Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega won a landslide victory in the November 6 presidential election with 72% of the cast, his third victory in a row. Second place was Maximino Rodríguez from the PLC (Constitutional Liberal Party) with only 15%.
According to countryaah, the current population of Nicaragua is 6,624,565. Two opposition alliances had called on voters to boycott the election because of alleged irregularities and organized protest marches across the country in the weeks before the election. The call sounded largely unheard, even though the opposition claimed that the election authority’s 68% turnout was false and the correct figure was a record low 22%.
Not only the opposition accused the government of rigging the election. Foreign observers and domestic organizations also claimed that the election campaign was fraught with serious incidents, such as threats and harassment by people associated with the ruling party FSLN (the Sandinist Front for National Liberation). The electoral court, which is considered completely controlled by Ortega and the FSLN, disqualified, for example, in July 28 members of the opposition party PLI (Independent Liberal Party) from participating in the congress election, where predictably the FSLN won 70 out of 90 seats. The fact that Ortega appointed his own wife Rosario Murillo as vice presidential candidate only strengthened the impression of the state as governed by a party and family dynasty.
According to thereligionfaqs, FSLN’s control over the state institutions certainly played a major role in the exit, but at the same time Ortega was de facto popular. Several opinion polls indicated that he would win the election. Both poverty and crime have declined significantly during his reign and economic growth has been high. For 2015, growth of 4.9% was registered, the second highest in Central America, and for the next two years the forecast from a UN commission of 4.5% was read. However, warning signals came from Nicaragua’s two most important trading partners the US, where concerns were expressed about the institutional situation in the country, and Venezuela, which was in a deep economic and political crisis.
Population and Economy
In 1990, according to an estimate, the residents were 3,870,700, more than doubled in twenty years, with a natural increase among the highest in Latin America and the whole world, which in some periods exceeded 5% per year and which still in the early nineties it was around 3.5%. The population has reached an average density of 32 residents / km 2, but continues to be very irregularly distributed, concentrating in the western area and thinning out in the eastern one, in which it is mostly less than 10 residents / km 2. The process of population concentration has been increasing due to the persistent and increasingly serious socio-economic imbalance between the two parts of the country, as well as the exodus from areas, especially along the border with Honduras, which have been affected for years by guerrillas and from war actions against the Nicaraguan regime.
This concentration has partly resulted in a large urbanization, so that the urban population of the Nicaragua has reached the value of 60%. Over half of this urban population lives in the country’s only metropolis, the capital, Managua (about 700,000 residents in 1985, but just over 1 million according to recent calculations), a city that is still affected, among other things, by the catastrophic effects of the earthquake of 1972 and where living conditions have markedly deteriorated, as shown by the increase in infant mortality. The second largest city in the country, León, has only 100,000 residents; it is flanked, in the performance of functions of regional rank, by urban centers of decidedly modest demographic amplitude, such as Granada, Matagalpa, Estelí, Bluefields, which last is the only one, among all the cities mentioned, to be in the eastern area, further proof of the backward conditions of this part of the country. The policy of territorial and urban reorganization undertaken since the late 1980s has not yielded significant results, except as regards the reconstruction or foundation of new centers in the areas affected by war events.
The economy of the Nicaragua was heavily influenced by the national and international political events of the 1980s. In the second part of the decade, military spending absorbed up to 40% of the gross national product, with negative social repercussions (the drastic cuts in public spending produced a drop in the level of education and even an increase in the illiteracy rate, rose to 20%) and on the economic one (reduction of productive investments). Added to this is the huge increase in public debt and inflation. The end of the state of war did not completely normalize relations with the United States and the crisis of the Soviet Union deprived the Nicaragua of an important partner and of the great oil supplier.
Agriculture, which did not benefit only from the partial implementation of the land reform, still absorbs (1990) 38% of the employed population. Coffee (430,000 q in 1990) and cotton (which has significantly decreased: 250,000 q of fiber and 330,000 q of seeds) continue to be the main and most important products for export. The bovine herd consists of 1,680,000 head.
The reduction in domestic and foreign investments and oil supplies has further compromised the already precarious situation of the manufacturing sector and forced, in some periods, the closure of several factories. The largest and most composite industrial district is that of Managua, but the most important industry, the sugar industry, is widespread in various centers in the western part of the country (Chichigalpa, León, Granada). Notable shipbuilding facilities are located in Puerto Cabezas.
The trade balance is always clearly in deficit: exports, exclusively of agricultural-livestock products, are directed above all to Japan, some countries of the European Community (mainly Germany) and Cuba; importation was for a long time sharply dominated by Soviet oil supplies.