Nicaragua

The Central American country of Nicaragua was hit by a major earthquake in the 1970s that left the entire centre of Managua in ruins. Decades later, the Cathedral is still a ruin with only some upright walls. The money for the reconstruction was misappropriated by the dictator Somoza. A few years later, Somoza had to surrender to the Sandinista movement, led by eight commanders. The U.S. president Reagan ran the gauntlet of the left-wing Marxist Sandinista Government by supporting the right-wing Contras with money and military equipment. Eventually, the Sandinistas fell out of power through the elections and Violeta Chamoro became president. 

Despite the social policy of the Sandinistas who subsequently returned to power, Nicaragua remains one of the poorest countries of the continent along with Bolivia and Haiti. From an economic point of view, this is an agricultural country in which few people work. The future construction of a transatlantic pipe, financed by a Chinese billionaire, would change that. 

Flanders is connected in particular with Nicaragua because a number of municipalities have inter-institutional cooperation programmes. Flemish NGOs have also been traditionally very active in the country. Oxfam World Shops import fruit, rum and honey from Nicaragua.