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About Flor de Caña Boycott: ANAIRC’s Disinformation on Nicaragua Sugar and CKD

by MAR184 Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Over the last two years ANAIRC has been developing a smear campaign against Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited (NSEL), owner of Ingenio San Antonio and a member of Grupo Pellas.

The aforementioned campaign rests on the assumption that former workers at Ingenio San Antonio (ISA), owned by Nicaragua Sugar, contracted the disease of chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to the ISA’s poor production practices, for which reason they are demanding compensation for these people.

The problem with ANAIRC is that:

• It is an almost unknown organization in Nicaragua and its claims have not echoed throughout the country.

• It has never been able to present a single test, study or research to minimally support its claims.

• The most serious study made so far in relation to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the western region of Nicaragua is the study being carried out by Boston University Public Health School, which initial results openly contradict ANAIRC’s claims.

• All the trade union organizations at Ingenio San Antonio, whether left-wing or other ideological signs, have rejected ANAIRC’s campaign.

• ANAIRC affirms that more than 5,000 people have died from this disease and 8,000 have been declared sick from 2005 to date. It actually causes perplexity when ANAIRC’s representatives disclose abroad these numbers of sick and deceased people, which do not correspond with the official records maintained in Nicaragua.

ANAIRC does not base its data on studies or official data and its figures have never been substantiated by any public or private institution in our country.

In statements made last year, Enrique Beteta, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health of Nicaragua, pointed out that up to three people die each month in Nicaragua from chronic kidney disease. This data is all the more relevant if one takes into account that this disease is multi-causal and it also refutes the statements made by ANAIRC outside of Nicaragua with the aim of creating a favorable opinion.

• ASOCHIVIDA is an important association of kidney patients in the western region of Nicaragua that initially filed a complaint against NSEL on behalf of former workers affected by CKD. It is currently engaged in a very positive dialogue with NSEL and both agreed that a prestigious international institution should carry out research to determine the causes of CKD in the area, and particularly to determine whether the company has any liability.

After an exhaustive process that involved 9 public agencies, 22 universities in America and Europe, and 5 private consulting firms, the prestigious Boston University was chosen to carry out the research study. The first results of this research study exonerate the company from any liability. Nevertheless the investigation continues.

• ASOCHIVIDA and Nicaragua Sugar are doing positive things jointly for the renal patients, unlike ANAIRC that is trapped in its speech of baseless accusations.

• As a result of this collaboration between Asochivida and NSEL, the latter, within the framework of its social responsibility policy and without assuming any responsibility for the impact of CRI, as the studies have shown so far, has been providing substantial aid to the members of ASOCHIVIDA who are affected by this kidney disease. In 2010, for example:

o The Ingenio San Antonio Hospital provided US$ 197,254.85 in care services to CKD patients, as well as donations to the health center in Chichigalpa.

o Food aid to the members of ASOCHIVIDA has amounted to 9,542.14. Backpacks and school supplies were also distributed among their children for a total value of ,403.73 and US0,000 were allocated for economic self-sustainability projects.

o The total amount of aid provided to the members of ASOCHIVIDA was almost US0,000.

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