Glossary -- Nicaragua
- Central America
- Here, used in a geographic sense. Central America is considered
to be the entire isthmus between Mexico and Colombia, including
present-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Costa Rica, and Panama. A more traditional political view of the
term, most often used in the region itself, is that Central America
encompasses only the five successor states to the United Provinces
of Central America (1821-38): Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
- Literally, "copaternity." A system of ritual "coparenthood"
that links parents, children, and godparents in a close social or
- Constituent Assembly
- A deliberative body made up of elected delegates who are
charged with the responsibility of drafting a new constitution and,
in some instances, electing a new president. Traditionally, after
it completes its work, a Constituent Assembly reverts to a Congress
(former title of Nicaraguan legislatures), which then serves as the
country's legislative body until the next scheduled elections.
- A diplomatic initiative launched by a January 1983 meeting on
Contadora Island off the Pacific coast of Panama, by which the
"Core Four" mediator countries of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and
Panama sought to prevent through negotiations a regional
conflagration among the Central American states of Guatemala, El
Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In September 1984,
the negotiating process produced a draft treaty, the Contadora
Acta, which was judged acceptable by the government of Nicaragua
but rejected by the other four Central American states concerned.
The process was suspended unofficially in June 1986 when the
Central American governments refused to sign a revised Acta. The
Contadora process was effectively superseded by direct negotiations
among the Central American states.
- Short form of contrarevolucionario
(counterrevolutionary). Member of the Nicaraguan Resistance, an
armed resistance movement in the 1980s supported by the United
States and fighting against the national Sandinista government.
- córdoba (C$)
- Nicaraguan monetary unit from 1912 to 1988. Relatively stable
for most of that period, the córdoba's value plummeted in 1985. By
mid-1988 the official rate was US$1 = C$20,000 (US$1 = C$60,000 on
the black market), and the córdoba was replaced by the new córdoba
(C$n; q.v.) at a rate of 1,000 córdobas to 1 new córdoba.
- In Nicaragua a term used for an English-speaking person of
African or mixed African and indigenous ancestry.
- Enterprise for the Americas Initiative
- A plan announced by President George H.W. Bush on June 27,
1990, calling for the United States to negotiate agreements with
selected Latin American countries to reduce their official debt to
the United States and make funds available through this
restructuring for environmental programs; to stimulate private
investment; and to take steps to promote extensive trade
liberalization with the goal of establishing free trade throughout
the Western Hemisphere.
- European Currency Unit (ECU)
- Instituted in 1979, the ECU is the unit of account of the
European Union (EU). The value of the ECU is determined by the
value of a basket that includes the currencies of all EU member
states. In establishing the value of the basket, each member's
currency receives a share that reflects the relative strength and
importance of the member's economy. One ECU was equivalent to about
US$1.15 in 1993.
- fiscal year (FY)
- Nicaragua's fiscal year is the calendar year. Where reference
is made to United States aid appropriations or disbursements, the
United States government's FY, which runs from October 1 to
September 30, is used with the date of reference drawn from the
year in which the period ends. For example, FY 1992 began on
October 1, 1991, and ended on September 30, 1992.
- gold córdoba (C$o, sometimes C$)
- Nicaraguan monetary unit divided into 100 centavos. Introduced
in mid-1990, the gold córdoba replaced the new córdoba at a rate of
1 gold córdoba to 5 million new córdobas (q.v.). In mid-
1993, US$1 = C$o6.15.
- gross domestic product (GDP)
- A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by
the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year.
Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the
economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and
depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is
included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned
abroad, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish
GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
- gross national product (GNP)
- The total market value of all final goods and services produced
by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding the gross domestic
product (q.v.) and the income received from abroad by
residents and subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
- import-substitution industrialization
- An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of
domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and
nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods
over primary products.
- International-Monetary Fund
- Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945,
the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations
(UN) that takes responsibility for stabilizing international
exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the
provision of loans to its members when they experience balance-of-
payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that
require substantial internal economic adjustments by the
- Liberation Theology
- An activist movement led by Roman Catholic clergy who trace
their inspiration to Vatican Council II (1965), where some church
procedures were liberalized, and the Second Latin American Bishops'
Conference in Medellín, Colombia (1968), which endorsed greater
direct efforts to improve the lot of the poor. Advocates of
liberation theology--sometimes referred to as "liberationists"--
work mainly through Christian Base Communities (Comunidades
Eclesiásticas de Base--CEBs). Members of CEBs meet in small groups
to reflect on scripture and discuss its meaning in their lives.
They are introduced to a radical interpretation of the Bible, one
that employs Marxist terminology to analyze and condemn the wide
disparities between the wealthy elite and the impoverished masses
in most underdeveloped countries. This reflection often leads
members to organize to improve their living standards through
cooperatives and civic improvement projects.
- new córdoba (C$n)
- Nicaraguan monetary unit from 1988 to 1991. Replaced the former
currency, the córdoba (q.v.), in an attempt to control
inflation; the value of the new córdoba dropped to US$1 = C$n3.2
million in less than three years. Replaced by the gold córdoba
(q.v.) in 1990 at a rate of 5 million new córdobas to 1
- San José Accord
- An agreement between Mexico and Venezuela, signed in 1980 in
San José, Costa Rica, whereby the two oil producers committed
themselves to supply crude oil on concessionary terms to ten
Central American and Caribbean nations.
- Originally a member of the Marxist group attempting to
overthrow the Somozas or their hand-picked president in the 1960s
and 1970s. The group took its name from Augusto César Sandino, who
led a guerrilla struggle against United States occupation of
Nicaragua in the 1930s. The political arm of the group, the
Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de
Liberación Nacional--FSLN), was the national government of
Nicaragua from July 1979 to April 1990. After the late 1970s, the
term Sandinista is used for a member or supporter or the
FSLN or as the adjectival form of the FSLN.
- World Bank
- The informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated
international institutions: the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International
Development Association (IDA), the International Finance
Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
(MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of
providing loans at market-related rates of interest to developing
countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a
legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the
IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest
developing countries on much easier terms than those of
conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the
activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed
specifically to encourage the growth of productive private
enterprises in less developed countries. The MIGA, founded in 1988,
insures private foreign investment in developing countries against
various noncommercial risks. The president and certain officers of
the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The four institutions
are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their
capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must
first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).