Foreign relations of Nicaragua
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politics and government of
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.
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:
- World Bank
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
- International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA)
- Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
- Central American Common Market (CACM)
- Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
- Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA)
Territorial disputes with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; with respect to the maritime boundary question in the Golfo de Fonseca, the ICJ referred to the line determined by the 1900 Honduras-Nicaragua Mixed Boundary Commission and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua likely would be required; maritime boundary dispute with Honduras in the Caribbean Sea; Nicaragua is sovereign over the Rio San Juan, and by treaty Costa Rica has the right to navigate over part of the river with 'objects of commerce'. A dispute emerged when Costa Rica tried to navigate with armed members of its security forces.
Alleged trans-shipment point for cocaine destined for the US and trans-shipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing.
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. 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.
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%. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez 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]."
The relationship between the two Latin American countries has evolved amid conflicts over the San Andrés y Providencia Islands located in the Caribbean sea 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. 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.
Finland has an embassy in Managua. 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. In 1992, the Finnish government announced an aid program of USD27.4 million. In 2006, the Finnish government pledged 4.9 million euros to help the Nicaraguan government integrate the ICT systems of 20 town councils. 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.
In 2004, Finnish President Tarja Halonen visited Nicaragua  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". The Finnish President also made a speech to the National Assembly of Nicaragua on 31 May 2004. In 2003, the two countries signed the Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments 
Nicaragua extended diplomatic recognition to South Ossetia and Abkhazia 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. At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez 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]."
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.
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. Russia offered to strengthen ties with Nicaragua and to provide aid to Nicaragua to help rebuild areas damaged by hurricanes. 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."
U.S. policy aims to continue supporting the consolidation of the democratic process initiated in Nicaragua with the 1990 election of President Chamorro. The United States has promoted national reconciliation, encouraging Nicaraguans to resolve their problems through dialogue and compromise. It recognizes as legitimate all political forces that abide by the democratic process and eschew violence. U.S. assistance is focused on strengthening democratic institutions, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and supporting the health and basic education sectors.
- List of diplomatic missions in Nicaragua
- List of diplomatic missions of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua v. United States
- "El Presidente de la República Nicaragua Decreto No. 47-2008". Government of Nicaragua.
- "El Presidente de la República Nicaragua Decreto No. 46-2008". Government of Nicaragua.
- "Nicaragua Considering Diplomatic Relations With Abkhazia, South Ossetia". iStockAnalyst. 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2009-03-04.[dead link]
- LA Times: Border tensions rise in Central & South America
- "Finland signs US$6.3mn e-govt ICT program - Nicaragua". The America's Intelligence Wire. 2006-08-21.
- David Ryan (2000). US foreign policy in world history. Routledge. p. 172ff. ISBN 0-415-12345-3.
- "Nicaragua salutes new states in Caucasus". Russia Today. 5 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Nicaraguan President committed to visiting South Ossetia & Abkhazia". Russia Today. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- "Georgia severs diplomatic ties with Nicaragua". People's Daily. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- "Russia seeks close ties with US ex-foe Nicaragua". Reuters. 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "U.S.-Nicaraguan Relations Chill as Ortega Faces Domestic Tests". World Politics Review. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- "Background Note: Nicaragua". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua (Spanish)
- ICJ Nicaragua v. Colombia (Preliminary Objections) and (Merits) and 2007 Preliminary Objections Judgment and ASIL and BBC and Colombia President and Colombia MFA and Analysis 20 Hague YIL 75-119 2008