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Nicaraguan police nab 8 more in massacre

The suspects

Nicaragua’s National Police have captured eight men — one allegedly with ties to the Mexican drug cartel known as “Los Zetas” — who will face charges of authoring and executing the July 19 attack on a Sandinista caravan, which killed five people and injured 24 others. Police Chief Aminta Granera called a press conference Thursday afternoon in Managua to present the eight men to the press. The men, handcuffed and dressed identically in gray t-shirts and blue pants, were paraded out by masked police officers. A ninth suspect remains at large, according to police. Granera was quick to dismiss suspicions that the suspects belonged to a rearmed contra group, despite the apparently political nature of the attack. Continue Reading →

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US extends property waiver for Nicaragua

US Embassy in Managua

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. 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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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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