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Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.



Mr. Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua, statement at the United Nations, General Assembly, 1 October 2018 in New York


(Full text online)

  • I bring a message of peace from the people of Nicaragua and from President and Commander Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development three years ago, we have continued to witness a world in crisis, the result of unbridled capitalism, interference in the affairs of others and the violation of international law and the sovereignty of our peoples through the use of force, as well as attempts at coups d’état and destabilization efforts that threaten our prospects for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.
  • Nicaragua has resisted attempts at regime change. Our country has once again prevailed and achieved peace, fraternal coexistence and a gradual return to normal daily life.
  • The attempted coup d’état that we overcame in Nicaragua was the result of such interventionism, and its legacy has entailed grave consequences for us, including economic damage, death, destruction and terrorism disguised as peaceful protest, characterized by the savage killing of citizens and policemen, the setting on fire of public and private property, assaults, rights violations, extortion, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
  • The Government and the people of Nicaragua are staunch defenders of the principles of independence and sovereignty, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We therefore demand that an end be put to all interventionist policies, which violate international law, including interventionist activities in Nicaragua and brotherly nations of the Americas and the world.
  • Today, we are once again facing the threat of the United States, which seeks to halt the social, economic and cultural development of our people. We condemn such interventionism, which is manifested in the introduction of a law in the United States Congress requiring international financial institutions to refuse to issue loans to Nicaragua.
  • For Nicaragua, contributing to international peace is synonymous with achieving general and complete nuclear disarmament. We have therefore signed and ratified the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and call on countries to ratify that historic Treaty...
  • Nicaragua condemns the criminal blockade against the sisterly Republic of Cuba and all of the associated extraterritorial measures and ramifications. Nicaragua rejects all coercive economic measures that seek to bend the will and spirit of freedom and sovereignty of peoples and Governments
  • Our sisterly Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Bolivarian People and the legitimate Government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros can count on our unconditional solidarity. We have condemned the assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro Moros and the threat of military intervention against the Bolivarian people and Republic of Venezuela.
  • Nicaragua advocates for the two State solution, that is, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, within the 1967 borders, living in peace and harmony.
  • We reiterate our complete solidarity with the Government and the people of Syria in their struggle against international terrorism and in defence of their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Humankind continues to seek peace. Seventy three years after its founding, the Organization has not yet managed to fully meet the goals set out with regard to peace. Given such a regrettable state of affairs, the call for reinventing the United Nations...
  • We need urgent action to combat climate change... those primarily responsible for the largest volume of the emissions, destruction, degradation and imbalances in nature must recognize the losses and damages suffered by the rest of us and help with the recovery of Mother Earth and the peoples of the world...
  • In conclusion, we stress our commitment to continuing to fight for peace — a priority for the world and our people — and to ensuring that conflicts arising in various parts of the world can be overcome through dialogue and negotiations and that, above all, peoples and countries can be free of fear from the use or threat of the use of force, a threat that the great Powers seek to impose on States that are small in population... but...great in terms of their values and history.

Quotes about

  • The situation was different in Central America and the Caribbean. In these areas, like the Soviet Union in Poland, the USA faced problems in a traditional sphere of influence. This helped explain the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. A more sustained issue was posed by Nicaragua, where the Americans had intervened militarily against radicals in the 1920s. The left-wing Sandinistas who gained control of Nicaragua drew inspiration and support from Cuba, and also provided support for left-wing rebels in neighbouring El Salvador. Concerned about the risk of instability throughout Central America, and the wider regional challenge, and determined to mount a robust response, the Reagan administration applied economic, political and military pressure on the Sandinistas, providing funds from 1981 to train and equip the Contras, a counter-revolutionary force that was based in neighbouring Honduras. Although the Contras helped to destabilise Nicaragua, inflicting considerable damage, they could not overthrow the Sandinistas. The Contra threat increased the bellicosity of the Sandinista state. In contrast to indirect pressure on Nicaragua, the USA successfully used its military in October 1983 in Operation Urgent Fury against the Caribbean island of Grenada, a former British colony. This operation was motivated by concern about Grenada’s leftward move, and the possibility that this would lead to a Cuban and Soviet military presence. There was a tendency to see Grenada as another Cuba. The island was seized and the government changed.
  • A twenty-year war of terrorism was waged against Cuba. Cuba has probably been the target of more international terrorism than the rest of the world combined and, therefore, in the American ideological system it is regarded as the source of international terrorism, exactly as Orwell would have predicted. And now there’s a war against Nicaragua.
    The impact of all of this has been absolutely horrendous. There’s vast starvation throughout the region while crop lands are devoted to exports to the United States. There’s slave labor, crushing poverty, torture, mass murder, every horror you can think of. In El Salvador alone, from October 1979 (a date to which I’ll return) until December 1981 — approximately two years — about 30,000 people were murdered and about 600,000 refugees created. Those figures have about doubled since. Most of the murders were carried out by U.S.-backed military forces, including so-called death squads. The efficiency of the massacre in El Salvador has recently increased with direct participation of American military forces. American planes based in Honduran and Panamanian sanctuaries, military aircraft, now coordinate bombing raids over El Salvador, which means that the Salvadoran air force can more effectively kill fleeing peasants and destroy villages, and, in fact, the kill rate has gone up corresponding to that.
  • For the past decade, the United States has been quietly assisting opposition groups in Nicaragua, helping them organize resistance to the country’s popular leftist president Daniel Ortega. U.S. officials hope the country’s opposition groups will create a new political movement that can defeat Ortega at the polls or pressure him into stepping down from power. They fear that without their support, Ortega’s opposition will remain weak and divided, making it impossible for anyone to mount a successful political campaign against the Nicaraguan president.
  • Bishop [of Matagalpa, Rolando José] Álvarez [Lagos] claimed that the [Ortega] regime wants a “dumb church,” adding that the move against Canal Católico proves that Nicaragua is in a situation of dictatorship.
    He also urged Catholics to pray for the police officers, who follow orders and are themselves victims of the regime.
  • During the 1980s, Nicaragua – a tiny country which remains the second poorest in the Hemisphere — inspired many of us, myself included, with its heroic resistance to violent US aggression. Nicaragua has remained a symbol of opposition to US imperialism, and that has galled the powers-that-be in this country – particularly Neo-Cons such as current National Security Adviser John Bolton.
  • We must stand with Nicaragua now, as many of us did before, in opposing continued US hostilities in the form of the NICA Act and interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. Nicaragua deserves such solidarity.
  • in Nicaragua, we were taken on tours by organs or associations of the Sandinista government, so I didn't really have time to think: poem. I felt human organization and hope. And Nicaraguans were writing their own poems, especially women. When I think about Nicaragua now, I am deeply saddened by our country's malicious destructiveness there-endless-like Vietnam.
    • 1993 interview anthologized in Conversations with Grace Paley edited by Gerhard Bach and Blaine Hall (1997)
  • One study showed that anti-capitalist populists in Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia on average make their countries 20 per cent poorer than comparable countries. A more comprehensive database of fifty populist leaders on both the right and the left (sometimes democratically elected), between 1900 and 2018, reveals that in the long run it is almost impossible to find someone who creates the thriving economy they all promise. With populists in power, the economy fares worse both in relation to the country’s previous trend and the global average. Fifteen years after they take control, their economies are, on average, more than a tenth smaller than comparable economies. The database shows that the economy does just as badly under right-wing and left-wing populists; the difference is that right-wing populists also tend to increase income inequality.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
  • (You just came back from Nicaragua fairly recently and you were talking about the connection between religion and the government.) GP: Well, it's a Catholic country, seriously so. The people believe. I went to one of the liberation churches. It was very lovely and wild; they did a lot of wild singing and Indian music with flutes and drums, and guitars. And the priest spoke beautifully. He compared Nicaragua to Jesus. He said Jesus was killed because he refused to abandon the poor. And that's what Nicaragua's enemies wanted her to do on pain of death. Like Christ, Nicaragua would never abandon the poor. In Nicaragua, religion is connected to local work, the life of the oppressed.
  • Throughout Nicaraguan culture, the poet is the high priest. The prophet. The maker of visions. The singer of songs. The one who knows and can say it for others the way others feel it but cannot say it for themselves.
    • Margaret Randall Introduction in Risking a Somersault in the Air: Conversations with Nicaraguan Writers (1984)
  • And let me set the record straight on Nicaragua, a country next to El Salvador. In 1979 when the new government took over in Nicaragua, after a revolution which overthrew the authoritarian rule of Somoza, everyone hoped for the growth of democracy. We in the United States did, too. By January of 1981, our emergency relief and recovery aid to Nicaragua totalled $118 million-more than provided by any other developed country. In fact, in the first 2 years of Sandinista rule, the United States directly or indirectly sent five times more aid to Nicaragua than it had in the 2 years prior to the revolution. Can anyone doubt the generosity and the good faith of the American people? These were hardly the actions of a nation implacably hostile to Nicaragua. Yet, the Government of Nicaragua has treated us as an enemy. It has rejected our repeated peace efforts. It has broken its promises to us, to the Organization of American States and, most important of all, to the people of Nicaragua. No sooner was victory achieved than a small clique ousted others who had been part of the revolution from having any voice in the government. Humberto Ortega, the Minister of Defense, declared Marxism-Leninism would be their guide, and so it is. The Government of Nicaragua has imposed a new dictatorship. It has refused to hold the elections it promised. It has seized control of most media and subjects all media to heavy prior censorship. It denied the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church the right to say Mass on radio during Holy Week. It insulted and mocked the Pope. It has driven the Miskito Indians from their homelands, burning their villages, destroying their crops, and forcing them into involuntary internment camps far from home. It has moved against the private sector and free labor unions. It condoned mob action against Nicaragua's independent human rights commission and drove the director of that commission into exile. In short, after all these acts of repression by the government, is it any wonder that opposition has formed? Contrary to propaganda, the opponents of the Sandinistas are not diehard supporters of the previous Somoza regime. In fact, many are anti-Somoza heroes and fought beside the Sandinistas to bring down the Somoza government. Now they've been denied any part in the new government because they truly wanted democracy for Nicaragua and they still do. Others are Miskito Indians fighting for their homes, their lands, and their lives. The Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua turned out to be just an exchange of one set of autocratic rulers for another, and the people still have no freedom, no democratic rights, and more poverty. Even worse than its predecessor, it is helping Cuba and the Soviets to destabilize our hemisphere.
  • The Miami airport, summer 1983: a North American woman says to me, "You'll love Nicaragua: everyone there is a poet."
    • Adrienne Rich "The Location of the Poet" (1984) in Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose (1986)
  • in Nicaragua, this tiny, impoverished, economically besieged country, trying through its own fragile means to feed itself, it is easy to see that women's ability to liberate themselves from social roles and domestic bondage cannot precede their ability to feed themselves and their children, and their access to basic resources. Meeting daily with the women and men who are responsible for day-to-day policy decisions in that revolution the United States is so determined to overturn, I found myself constantly having to remind myself that these were members of the government. We are not used to seeing and hearing people at the highest levels of government who sound as if they believe what they are saying, who speak with love and commitment to the needs of the poorest people, who speak of their country in a language of concrete, unaggrandized simplicity-of its sufferings, its hopes, its beauty, its poverty, its smallness, its need to work out its own way in the world. The acknowledgment that in the process of revolution, so newly begun, mistakes have been made, injuries inflicted, that the defeat of dictatorship does not give instant birth to new human beings, that people trying to reconstruct a battered society are not free of old chauvinisms-and that there must be continuing openness to criticism. But what most entered my heart and soul, in that brief time of being in the physical presence of a revolutionary process, was the quality I think we are all here tonight trying to affirm-hope. The sense that it can change. We ourselves can change it.
    • Adrienne Rich "North American Tunnel Vision" (1983) in Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose (1986)
  • Differing rates of apprehension of Honduran and Nicaraguan migrants at the U.S. southern border are revealing. Capitalist-imbued Honduras specializes in oppression, while optimism is no stranger in a Nicaragua aspiring to socialism....Department of Homeland Security figures show that between 2015 and 2018 the yearly average number of Nicaraguans apprehended at the border was 2292. The comparable figure for Hondurans was 63,741. Recently the number of Nicaraguan migrants has increased; 14,248 presented themselves at the border in 2019 – as did 268,992 Honduran refugees...
    Recent reflections of Carlos Fonseca Terán, the FSLN international secretary, show why hope has persisted in Nicaragua. He points out that, since 2007, poverty, inequality, illiteracy, infant mortality, and murders have dropped precipitously. Citizens’ safety, electrification, renewable energy sources, women in government, healthcare funding, and the minimum wage have increased, markedly. Fonseca adds that the “percentage of GDP produced … under associative, cooperative, family and community ownership went from less than 40% to more than 50%.”
  • I traveled a lot around the country in those first years working as Vice Minister of Culture and I witnessed that the cultural and artistic explosion that took place in Nicaragua right after the Revolution had no precedent: it was like a renaissance and rebirth of all of the cultural richness which had once been oppressed and buried under the weight of the Somocista dictatorship.
  • In Nicaragua, everybody talks poetry...We have two sports, two national sports. One is baseball, the other one is poetry.

See also

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