Nicaragua's crisis deals a crushing blows to businesses large and small : With hotels, restaurants,  bars, stores, workshops and even tortilla sellers driven out of business or struggling to survive and with -

Thousands of people left jobless, the turbulent political crisis sundering Nicaragua has taken a broader toll, plunging its economy into a tailspin.

The wave of violence unleashed during harshly repressed anti-government protests has left some 220 people dead.

What had been a vibrant tourism industry has been devastated , with a ripple effects on the broader economy in a country that was already one of the poorest in the Americas.

Business closings have left 200,000  people jobless,  and unless the crisis ends soon,  1.3 million Nicaragua's 6.2 million people "risking falling into hopeless poverty", according to a study by the  Nicaraguan Foundation for  Economic and Social Development [Funides].

The  Nicaraguan Central Bank [BCN]  has sharply lowered its projections for economic growth this year, from 4.9 percent to one percent, while the productive sector - including manufacturing and farming - has accumulated losses of $430 million, with more than 85,000 jobs lost.

But for Funides, the situation in the  private sector is even  more"dramatic".

If this crisis continues into August, the foundation predicts the economy will contract by a jolting 5.6 percent, with losses of $1.4 billion in GDP.

The demonstrations, which began April 18, were sparked by an unpopular social security reform.

But after government forces responded with a repressive crackdown, protesters stepped up their demands, calling for the ouster of  President Daniel Ortega, and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

Örtega has no choice but to move up the elections'' that are now set for 2021, as the Catholic Bishops serving as mediators have suggested, former central bank president Mario Arana of Funides told AFP.


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