Nicaragua pursues an independent foreign policy. A participant of the Central American Security Commission, Nicaragua also has taken a leading role in pressing for regional demilitarization and peaceful settlement of disputes within states in the region.

Nicaragua has submitted three territorial disputes, one with Honduras, another with Colombia, and the third with Costa Rica to the International Court of Justice for resolution.

International membership

At the 1994 Summit of the Americas, Nicaragua joined six Central American neighbors in signing the Alliance for Sustainable Development, known as the Conjunta Centroamerica-USA or CONCAUSA, to promote sustainable economic development in the region.

Nicaragua belongs to the United Nations and several specialized and related agencies, including:

International disputes

Main article: Territorial disputes of Nicaragua

International relations with intergovernmental organizations and countries

Nicaragua signed a 3-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2007. As part of the IMF program, the Government of Nicaragua agreed to implement free market policies linked to targets on fiscal discipline, poverty spending, and energy regulation. The lack of transparency surrounding Venezuelan bilateral assistance, channeled through state-run enterprises rather than the official budget, has become a serious issue for the IMF and international donors. On September 10, 2008, with misgivings about fiscal transparency, the IMF released an additional $30 million to Nicaragua, the second tranche of its $110 million PRGF.[1]

The flawed municipal elections of November 2008 prompted a number of European donors to suspend direct budget support to Nicaragua, a move that created a severe budget shortfall for the government. This shortfall, in turn, caused the Government of Nicaragua to fall out of compliance with its PRGF obligations and led to a suspension of PRGF disbursements. The IMF is currently in negotiations with the Government of Nicaragua to reinstate disbursements.[1]

Under current president Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua has stayed current with the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force for Nicaragua on April 1, 2006. Nicaragua exports to the United States, which account for 59% of Nicaragua's total exports, were $1.7 billion in 2008, up 45% from 2005. Textiles and apparel account for 55% of exports to the United States, while automobile wiring harnesses add another 11%.[1]

Other leading export products are coffee, meat, cigars, sugar, ethanol, and fresh fruit and vegetables, all of which have seen remarkable growth since CAFTA-DR went into effect. Leading Nicaraguan exports also demonstrated increased diversity, with 274 new products shipped to the United States in the first year. U.S. exports to Nicaragua, meanwhile, were $1.1 billion in 2008, up 23% from 2005. Other important trading partners for Nicaragua are its Central American neighbors, Mexico, and the European Union. Nicaragua is negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union as part of a Central American bloc.[1]

Despite important protections for investment included in CAFTA-DR, the investment climate has become relatively insecure since Ortega took office. According to the United States State Department, President Ortega's decision to support "radical regimes" such as Iran and Cuba, his harsh rhetoric against the United States and capitalism, and his use of government institutions to persecute political enemies and their businesses, has had a negative effect on perceptions of country risk, which by some accounts has quadrupled since he assumed office. The government reports foreign investment inflows totaled $506 million in 2008, including $123 million in telecommunications infrastructure and $120 million in energy generation.[1]

There are over 100 companies operating in Nicaragua with some relation to a U.S. company, either as wholly or partly owned subsidiaries, franchisees, or exclusive distributors of U.S. products. The largest are in energy, financial services, textiles/apparel, manufacturing, and fisheries. However, many companies in the textile/apparel sector, including a $100 million U.S.-owned denim mill, had shuttered by 2017.[1]

Poor enforcement of property rights deters both foreign and domestic investment, especially in real estate development and tourism. Conflicting claims and weak enforcement of property rights has invited property disputes and litigation. Establishing verifiable title history is often entangled in legalities relating to the expropriation of 28,000 properties by the revolutionary government that Ortega led in the 1980s. The situation is not helped by a court system that is widely believed to be corrupt and subject to political influence.[1]

Illegal property seizures by private parties, occasionally in collaboration with corrupt municipal officials, often go unchallenged by the authorities, especially in the Atlantic regions and interior regions of the north, where property rights are poorly defined and rule of law is weak. Foreign investor interest along the Pacific Coast has motivated some unscrupulous people to challenge ownership rights in the Departments of Rivas and Chinandega, with the hope of achieving some sort of cash settlement.[1]

In October 2022, the European Union declared the Nicaraguan representative Zoila Müller non grata.[2]

Diplomatic relations

List of countries which Nicaragua maintains diplomatic relations with:[3]

# Country Date
1  United States 4 August 1824[4]
2  Colombia 8 March 1825[5]
3  Ecuador 1836[6]
4  Mexico 1839[7]
5  El Salvador 24 July 1840[8]
6  Guatemala 15 May 1845[9]
7  Spain 21 March 1851[10]
8  Chile March 1857[11]
9  Peru 5 October 1857[12]
10  Belgium 18 May 1858[13]
11  United Kingdom 22 February 1859[14]
12  France 11 April 1859[15]
13  Honduras 1864[14]
14  Costa Rica 30 July 1868[14]
15  Venezuela 22 June 1891[16]
16  Serbia 23 February 1904[17]
17  Cuba 3 September 1905[18]
18  Brazil 1905[19]
19  Italy 25 January 1906[20]
20  Argentina 29 August 1910[21]
21  Czech Republic 20 March 1930[22]
22  Poland 18 November 1933[23]
23  Japan February 1935[24]
24  Panama 13 December 1938[25]
25  Norway 5 July 1947[26]
26  Israel 18 May 1948[27]
27  Dominican Republic 1 June 1949[28]
28  Turkey 21 September 1950[29]
29  Germany 10 April 1952[30]
30  Haiti 6 August 1952[31]
31  Bolivia 6 July 1955[32]
 Netherlands (suspended) 1955[33]
32  Paraguay 18 January 1956[34]
33   Switzerland 1957[35]
34  Portugal 3 March 1958[36]
35  Canada June 1961[37]
36  South Korea 26 January 1962[38]
37  Uruguay 1964[39]
38  Greece 2 July 1965[40]
39  Denmark November 1967[41]
40  Philippines 10 August 1973[42]
41  Jamaica 15 August 1975[43]
42  Barbados 8 November 1975[44]
43  Thailand 24 November 1975[45]
44  Finland 22 December 1975[46]
45  Iran 29 April 1976[47]
46  Suriname 24 June 1976[48]
47  Luxembourg 7 July 1976[49]
48  Pakistan 27 September 1976[50]
49  Hungary 1 October 1977[51]
50  Egypt 11 September 1978[52]
51  Romania 6 January 1979[53]
52  Zambia 21 April 1979[54]
53  North Korea 24 August 1979[55]
54  Vietnam 3 September 1979[56]
55  Republic of the Congo 13 September 1979[57]
56  Russia 13 September 1979[58]
57  Grenada 29 September 1979
58  Mongolia 13 October 1979[59]
59  Albania November 1979[60]
60  Bulgaria 16 November 1979[61]
61  Austria March 1980[62]
62  Zimbabwe April 1980[63]
63  Laos 30 May 1980
 State of Palestine 22 July 1980[64][65]
64  Tanzania December 1980[62]
65  Mozambique January 1981[62]
66  Algeria September 1981[66]
67  Belize September 1981[67]
68  Guyana 23 November 1981[68]
69  Cyprus 26 May 1982
70  Lebanon 16 June 1982[69]
71  Iceland 16 December 1982[70]
72  Bangladesh 15 February 1983[71]
73  Yemen 21 February 1983[72]
74  India March 1983[73]
75  Lesotho 14 June 1983[74]
76  Liberia July 1983[62]
77  Burkina Faso 30 November 1983[75]
78  Australia 5 December 1983[76]
79  Ethiopia 7 May 1984
80  Seychelles 22 May 1984
81  Benin 5 June 1984
82  Equatorial Guinea 20 September 1984
83  Madagascar 26 October 1984
84  China 7 December 1985[77]
85  Libya March 1986[62]
86  Vanuatu 6 June 1986
87    Nepal 2 October 1986
88  Ivory Coast 3 April 1987
89  Democratic Republic of the Congo 4 May 1987[78]
90  Guinea 15 March 1988[79]
91  Indonesia 11 April 1988[80]
92  New Zealand 30 August 1988[81]
93  Angola 20 October 1988[82]
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic 10 March 1989[79]
94  Iraq 26 November 1989[83]
95  Jordan 27 May 1991[84]
96  Kuwait 27 June 1991
97  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 28 June 1991
98  United Arab Emirates 1 August 1991
99  Bahrain 15 August 1991
100  Qatar 15 August 1991
101  Oman 26 September 1991
102  Bahamas 3 January 1992[85]
103  Antigua and Barbuda 20 February 1992[86]
104  Slovenia 14 April 1992[87]
105  Saint Kitts and Nevis May 1992[88]
106  Ukraine 30 November 1992[89]
107  Saint Lucia 1992[90]
108  Slovakia 5 January 1993[91]
109  Singapore 6 January 1993[92]
110  Malaysia 17 February 1993
111  Mali 27 July 1993[93]
112  Moldova 8 November 1993
113  Cambodia 10 March 1994
114  Lithuania 23 March 1994
115  Belarus 24 May 1994[94]
116  Latvia 20 June 1994
117  Kazakhstan 5 July 1994[95]
118  Armenia 6 July 1994[96]
119  South Africa 15 September 1994
120  Azerbaijan 23 November 1994
121  Andorra 29 June 1995
122  North Macedonia 28 March 1996
123  Croatia 29 March 1996
124  Turkmenistan 29 August 1996
125  Brunei July 1998[97]
126  Syria 14 February 1999[79]
127  Morocco 21 July 2000[98]
128  Nigeria 24 April 2001[79]
129  Ireland 9 September 2003
130  Estonia 4 March 2004
131  Saudi Arabia 30 March 2006
132  Uzbekistan 23 February 2007
133  Botswana 28 August 2007
134  East Timor 2 November 2007
135  Dominica 2 June 2009
 Abkhazia 14 September 2009[99]
136  Montenegro 24 September 2009
137  San Marino 2 October 2009
138  Bosnia and Herzegovina 22 October 2009
139  Solomon Islands 20 April 2010
140  Maldives 11 May 2010
141  Tuvalu 3 August 2011
142  Fiji 21 September 2012[100]
143  Liechtenstein 23 February 2013
144  Sudan 27 June 2014
145  Tajikistan 30 March 2016
146  Kyrgyzstan 7 July 2017
147  Sri Lanka 15 May 2019
148  Eritrea 6 June 2019
149  Uganda 7 June 2019
150  Central African Republic 12 June 2019
151  Marshall Islands 13 June 2019
152  Palau 17 June 2019
153  Burundi 26 June 2019
154  Tunisia 2 July 2019
155  Gambia 8 July 2019
156  South Sudan 22 July 2019
157  Kenya 30 July 2019
158  Niger 8 August 2019
159  Monaco 4 September 2019
160  Djibouti 9 September 2019
161  Eswatini 17 September 2019
162  Comoros 18 September 2019
163  Mauritania 14 October 2019[101]
164  Namibia 16 October 2019[102]
165  Nauru 18 October 2019
166  Togo 23 October 2019
167  Cameroon 1 November 2019
168  Rwanda 8 November 2019[103]
169  Federated States of Micronesia 11 December 2019
170  Myanmar 6 August 2020
171  Sierra Leone 25 September 2020
172  Kiribati 17 May 2021
173  Gabon 14 June 2021
174  Chad 24 September 2021[104]
175  Malawi 25 September 2022[105]
176  Papua New Guinea 17 February 2023
177  Afghanistan Unknown
178  Malta Unknown
179  São Tomé and Príncipe Unknown
180  Senegal Unknown
181  Sweden Unknown
182  Trinidad and Tobago Unknown

Bilateral relations

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 China 1985 (With the People's Republic of China)[106] See China–Nicaragua relations

Nicaragua established diplomatic relations of the nationalist government of Republican China in 1930 but maintained relations after the central government of the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan after declaring the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. After the Sandinista National Liberation Front took power in 1979, Nicaragua recognized the PRC on 7 December 1985 until 9 November 1990 when FSLN was defeated and resumed relations with the ROC, which continued under Daniel Ortega's presidency since 2007. On 9 December 2021, Nicaragua resumed relations with the PRC.[107]

 Colombia See Colombia–Nicaragua relations

The relationship between the two Latin American countries has evolved amid conflicts over the San Andrés y Providencia Islands located in the Caribbean close to the Nicaraguan shoreline and the maritime boundaries covering 150,000 km2 that included the islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina and the banks of Roncador, Serrana, Serranilla and Quitasueño as well as the arbitrarily designed 82nd meridian west which Colombia claims as a border but which the International Court has sided with Nicaragua in disavowing.[108] The archipelago has been under Colombian control since 1931 when a treaty was signed during US occupation of Nicaragua, giving Colombia control over the islands.

  • Colombia has an embassy in Managua.
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Bogotá.
 Cuba 3 September 1905 See Cuba–Nicaragua relations

Relations between the two countries were particularly positive during Nicaragua's initial Sandinista period and have been strong since the 2007 election of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

 Denmark See Denmark–Nicaragua relations
 Finland See Finland–Nicaragua relations

Finland is a significant donor of aid to Nicaragua. In 2007, total aid amounted to around EUR 14.5 million. The cooperation focused on rural development, health care and supporting local government.[109] In 1992, the Finnish government announced an aid program of US$27.4 million.[110]

In 2006, the Finnish government pledged 4.9 million euros to help the Nicaraguan government integrate the ICT systems of 20 town councils.[111] In 2008, the Finnish government revoked a 1.95 million euro aid package meant for Nicaragua in protest of what it alleged was a lack of transparency in Nicaragua's national budget and its municipal elections.[112]

In 2004, Finnish President Tarja Halonen visited Nicaragua[113] where she stated "The Finnish government and Parliament have decided that Nicaragua is one of the main targets of Finnish development aid. However, the visit has shown that Finland is not only giving money – it is also interested in what is happening here".[114] The Finnish President also made a speech to the National Assembly of Nicaragua on 31 May 2004.[115] In 2003, the two countries signed the Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments>

In February 2012, Finland made decision to stop development aid to Nicaragua. The main reason was concern over the state of the democracy in Nicaragua.[116]

  • Finland is accredited to Nicaragua from its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Nicaragua has an honorary consulate in Helsinki.[117]
 Georgia Diplomatic relations severed in November 2008
  • Nicaraguan-Georgian diplomatic relations established on 19 September 1994[118] and ended on 29 November 2008. The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that it had cut diplomatic ties with Nicaragua in a response to the latter's recognition of independence of breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia.[119]
 Greece See Greece–Nicaragua relations
  • Greece is accredited to Nicaragua through its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Nicaragua is accredited to Greece through its embassy in Rome, Italy.
 Holy See Diplomatic relations severed in 2023 See Holy See–Nicaragua relations
  • Holy See had an Apostolic Nunciature in Managua until 2023.
  • Nicaragua had an embassy in Rome to the Holy See until 2023.
 India See India-Nicaragua relations
 Israel Israel was the last country that still shipped weapons to the embattled Anastacio Somoza regime in 1978–1979 (the dictator's father had supported Israel in 1948, establishing a "special relationship" between Nicaragua and Israel), becoming the regime's main supplier of arms, after the Carter administration had cut off supplies amid the public outcry over Somozista troops' atrocities.[123] This soured the relations with the -Sandinista government; the relations were then gradually normalized. In March 2017, Nicaragua and Israel reestablished diplomatic relations after they were suspended in 2010.[124]
 Mexico 1838 See Mexico–Nicaragua relations
 Soviet Union- Russia October 1979 See Nicaragua–Russia relations

Both countries signed diplomatic missions on October 18, 1979, a few months after the Sandinista revolution.[127] President Vladimir Putin visited Nicaragua on July 12, 2014.

  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Moscow.
  • Russia has an embassy in Managua.
 South Korea January 1962[128]

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Nicaragua began in January 1962.[128]

  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Seoul.[129]
  • South Korea has an embassy in Managua.[130]
 Netherlands Diplomatic Relations severed in October 2022 The direct cause for severing relations was the Netherlands’ decision to definitively terminate its financial contribution to the Nicaraguan authorities for the construction of a hospital in Nicaragua, which has been on hold for several years.[131]
 Spain 20 March 1851 See Nicaragua–Spain relations
  Switzerland 1956
Swiss Cooperation Office in Managua

Relations with Nicaragua and Switzerland focus on development cooperation, humanitarian aid and trade.

  • Nicaragua is accredited to Switzerland from its embassy in Berlin, Germany.
  • Switzerland is accredited to Nicaragua from its embassy in San José, Costa Rica and maintains a Swiss cooperation office in Managua.[133]
 Turkey Nov. 11, 1926[134] See Nicaragua–Turkey relations
  • Turkish embassy in San José, Costa Rica is accredited to Nicaragua.[134]
  • Nicaraguan embassy in Berlin is accredited to Turkey.[134]
  • Trade volume between the two countries was US$11.6 million in 2019 (Nicaraguan exports/imports: 0.5/11.1 million USD).[134]
 United Kingdom 1859 See Foreign relations of the United Kingdom

Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom on 22 February 1859.[14]

Both countries are parties of the UK-Central America Free Trade Agreement.[137]

 United States 1824; 1849 See Nicaragua–United States relations
Embassy of Nicaragua in Washington, D.C.
 Uruguay 1849 See Nicaragua–Uruguay relations
Embassy of Nicaragua in Montevideo
  • Nicaragua is accredited to Uruguay from its embassy in Santiago, Chile.
  • Uruguay is accredited to Nicaragua from its embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
 Venezuela 1979

Venezuela and Nicaragua have had diplomatic relations since January 1979. During the Venezuelan government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, they helped FSLN to overthrow regime of longtime Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. Relations between Nicaragua and Venezuela have significantly improved during the presidency of Hugo Chávez. In 2007 Nicaragua became a formal member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) international cooperation organization and the Caribbean oil alliance Petrocaribe. In the recent years Nicaragua has received discounted oil from Venezuela with low payments. The presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua, President Hugo Chávez and President Daniel Ortega, have both described themselves as good friends and visited one another's nations.

  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Caracas.
  • Venezuela has an embassy in Managua.

States with limited recognition

The following table includes Republic of China, Georgia, and some of the states with limited recognition:

Name Recognized by Nicaragua Notes
 Abkhazia See Abkhazia–Nicaragua relations

Nicaragua recognized Abkhazia[139] and South Ossetia[140] on September 5, 2008.

At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López said, "Certainly, we think that the decision [to recognize independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia] was fair and appropriate. They [the republics] must be given time for inner formalities. We will coordinate the possibility and terms of direct diplomatic relations at a convenient moment. Obviously and logically, we will be acting via our friends, probably Russia, to establish closer contacts and diplomatic relations [with the republics]."[141]

 Palestine Yes
  • Palestine has an embassy in Managua.[142]
  • Nicaraguan foreign minister, Denis Moncada, has publicly expressed solidarity with Palestinian statehood and called for "an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories," and the "liberation of Palestinian prisoners."[143]
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Yes Recognized by 34 UN states, claimed by Morocco.
 South Ossetia Yes See Nicaragua–South Ossetia relations

Nicaragua extended diplomatic recognition to South Ossetia[140] and Abkhazia[139] on 5 September 2008. After the recognition was announced, the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry stated that they would immediately establish ties with Tskhinval and would eventually appoint an ambassador to the republic.[citation needed] At a press conference in November 2008, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López said, "Certainly, we think that the decision [to recognize independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia] was fair and appropriate. They [the republics] must be given time for inner formalities. We will coordinate the possibility and terms of direct diplomatic relations at a convenient moment. Obviously and logically, we will be acting via our friends, probably Russia, to establish closer contacts and diplomatic relations [with the republics]."[141]

The recognition of South Ossetia by Nicaragua triggered immediate reactions from other countries involved in the dispute over the status of South Ossetia. Georgia responded to Nicaragua's concurrent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by cutting diplomatic relations with the Central American state at the end of November 2008.[144] Russia offered to strengthen ties with Nicaragua and to provide aid to Nicaragua to help rebuild areas damaged by hurricanes.[145] The U.S. Secretary of Commerce canceled a planned trip to Nicaragua, with the U.S. Ambassador in Managua saying, "It isn't the appropriate moment for the visit."[146]

 Sovereign Military Order of Malta Yes[147] A sovereign entity without territory, established diplomatic relations with 104 states.
 Taiwan Diplomatic relations severed in 2021

Nicaragua used to maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan instead of the People's Republic of China. In 2007, President Daniel Ortega stated that Nicaragua will maintain its diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Ortega defended Nicaragua's right of having diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China at the same time and insisted that Nicaragua will not break its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and Vice-president Jaime Morales Carazo (during Ortega's first tenure) criticized the People's Republic of China for conditioning Nicaragua's diplomatic relations. Nicaragua maintained its diplomatic relations with Taiwan until 2021.[148] On December 9, 2021, Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China and recognised the PRC as the legitimate Chinese government.[149]

See also

References

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