Facts about Nicaragua
|Population||5,785,846 (July 2008 est.|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)|
Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
General info about Nicaragua
The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting in 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt.
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and
Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
What about drugs?
transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.2% (2003 est.)
tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Nicaragua has widespread underemployment and the second lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, however, recent increases in the minimum wage will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry. Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in October 2007, the IMF approved a new poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) program that should create some fiscal space for social spending and investment. The continuity of a relationship with the IMF helps support donor confidence, despite private sector concerns surrounding ORTEGA, which has dampened investment. Economic growth will slow in 2009, due to decreased export demand from the US and Central American markets, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and low remittance growth - remittances account for almost 15% of GDP.
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Cities in Nicaraguaacoyapa belen bluefields boaco bocana de paiwas bonanza camoapa chichigalpa chinandega ciudad dario condega corinto corn island diriamba diriomo dolores el jicaro el sauce el viejo esteli granada jalapa jinotega jinotepe juigalpa la concepcion la paz centro la trinidad laguna de perlas larreynaga leon managua masatepe masaya matagalpa mateare matiguas nagarote nandaime nandasmo nindiri niquinohomo nueva guinea ocotal puerto cabezas puerto morazan quilali rio blanco rivas rosita san carlos san isidro san jorge san juan del sur san lorenzo san marcos san miguelito san rafael del sur santa teresa santo domingo santo tomas sebaco siuna somotillo somoto telica ticuantepe tipitapa villa sandino waslala waspan wiwili