Nicaragua

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Quick Facts
CapitalManagua
Governmentrepublic
Currencygold cordoba (NIO)
Areatotal: 129,494 sq km
water: 9,240 sq km
land: 120,254 sq km
Population5,023,818 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageSpanish (official)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
ReligionRoman Catholic 85%, Protestant

This article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and edit it.

The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and again in 2001 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.


Geography

Nu-map.gif
Map of Nicaragua
Location 
Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Geographic coordinates 
13 00 N, 85 00 W
Map references 
Central America and the Caribbean
Area 
total: 129,494 sq km
water: 9,240 sq km
land: 120,254 sq km
Area - comparative 
slightly smaller than the state of New York
Land boundaries 
total: 1,231 km
border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km
Coastline 
910 km
Maritime claims 
continental shelf: natural prolongation
territorial sea: 200 NM
Climate 
tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
Terrain 
extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m
Natural resources 
gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Land use 
arable land: 20.24%
permanent crops: 2.38%
other: 77.38% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
880 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Environment - current issues 
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note 
largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua

People

Population 
5,023,818 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 38.3% (male 980,621; female 945,386)
15-64 years: 58.7% (male 1,464,468; female 1,483,082)
65 years and over: 3% (male 65,610; female 84,651) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
2.09% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
26.98 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
4.76 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
32.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 69.37 years
female: 71.44 years (2002 est.)
male: 67.39 years
Total fertility rate 
3.09 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.2% (2000/01 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
4,800 (2000/01 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
360 (1999 est.)
Nationality 
noun: Nicaraguan(s)
adjective: Nicaraguan
Ethnic groups 
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Religions 
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant
Languages 
Spanish (official)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
Literacy 
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.2% (1999)
male: 67.1%
female: 70.5% (2000 est.)

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua
conventional short form: Nicaragua
local short form: Nicaragua
local long form: Republica de Nicaragua
Government type 
republic
Capital 
Managua
Administrative divisions 
15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonomista); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas, Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*
Independence 
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution 
9 January 1987, with reforms in 1995 and 2000
Legal system 
civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts
Suffrage 
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)
election results: Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (PLC) elected president - 56.3%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 42.3%, Alberto SABORIO (PC) 1.4%; Jose RIZO Castellon elected vice president
Legislative branch 
unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (93 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - Liberal Alliance (ruling party - includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCCN 3.73%, PCN 2.12%, MRS 1.33%; seats by party - Liberal Alliance 42, FSLN 36, PCCN 4, PCN 3, PRONAL 2, MRS 1, PRN 1, PC 1, PLI 1, AU 1, UNO-96 1
Judicial branch 
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (16 judges elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly)
Political parties and leaders 
Conservative Party of Nicaragua or PCN [Dr. Fernando AGUERO Rocha]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Virgilio GODOY]; Liberal Alliance (ruling alliance including Liberal Constitutional Party or PLC, New Liberal Party or PALI, Independent Liberal Party for National Unity or PLIUN, and Central American Unionist Party or PUCA) [leader NA]; National Conservative Party or PC [Pedro SOLARZANO, Noel VIDAURRE]; National Project or PRONAL [Benjamin LANZAS]; Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path or PCCN [Guillermo OSORNO, Roberto RODRIGUEZ]; Nicaraguan Resistance Party or PRN [Salvador TALAVERA]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Sergio RAMIREZ]; Unity Alliance or AU [Alejandro SERRANO]; Union Nacional Opositora 96 or UNO-96 [Alfredo CESAR Aguirre]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including - Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN; Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including - Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS; Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups
International organization participation 
BCIE, CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos J. ULVERT
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6542
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570
chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara Calandra MOORE
embassy: Apartado Postal 327, Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur, Managua
mailing address: APO AA 34021
telephone: [505] 268-0123
FAX: [505] 266-9943
Flag description 
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band

Economy

Economy - overview 
Nicaragua, one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, faces low per capita income, flagging socio-economic indicators, and huge external debt. Distribution of income is extremely unequal. While the country has made progress toward macroeconomic stabilization over the past few years, a banking crisis and scandal has shaken the economy. Managua will continue to be dependent on international aid and debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Donors have made aid conditional on improving governability, the openness of government financial operation, poverty alleviation, and human rights. Nicaragua met the conditions for additional debt service relief in December 2000. Growth should move up in 2002 because of increased private investment and recovery in the global economy.
GDP 
purchasing power parity - $12.3 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $2,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 33%
industry: 23%
services: 44% (2000) (2000)
Population below poverty line 
50% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 49% (1998) (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index 
60 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
7.4% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
1.7 million (1999) (1999)
Labor force - by occupation 
services 43%, agriculture 42%, industry 15% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate 
23% plus considerable underemployment (2001 est.)
Budget 
revenues: $726 million
expenditures: $908 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries 
food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood
Industrial production growth rate 
4.4% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production 
2.233 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 82%
hydro: 9%
other: 9% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
2.176 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
1 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
100 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products
Exports 
$609.5 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities 
coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, beef, sugar, bananas; gold
Exports - partners 
US 57.7%, Germany 5.3%, Canada 4.2%, Costa Rica 3.3%, Honduras 3% (2000)
Imports 
$1.6 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities 
machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products, consumer goods
Imports - partners 
US 23.9%, Costa Rica 11.4%, Venezuela 9.9%, Guatemala 7.9%, Mexico 5.9% (2000)
Debt - external 
$6.1 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
NA
Currency 
gold cordoba (NIO)
Currency code 
NIO
Exchange rates 
gold cordobas per US dollar - 13.88 (January 2002), 13.37 (2001), 12.69 (2000), 11.81 (1999), 10.58 (1998), 9.45 (1997)
Fiscal year 
calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use 
140,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
7,911 (1997)
Telephone system 
general assessment: inadequate system being upgraded by foreign investment
domestic: low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 63, FM 32, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 
1.24 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
3 (plus seven low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions 
320,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
.ni
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
3 (2000)
Internet users 
20,000 (2000)

Transportation

Railways 
total: 6 km
narrow gauge: 6 km 1.067-m gauge
note: carries mostly passengers from Chichigalpa to Ingenio San Antonio (2001)
Highways 
total: 16,382 km
paved: 1,818 km
unpaved: 14,564 km (1998)
Waterways 
2,220 km (including 2 large lakes)
Pipelines 
crude oil 56 km
Ports and harbors 
Bluefields, Corinto, El Bluff, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur
Merchant marine 
none (2002 est.)
Airports 
182 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 165
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 141 (2002)

Military

Military branches 
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age 
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 1,308,430 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 802,779 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
males: 58,232 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$26 million (FY98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
1.2% (FY98)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
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; legal dispute over navigational rights of San Juan River on border with Costa Rica
Illicit drugs 
transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing