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Nicaragua

 
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Nicaragua

Relations with Other Countries

The Chamorro government maintained relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba, despite their identification with the Sandinista party and cause. Even before the 1990 election results were officially announced, the Soviet Union pledged to recognize whoever won, as long as the elections were fair, and quickly acknowledged Chamorro as the winner. Cuba's government kept more than a diplomatic presence in Nicaragua after Chammoro's inauguration, and Cuban medical personnel remained in some areas to continue assisting with Nicaraguan health programs.

Many countries provided economic assistance of various types, either through bilateral or Central American regional initiatives, although the amount of aid that the Chamorro government received was criticized as falling far short of its needs. In June 1990, at a two-day Conference of Donors meeting in Rome, the Chamorro government was successful in securing pledges toward the US$350 million it had requested in emergency aid. this amount was in addition to what friendly countries had already pledged. Nicaragua said that it needed US$220 million for social programs, infrastructure repair, and support for the producer sector, including small and medium producers, and US$130 million to finance the import of fuel and inputs for economic recovery. Pledges were made by nearly all of the thirty-four donors attending the conference, which included twelve European Community countries, the World Bank (see Glossary), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary). Most of the funds reportedly were contributed by Venezuela and West Germany. Subsequently, in July 1990, Venezuela announced that it would resume oil exports to Nicaragua, which it had suspended in 1985. After the renegotiation of Nicaragua's US$150 million debt incurred during the Sandinista years for oil supplied under Mexico and Venezuela's concessionary San Josť oil supply agreement.

In September 1991, the Chamorro government rectified relations with multilateral institutions. It paid off US$270 million in arrearages to the World Bank and US$90 million to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through donations and credits from the United States and other countries, including a bridge loan from Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain. The same month, the IMF announced that it had approved an eighteen-month, US$55.7 million loan to support the Chamorro government's economic reform program.

A mid-March 1992 meeting of the "consultative group" of donor nations organized by the World Bank seemed promising as a source of substantial funds for 1992 and 1993. The government planned to use the funding for infrastructure, agricultural production, social programs, and balance-of-payments support.

Asian countries also expressed interest in new relations with Nicaragua. Japan and South Korea principally investigated investment possibilities, although Japan also looked into the prospect of building a new transisthmian canal across Nicaragua. Taiwan, which in 1990 had a political interest in reestablishing the diplomatic relations that the Sandinistas had broken in reaching out to China, offered not only substantial investments but also low-interest loans. However, Taiwanese plans to construct a sawmill and to manufacture plywood and veneers in the northeast to ship to United States and European markets ran afoul of Nicaraguan environmentalists.

* * *

Post-Sandinista Nicaragua may fall into the same academic literature void as pre-Sandinista Nicaragua, with little reliable English-language public source material analyzing the political science. Academic work in print on Nicaragua's internal politics in the postelectoral period was limited as of December 1993. All suffer from lack of study of the UNO parties, which were disregarded by academe during the Sandinista years much as the opposition was ignored during the Somoza years. Until that deficit is corrected, analysis of the politics of the Chamorro years is likely to remain superficial and/or susceptible to political bias. A worthwhile general overview of Nicaragua in the early postelectoral period is contained in the chapter on Nicaragua in Tom Barry's Central America Inside Out: The Essential Guide to Its Societies, Politics, and Economies. An informed discussion of the politics of the Chamorro government's first eight months is "Nicaragua in Transition," an article in Current History, by Jennifer McCoy, who served as the Carter Center's representative in Nicaragua during the preelectoral and postelectoral period.

Other studies that bear on the political situation are more specifically focused. Studies of the election itself are included in Philip J. Williams's "Elections and Democratization in Nicaragua: The 1990 Elections in Perspective," in the Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs. Family relations in Nicaraguan politics from the 1800s through the early Chamorro years are treated in "Family Affairs: Class, Lineage and Politics in Contemporary Nicaragua," by Carlos Maria Vilas, in the Journal of Latin American Studies.

The Sandinistas continue to be a focus of study. An entire postelectoral volume of Latin American Perspectives, a publication of the pro-Sandinista North American Congress on Latin America, is dedicated to the Sandinistas. It is enlited, The Sandinista Legacy: The Construction of Democracy. New York Times reporter Mark Uhlig, who covered Nicaragua during the Sandinista years, has written an extensive postelectoral analysis of the FSLN in "Nicaragua's Permanent Crisis: Ruling from Above and Below," in Survival. A forthcoming book by Rose J. Spalding will deal with the politics of the Sandinista years of the Chamorro government: Capitalists and Revolution in Nicaragua. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1993

Nicaragua - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Government and Politics

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