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Ortega Strikes Again: Nicaragua Shuts Down Prestigious INCAE Campus

The Nicaraguan government announced on Monday that it has revoked the legal status of the prestigious Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE), closing its Managua campus and seizing all assets within the country.

A resolution from Nicaragua’s Ministry of Governance stated that INCAE failed to submit financial statements from 2020-2022 and was found to have inconsistencies in prior documents from 2015-2019. The school also allegedly failed to meet legal requirements for receiving donations and register as a foreign entity.

The resolution, signed by Minister María Amelia Coronel Kinloch, claims INCAE directors “did not promote policies of transparency and administration of funds.” The decree questions whether the institute’s projects aligned with its mission and objectives as an organization.

Nicaragua’s Attorney General will now take control of all INCAE property and facilities in the country, delivering a major blow to the business school that has operated in Managua for nearly 60 years.

INCAE expressed “profound sadness” in a statement about the forced closure of its Managua campus, which has graduated over 4,000 students since the school’s founding in 1964. The institution reaffirmed its contribution to Nicaragua’s development over many decades. Operations will continue at INCAE’s main Costa Rica campus.

The shuttering of INCAE Managua comes amid a broader crackdown by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega against civil society, including the closing of over 3,000 NGOs and 20+ universities. Critics accuse Ortega of autocratic policies after violent clashes with protestors in 2018 resulted in hundreds of deaths.

INCAE, also known as the Harvard and Stanford of Central America, was founded with support from Harvard’s business school and the Inter-American Development Bank. The elite business education institution offers postgraduate and executive education programs.

Costa Rican education officials expressed solidarity with INCAE leadership and students affected by the closure. Analysts warn that Ortega’s authoritarian tactics could destabilize Nicaragua’s economy and regional partnerships.

INCAE has produced many business and political leaders in Nicaragua and across Latin America. Experts say the government’s targeting of respected institutions represents a calculated effort to consolidate power and limit dissent.

While its flagship campus in Costa Rica remains open, INCAE’s ousting from Managua diminishes academic freedoms and student opportunities in Nicaragua. School officials say they are assessing all options to continue supporting the country’s development during this difficult period.

The recent shuttering of the prestigious Jesuit university UCA Managua by Ortega’s regime demonstrates a pattern of attacking higher education to suppress opposition voices. Costa Rica stands ready to welcome students and faculty should INCAE decide to expand operations here.

As Nicaragua drifts towards dictatorship, nearby democracies must condemn these aggressions against human rights and academic independence while exploring responsible ways to support the Nicaraguan people. INCAE’s mission to develop ethical business leaders committed to social progress remains as relevant as ever.