Tim Rogers

Editor of Nicaragua Dispatch. Currently a 2014 Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

Recent Posts

Nicaraguan police nab 4 after massacre

FASN

(posted July 20, 6:00 pm) — Nicaraguan police have detained four suspects who are being questioned for their alleged role in this morning’s massacre of five people in coordinated assaults on two buses in Matagalpa. Nicaraguan Police Chief Aminta Granera said four suspects have been taken into custody for questioning. She did not say who the suspects were, or what their alleged motivation was. Meanwhile, an unknown self-proclaimed rearmed contra group calling itself the Armed Forces for National Salvation- Army of the People (FASN-EP) has claimed responsibility for the attack on social media. The group, which was unknown before today, and claims it will fight state terrorism with terrorism of its own, said “We have no reason to fear the oppressor.” The group, whose alleged membership is unknown, claims that Sunday’s attack is “just an example of the operations we have coordinated on a national level.”

It’s not clear who FASN-EP is, whether they are real or responsible for the attack. Continue Reading →

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Deadly ambush in Nicaragua brings bloody end to anniversary celebration

Bus carrying Sandinista supporters from Ocotal was tagged with FDN-380

(July 20, 6:50 am) —The 35th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution ended in bloodshed early this morning when buses carrying party supporters back home to Matagalpa and Estelí were ambushed in what appears to be coordinated attacks that killed 5 people and injured more than two dozen, according to preliminary reports from state media. Sandinista authorities say buses bringing party supporters home from the 35/19 anniversary celebration in Managua were ambushed around midnight on KM 60 of the Inter-American Highway, in the community of Las Calabazas, Matagalpa. The armed men opened fire on the bus, killing four people and injuring 24. There was apparently a second similar attack that occurred around the same time in San Ramon, Matagalpa, where another bus was ambushed, claiming the life of a 19-year-old Sandinista passenger, according to Sandinista Mayor Sadrach Zeledón. The victims of the attacks were from the rural communities of San Ramon, Matagalapa, and San Juan de Limay, Estelí. Continue Reading →

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Putin’s surprise visit to Nicaragua fuels canal rumors

putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Nicaragua as a “very important ally for Russia in Latin America” during a surprise stopover in Managua last night as part of his political/World Cup tour of Latin America. In brief comments broadcast on Sandinista media outlets, Putin — the first Russian President to ever visit Nicaragua — noted that the two countries are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations, but that “we have to do a lot to continue developing our relations, especially economically.”

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, seated next to his wife and his favorite son, Laureano, called Putin’s visit “historic.” He compared it to a “lightning strike” — apparently meant in a happy way. “We are very happy to have you in our land, which is your land,” Ortega told his Russian counterpart through an interpreter. Ortega lauded Putin for his efforts to fight the war on drugs and to “fight for peace.”

Putin’s surprise arrival has fueled rumors that Russia is somehow acting as a silent partner in the canal concession Nicaragua granted to an unknown Chinese company. The owner of that concession, enigmatic Chinese businessman Wang Jing, was in Nicaragua this week to announce the route of the canal. Continue Reading →

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Chinese concessionaires announce Nicaraguan canal route

proposed canal route

(posted July 7, 7:30 pm) — Chinese company HKND today announced the proposed route of it’s 278 kilometer canal across Nicaragua, which will extend from the Río Punta Gorda on the Caribbean Coast to Brito on the Pacific coast. The proposed $50 billion canal, which would cross a 105 KM swath of Lake Cocibolca, would be between 230-250 meters wide and between 26.7-30 meters deep. The megaproject would also include the flooding of a new artificial lake on the Caribbean side, according to the plans. The privately owned and operated project, which promises to create 50,000 jobs during construction and 200,000 permanent jobs afterwards, is scheduled to break ground at the end of this year, although nothing is known about the company’s plans to finance the project — nearly four times greater than Nicaragua’s economy. Continue Reading →

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Nicaraguan man found guilty in Colclough murder

Karen Colclough was found raped and murdered outside the grounds of Barceló Montelimar

A Nicaraguan repeat offender with a criminal rap sheet that includes rape and robbery was found guilty today of the murder and robbery of U.S. church volunteer Karen Colclough, 37, whose body was found April 14 a quarter of a mile north of the Hotel Barceló Montelimar. She had been missing for three days. Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes, known by the street name “Somosón,” was found guilty today in a Nicaraguan court of femicide, aggravated assault and rape, according to La Prensa. The newspaper reports that Prosecutor Belissa Martínez said there was sufficient documented proof and witness testimony to finger Aburto as the author of the crime. She is asking for the maximum sentence of 30 years, according to La Prensa. Continue Reading →

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Gracias, Costa Rica

Tears of sadness

I forgot how much I loved Costa Rica until the World Cup started last month. Two hours ago, when I was nearly frothing at the mouth as I screamed hoarsely at the the television (frightening the more sensible patrons of Fado Irish Pub), and angrily Tweeting racial epithets against the Dutch while alternately hugging random Ticos, I remembered that this love is for real. This Dutch team is making me racist. And FIFA is re-enforcing my suspicion of authority

— Nicaragua Dispatch (@nicadispatch) julio 5, 2014
It’s an awful thing to watch a valiant team like Costa Rica lose to an arm-flailing, back-arching, shin-grabbing, ground-diving team like the Netherlands. And I should probably end my article here and go to bed before I alienate an entire nation of readers. Continue Reading →

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Nicaragua’s Emilio Alvarez dies at 94

Nicaraguan Patriots: Emilio Alvarez, Alexis Arguello and Herty Lewites all died in the first 48 hours of July

Emilio Álvarez Montalván, one of Nicaragua’s most respected intellectuals and defenders of democracy, died on July 2 at the age of 94. “Don Emilio” was an academic, a doctor, a foreign minister, and a social commentator who remained lucid and active to his final days. As recently as two months ago he penned the introduction to a forthcoming book published by the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences on Nicaragua’s plans to build an interoceanic canal. In that essay, Alvarez says that the same problems that thwarted Nicaragua’s canal plans 100 years ago remain today: geopolitical issues, territorial studies, technical difficulties and financing. Alvarez was a strong voice for institutional democracy in Nicaragua. Continue Reading →

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A Sandinista, a Liberal, and a businessman walk into a club…

Francisco Aguirre (L), Jose Adan Aguerri and Gen. Alvaro Baltodano participated in a panel discussion on Nicaragua's Economic and Political Outlook last week in Washington, D.C.

A Sandinista, a Liberal and a businessman walk into a club in Washington, D.C…

Ten years ago, that would have been the opening line to a bad joke. Today, it’s the lede to a news article—and a reminder of how much Nicaragua has evolved in a short time. Since the 1980s, Nicaragua has gone from being a complete economic basket case to becoming Central America’s fastest-growing economy after Panama. And no one is more surprised by that progress than Nicaragua itself. “In 2006, when I talked to other leaders of the business sector, no one at that moment expected that we would be where we are today; no one thought that the private sector would have the role we do today,” said José Adan Aguerri, president of COSEP, the Nicaragua’s association of business chambers. Continue Reading →

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