Main article: Politics of Nicaragua
Politics of Nicaragua takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H battery). Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Between 2007–2009, Nicaragua's major political parties discussed the possibility of going from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Their reason: there would be a clear differentiation between the head of government (Prime Minister)(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/S battery) and the head of state (President). Nevertheless, it was later argued that the true reason behind this proposal was to find a legal way for current President Ortega to stay in power after January 2012 (this is when his second and last government period ends).
Main article: Military of Nicaragua
C-47 is used in Nicaragua and Air Force equipment.
The armed forces of Nicaragua consists of various military contingencies. Nicaragua has an Army, Navy and Air Force. There are roughly 14,000 active duty personnel(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/P battery), which is much less compared to the numbers seen during the Nicaraguan Revolution. Although the army has had a rough military history, a portion of its forces, which were known as the National Guard became integrated with what is now the National Police of Nicaragua. In essence, the police became a gendarmerie(Sony VAIO VGN-SR33H/B battery). The National Police of Nicaragua are rarely, if ever, labeled as a gendarmerie. The other elements and manpower that were not devoted to the National Police were sent over to cultivate the new Army of Nicaragua.
The age to serve in the armed forces is 17 and conscription is not imminent. As of 2006, the military budget was roughly 0.7% of Nicaragua's expenditures(Sony VAIO VGN-SR31M/S battery).
Departments and municipalities
Main articles: Departments of Nicaragua and Municipalities of Nicaragua
Departments of Nicaragua
Nicaragua is a unitary republic. For administrative purposes it is divided into 15 departments (departamentos) and two self-governing regions (autonomous communities) based on the Spanish model. The departments are then subdivided into 153 municipios (municipalities) (Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S battery). The two autonomous regions are 'Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte' and 'Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur', often referred to as RAAN and RAAS, respectively; until they were granted autonomy in 1985 they formed the single department of Zelaya.
Geography and climate
Main articles: Geography of Nicaragua and Climate of Nicaragua
See also: Volcanoes of Nicaragua and Wildlife of Nicaragua(Sony VAIO VGN-SR29VN/S battery)
Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve
Nicaragua occupies a landmass of 130,967 km2 (50,567 sq mi), comparable to that of Greece or the state of Alabama. It lies between latitudes 10° and 15°N, and longitudes 82° and 88°W.
Nearly one fifth of the territory is designated as protected areas like national parks, nature reserves, and biological reserves. The country is bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean to the east(Sony VAIO VGN-SR28/Q battery), Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Geophysically, Nicaragua is surrounded by the Caribbean Plate, an oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Cocos Plate. Since Central America is a major subduction zone, Nicaragua hosts most of the Central American Volcanic Arc(Sony VAIO VGN-SR28/J battery).
Nicaragua has three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific lowlands, fertile valleys which the Spanish colonists settled, the Amerrisque Mountains (North-central highlands), and the Mosquito Coast (Atlantic lowlands). The low plains of the Atlantic Coast are 60 miles wide in areas. They have long been exploited for their natural resources(Sony VAIO VGN-SR28/B battery).
Nicaragua is known as the land of lakes and volcanoes; pictured is Concepción volcano, as seen from Maderas volcano.
In the west of the country, these lowlands consist of a broad, hot, fertile plain. Punctuating this plain are several large volcanoes of the Cordillera Los Maribios mountain range(Sony VAIO VGN-SR27TN/B battery), including Mombacho just outside Granada, and Momotombo near León. The lowland area runs from the Gulf of Fonseca to Nicaragua's Pacific border with Costa Rica south of Lake Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua is the largest freshwater lake in Central America (20th largest in the world), and is home to some of the world's only freshwater sharks (Nicaraguan shark(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26MN/B battery)). The Pacific lowlands region is the most populous, with over half of the nation's population. The capital city of Managua is the most populous and is the only city with over 1.5 million inhabitants.
Scarlet Tanager passing through Nicaragua around April, and again around October.
The eruptions of western Nicaragua's 40 volcanoes, many of which are still active, have sometimes devastated settlements but also have enriched the land with layers of fertile ash(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26GN/B battery). The geologic activity that produces vulcanism also breeds powerful earthquakes. Tremors occur regularly throughout the Pacific zone, and earthquakes have nearly destroyed the capital city, Managua, more than once.
Most of the Pacific zone is tierra caliente, the "hot land" of tropical Spanish America at elevations under 2,000 feet (610 m). Temperatures remain virtually constant throughout the year, with highs ranging between 85 and 90 °F (29.4 and 32.2 °C) (Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/S battery). After a dry season lasting from November to April, rains begin in May and continue to October, giving the Pacific lowlands 40 to 60 inches (1,016 to 1,524 mm) of precipitation. Good soils and a favorable climate combine to make western Nicaragua the country's economic and demographic center. The southwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua lies within 15 miles (24 km) of the Pacific Ocean(Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/P battery). Thus the lake and the San Juan River were often proposed in the 19th century as the longest part of a canal route across the Central American isthmus. Canal proposals were periodically revived in the 20th and 21st centuries. Roughly a century after the opening of the Panama Canal, the prospect of a Nicaraguan ecocanal remains a topic of interest. (Sony VAIO VGN-SR26/B battery)
In addition to its beach and resort communities, the Pacific lowlands contains most of Nicaragua's Spanish colonial architecture and artifacts. Cities such as León and Granada abound in colonial architecture; founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest colonial city in the Americas(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25T/S battery).
The central highlands are a significantly less populated and economically developed area in the north, between Lake Nicaragua and the Caribbean. Forming the country's tierra templada, or "temperate land", at elevations between 2,000 and 5,000 feet (610 and 1,524 m), the highlands enjoy mild temperatures with daily highs of(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25T/P battery)
75 to 80 °F (23.9 to 26.7 °C). This region has a longer, wetter rainy season than the Pacific lowlands, making erosion a problem on its steep slopes. Rugged terrain, poor soils, and low population density characterize the area as a whole, but the northwestern valleys are fertile and well settled. (Sony VAIO VGN-SR25S/B battery)
The area has a cooler climate than the Pacific lowlands. About a quarter of the country's agriculture takes place in this region, with coffee grown on the higher slopes. Oaks, pines, moss, ferns and orchids are abundant in the cloud forests of the region.
Bird life in the forests of the central region includes Resplendent Quetzal, goldfinches, hummingbirds, jays and toucanets(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25M/B battery).
Toucans such as this Keel-billed Toucan are common in Nicaragua's rainforests
This large rainforest region is irrigated by several large rivers and is sparsely populated. The area has 57% of the territory of the nation and most of its mineral resources. It has been heavily exploited, but much natural diversity remains. The Rio Coco is the largest river in Central America; it forms the border with Honduras(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/S battery). The Caribbean coastline is much more sinuous than its generally straight Pacific counterpart; lagoons and deltas make it very irregular.
Nicaragua's Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is in the Atlantic lowlands; it protects 1,800,000 acres (728,434 ha) of La Mosquitia forest – almost seven percent of the country's area – making it the largest rainforest north of the Amazon in Brazil(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/P battery).
Nicaragua's tropical east coast is very different from the rest of the country. The climate is predominantly tropical, with high temperature and high humidity. Around the area's principal city of Bluefields, English is widely spoken along with the official Spanish. The population more closely resembles that found in many typical Caribbean ports than the rest of Nicaragua(Sony VAIO VGN-SR25G/B battery).
A great variety of birds can be observed including eagles, turkeys, toucans, parakeets and macaws. Animal life in the area includes different species of monkeys, anteaters, white-tailed deer and tapirs.
Main article: Economy of Nicaragua
The seaport in Corinto, Nicaragua is the country's only deep-water port capable of handling container ships and tankers(Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B battery)
Trains were once the main mode of transport for goods. tracks were sold for scrap. The remaining train engines in Nicaragua now serve as tourist attractions, as seen here in Granada, Nicaragua.
Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country; agriculture constitutes 60% of its total exports which annually yield approximately US $2.0 billion(Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B battery). In addition, Nicaragua's Flor de Caña rum is renowned as among the best in Latin America, and its tobacco and beef are also well regarded. Nicaragua's agrarian economy has historically been based on the export of cash crops such as coffee, beef and tobacco. Light industry (maquila), tourism, banking, mining, fisheries, and general commerce are expanding(Sony VAIO VGN-SR23H/B battery). Nicaragua also depends heavily on remittances from Nicaraguans living abroad, which totaled $655.5 million in 2006.
Nicaragua has always been a predominantly agricultural country. On the Pacific side, coffee and cotton are by far the most important commercial crops. In 1992, more land was devoted to coffee than to any other crop, and it is the nation's leading export in terms of value(Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H battery). Nearly two-thirds of the coffee crop comes from the northern part of the central highlands, in the area north and east of the town of Estelí.
In the early 1980s, cotton became Nicaragua's second-largest export earner. Production is centered on large farms along the central Pacific coast. Unfortunately, the growth of the cotton industry has created serious problems. Soil erosion and pollution from the heavy use of pesticides have become serious concerns in the cotton district(Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B battery). Yields and exports have both been declining since 1985.
Plantation crops are significant in the Caribbean lowlands. After disease wiped out most of the region's banana plants in the years before 1945, attempts were made to diversify crops. Today most of Nicaragua's bananas are grown in the northwestern part of the country near the port of Corinto(Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S battery); sugarcane is also grown in the same district. Subsistence farms, where food is grown mainly for the consumption of the farm family instead of for sale, are found throughout Nicaragua. Favorite food crops grown on such farms include rice, beans, maize, citrus fruits, and cassava. Cassava, a root crop somewhat similar to the potato(Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN battery), is an important food in tropical regions. The plant's roots can be eaten boiled and sliced, or ground into flour. Cassava is also the main ingredient in tapioca pudding.
The Pacific lowlands and the middle and southern parts of the Central highlands are the principal cattle-grazing areas. An especially large number of cattle are found to the east of Lake Nicaragua(Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN battery).
Nicaragua's economy has also grown due to the emigration of retirees from parts of North America and Europe. The influx of incoming residents has generated the construction of residencies and commercial services throughout the country. Illustrated above are the residencies of Viejo Santo Domingo, which are some of the country's high-end residencies(Sony VAIO VGN-SR190F battery).
Beginning in the 1960s, shrimp became big business on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The main shrimping centers on the Pacific coast are Corinto and San Juan del Sur. Fishing boats on the Caribbean side bring shrimp as well as lobsters into processing plants at Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, and Laguna de Perlas. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17L battery)
The lumber industry, concentrated mainly in the eastern third of the country, has been lethargic since 1980, with its activities limited by several problems. First, the best trees in the most accessible places have already been cut down. In addition, pure groves of trees are uncommon in tropical forests. Hundreds of species per acre are generally the rule, complicating the task of harvesting(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17G battery). Moreover, the most valuable dense hardwoods will not float. As a result, these trees must be trucked out of the forest rather than floated downriver to a sawmill. Finally, more restrictions are being placed on lumbering due to increased environmental concerns about destruction of the rain forests. But lumbering continues despite these obstacles(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ17 battery); indeed, a single hardwood tree may be worth thousands of dollars.
Political turmoil has had a severe impact on the mining industry. Exports of gold are down, and little effort has been made to develop the large copper deposits of the northeast. Fighting during the revolution destroyed nearly one-third of Nicaragua's industry. As it rebuilds, the government is trying to change the industrial mix of the country and achieve decentralization(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ160E/B battery). Before the revolution, more than 60 percent of the nation's industrial production, by value, was concentrated in Managua. The industrial-decentralization policy may help to slow the growth of the largest cities, while assisting in the redistribution of income and development of economies in impoverished areas(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ160E battery). Major industries include food processing, cement production, metal fabrication, and oil refining. The Centroamérica power plant on the Tuma River in the Central highlands has been expanded, and other hydroelectric projects have been undertaken to help provide electricity to the nation's newer industries(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15S battery).
The economic core of Nicaragua is in the Pacific zone, and the railway and highway network reflects that concentration of activity. The government-owned rail system—an inefficient money loser—is gradually being replaced by truck transport. Transportation throughout the rest of the nation is often inadequate. For example(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15M battery), one cannot travel all the way by highway from Managua to the Caribbean coast. The road ends at the town of Rama. Travelers have to transfer and make the rest of the trip by riverboat down the Río Escondido—a five-hour journey.
Corinto is the only modern deepwater port in Nicaragua. It handles both agricultural exports and general-cargo imports(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15L battery). Petroleum is unloaded at Puerto Sandino, from which it travels by pipeline to a refinery in Managua. Trade with other nations in Central America has increased in recent years. Nicaragua has long been considered as a possible site for a new sea-level canal that could supplement the Panama Canal. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15 battery)
Components of the economy
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2008 was estimated at $17.37 billion USD. The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 56.9%, followed by the industrial sector at 26.1% (2006 est.). Agriculture represents 17% of GDP, the highest percentage in Central America  (2008 est.) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ145E battery). Remittances account for over 15% of the Nicaraguan GDP. Close to one billion dollars are sent to the country by Nicaraguans living abroad. Nicaraguan labor force is estimated at 2.322 million of which 29% is occupied in agriculture, 19% in the industrial sector and 52% in the service sector (est. 2008) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ140N battery).
A Nicaraguan farmer
After 1950 the scope of capital-intensive modern agriculture increased greatly. This growth was concentrated in export crops, while crops destined for domestic use continued to be produced by traditional labor-intensive methods. The shift to industrialized agriculture also significantly reduced the proportion of the population directly dependent on agriculture(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ140N/B battery).
Commercial agriculture thrives in the Pacific lowlands, where cotton and sugarcane are the staple crops. Although coffee is grown in the Pacific zone at elevations over 1,000 feet (300 meters), the most important coffee zone is the northwestern part of the Central highlands, from Matagalpa to Jinotega. Cattle for the export of beef are raised in the southeastern part of the highlands(SONY VGP-BPS10/S battery). The overall expansion of export production by large landholders pushed the smallholders who produced the country's maize, beans, and other dietary staples onto marginal lands, with the result that food production could not keep up with population increase.
In the 1990s the government initiated efforts to diversify agriculture. Some of the new export-oriented crops were peanuts, sesame, melons, and onions(SONY VGP-BPS10/B battery).
Nicaragua's agricultural sector has benefited because of the country's strong ties to Venezuela. It is estimated that Venezuela will import approximately $200 million in agricultural goods.
Fishing and forestry
Shrimp is one of the main marine export products of the Nicaraguan economy.
Forestry and fishing are the bases of the eastern seaboard's commercial economy. In national terms, neither sector was important until the take-off of the fishing industry in the late 20th century(SONY VGP-BPS10A/B battery). Mahogany was harvested commercially on the Atlantic coast beginning early in the 19th century. In the 20th century pine stands began to be exploited. In neither case, though, was the resource managed so as to ensure a sustained yield.
Nicaragua's fishing industry operates off both coasts and in freshwater Lake Nicaragua. The lake also has an aquaculture industry(SONY VGP-BPS10A battery). The most valuable catches are shrimp and spiny lobster. The government expanded the size of the fishing fleet in the 1980s, which permitted a rapid expansion of shrimp and lobster exports in the 1990s. A turtle fishery thrived on the Caribbean coast before it collapsed from overexploitation(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T battery).
Mining and the production of energy
Mining is not a major industry in Nicaragua, contributing less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP). Still, gold and silver mines in the north-central and northeastern parts of the country are important elements of regional economies and constitute sources of revenue. Important domestic sources of electrical energy are hydropower and geothermal power(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T battery), the latter from the volcano Momotombo, near Managua. But most commercial electricity is generated by imported petroleum.
Although the manufacturing sector of the economy contributes somewhat more to GDP than agriculture, it employs far fewer people. It was traditionally concerned largely with the processing of agricultural products, and it supplied the domestic market with foods, beverages, edible oils, cigarettes, and textile goods(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S battery). Also manufactured were light metal goods, construction materials, wood and paper products, and chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.
The manufacturing sector was expanded beyond these areas in the 1990s with the introduction of maquila industries, in which imported parts are assembled for reexport. The principal products were garments, footwear(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S battery), aluminum frames, and jewelry. Growth in the maquila sector slowed in the first decade of the 21st century with rising competition from Asian markets, particularly China.
Economic development in the 21st century
Nicaragua has widespread underemployment and the second lowest per capita income in the Americas. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods(Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC battery). Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but recent increases in the minimum wage have a strong possibility of eroding Nicaragua's comparative advantage in this industry. Nicaragua's minimum wage is among the lowest in the Americas and in the World. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B battery)
Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal and external debt financing obligations. In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative. In October 2007, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program. Despite the support(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF battery), severe budget shortfalls resulting from the suspension of large amounts of direct budget support from foreign donors concerned with recent political developments has caused a slowdown in PRGF disbursements.
Similarly, private sector concerns surrounding Daniel Ortega's handling of economic issues have dampened investment. Economic growth has slowed in 2009(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF battery), due to decreased export demand from the US and Central American markets from the overall recession, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and low remittance growth. Remittances are equivalent to roughly 15% of the country's Gross Domestic Product. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W battery)
Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W battery). Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but increases in the minimum wage during the Ortega administration will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry. Ortega's promotion of mixed business initiatives, owned by the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan state oil firms, together with the weak rule of law(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF battery), could undermine the investment climate for domestic and international private firms in the near-term. Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. Foreign donors have curtailed this funding, however, in response to November 2008 electoral fraud(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF battery). In early 2004, Nicaragua secured some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Managua still struggles with a high public debt burden, however, it succeeded in reducing that burden substantially in 2011. The economy grew at a rate of about 4% in 2011(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S battery).
Nicaragua is among the poorest countries in the Americas. Nicaragua's nominal GDP stands at 6.554 for 2009 and increasing to 8.532 by 2014. Nicaragua's GDP (PPP) 16.709 billion and the GDP per capita is $1,028 for Nicaragua. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW battery)
According to the PNUD, 48% of the population in Nicaragua live below the poverty line, 79.9% of the population live with less than $2 per day, unemployment is 3.9%, and another 46.5% are underemployed (2008 est.). As in many other developing countries, a large segment of the economically poor in Nicaragua are women(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/W Battery). In addition, a relatively high proportion of Nicaragua's homes have a woman as head of household: 39% of urban homes and 28% of rural homes. According to UN figures, 80% of the indigenous people (who make up 5% of the population) live on less than $1 per day. According to the FAO, 27% of all Nicaraguans are suffering from undernourishment; the highest percentage in Central America(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/N Battery).
During the war between the US-backed Contras and the government of the Sandinistas in the 1980s, much of the country's infrastructure was damaged or destroyed. Inflation averaged 30% throughout the 1980s. After the United States imposed a trade embargo in 1985, which lasted 5 years, Nicaragua's inflation rate rose dramatically(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/L Battery). The 1985 annual rate of 220% tripled the following year and rose to more than 13,000% in 1988, the highest rate for any country in the Western Hemisphere in that year.
The country is still a recovering economy and it continues to implement further reforms to improve profits for foreign businesses, on which aid from the IMF is conditional. In 2005 finance ministers of the leading eight industrialized nations (G8) agreed to forgive some of Nicaragua's foreign debt(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery), as part of the HIPC program. According to the World Bank, Nicaragua's GDP was around $4.9 billion US dollars. In March 2007, Poland and Nicaragua signed an agreement to write off 30.6 million dollars which was borrowed by the Nicaraguan government in the 1980s. Since the end of the war almost two decades ago(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery), more than 350 state enterprises have been privatized. Inflation reduced from 33,500% in 1988 to 9.45% in 2006, and the foreign debt was cut in half.
According to the World Bank, Nicaragua ranked as the 62nd best economy for starting a business: making it the second best in Central America, after Panama. Nicaragua's economy is "62.7% free" with high levels of fiscal, government, labor, investment, financial, and trade freedom(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery). It ranks as the 61st freest economy, and 14th (of 29) in the Americas.
Main article: Nicaraguan córdoba
Nicaragua uses polymer banknotes in its circulated currency. Illustrated here is a 50 córdoba banknote.
During the era of the Spanish colonial rule, and for more than 50 years afterward, Nicaragua used Spanish coins that were struck for use in the "New World". The first unique coins for Nicaragua were issued in 1878 in the peso denomination(Sony Vaio VGN-CR220E/R Battery). The córdoba became Nicaragua's currency in 1912 and was initially equal in value to the U.S. dollar. The Córdoba was named after Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the national founder. The front of each of Nicaragua's circulating coins features the national coat of arms. The five volcanoes represent the five Central American countries at the time of Nicaragua's independence; the rainbow at the top symbolizes peace(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/R Battery); and the cap in the center is a symbol of freedom. The design is contained within a triangle to indicate equality. The back of each coin features the denomination, with the inscription En Dios Confiamos (In God We Trust).
Nicaragua is the first country in the Americas to successfully overhaul production of its paper currency in favor of polymer banknotes(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N Battery). Polymer banknotes were issued in 2009 to reduce the need to reprint banknotes, combat counterfeiting and introduce a more hygienic currency. The previously issued banknotes are still accepted as legal tender. However, unlike previous banknote series, the current series does not have any illustration of politicians. Rather, the current currency series celebrates the country's landmarks, history and culture(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery).
Conversion to the SUCRE
Main articles: Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and SUCRE (currency)
Nicaragua is currently a member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, which is also known as ALBA. ALBA has proposed creating a new currency, the Sucre for use among its members. In essence, this means that the Nicaraguan córdoba will be replaced with the Sucre. Members must make their local currency deposits in Caracas(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery), to enter into force on sucre. The monetary union first will be virtual, to be used only among the states for inter-regional trade. It will then be used in print form. The ALBA-Sucre union is similar to that of the Euro of the European Union.
Other nations that will follow a similar pattern include: Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras, Cuba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery)
View of León
Main article: Tourism in Nicaragua
By 2006, tourism in Nicaragua had become the second largest industry in the nation, over the last 7 years tourism has grown about 70% nationwide with rates of 10%–16% annually. Nicaragua had seen positive growth in the tourism sector over the last decade, and it became the first largest industry in 2007(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery). The increase and growth led to the income from tourism to rise more than 300% over a period of 10 years. The growth in tourism has also positively affected the agricultural, commercial, and finance industries, as well as the construction industry.
gazebo of Selva Negra Mountain Resort in Matagalpa.
Every year about 60,000 U.S. citizens visit Nicaragua, primarily business people, tourists, and those visiting relatives(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery). Some 5,300 people from the U.S. reside in the country now. The majority of tourists who visit Nicaragua are from the U.S., Central or South America, and Europe. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Nicaragua (INTUR), the colonial city of Granada is the preferred spot for tourists. Also, the cities of León, Masaya(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery), Rivas and the likes of San Juan del Sur, San Juan River, Ometepe, Mombacho Volcano, the Corn Islands, and others are main tourist attractions. In addition, ecotourism and surfing attract many tourists to Nicaragua.
According to TV Noticias (news program) on Canal 2, a Nicaragua television station, the main attractions in Nicaragua for tourists are the beaches, scenic routes, the architecture of cities such as León and Granada(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery), and most recently ecotourism and agritourism, particularly in Northern Nicaragua. As a result of increased tourism, Nicaragua has seen its foreign direct investment increase by 79.1% from 2007 to 2009.
Main articles: Nicaraguans and Demographics of Nicaragua
According to the CIA World Factbook, Nicaragua has a population of 5,891,199; comprising mainly 69% mestizo, 17% white, 5% Amerindian, 9.0% black and other races and this fluctuates with changes in migration patterns. The population is 84% urban(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/W Battery).
Nicaraguan women at a concert in Managua.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Nicaragua's life expectancy was 71.90 years in 2011, a figure roughly equivalent to that of Vietnam and Palau. The infant mortality rate stood at 25.5, roughly equivalent to that of the Marshall Islands and Paraguay(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/R Battery).
Nicaragua appears ranked 91st in the international mortality rate, which places it between the world average and Panama.
The most populous city in Nicaragua is the capital, Managua, with a population of 1.8 million (2005) and an estimated 2.2 by 2010 and more than 2.5 mill for the metro area. As of 2005, over 7.0 million inhabitants live in the Pacific, Central and North regions(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/P Battery), 5.5 in the Pacific region alone, while inhabitants in the Caribbean region reached an estimated 700,000.
There is a growing expatriate community the majority of whom move for business, investment or retirement from all across the world, such as from the US, Canada, Taiwan, and various European countries; the majority have settled in Managua, Granada and San Juan del Sur(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery).
Many Nicaraguans live abroad, particularly in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Canada.
Nicaragua has a population growth rate of 1.8% as of 2008. This is the result of one of the highest birth rates in the Western Hemisphere: 24.9 per 1,000 according to the United Nations for the period 2005–2010. The death rate is 4.1 per 1,000 during the same period according to the United Nations. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR190 Battery)
The majority of the Nicaraguan population, (86% or approximately 5.06 million people), is either Mestizo or White. 69% are Mestizos (mixed Amerindian and European) and 17% of European origin, the majority of Spanish, German, Italian, English or French ancestry. Mestizos and Whites mainly reside in the western region of the country(Sony Vaio VGN-CR150E/B Battery).
About 9% of Nicaragua's population are black, and mainly reside on the country's sparsely populated Caribbean or Atlantic coast. The black population is mostly composed of black English-speaking Creoles who are the descendents of escaped or shipwrecked slaves; many carry the name of Scottish settlers who brought slaves with them, such as Campbell, Gordon, Downs and Hodgeson(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/W Battery). Although many Creoles supported Somoza because of his close association with the US, they rallied to the Sandinista cause in July 1979 only to reject the revolution soon afterwards in response to a new phase of 'westernization' and imposition of central rule from Managua. Nicaragua has the largest African diaspora population in Central America(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery). There is also a smaller number of Garifuna, a people of mixed West African, Carib and Arawak descent. In the mid-1980s, the government divided the department of Zelaya – consisting of the eastern half of the country – into two autonomous regions and granted the black and indigenous people of this region limited self-rule within the Republic(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
The remaining 5% of Nicaraguans are Amerindians, the unmixed descendants of the country's indigenous inhabitants. Nicaragua's pre-Columbian population consisted of many indigenous groups. In the western region the Nicarao people, after whom the country is named, were present along with other groups related by culture and language to the Mayans(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery). The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was inhabited by indigenous peoples who were mostly chibcha related groups that had migrated from South America, primarily present day Colombia and Venezuela. These groups include the Miskitos, Ramas and Sumos. In the 19th century, there was a substantial indigenous minority, but this group was also largely assimilated culturally into the mestizo majority(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery).
Palestinian Nicaraguans celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution in Managua waving Palestinian and Sandinista flags
Relative to its overall population, Nicaragua has never experienced any large-scale immigrant waves. The total number of immigrants to Nicaragua, both originating from other Latin American countries and all other countries, never surpassed 1% of its total population prior to 1995. The 2005 census showed the foreign-born population at 1.2%, having risen a mere .06% in 10 years(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery).
In the 19th century Nicaragua experienced modest waves of immigration from Europe. In particular, families from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Belgium immigrated to Nicaragua, particularly the departments in the Central and Pacific region. As a result, the Northern cities of Estelí, Jinotega and Matagalpa have significant communities of fourth generation Germans(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery). They established many agricultural businesses such as coffee and sugar cane plantations, newspapers, hotels and banks.
Also present is a small Middle Eastern-Nicaraguan community of Syrians, Armenians, Palestinian Nicaraguans, Jewish Nicaraguans, and Lebanese people in Nicaragua with a total population of about 30,000. There is also an East Asian community mostly consisting of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery). The Chinese Nicaraguan population is estimated at around 12,000. The Chinese arrived in the late 19th century but were unsubstantiated until the 1920s.
Main article: Nicaraguan Diaspora
The Civil War forced many Nicaraguans to start lives outside of their country. Although many Nicaraguans returned after the end of the war, many people emigrated during the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century due to the lack of employment opportunities and poverty(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery). The majority of the Nicaraguan Diaspora migrated to Costa Rica and the United States, and today one in six Nicaraguans live in these two countries.
The diaspora has also seen Nicaraguans settling around in smaller communities in other parts of the world, particularly Western Europe. Small communities of Nicarguans are found in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Communities also exist in Australia and New Zealand(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery). Canada, Brazil and Argentina in the Americas also host small groups of these communities. In Asia, Japan also hosts a small Nicaraguan community.
Due to extreme poverty in Nicaragua, many Nicaraguans are now living and working in neighboring El Salvador a country that has the US dollar as currency. 
Maternal and child health care
In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/W Battery). It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Nicaragua is 100. This is compared with 102.6 in 2008 and 100.8 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 27 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 46(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery). The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal death. In Nicaragua the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 7 and 1 in 300 shows us the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery).
Main article: Culture of Nicaragua
Nicaraguan women wearing the Mestizaje costume, which is a traditional costume worn to dance the Mestizaje dance. The costume demonstrates the Spanish influence on Nicaraguan clothing.
Nicaraguan culture has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavors. Nicaraguan culture can further be defined in several distinct strands(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery). The Pacific coast has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by Europeans. It was colonized by Spain and has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. The indigenous groups that historically inhabited the Pacific coast have largely been assimilated into the mestizo culture(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery).
The Caribbean coast of the country, on the other hand, was once a British protectorate. English is still predominant in this region and spoken domestically along with Spanish and indigenous languages. Its culture is similar to that of Caribbean nations that were or are British possessions, such as Jamaica, Belize, the Cayman Islands, etc. Unlike on the west coast(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery), the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean coast have maintained distinct identities, and some still speak their native languages as first languages.
Main article: Music of Nicaragua
Nicaraguan music is a mixture of indigenous and European, especially Spanish, influences. Musical instruments include the marimba and others common across Central America. The marimba of Nicaragua is uniquely played by a sitting performer holding the instrument on his knees. He is usually accompanied by a bass fiddle(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery), guitar and guitarrilla (a small guitar like a mandolin). This music is played at social functions as a sort of background music. The marimba is made with hardwood plates placed over bamboo or metal tubes of varying lengths. It is played with two or four hammers. The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is known for a lively, sensual form of dance music called Palo de Mayo which is popular throughout the country(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery). It is especially loud and celebrated during the Palo de Mayo festival in May. The Garifuna community (Afro-Indian) is known for its popular music called Punta.
Nicaragua enjoys a variety of international influence in the music arena. Bachata, Merengue, Salsa and Cumbia have gained prominence in cultural centers such as Managua, Leon and Granada(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery). Cumbia dancing has grown popular with the introduction of Nicaraguan artists, including Gustavo Leyton, on Ometepe Island and in Managua. Salsa dancing has become extremely popular in Managua's nightclubs. With various influences, the form of salsa dancing varies in Nicaragua. New York style and Cuban Salsa (Salsa Casino) elements have gained popularity across the country(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery).
Bachata dancing has also gained popularity in Nicaragua. Combinations of styles from the Dominican Republic and the United States can be found throughout the country. The nature of the dance in Nicaragua varies depending on the region. Rural areas tend to have a stronger focus on movement of the hips and turns. Urbanized cities(Sony VGN-CR42S Battery), on the other hand, focus primarily on more sophisticated footwork in addition to movement and turns. A considerable amount of Bachata dancing influence comes from Nicaraguans living abroad, in cities that include Miami, Los Angeles and, to a much lesser extent, New York City. Tango has also surfaced recently in cultural cities and ballroom dance occasions(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery).
Main article: Literature of Nicaragua
Rubén Darío, the founder of the modernismo literary movement in Latin America.
The literature of Nicaragua can be traced to pre-Columbian times; the myths and oral literature formed the cosmogonic view of the world of the indigenous people. Some of these stories are still known in Nicaragua. Like many Latin American countries, the Spanish conquerors have had the most effect on both the culture and the literature(Sony VGN-CR42ZR Battery). Nicaraguan literature has historically been an important source of poetry in the Spanish-speaking world, with internationally renowned contributors such as Rubén Darío, who is regarded as the most important literary figure in Nicaragua. He is called the "Father of Modernism" for leading the modernismo literary movement at the end of the 19th century(Sony VGN-CR41SR Battery). Other literary figures include Carlos Martinez Rivas, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Alberto Cuadra Mejia, Manolo Cuadra, Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello, Orlando Cuadra Downing, Alfredo Alegría Rosales, Sergio Ramirez Mercado, Ernesto Cardenal, Gioconda Belli, Claribel Alegría and José Coronel Urtecho, among others(Sony VGN-CR41E Battery).
The satirical drama El Güegüense was the first literary work of post-Columbian Nicaragua. It is regarded as one of Latin America's most distinctive colonial-era expressions and as Nicaragua's signature folkloric masterpiece, combining music, dance and theater. The theatrical play was written by an anonymous author in the 16th century(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery), making it one of the oldest indigenous theatrical/dance works of the Western Hemisphere. After centuries of popular performance, the play was first published in a book in 1942.
Main articles: Languages of Nicaragua, Central American Spanish, Nicaraguan Spanish, and Voseo
A sign in Bluefields in English (top), Spanish (middle) and Miskito (bottom)
Nicaraguan Spanish has many indigenous influences and several distinguishing characteristics. Until the 19th century(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery), a hybrid form of Nahuat-Spanish was the common language of Nicaragua. Today Nahuat, Mangue, and Mayan words and syntax can be found in everyday speech. The Nicaraguan accent dates back to the 16th century in Andalusia, and the relative isolation of Nicaragua meant that the accent did not change in the same ways that the Andalusian accent has(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery). For example, some Nicaraguans have a tendency to replace the "s" sound with an "h"" sound when speaking. Other Nicaraguans pronounce the word vos with a strong s sound at the end. In the central part of the country, regions such as Boaco pronounce vos without the s sound at the end. The result is vo, similar to vous in French and voi in Italian(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery).
In this map, the use of the voseo form is illustrated, with countries such as Nicaragua, where it is predominant, represented in dark blue. Voseo is also predominant in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, where Rioplatense Spanish is spoken.
Central American Spanish is spoken by about 90% of Nicaragua's population. In Nicaragua, the voseo form of address is dominant in both speech and publications(Sony VGN-CR
Nicaraguans, unlike most Spanish-speaking groups, cannot be categorized uniformly in terms of accent and word usage. Although Spanish is spoken throughout the country, the country has great variety(Sony VGN-CR31SR Battery): vocabulary, accents and colloquial language can vary between towns and departments.
In the Caribbean coast, many Afro-Nicaraguans and creoles speak English and creole English as their first language, but as a second language, they speak a fluent Spanish. The language in the North and South Atlantic Regions are influenced by English, Dutch(Sony VGN-CR21SR Battery), Portuguese, Spanish and French roots. In addition, many of the indigenous people speak their native languages, such as the Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Garifuna language. In addition, many ethnic groups in Nicaragua have maintained ancestral languages, while also speaking Spanish or English; these include Chinese, Arabic, German, and Italian(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery).
Spanish is taught as the principal language. English is taught to students during their high school years and tends to be the national second language. Other languages can also be found sporadically, particularly within expatriate communities.
Nicaragua was home to three extinct languages, one of which was never classified(Sony VGN-CR21S Battery). Nicaraguan Sign Language is also of particular interest to linguists as the world's youngest language.
Main article: Religion in Nicaragua
While Religion in Nicaragua is growing in diversity, the majority of Nicaraguans identify themselves as observers of the Roman Catholic faith. Pictured above is the Leon Cathedral, which is among one of the nation's World Heritage Sites and an active place of religious worship in León, Nicaragua(Sony VGN-CR21E Battery).
Religion is a significant part of the culture of Nicaragua and is referred to in the constitution. Religious freedom, which has been guaranteed since 1939, and religious tolerance are promoted by both the Nicaraguan government and the constitution(Sony VGN-CR11E Battery).
Nicaragua has no official religion. Catholic Bishops are expected to lend their authority to important state occasions, and their pronouncements on national issues are closely followed. They can also be called upon to mediate between contending parties at moments of political crisis(Sony VGN-CR11M Battery).
The largest denomination, and traditionally the religion of the majority, is Roman Catholic. The numbers of practicing Roman Catholics have been declining, while members of evangelical Protestant groups and Mormons have been rapidly growing in numbers since the 1990s. There are also strong Anglican and Moravian communities on the Caribbean coast(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery).
Roman Catholicism came to Nicaragua in the 16th century with the Spanish conquest and remained, until 1939, the established faith. Protestantism and other Christian denominations came to Nicaragua during the 19th century, but only gained large followings in the Caribbean Coast during the 20th century(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery).
Popular religion revolves around the saints, who are perceived as intercessors (but not mediators) between human beings and God. Most localities, from the capital of Managua to small rural communities, honor patron saints, selected from the Roman Catholic calendar, with annual fiestas. In many communities, a rich lore has grown up around the celebrations of patron saints, such as Managua's Saint Dominic (Sony VGN-CR11SR Battery) (Santo Domingo), honored in August with two colorful, often riotous, day-long processions through the city. The high point of Nicaragua's religious calendar for the masses is neither Christmas nor Easter, but La Purísima, a week of festivities in early December dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, during which elaborate altars to the Virgin Mary are constructed in homes and workplaces(Sony VGN-NR110E/W Battery).
The country's close political ties have also encouraged religious ties. Buddhism has increased with a steady influx of immigration.
Main article: Cuisine of Nicaragua
The Cuisine of Nicaragua is a mixture of criollo food and dishes of pre-Columbian origin. The Spaniards found that the Creole people had incorporated local foods available in the area into their cuisine(Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery). Traditional cuisine changes from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast; while the Pacific coast's main staple revolves around local fruits and corn, the Caribbean coast cuisine makes use of seafood and the coconut.
As in many other Latin American countries, corn is a main staple. Corn is used in many of the widely consumed dishes, such as the nacatamal, and indio viejo. Corn is also an ingredient for drinks such as pinolillo and chicha as well as sweets and desserts(Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery). In addition to corn, rice and beans are eaten very often.
Gallo pinto, Nicaragua's national dish, is made with white rice and red beans that are cooked separately and then fried together. The dish has several variations including the addition of coconut oil and/or grated coconut on the Caribbean coast(Sony VGN-NR110E Battery). Most Nicaraguans begin their day with Gallopinto. Gallopinto is most usually served with carne asada, a salad, fried cheese, platains or maduros.
Many of Nicaragua's dishes include indigenous fruits and vegetables such as jocote, mango, papaya, tamarindo, pipian, banana, avocado, yuca, and herbs such as cilantro, oregano and achiote(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery).
Nicaraguans also have been known to eat guinea pigs, tapirs, iguanas, turtle eggs, armadillos and boas but efforts are currently underway to curb this tendency.
Batter of the Fieras del San Fernando, a Nicaraguan professional baseball team
Baseball is the most popular sport played in Nicaragua. Although some professional Nicaraguan baseball teams have folded in the recent past(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery), Nicaragua enjoys a strong tradition of American-style Baseball. Baseball was introduced to Nicaragua at different years during the 19th century. In the Caribbean coast locals from Bluefields were taught how to play baseball in 1888 by Albert Addlesberg, a retailer from the United States. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery)  Baseball did not catch on in the Pacific coast until 1891 when a group of mostly students originating from universities of the United States formed "La Sociedad de Recreo" (Society of Recreation) where they played various sports, baseball being the most popular among them. There are five teams that compete amongst themselves(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery): Indios del Boer (Managua), Chinandega, Tiburones (Sharks) of Granada, León and Masaya. Players from these teams comprise the national team when Nicaragua competes internationally. The country has had its share of MLB players (including current Boston Red Sox pitcher Vicente Padilla and Boston Red Sox pitcher Devern Hansack) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery), but the most notable is Dennis Martínez, who was the first baseball player from Nicaragua to play in Major League Baseball. He became the first Latin-born pitcher to throw a perfect game, and the 13th in major league history, when he played with the Montreal Expos against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in 1991(Sony VAIO VGN-FW465J battery).
Boxing is the second most popular sport in Nicaragua. The country has had world champions such as Alexis Argüello and Ricardo Mayorga among others. Recently, football has gained popularity, especially with the younger population. The Dennis Martínez National Stadium has served as a venue for both baseball and football but the first ever national football stadium in Managua is currently under construction(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery).
Main article: Education in Nicaragua
See also: Universities in Nicaragua and List of Schools in Nicaragua
Literacy Campaign Propaganda Poster
Nicaragua's first public primary school opened in 1837. By the late 1860s public grade schools existed in most of the larger cities. In 1877, Nicaraguan authorities accepted the principle that such schools should be nationally funded, and that attendance should be free and compulsory(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery). In 1881 education was formally removed from religious control and turned over to government, but church-run schools continued to operate alongside the public system. Subsequently shortages of facilities and teachers, especially in rural areas, hampered educational development(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery). The Sandinista government sharply increased spending on education and reduced illiteracy significantly, but shortages of facilities and personnel remained a problem. The Sandinistas also added a leftist ideological content to the curriculum, which was removed after 1990.
Higher education dates from 1818 when the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) was founded in León(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery). A major reform, begun in 1980, reorganized the country's postsecondary system into two universities: the UNAN, with campuses in León and Managua, and the Central American University in Managua. It also restructured the curriculum, giving more emphasis to science and technology, and less to law and commerce(Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery). Nicaragua also has several more specialized institutions, with a focus on education that will promote economic development.
Education is paid via taxes for all Nicaraguans. Elementary education is free and compulsory, but many children in rural areas are unable to attend due to lack of schools and other reasons. Communities on the Caribbean coast have access to education in their native languages(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery).
The majority of higher education institutions are in Managua, higher education has financial, organic and administrative autonomy, according to the law. Also, freedom of subjects is recognized. Nicaragua's higher education system consists of 48 universities, and 113 colleges and technical institutes in the areas of electronics(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery), computer systems and sciences, agroforestry, construction and trade-related services. The educational system includes 1 U.S. accredited English-language university, 3 Bilingual university programs, 5 Bilingual secondary schools and dozens of English Language Institutes. In 2005, almost 400,000 (7%) of Nicaraguans held a university degree(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). 18% of Nicaragua's total budget is invested in primary, secondary and higher education. University level institutions account for 6% of 18%.
As of 1979, the educational system was one of the poorest in Latin America. Under the Somoza dictatorships, limited spending on education and generalized poverty, which forced many adolescents into the labor market, constricted educational opportunities for Nicaraguans(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery). One of the first acts of the newly elected Sandinista government in 1980 was an extensive and successful literacy campaign, using secondary school students, university students and teachers as volunteer teachers: it reduced the overall illiteracy rate from 50.3% to 12.9% within only five months. This was one of a number of large scale programs which received international recognition for their gains in literacy(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery), health care, education, childcare, unions, and land reform. In September 1980, UNESCO awarded Nicaragua the Nadezhda Krupskaya award for the literacy campaign. This was followed by the literacy campaigns of 1982, 1986, 1987, 1995 and 2000, all of which were also awarded by UNESCO(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery).
Communications and media
For most Nicaraguans radio and TV are the main sources of news. There are more than 100 radio stations, many of them in the capital, and several TV networks. Cable TV is available in most urban areas.
The print media are varied and partisan, representing pro and anti-government positions(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery).
La Prensa; El Nuevo Diario; Confidencial Varies; Hoy; Mercurio
Televicentro Canal 2; Multinoticias Canal 4; Telenica Canal 8; Canal 9; Canal 10; TVRED canal 11; Nicavision Canal 12; Viva Nicaragua Canal 13; VosTV Canal 14; 100% Noticias canal 15; CDNN Canal 23; Extraplus Canal 37(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery)
Radio Corporacion; Radio Mundial; Radio Nicaragua (state-owned); Radio Sandino; Radio Pirata; Radio Maranata:; Estacion X; Radio joya; Radio Romantica; Radio Pachanguera; Radio Buenisima; Radio Disney: Radio Oldis(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery)