Fri, May 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Nicaraguan leader seeks the help of Taiwan's farmers

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos Geyer yesterday called on retired farmers in Taiwan to enter joint ventures with Nica-raguans to create job opportunities in his home country.

"We invite retired farmers in Taiwan, who have experience and perhaps some savings, to come to Nicaragua and form joint ventures with Nicaraguans who have arms to produce a lot of new products in Nicaragua, even in agricultural fields," Bolanos said as he wrapped up his four-day state visit to Taiwan.

"For instance, all those vegetables that are especially liked by the Chinese can be produced in Nicaragua and then we can export them to Chinese in Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles," Bolanos said.

Bolanos made the remarks during an interview in his Taipei hotel room in which he spoke of measures to create job opportunities in the second-poorest country in Latin America.

Bolanos said he is working on increasing job opportunities in his country, as well as luring foreign investment there, including that from Taiwan.

"It's a five-year term and I have been in office only four months. It's just the beginning. But we are moving in that direction. We are setting up scenarios for job creation in a large area of the country," Bolanos said.

When asked if China's economic strength might pose a threat to ties between Taiwan and Nicaragua, the 74-year-old Nicaraguan leader said: "I don't know if that's a threat.

"We'd like to have relations with all the countries in the world. Anything has to be for the improvement of the well-being of the people. For the well-being of the Nicaraguans, we would like to have relations with anybody," Bolanos said.

"So far we have preferred Taiwan," Bolanos added. "But you see, thousands of Taiwanese are investing in mainland China today. So it's [referring to China's market] open to everybody."

Bolanos enjoys a 91 percent approval rating, according to recent polls, so confidence in his government is clearly high.

"I think we've done a very good job so far. That's why I have 91 percent popularity in the polls. That's bad, because in the future it will only to go down, not up. There is no way to go up," Bolanos said, smiling.

Bolanos, who gets up at 4am and goes to bed around 10pm, also gave a thumbs up to the information-technology industry in Taiwan.

"For the manufacturing of wafers, it's [Taiwan is] tops in the world. ... I wish we could have it back home," Bolanos said.

The Nicaraguan leader and his 17-member delegation received a military salute yesterday afternoon prior to their departure from Taiwan in the evening.

During his visit with Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) earlier yesterday, Bolanos reiterated his country's support for Taiwan's bid to gain observer status at the World Health Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the WHO.

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