US extends property waiver for Nicaragua

The U.S. government today announced another one-year extension of its annual “property waiver” for Nicaragua, granting the Sandinista government access to U.S. bilateral aid and support for multilateral funding for another year.

The waiver, granted to Nicaragua every year since 1995, was renewed as a reward for Nicaragua’s continued efforts to resolve pending property claims from U.S. citizens whose properties were confiscated by the Sandinista government in the 1980s. Cases are “resolved” when the original owner get his or her land back or is indemnified by the Nicaraguan government, according to the U.S.

The Sandinista government resolved an additional 52 property cases from 28 claimants during the last waiver cycle, from July 2013 to July 2014. An additional 154 property claims — including some of the most complicated cases filed— remain pending, according to the U.S. government.

Over the past 19 years, Nicaragua has forked over nearly $1.28 billion in compensations to thousands of U.S. and Nicaraguan citizens whose properties were confiscated by Sandinistas in the 1980

The U.S. government used to grant Nicaragua two waivers each year, one for budget transparency and the other for property confiscations. The transparency waiver was canceled two years ago and has not been renewed. The property waiver, however, is the more important of the two.


  • Erick Espinoza

    Mofos bleed a poor country dry, now that is just fine.

  • 1nycdem1

    Basic question raised but not answered here: How much are the U.S. bilateral aid and multilateral funding worth? How much money has Nicaragua received from such funding over the years? Does it constitute a significant percentage of the $1.28 billion in compensation?

    • Ken Morris

      A few years ago the Nicaragua Network ran a piece which showed that Nicaragua has paid more for conmpensation for confiscated property than it has received in US aid over like 15-20 years. The legal reason for this, as I recall, is the Helmes-Somebody (Gonzales rings a bell, though may be wrong) bill which insisted that aid be conditioned upon compensating “US citizens” for lost property, when in the case of Nicaragua the “US citizens” were actually wealthy Nicas who emigrated during the revolution, took as much money as they could with them, and were fast-tracked for US citizenship under the then prevailing political policies of the US. Thus, according to the piece in the Nicaragua Network, Nicaragua has suffered a net loss paying those who engaged in capital flight from the country, which doesn’t even count the fact that much of US “aid” to Nicaragua has acrtually gone to anti-Sandinista election tampering.

      Now, the Nicaragua Network is pretty far left, and especially since I can’t recall or cite the article I read, I can’t be sure that it is right. You can find it or other sources and do the math yourself. However, it does pass the smell test for me, and helps me explain why Ortega turns up his nose at US aid. He doesn’t believe it’s real.

      This said, in recent years, I believe only the most complicated of property cases remain. All the easy ones were settled a long time ago. Remaining are those where the deeds really are uncertain (not hard to imagine in Nicaragua). Thus, the US usually grants a waiver conditioned upon Nicaragua making “progress” in resolving these complicated cases, which it seems to make. However, it’s kind of a regular kick-Nicaragua thing in Washington, where the right gets on its soapbox and threatens to cancel aid, only to give in.

      • 1nycdem1

        Thanks, Ken.