Nicaragua–United States relations
After being condemned for terrorism, the U.S has aimed to support the consolidation of the democratic process in Nicaragua with the 1990 election of President Chamorro. The United States has promoted national reconciliation, encouraging Nicaraguans to resolve their problems through dialogue and compromise. It recognizes as legitimate all political forces that abide by the democratic process and eschew violence. U.S. assistance is focused on strengthening democratic institutions, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and supporting the health and basic education sectors.
The resolution of U.S. citizen claims arising from Sandinista-era confiscations and expropriations still figures prominently in bilateral policy concerns. Section 527 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (1994) prohibits certain U.S. assistance and support for a government of a country that has confiscated U.S. citizen property, unless the government has taken certain remedial steps. In July 2007, the Secretary of State issued a 14th annual national interest waiver of the Section 527 prohibition because of Nicaragua's record in resolving U.S. citizen claims as well as its overall progress in implementing political and economic reforms.
Other key U.S. policy goals for Nicaragua are:
- Improving respect for human rights and resolving outstanding high-profile human rights cases;
- Developing a free market economy with respect for property and intellectual property rights;
- Ensuring effective civilian control over defense and security policy;
- Increasing the effectiveness of Nicaragua's efforts to combat transborder crimes, including narcotics trafficking, money laundering, illegal alien smuggling, international terrorist and criminal organizations, and trafficking in persons; and
- Reforming the judicial system and implementing good governance.
Since 1990, the United States has provided over $1.2 billion in assistance to Nicaragua. About $260 million of that was for debt relief, and another $450 million was for balance-of-payments support. The U.S. also provided $93 million in 1999, 2000, and 2001 as part of its overall response to Hurricane Mitch. In response to Hurricane Felix, the United States provided over $400,000 in direct aid to Nicaragua to support recovery operations from the damage inflicted in September 2007. Aside from funding for Hurricanes Mitch and Felix, the levels of assistance have fallen incrementally to reflect the improvements in Nicaragua. Assistance has been focused on promoting more citizen political participation, compromise, and government transparency; stimulating sustainable growth and income; and fostering better-educated and healthier families. The Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a 5-year, $175 million compact with the Republic of Nicaragua on July 14, 2005. The Millennium Challenge Compact will reduce poverty and spur economic growth by funding projects in the regions of León and Chinandega aimed at reducing transportation costs and improving access to markets for rural communities; increasing wages and profits from farming and related enterprises in the region; and increasing investment by strengthening property rights.
Principal U.S. Officials include:
- Ambassador—Paul A. Trivelli
- Deputy Chief of Mission—Richard M. Sanders
- Economic/Commercial Counselor—Joseph M. Ripley
- Political Counselor—Christopher T. Robinson
- Management Officer—Paula M. Bravo
- Public Affairs Officer—Jerome J. Oetgen
- Consul General—Marc J. Meznar
- Regional Security Officer—Christopher R. Rooks
- MILGROUP—Lt. Col. Robert J. Gaddis
- Drug Enforcement Administration—Michael J. Sanders
- USAID Mission Director—Alexander Dickie
- Peace Corps Director—George Baldino
- History of Nicaragua - U.S. relations
- U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua
- The Sanctuary Movement from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives