Nicaragua. Former Sandinist leader and Nicaragua president during the 1980s Daniel Ortega failed to regain power on a democratic path in the November presidential election. Ortega, who led the polls as late as August, was defeated by the Conservative Party PLC’s candidate Enrique Bolaños.
The presidential election was held in the light of strikes and the financial crisis in the important coffee sector and overshadowed most of what happened in Nicaragua during the year. President Arnoldo Alemán, for example, argued that the strikes were part of a Sandinist plan to destabilize the country and provoke a social explosion. He also accused the Sandinists of exaggerating for political purposes the damage caused by the severe drought in the middle of the year. The drought, which hit all of Central America, resulted in halved harvest for 45,000 farmer families in western Nicaragua.
- Abbreviationfinder: lists typical abbreviations and country overview of Nicaragua, including bordering countries, geography, history, politics, and economics.
In August, an underground prison north of the capital Managua was unveiled, where the Sandin government in 1981, with the then interior minister’s good memory, must have executed 37 political prisoners, but the Sandinists dismissed the charges as malicious election tactics directed against Ortega’s presidential campaign.
In days 16-23. In May a national dialogue was held between government, opposition and the popular organizations protesting against the government. The Ortega regime made a number of concessions, but the opposition insisted on its demand for Ortega’s departure. The dialogue therefore broke down and during a demonstration on May 30 organized by the mothers of killed protesters, another 15 were killed. The massacre caused the fighting to flare up all over the country – especially in the larger cities. Masaya 26km south of the capital Managua was occupied by armed protesters. A special thorn in the eye of the FSLN, for it was from there the final offensive against the Somoza dictatorship in July 1979 was initiated. The fighting escalated with over 300 killed by the end of June. (Nicaragua’s Sandinista stronghold is a city ‘at war’ with the president, the Guardian7/6 2018. Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega to stand firm despite violence, Guardian 4/7 2018. Capitalist Development in Nicaragua and the Mirage of the Left, Trouth Out, 18/5 2018. 2018 Nicaragua protests, Wikipedia. Shoot to kill. Nicaragua’s strategy to repress protest, Amnesty International May 2018)
According to Countryaah, the population of Nicaragua in 2001 was 5,438,579, ranking number 109 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.420% yearly, and the population density was 45.1944 people per km2.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
The population, estimated at 4. 807. 000 residents (1998), has a high annual growth rate (32 ‰), although infant mortality still remains very high (43 ‰); that classified as urban reached 64 % of the total, a figure destined to rise in the future thanks to an estimated annual growth rate of around 4 %. It is estimated that over 50 % of people of working age, mostly immigrants to cities and in particular to Managua, are unemployed or underemployed.
The only urban center of metropolitan dimension, as well as the only important industrial and tertiary pole, is the capital, Managua (864,200 residents in 1995), which has grown uncontrollably following the urbanization of large rural masses, with the formation of the usual scenarios of degradation and marginalization typical of the urban suburbs of the South of the world.
The social indicators highlight a difficult and contradictory situation, which penalizes above all the residents of rural areas: the figures underline that 85 % of the rural population lives in poverty, 46 % does not have access to drinking water, 25 % to sanitation and 37 % to electricity, illiteracy affects at least a third of the total population and only 24 % of young people have access to secondary schools.
The reasons for the backwardness of the town are to be found, among other things, in the tormented events that have characterized the last two decades of its history. The difficult phase of internal pacification began in the nineties, at the end of the long and bloody civil war that had persisted since the turn of the seventies; but this process has suffered slowdowns and interruptions due to the strong tensions created following the return of refugees and the demobilization of the Sandinista militias; significant obstacles then arose from the serious economic crisis. The government tried to initiate an economic restructuring process, fighting the very high inflation with drastic measures (reduced to 37 % in 1996) and at the same time trying to revive the stagnant production situation. The country continues to depend heavily on international aid (equal to about one third of GDP) and credits granted by the International Monetary Fund, which are mostly absorbed by the huge external debt (154 % of GDP in the early 1990s, 244 % in 1997).
The economic structure of the Nicaragua is still based largely on primary activities, despite the urbanization process in recent years has ended up reducing the number of employees in agriculture (41.8 % in 1997). The sector produces about one third of the GDP; the income comes from export crops, coffee and sugar cane (mainly found in the western section of the country) and bananas, flanked by subsistence crops (corn, beans and rice); the livestock sector is developed above all in the mountainous areas of the interior, where cattle farms are located that feed the export of meat. The country has decent mineral resources (gold, silver, lead, copper) which, however, are not adequately exploited. Fishing activities are in the same situation, which also offers good potential, thanks to the double maritime facade and the richness of the internal waters. Forest resources are far more exploited, and 7 % per year) is a worrying sign of the rapid and uncontrolled process of environmental degradation in inland regions. The industry is very little developed and diversified; consequently Nicaragua has to import the great majority of the products, which mostly come from the United States, its main trading partner.
Many difficulties still hinder the development of the country, and the Nicaraguan economy is heavily dependent on international aid and investors. At the same time, however, the Nicaragua has considerable potential resources, the exploitation of which requires, in addition to a promotion policy, the consolidation of internal stability. This is the case, among other things, of tourism, a sector still marginal but with important growth prospects, as the experience of other Central American countries demonstrates.