributed for more than five years.

Remember, it was Chamorro (by statute) that took it away in 1990. (Aleman and Bolanos did not put it back in).

However, 54,872 people that paid into the system (1979 to 1990), but not enough for a full pension, will not get a reduced pension because of lack of funds.

The INSS only has funds to pay full pensions (by law), those who put in 750 weeks or more.

Social Security needs $ 95.3 million annually to meet the demands of the full pensions and only has $ 60.7 million per year.

The elderly are demanding the approval of a law that includes reduced old-age pension, equivalent to about $ 125 per month, right to medical services, medicines and personal loans, among other benefits. (That's not just the 54,872 people that paid into the system from 1979 to 1990, that's everybody that has between 250 and 750 weeks).

This would add approximately $ 12.8 million a year to the budget of the INSS.

As an institution, INSS has been looted by successive governments and it is alleged that some $ 600 million is owed to the INSS.

This is a post Somoza government problem, blood is on all hands not just the FSLN.

Oh, don't spoil it for them with....

...the complicated facts. It's so much more fun for them to blame everything on the FSLN.

One of the wiser writers about urban life in the 20th Century said that a country needed a tax base in order to have the social programs, and that functioning cities with complex economies provided that tax base, and made even agriculture more profitable by providing markets that could actually pay good money for farm crops.

The other thing is that people here seem to skip paying into INSS by various rationalizations and ruses -- like believing that they're corrupt so money paid in would be wasted, which can be true and can end up being very circular. One expat, now dead, bragged about not paying into it with his farm and domestic labor.

Curious, was INSS better or worse under La Familia Somoza? If the FSLN was giving rights to reduced pensions in 1979, it sounds like INSS predated their first time in power.

What happens in the US with more marginal workers (especially domestics) is that their employers persuade them to not report wages to Social Security (one of my mother's neighbors drove her maid to the welfare office for those benefits and paid her under the table). This is illegal but not enforced as often as perhaps it should be. Is something similar happening here? I would imagine the young and healthy would be seriously tempted to go along with getting under the table payments rather than putting any part of their wages into INSS. It's a temptation even in the US for both employees and employers. Here there are a lot more marginal workers (domestics, coffee cutters, small scale self-employed like street vendors).

Rebecca Brown

Yes, a lot of Nicas don't want the deduction from their pay...

Until they get to 60 or 65 and would have had 750 weeks in and realize the short sightedness of that decision (which as you say perpetuated by business owners who also don't want the deductions.)

The typical complaint is that the medical treatment has to be fought for and they just give up and go back to work sick or injured.

The $ 600 million that is owed

Would fix a lot of the problems.

A picture never lies....unless its from Columbia

The alleged photo is a snapshot from a video, also posted on Facebook.....from protests of older adults in Colombia.

Who knows?....certainly not I.