MANAGUA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Weeks of street protests in Nicaragua, which began on April 18 after the government sought to pass controversial social security reforms, are estimated to have caused economic damages worth over 182 million U.S. dollars, an official source announced on Wednesday.
The Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Ivan Acosta, explained that, prior to the protests, Nicaragua had the third largest economic growth in the region, behind only the Dominican Republic and Panama.
At a press conference, Acosta provided details about the damages caused by the protests, which continue to this day, with marches, blockades and street violence.
The minister called the protests an attempted coup, and that for the last five years, Nicaragua had grown at a rate of 5.2 percent, with inflation around 5 percent, and with steady growth of workers registered for social security.
Acosta added that, in 2017, the Nicaraguan economy had also seen strong development in infrastructure, livestock and tourism.
"But after April 17, came the violent coup against our population, the burning of public investment and of (state) machinery," he said.
He specified that, over the last 60 days, 55 ambulances had been burned.
"80 percent of tourism has disappeared in Nicaragua, and 70 percent of jobs, which were linked to tourism, have been lost as well," said Acosta.
He specified that the tourism sector alone has lost between 40,000-50,000 jobs and that this would have a very strong impact on the economy.