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Nicaraguan police nab 4 after massacre


(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


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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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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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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