Geographic and Governmental Profile of Nicaragua

Background
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. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra was elected president in 2006 and reelected in 2011. The 2008 municipal elections, 2010 regional elections, and November 2011 presidential elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration.
Location
Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Geographic coordinates
13 00 N, 85 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total:
130,370 sq km
rank:
98
land:
119,990 sq km
water:
10,380 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than New York state
Land boundaries
total:
1,231 km
border countries:
Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km
Coastline
910 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
continental shelf:
natural prolongation
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:
14.81%
permanent crops:
1.82%
other:
83.37% (2005)
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Irrigated land
610 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
196.7 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
1.3 cu km/yr (15%/2%/83%)
per capita:
237 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
destructive earthquakes; volcanoes; landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
volcanism:
significant volcanic activity; Cerro Negro (elev. 728 m), which last erupted in 1999, is one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes; its lava flows and ash have been known to cause significant damage to farmland and buildings; other historically active volcanoes include Concepcion, Cosiguina, Las Pilas, Masaya, Momotombo, San Cristobal, and Telica
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Nicaragua
conventional short form:
Nicaragua
local long form:
Republica de Nicaragua
local short form:
Nicaragua
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Managua
geographic coordinates:
12 08 N, 86 15 W
time difference:
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonoma); Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas
Independence
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Constitution
9 January 1987; revised in 1995, 2000, and 2005
Legal system
civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Moises Omar HALLESLEVENS Acevedo (since 10 January 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Moises Omar HALLESLEVENS Acevedo (since 10 January 2012)
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 on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)
election results:
Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra reelected president; percent of vote - Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra 62.5%, Fabio GADEA 31%, Arnoldo ALEMAN 5.9%, other 0.6%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 90 members elected by proportional representation and party lists to serve five-year terms; 1 seat for the previous president, 1 seat for the runner-up in previous presidential election)
elections:
last held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2017)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FSLN 63, PLI/MRS 27, PLC 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema de Justicia (16 judges elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly); note - in 2010, President ORTEGA directly replaced seven justices on the Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders
Conservative Party or PC [Alejandro BOLANOS Davis]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Indalecio RODRIGUEZ]; Liberal Constitutionalist Party or PLC [Jorge CASTILLO Quant]; Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance or ALN [Alejandro MEJIA Ferreti]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Enrique SAENZ-NAVARRETE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
National Workers Front or FNT (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 (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 (an independent labor union); Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP (a confederation of business groups)
International organization participation
BCIE, CACM, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Francisco Obadiah CAMPBELL Hooker
chancery:
1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone:
[1] (202) 939-6570, 6573
FAX:
[1] (202) 939-6545
consulate(s) general:
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador (vacant)
embassy:
Kilometer 5.5 Carretera Sur, Managua
mailing address:
American Embassy Managua, APO AA 34021
telephone:
[505] 252-7100, 252-7888; 252-7634 (after hours)
FAX:
[505] 252-7304
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; the banner is based on the former blue-white-blue flag of the Federal Republic of Central America; the blue bands symbolize the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while the white band represents the land between the two bodies of water
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
National symbol(s)
turquoise-browed motmot (bird)
National anthem
name:
"Salve a ti, Nicaragua" (Hail to Thee, Nicaragua)
lyrics/music:
Salomon Ibarra MAYORGA/traditional, arranged by Luis Abraham DELGADILLO
although only officially adopted in 1971, the music was approved in 1918 and the lyrics in 1939; the tune, originally from Spain, was used as an anthem for Nicaragua from the 1830's until 1876
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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