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Nicaragua–United States relations


Walker's 1855 filibusteringEdit

In the traditional historiography by historians in the United States and in Latin America, William Walker's filibustering represented the high tide of antebellum American imperialism. His brief seizure of Nicaragua in 1855 is typically called a representative expression of Manifest destiny with the added factor of trying to expand slavery into Central America. Historian Michel Gobat, however, presents a strongly revisionist interpretation. He argues that Walker was invited in by Nicaraguan liberals who were trying to force economic modernization and political liberalism. Walker's government comprised those liberals, as well as Yankee colonizers, and European radicals. Walker even included some local Catholics as well as indigenous peoples, Cuban revolutionaries, and local peasants. His coalition was much too complex and diverse to survive long, but it was not the attempted projection of American power, concludes Gobat.[1]

Occupation of NicaraguaEdit

The from 1912 to 1933 was part of the Banana Wars, when the US military intervened in various Latin American countries from 1898 to 1934. The formal occupation began in 1912, even though there were various other assaults by the U.S. in Nicaragua throughout this period. American military interventions in Nicaragua were designed to stop any other nation from building a Nicaraguan Canal. Nicaragua assumed a quasi-protectorate status under the 1916 Bryan–Chamorro Treaty. President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) opposed the relationship. Finally in 1933 President Franklin D Roosevelt, invoking his new Good Neighbor policy ended American intervention. [2]

Nicaraguan RevolutionEdit

Recent historyEdit

After being condemned for terrorism, the U.S has aimed to support the consolidation of the democratic process 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.

The resolution of U.S. citizen claims arising from Sandinista-era confiscations and expropriations still figures prominently in bilateral policy concerns. Section 527 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (1994) prohibits certain U.S. assistance and support for a government of a country that has confiscated U.S. citizen property, unless the government has taken certain remedial steps. In July 2007, the Secretary of State issued a 14th annual national interest waiver of the Section 527 prohibition because of Nicaragua's record in resolving U.S. citizen claims as well as its overall progress in implementing political and economic reforms.

Other key U.S. policy goals for Nicaragua are:

  • Improving respect for human rights and resolving outstanding high-profile human rights cases;
  • Developing a free market economy with respect for property and intellectual property rights;
  • Ensuring effective civilian control over defense and security policy;
  • Increasing the effectiveness of Nicaragua's efforts to combat trans-border crimes, including narcotics trafficking, money laundering, illegal alien smuggling, international terrorist and criminal organizations, and trafficking in persons; and
  • Reforming the judicial system and implementing good governance.

Since 1990, the United States has provided over $1.2 billion in assistance to Nicaragua. About $260 million of that was for debt relief, and another $450 million was for balance-of-payments support. The U.S. also provided $93 million in 1999, 2000, and 2001 as part of its overall response to Hurricane Mitch. In response to Hurricane Felix, the United States provided over $400,000 in direct aid to Nicaragua to support recovery operations from the damage inflicted in September 2007. Aside from funding for Hurricanes Mitch and Felix, the levels of assistance have fallen incrementally to reflect the improvements in Nicaragua. Assistance has been focused on promoting more citizen political participation, compromise, and government transparency; stimulating sustainable growth and income; and fostering better-educated and healthier families. The Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a 5-year, $175 million compact with the Republic of Nicaragua on July 14, 2005. The Millennium Challenge Compact is intended to reduce poverty and spur economic growth by funding projects in the regions of León and Chinandega aimed at reducing transportation costs and improving access to markets for rural communities; increasing wages and profits from farming and related enterprises in the region; and increasing investment by strengthening property rights.

Embassy of Nicaragua in Washington, D.C.

Principal U.S. Officials include:

The Embassy of Nicaragua is located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Embassy of the United States is located in Managua, Nicaragua.

NICA ActEdit

In 2016, the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act of 2016 (NICA) was passed by the United States House of Representatives. It was unable to be approved by the Senate or the president due to the 2016 presidential election. The bill would, as a response to the alleged election fraud committed by president Daniel Ortega during the 2016 election prevent Nicaragua from taking additional loans until they are willing to "[take] effective steps to hold free, fair and transparent elections." The bill was reintroduced to the House of Representatives again during a new session in 2017.

The Nicaraguan Government and every single political party (including those who originally voiced concern over the election) opposed this bill, with Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo calling it a “reactionary and interventionist" action that would “undermine the right of Nicaragua to continue developing the socialist model.”.[3] All ALBA member states are opposed to the bill.[4] The following trade unionists have also voiced their opposition to the bill by signing a solidarity statement in support of the Government of Nicaragua:[5]

On December 20, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the NICA Act into law after it had already been unanimously approved by Congress. This enactment comes eight months after the beginning of the 2018 Nicaraguan protests.[6]

School of the Americas and Fr. Roy BourgeoisEdit

In 1987, United States Senator Bob Dole visited Managua and criticized President Daniel Ortega for two of Nicaragua's political prisoners. Ortega offered to free the two political prisoners, who were opposition lawyers, in exchange for the freedom of the founder of School of the Americas Watch, Roy Bourgeois.[7]

In 2012, Nicaragua ended relations with the School of the Americas, refusing to send any more trainees to the institute. In a news release, he stated that the School of the Americas has victimized Nicaragua (likely referring to the Contras, who were trained at the institute[8]).[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Michel Gobat, Empire by Invitation: William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America (Harvard UP, 2018). See this roundtable evaluation by scholars at H-Diplo.
  2. ^ Alan McPherson, "Herbert Hoover, Occupation Withdrawal, and the Good Neighbor Policy." Presidential Studies Quarterly 44.4 (2014): 623-639. online
  3. ^ "Condemnation of US threats against Nicaragua". Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group news. 86 Durham Rd, London N7 7DT: Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  4. ^ "ALBA members denounce proposed NICA Act". Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group news. 86 Durham Rd, London N7 7DT: Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Trade Union Leaders Voice Opposition to NICA Act". Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group news. 86 Durham Rd, London N7 7DT: Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Statement by the President". Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  7. ^ "U.S. Priest in Jail Gets a Lift: He's in the News in Managua". New York Times. 8 September 1987. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Background On U.S. Military Involvement In Nicaragua". SOA Watch. Washington, D.C. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  9. ^ Tunzi, Porsia (7 September 2012). "Nicaragua to no longer send troops to School of the Americas". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 22 May 2017.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website

Further readingEdit

  • Bermann, Karl. Under the big stick: Nicaragua and the United States since 1848 (Boston: South End Press, 1986)
  • Booth, John A., Christine J. Wade, and Thomas Walker, eds. Understanding Central America: Global Forces, Rebellion, and Change (Westview Press, 2014)

External linksEdit