On June 6 the Nica Times Published an article "Iranian Hydro Project Stirs Concern." The article discussed Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's recent economic interactions with Iran and the U.S.'s unjustifiable attacks over such negotiations. COHA Research Associate Maggie Airriess prepared and submitted the following letter to the editor in response to the article.
There is no reasonable justification for U.S. apprehension over the Iranian hydroelectric dam project in Nicaragua ('Iranian Hydro Project Stirs Concerns', June 6). Washington opposes the dam because it is financed by Iran, a political enemy. Clearly, the U.S. fears a growing Iranian presence in Latin American countries, following similar deals with countries like Ecuador and Bolivia that effectively thwart U.S. efforts to resume its traditional supremacy in the region. Nicaragua's interaction with Iran poses no threat to the U.S., considering that the ties seem solely economic, with no evidence to the contrary. The U.S. argues that Nicaragua, like other Latin American countries, should respect the U.N.'s sanctions against Iran's nuclear production and refuse any links to Tehran. This contradicts past U.S. unilateral decisions irrespective of past U.N. votes, such as going to war with Iraq. Accordingly, the U.S. has no right to scrutinize or exercise a veto right regarding the external affairs of another country.
Finally, Nicaragua is in desperate need of development, specifically in its energy sector. The country regularly suffers prolonged power outages. The building of a new dam offers the potential to remedy this problem by providing a reliable energy source. However, President Ortega should take steps to inform local populations of the possible safety issues linked to the project, including fatal nuclear accidents. Although new constructed infrastructure associated to the dam could cause local problems such as flooding, this is a domestic concern and not an ideological issue where a U.S. fiat rules supreme.
Council on Hemispheric Affairs