The Nicaragua Dispatch News ~ Political news stories in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua tries to hold the line against Cuban emigrants trekking to the U.S.

Nicaraguan soldiers guard the border at Peñas Blancas

This story first appeared in Fusion. PEÑAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica—Nicaragua’s southern border has become an unusually crowded place in recent days. Thousands of road-weary Cubans of all ages congregate under malinche trees, compete for the limited shade of awnings, and hang their hand-washed clothes on the fence to catch some afternoon sunrays before the evening brings another tropical downpour that turns everything to soup. It looks like a refugee tent city, only without the tents. And similar to its namesake, it’s a place Cubans aren’t allowed to leave. Continue Reading →

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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. https://instagram.com/p/6XkLN-kpNv/

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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Nicaragua’s plans to buy Russian fighter jets is ruffling feathers in the region

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Nicaragua’s sudden interest in purchasing a squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia could trigger a pointless arms race between one of the smallest and one of the largest militaries in Latin America. Nicaragua says it wants combat jets to fight the war on drugs. But that argument has failed to convince anyone. Instead, skeptics wonder if Nicaragua’s efforts to purchase military aircraft isn’t somehow tied to its canal plans, or — more likely yet— an effort to assert a stronger military presence in disputed Caribbean waters bordering Colombia. Though Nicaragua has legal claim to Caribbean waters out to 200 miles off its eastern shore, Colombia has all the naval muscle in the area — a fleet of 232 ships, including submarines and battleships. Continue Reading →

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Watch Nicaraguan student challenge Sandinista canal rep in Spain

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Nicaraguan canal spokesman Telemaco Talavera seems to have inadvertently admitted that the Sandinista government doesn’t know the exact route of a $50 billion canal that will bisect Nicaragua. During a confrontation with a Nicaraguan student studying abroad in Madrid, Talavera refuted her claim that 60,000 campesinos will be affected by the canal, saying “That means someone has the route more clearly defined than we do.” Nicaraguan university student Alejandra Espinoza today challenged Talavera about the “enormous concerns” in Nicaragua over unanswered questions about the “social, political, economic and environmental affects” of the $50 billion Chinese canal planned in Nicaragua. In doing so, she presented Talavera with a bundle of papers that she said contained “more than 60,000 signatures of people who will be affected” by the canal. The stack of papers also included copies of the 32 constitutional challenges filed on behalf of 182 Nicaraguans opposed to the canal project. 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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Ortega calls for return to constitutional order…in Thailand

The military seized power of Thailand on May 22

(posted June 8, 8:40 am)— The more Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega thinks about the recent coup d’état in Thailand, the more he doesn’t like it. On Saturday, the Ortega government released a rare press release condemning the Thai military coup and called for a return to a peaceful constitutional monarchy in the Southeast Asian country. “The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua, with its unwavering policy in respect of legitimately constituted governments and institutions, joins the international community in rejecting and condemning the actions that have led Thailand to a situation of unequivocal instability,” the Sandinista government said. The Ortega government ends its short statement with a “fervent call” for Thailand to restitute all constitutional guarantees and allow “dialogue and negotiation to prevail as the only possible way to find solutions and return this sister nation to normality and peace.”

  Continue Reading →

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