Tim Rogers

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

Recent Posts

ALBA takes lead in global fight against Ebola

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Cuba this week offered to throw the entire weight of its international medical mission at stopping the spread of Ebola and avoiding— in the words of Raul Castro— “a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences.”

Speaking at a summit of left-leaning leaders belonging to the Venezuelan-propped ALBA bloc of Latin American and Caribbean nations, Castro said his government is willing to instruct all 23,158 Cuban doctors deployed around the hemisphere to do “everything in their power” to prevent the spread of the disease and train other medics in detection and response methods. “I am convinced that if this threat is not stopped in West Africa…this could become one of the most serious pandemics in the history of mankind,” the younger Castro brother said at Monday’s emergency summit in Havana. Castro, whose government already deployed a medical brigade to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, said his government will be dispatching two more medical missions to Liberia and Guinea tomorrow. As part of its international solidarity effort, Cuba currently has more than 4,000 health workers in 32 African nations, according to Castro. “African blood runs through our veins in ‘Our Americas,’” the Cuban leader said. Continue Reading →

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Nicaraguans rise up against Chinese canal

Campesinos march against the canal and expropriations in Nueva Guinea

NUEVA GUINEA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s muddy countryside rumbled under the staccato of horse hooves and rubber boots on Tuesday as more than 1,000 campesinos marched through Nueva Guinea to protest the construction of a $50-billion, privately owned Chinese canal that would rival Panama’s interoceanic waterway. Under the banners “Our land is not for sale!” and “Chinaman, go home!” Nicaraguan farmers and cowboys vowed to defend their properties from government expropriation and Chinese encroachment. “I would rather die than hand over my property,” march organizer Francisca Ramirez, 39, told Fusion in a phone interview from Nueva Guinea, 175 miles east of the capital. “The people living in this region are already living in extreme poverty. Where are we supposed to go if the government kicks us off our land?”

Suspicions of Nicaragua’s left-wing Sandinista government have turned to alarm as the country’s perpetual president, Daniel Ortega, hatched a perplexing partnership with enigmatic Chinese businessman Wang Jing in 2013. Continue Reading →

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Nicaragua on alert as tsunami danger passes

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(posted Oct 14, 6:15 am)— Nicaraguan emergency-response workers have activated contingency plans to evaluate damage and assess continued risk to lives and properties along the Pacific coast following a strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake and 17 aftershocks over the past 12 hours. Public school classes have been suspended for the day and authorities are calling for calm after a shaky evening. So far there are no serious injuries or deaths reported. There are reports are minor damages to a dozen homes in the affected area. The first quake occurred 67 Km off the coast of Chinandega, at a depth of 22 KM. Continue Reading →

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BREAKING: Normal seas reported following 7.3-quake

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(updated 11:50 a.m.) —Nicaragua has been placed on “yellow alert” for a tsunami on the Pacific coast following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake at 9:50 p.m. off the coast of Chinandega. First Lady Rosario Murillo said that the government has activated its system of disaster prevention, but so far there are no reports of “abnormal waves” or high seas on the Pacific coast. As a preventive measure, school has been canceled all along the Pacific coast for Tuesday. Murillo said the government is investigating reports of damaged homes in León. There are still no reports of injuries or deaths in Nicaragua. Continue Reading →

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Historical docs show U.S. always favored Nicaragua over Panama for canal

Proposed canal route from Menocal's day

Long before President Daniel Ortega and Chinese mystery man Wang Jing teamed up to revive Nicaragua’s age-old canal complex, a studious and diligent U.S. Navy engineer named A.G. Menocal was equally determined to connect the Atlantic and Pacific through a trans-isthmian waterway cut across Nicaragua. Menocal knew his history, was familiar with Nicaragua’s terrain, and was an expert topographer. Between 1876-77, the U.S. engineer was in the employ of the Nicaraguan government surveying harbor improvements in Greytown, while carefully mapping the surrounding river basin. He was a student of previous U.S. engineers who had conducted surveys for earlier attempts to build a Nicaraguan canal in the mid 19th century. He particularly admired the work of Col. Continue Reading →

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Mysterious explosion caused by meteorite?

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(posted Sept 7, 2:46 pm) —The mysterious explosion that occurred last night around 11 p.m. could have been caused by a small meteorite, according to preliminary findings reported this afternoon by government media. The meteorite is thought to have broken off from the asteroid 2014 RC, which passed the planet last night. A team of Nicaraguan scientists are working with the government to determine if any remains of the meteorite can be found near the apparent area of impact, located on KM 9.5 of the Carretera Norte, in a field about 300 meters from the Camino Real Hotel. Continue Reading →

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24 questions for Nicaragua’s government

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While Sandinista authorities huddle to come up with an explanation for Saturday night’s mysterious explosion in Managua, here are 24 other mysteries we’d like clarified:

1) What really happened to the Air Force helicopter that crashed in June, 2013, killing 10 officers? 2) What really happened during the deadly ambush on July 19, 2014? 3) Who killed Yahob and Pablo Negro? 4) Who killed Alexis Arguello? 5) De donde salió Wang Jing? Continue Reading →

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Mysterious explosion rocks Managua

Twitter pic from scene immediately after explosion

(posted Sept 7, 7:30 am)— A strong and mysterious explosion outside the Nicaraguan Air Force base late Saturday night startled residents of Managua and exposed the failure of the government’s command-and-control media model to deliver timely and reliable information. The explosion occurred around 11 p.m., on KM 9.5 of the Carretera Norte, just outside the Air Force Base located at Sandino International Airport, in a field about 300 meters from the Camino Real Hotel. There are no immediate reports of injuries, deaths or damage. There are also no immediate reports of anything, as everyone looks at each other blinking for answers. Though the explosion was big — it was heard for miles and sent people running into the streets — Nicaraguan officials have not offered any answers as to what happened. Continue Reading →

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2 ‘contra’ groups take credit for attack in San Pedro del Norte

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At least two different groups of alleged rearmed contras are claiming credit for a fatal firefight with Nicaraguan security forces Saturday the rural area of San Pedro del Norte, in the municipality of Bocana de Paiwas, in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS). The first is shadowy self-professed contra group known as “CGN- 380,” which claims the attack was led by guerrilla leaders using the code names Noe, Enmanuel, Huracan, Moreno and Karate. According to a communiqué, the CGN-380 claim they killed five Nicaraguan soldiers and cops and injured eight more during a commando raid that lasted more than an hour. The group claims that three contra fighters were injured in the gun battle, which occurred in the small hours of Saturday morning. The CGN-380 claims the attack was part of a “patriotic struggle and resistance against the narco-dictatorship of Ortega-Murillo,” as well as against the “military presence of Cuba, Russia and China in Nicaragua,” according to its communique. Continue Reading →

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