Foreign relations of Nicaragua

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Nicaragua pursues an independent foreign policy. A participant of the Central American Security Commission (CSC), Nicaragua also has taken a leading role in pressing for regional demilitarization and peaceful settlement of disputes within states in the region.


Nicaragua has submitted three territorial disputes, one with Honduras, another with Colombia, and the third with Costa Rica to the International Court of Justice for resolution.

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Colombia Country in South America

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogota.

Costa Rica Country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.

International membership

At the 1994 Summit of the Americas, Nicaragua joined six Central American neighbors in signing the Alliance for Sustainable Development, known as the Conjunta Centroamerica-USA or CONCAUSA, to promote sustainable economic development in the region.

Nicaragua belongs to the United Nations and several specialized and related agencies, including:

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group.

International Monetary Fund International organisation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of "189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world." Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system. It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises. Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money. As of 2016, the fund had SDR477 billion.

World Trade Organization organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 124 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.

International disputes

Maritime boundary boundary between marine zones over which countries have rights, or between such zones and international waters

A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth's water surface areas using physiographic or geopolitical criteria. As such, it usually bounds areas of exclusive national rights over mineral and biological resources, encompassing maritime features, limits and zones. Generally, a maritime boundary is delineated at a particular distance from a jurisdiction's coastline. Although in some countries the term maritime boundary represents borders of a maritime nation that are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime borders usually serve to identify the edge of international waters.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Caribbean Sea A sea of the Atlantic Ocean bounded by North, Central, and South America

The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and south west, to the north by the Greater Antilles starting with Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the north coast of South America.

Illicit drugs

Alleged trans-shipment point for cocaine destined for the US and trans-shipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing.

Cocaine chemical compound

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. Cocaine has a small number of accepted medical uses such as numbing and decreasing bleeding during nasal surgery.

International relations with IGOs and countries

Nicaragua signed a 3-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2007. As part of the IMF program, the Government of Nicaragua agreed to implement free market policies linked to targets on fiscal discipline, poverty spending, and energy regulation. The lack of transparency surrounding Venezuelan bilateral assistance, channeled through state-run enterprises rather than the official budget, has become a serious issue for the IMF and international donors. On September 10, 2008, with misgivings about fiscal transparency, the IMF released an additional $30 million to Nicaragua, the second tranche of its $110 million PRGF. [1]

The flawed municipal elections of November 2008 prompted a number of European donors to suspend direct budget support to Nicaragua, a move that created a severe budget shortfall for the government. This shortfall, in turn, caused the Government of Nicaragua to fall out of compliance with its PRGF obligations and led to a suspension of PRGF disbursements. The IMF is currently in negotiations with the Government of Nicaragua to reinstate disbursements. [1]

Under current president Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua has stayed current with the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force for Nicaragua on April 1, 2006. Nicaraguan exports to the United States, which account for 59% of Nicaragua’s total exports, were $1.7 billion in 2008, up 45% from 2005. Textiles and apparel account for 55% of exports to the United States, while automobile wiring harnesses add another 11%. [1]

Other leading export products are coffee, meat, cigars, sugar, ethanol, and fresh fruit and vegetables, all of which have seen remarkable growth since CAFTA-DR went into effect. Leading Nicaraguan exports also demonstrated increased diversity, with 274 new products shipped to the United States in the first year. U.S. exports to Nicaragua, meanwhile, were $1.1 billion in 2008, up 23% from 2005. Other important trading partners for Nicaragua are its Central American neighbors, Mexico, and the European Union. Nicaragua is negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union as part of a Central American bloc. [1]

Despite important protections for investment included in CAFTA-DR, the investment climate has become relatively insecure since Ortega took office. President Ortega's decision to support radical regimes such as Iran and Cuba, his harsh rhetoric against the United States and capitalism, and his use of government institutions to persecute political enemies and their businesses, has had a negative effect on perceptions of country risk, which by some accounts has quadrupled since he assumed office. The government reports foreign investment inflows totaled $506 million in 2008, including $123 million in telecommunications infrastructure and $120 million in energy generation. [1]

There are over 100 companies operating in Nicaragua with some relation to a U.S. company, either as wholly or partly owned subsidiaries, franchisees, or exclusive distributors of U.S. products. The largest are in energy, financial services, textiles/apparel, manufacturing, and fisheries. However, many companies in the textile/apparel sector, including a $100 million U.S.-owned denim mill, have shuttered during the past 12 months due to falling demand for these goods in the United States. [1]

Poor enforcement of property rights deters both foreign and domestic investment, especially in real estate development and tourism. Conflicting claims and weak enforcement of property rights has invited property disputes and litigation. Establishing verifiable title history is often entangled in legalities relating to the expropriation of 28,000 properties by the revolutionary government that Ortega led in the 1980s. The situation is not helped by a court system that is widely believed to be corrupt and subject to political influence. [1]

Illegal property seizures by private parties, occasionally in collaboration with corrupt municipal officials, often go unchallenged by the authorities, especially in the Atlantic regions and interior regions of the north, where property rights are poorly defined and rule of law is weak. Foreign investor interest along the Pacific Coast has motivated some unscrupulous people to challenge ownership rights in the Departments of Rivas and Chinandega, with the hope of achieving some sort of cash settlement. [1]

Bilateral relations

CountryFormal Relations BeganNotes
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia See Colombia–Nicaragua relations

The relationship between the two Latin American countries has evolved amid conflicts over the San Andrés y Providencia Islands located in the Caribbean close to the Nicaraguan shoreline and the maritime boundaries covering 150,000 km² that included the islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina and the banks of Roncador, Serrana, Serranilla and Quitasueño as well as the arbitrarily designed 82nd meridian west which Colombia claims as a border but which the International Court has sided with Nicaragua in disavowing. [2] The archipelago has been under Colombian control since 1931 when a treaty was signed during US occupation of Nicaragua, giving Colombia control over the islands.

Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark See Denmark–Nicaragua relations
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland See Finland–Nicaragua relations

Finland is a significant donor of aid to Nicaragua. In 2007, total aid amounted to around EUR 14.5 million. The cooperation focused on rural development, health care and supporting local government. [4] In 1992, the Finnish government announced an aid program of USD27.4 million. [5]

In 2006, the Finnish government pledged 4.9 million euros to help the Nicaraguan government integrate the ICT systems of 20 town councils. [6] In 2008, the Finnish government revoked a 1.95 million euro aid package meant for Nicaragua in protest of what it alleged was a lack of transparency in Nicaragua's national budget and its municipal elections. [7]

In 2004, Finnish President Tarja Halonen visited Nicaragua [8] where she stated "The Finnish government and Parliament have decided that Nicaragua is one of the main targets of Finnish development aid. However, the visit has shown that Finland is not only giving money - it is also interested in what is happening here". [9] The Finnish President also made a speech to the National Assembly of Nicaragua on 31 May 2004. [10] In 2003, the two countries signed the Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments [11]

Flag of Greece.svg  Greece See Greece–Nicaragua relations
  • Greece is accredited to Nicaragua through its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Nicaragua is accredited to Greece through its embassy in Rome, Italy.
Flag of Guyana.svg Guyana23 November 1981
Flag of India.svg IndiaSee India-Nicaragua relations
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
  • Iran has an embassy in Managua.
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Tehran
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 1838See Mexico–Nicaragua relations
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
  • Nicaragua maintains an honorary consulate in Lahore
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia December 1944See Nicaragua–Russia relations

Both countries signed diplomatic missions on October 18, 1979, a few months after the Sandinista revolution. [18] President Vladimir Putin visited Nicaragua on July 12, 2014.

  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Moscow.
  • Russia has an embassy in Managua.
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea January 1962 [19]

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Nicaragua began on January 1962. [19]

  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Seoul, South Korea. [20]
  • South Korea has an embassy in Managua, Nicaragua. [21]
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 20 March 1851See Nicaragua–Spain relations
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 1956See Nicaragua–Switzerland relations
  • Switzerland has a consulate-general in Managua, Nicaragua. The Swiss embassy in San José, Costa Rica, is responsible for diplomatic relations with Nicaragua. [23]
  • Nicaragua has a consulate-general in Geneva, Switzerland, only responsible for consular services. The Nicaraguan embassy in from its embassy in Vienna, Austria, is responsible for diplomatic relations with Switzerland.
  • Relations with Nicaragua and Switzerland focus on development cooperation, humanitarian aid and trade.
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 1979
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Caracas
  • Venezuela has an embassy in Managua

Venezuela and Nicaragua have had diplomatic relations since January 1979. During the Venezuelan government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, they helped FSLN to overthrow regime of longtime Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Relations between Nicaragua and Venezuela have significantly improved during the Presidency of Hugo Chávez. In 2007 Nicaragua became a formal member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) international cooperation organization and the Caribbean oil alliance Petrocaribe. In the recent years Nicaragua has received discounted oil from Venezuela with low payments. The presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua, President Hugo Chávez and President Daniel Ortega, have both described themselves as good friends and visited one another's nations.

Flag of the United States.svg United States1824; 1849See Nicaragua–United States relations
Embassy of Nicaragua in Washington, DC Embassy of Nicaragua.JPG
Embassy of Nicaragua in Washington, DC
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 1849See Nicaragua–Uruguay relations
Embassy of Nicaragua in Montevideo Embassy of Nicaragua in Montevideo.JPG
Embassy of Nicaragua in Montevideo
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Montevideo.
  • Uruguay has an embassy in Managua. [25]

States with limited recognition

The following table includes China, Georgia, and some of the states with limited recognition:

NameRecognized by NicaraguaNotes
Flag of the Republic of Abkhazia.svg  Abkhazia See Abkhazia–Nicaragua relations

Nicaragua recognized Abkhazia [26] and South Ossetia [27] on September 5, 2008.

At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López said, "Certainly, we think that the decision [to recognize independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia] was fair and appropriate. They [the republics] must be given time for inner formalities. We will coordinate the possibility and terms of direct diplomatic relations at a convenient moment. Obviously and logically, we will be acting via our friends, probably Russia, to establish closer contacts and diplomatic relations [with the republics]." [28]

Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 July 1994.
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China

Nicaragua maintains official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) instead of the People's Republic of China. In 2007, President Daniel Ortega stated that Nicaragua will maintain its diplomatic ties with Republic of China (Taiwan). Ortega defended Nicaragua's right of having diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China at the same time and insisted that Nicaragua will not break its diplomatic relations with Republic of China and Vice-president Jaime Moralez Carazo (during Ortega's first tenure) criticized the People's Republic of China for conditioning Nicaragua's diplomatic relations. In 2013 Nicaragua's Foreign Relations Minister announced that Nicaragua will continue its diplomatic relations with the Republic of China.

Flag of Artsakh.svg  Artsakh No
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China No
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo No
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine Yes
  • Palestine has an embassy in Managua. [29]
  • Nicaraguan foreign minister, Denis Moncada, has publicly expressed solidarity with Palestinian statehood and called for "an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories," and the "liberation of Palestinian prisoners." [30]
  • President Daniel Ortega referred to Benjamin Netanyahu as "possessed by the devil" in 2014. [31]
Flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.svg  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Yes Recognized by 34 UN states, claimed by Morocco.
Flag of Somaliland.svg  Somaliland No
Flag of South Ossetia.svg  South Ossetia See Nicaragua–South Ossetia relations

Nicaragua extended diplomatic recognition to South Ossetia [27] and Abkhazia [26] on 5 September 2008. After the recognition was announced, the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry stated that they would immediately establish ties with Tskhinval and would eventually appoint an ambassador to the republic. [32] At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López said, "Certainly, we think that the decision [to recognize independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia] was fair and appropriate. They [the republics] must be given time for inner formalities. We will coordinate the possibility and terms of direct diplomatic relations at a convenient moment. Obviously and logically, we will be acting via our friends, probably Russia, to establish closer contacts and diplomatic relations [with the republics]." [28]

Whilst on a state visit to Russia in December 2008, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega expressed his desire to travel to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the future, and stated that Nicaragua is in solidarity with the people of the two countries. [33]

The recognition of South Ossetia by Nicaragua triggered immediate reactions from other countries involved in the dispute over the status of South Ossetia. Georgia responded to Nicaragua's concurrent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by cutting diplomatic relations with the Central American state at the end of November 2008. [34] Russia offered to strengthen ties with Nicaragua and to provide aid to Nicaragua to help rebuild areas damaged by hurricanes. [35] The U.S. Secretary of Commerce canceled a planned trip to Nicaragua, with the U.S. Ambassador in Managua saying, "It isn't the appropriate moment for the visit." [36]

YesRecognized by four UN member states.
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg  Sovereign Military Order of Malta Yes [37] A sovereign entity without territory, established diplomatic relations with 104 states.
Flag of Transnistria.svg  Transnistria No
Flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.svg  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus No

See also

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