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Map of Nicaragua


Location: Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras

Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 85 00 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 129,494 sq km
land: 120,254 sq km
water: 9,240 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:
contiguous zone: 25-nm security zone
continental shelf: natural prolongation
territorial sea: 200 nm

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: 9%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 27%
other: 17% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 880 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and occasionally severe hurricanes

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea


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Population: 4,583,379 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 1,017,190; female 1,000,436)
15-64 years: 53% (male 1,191,323; female 1,251,828)
65 years and over: 3% (male 52,836; female 69,766) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.92% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 36.04 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.8 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 42.26 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.62 years
male: 64.26 years
female: 69.08 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.28 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Nicaraguan(s)
adjective: Nicaraguan

Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant 5%

Languages: Spanish (official)
note: English- and Amerindian-speaking minorities on Atlantic coast

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 65.7%
male: 64.6%
female: 66.6% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua
conventional short form: Nicaragua
local long form: Republica de Nicaragua
local short form: Nicaragua

Data code: NU

Government type: republic

National capital: Managua

Administrative divisions: 15 departments (departamentos, singular—departamento), 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular—region autonomista); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas, Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 9 January 1987

Legal system: civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts

Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (10 January 1997); Vice President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (10 January 1997)
head of government: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (10 January 1997); Vice President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (10 January 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held NA 2001); note—in July 1995 the term of the office of the president was amended to five years
election results: Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (Liberal Alliance) 51.03%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 37.75%, Guillermo OSORNO (PCCN) 4.10%, Noel VIDAURRE (PCN) 2.26%, Benjamin LANZAS (PRONAL) 0.53%, others (18 other candidates) remaining 4.33%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (93 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party—Liberal Alliance (ruling party—includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCCN 3.73%, PCN 2.12%, MRS 1.33%; seats by party—Liberal Alliance 42, FSLN 36, PCCN 4, PCN 3, PRONAL 2, MRS 1, PRN 1, PNC 1, PLI 1, AU 1, UNO-96 Alliance 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), 12 judges elected for a seven-year term by the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders:
right: Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Road (PCCN), Guillermo OSORNO, Roberto RODRIGUEZ; Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), Jose RIZO Castellon; Independent Liberal Party for National Unity (PLIUN), Carlos GUERRA Gallardo; National Conservative Party (PCN), Adolfo CALERO, Noel VIDAURRE; Nationalist Liberal Party (PLN), Enrique SANCHEZ Herdocia
center right: Neoliberal Party (PALI), Adolfo GARCIA Esquivel; Nicaraguan Resistance Party (PRN), Fabio GADEA; Independent Liberal Party (PLI), Virgilio GODOY; National Project (PRONAL), Antonio LACAYO Oyanguren; Conservative Action Movement (MAC), Hernaldo ZUNIGA
center left: Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), Sergio RAMIREZ; Social Democratic Party (PSD), Adolfo JARQUIN; Social Christian Party (PSC), Erick RAMIREZ; Movement for Revolutionary Unity (MUR), NA; Central American Integrationist Party (PIAC), NA; Unity Alliance (AU), Alejandro SERRANO; Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCN), Dr. Fernando AGUERO Rocha; National Democratic Party (PND), Alfredo CESAR Aguirre; Central American Unionist Party (PUCA), Blanca ROJAS Echaverry; UNO-96 Alliance, Alfredo CESAR Aguirre; Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN), Alfredo GUZMAN
left: Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Workers Front (FNT) is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions: Sandinista Workers' Central (CST); Farm Workers Association (ATC); Health Workers Federation (FETASALUD); National Union of Employees (UNE); National Association of Educators of Nicaragua (ANDEN); Union of Journalists of Nicaragua (UPN); Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations (CONAPRO); and the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG); Permanent Congress of Workers (CPT) is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions: Confederation of Labor Unification (CUS); Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers' Central (CTN-A); Independent General Confederation of Labor (CGT-I); and Labor Action and Unity Central (CAUS); Nicaraguan Workers' Central (CTN) is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) is a confederation of business groups

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco AGUIRRE Sacasa
chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lino GUTIERREZ
embassy: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur., Managua
mailing address: APO AA 34021
telephone: [505] (2) 666010 through 666013, 666015 through 18, 666026, 666027, 666032 through 33
FAX: [505] (2) 669074

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; 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


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Economy—overview: The Nicaraguan economy, devastated during the 1980s by economic mismanagement and civil war, is beginning to rebound. In 1991 President CHAMORRO launched an ambitious economic stabilization program that reduced inflation and obtained substantial economic aid from abroad. Economic growth rose sharply in 1995-97, due to surges in exports and efforts to enhance trade liberalization. The program, however, hit some snags, and a 1994-97 IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) signed by the CHAMORRO administration with the Fund lapsed in September 1996 due to non-compliance. In 1997, however, the IMF resumed negotiations for an ESAF with the ALEMAN administration, and agreed to an ESAF in 1998. IMF approval of the ESAF cleared the way for debt relief by the Paris Club later that year and has opened the way for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Implementation of a 1997 property accord—designed to resolve conflict over properties confiscated by the Sandinistas in the 1980s—should also help inspire international investor confidence. Strong growth is forecast for 1998, with implementation of a 1997 free trade agreement with Mexico expected to boost agricultural exports, although the industrial sector may come under pressure from increased Mexican competition.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$9.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,100 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 34%
industry: 21%
services: 45% (1995)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 11.6% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 1.5 million
by occupation: services 54%, agriculture 31%, industry 15% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16%; underemployment 36% (1996 est.)

revenues: $389 million
expenditures: $551 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: food processing, chemicals, metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear

Industrial production growth rate: 1.4% (1994 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 457,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.76 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 416 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, cassava (tapioca), citrus, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products

total value: $635 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: coffee, seafood, meat, sugar, gold, bananas
partners: US, Central America, Germany, Canada

total value: $1.1 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, petroleum products
partners: Central America, US, Venezuela, Japan

Debt—external: $6 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 gold cordoba (C$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: gold cordobas (C$) per US$1—9.76 (October 1997), 8.44 (1996), 7.55 (1995), 6.72 (1994), 5.62 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 66,810 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System
domestic: wire and microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth stations—1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 45, FM 0, shortwave 3

Radios: 1.037 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 7 (1994 est.)

Televisions: 260,000 (1992 est.)


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total: 0 km
narrow gauge: 0 km 1.067-m gauge; note—part of the previous 376 km system was closed and dismantled in 1993 and, in 1994, the remainder was closed, the track and rolling stock being sold for scrap

total: 18,000 km
paved: 1,818 km
unpaved: 16,182 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 2,220 km, including 2 large lakes

Pipelines: crude oil 56 km

Ports and harbors: Bluefields, Corinto, El Bluff, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 185 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 172
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 144 (1997 est.)




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