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Will US property claims office in Nicaragua be a model for Cuba?

old glory

The stars and stripes are once again fluttering brightly in front of the U.S. embassy in Havana. But in the darker recesses of the building, the chore of mapping a route towards a full normalization of relations is just getting started.

Obstructing the path forward is the monstrous 55-year-old U.S. trade embargo. Though presidents Obama and Castro have made great strides to reestablish diplomatic relations over the past 10 months, taking things to the next level means dealing with the elephant in the room: a nearly $7 billion pile of unresolved U.S. property claims.

This is where things get tricky. The Cuban government’s expropriation of U.S. properties in the 1960s was the original raison d’être for the embargo, whose function was later expanded to include loftier considerations for democracy and human rights. Continue Reading →

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Too bad graffiti doesn’t come with spell check

Graf main

The following is a public service announcement from The Nicaragua Dispatch. We know that spelling is hard, and it’s hot outside, but if you’re going to go out tagging the walls of Managua to protest the Chinese canal this week, it’s worth getting your message straight before you shake the spray paint can. Take the following unfortunate incident. 1. Viva Nicagua! Continue Reading →

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Ernesto Cardenal: the canal will divide Nicaragua like 2 Germanies, 2 Koreas

Ernesto Cardenal thinks the  Chinese Canal will be one of the biggest disasters in Nicaragua's disaster-prone history

We need to denounce to the world what is happening in Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega exercising the absolute power that he and his wife have over the country, made the National Congress approve in only one day the creation of a law to build an Interoceanic Canal. This law was not consulted at all with the population. The next day, it was approved and a concession was issued at a dizzying speed, even though this will affect Nicaragua for the next 100 years and the concession was give to a Chinese man named Wang Jing who at the time was unknown. The concession just gives Wang Jing rights but doesn’t impose any obligations on him. Continue Reading →

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Nicaragua community photos on #nicadispatch

a san ramon

Community contributors to The Nicaragua Dispatch continue to show the beauty, charm and idiosyncratic wonder of the “land of lakes and volcanoes” in our user-generated Instagram feature #nicadispatch. This week’s featured photos come to us from across the Pacific coast. All readers of The Nicaragua Dispatch are welcome to participate by publishing their Instagram photos of Nicaragua directly to our site using hashtag #nicadispatch. Here are this week’s winners:

‘Pitaya Stand in Rivas’ by @masfreeolas

“Curiosity” by @fifo9x


“Maria Auxiliadora Church in Granada” by tmpyne


“Mason Jar Juice” by @stephie1909

Punta Jesus Maria, Ometepe Island by @professionalsabbatical

“Sunset in San Juan del Sur” by @danrobinsonphoto

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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