Nicaragua Country Report
After serving as president from 1985–90, former guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega returned to the presidency in 2007 and is currently serving his third term in power after being re-elected in 2016. Although Ortega frequently espouses anti-capitalist rhetoric, he is likely to continue to pursue FDI in the infrastructure, utility, and transport sectors. State interventions in certain sectors such as electricity, food, and land continue to be a risk. Resource development and democratic freedoms are likely to provoke civil unrest over the coming year but property damage risks remain low. Violence in the RAAN/RAAS regions is on the rise due to the low capacity of state security forces to counter drug-trafficking activities and indigenous territorial disputes.
The operational environment in Nicaragua includes a number of significant challenges including limited infrastructure and corruption. Poor quality infrastructure, transport networks, and utilities are regularly tested by severe weather events including tropical storms and earthquakes. Corruption among officials, cronyism, and connection-dependent contract negotiations often result in discrimination against firms lacking political connections, as well as regulatory and judicial delays. However, security concerns are much less of a threat to the operational environment than in some neighbouring countries and economic indicators have proved generally favourable over the last decade.
There are no international terrorist groups reported with a presence in Nicaragua. The main threat comes from organised criminal groups, including traffickers. Armed violence risks have risen in the country's autonomous regions due to these criminal activities but also due to political violence and territorial land claim disputes. A limited police presence through these regions limits government efforts to control the threats. Although large-scale incidents are relatively rare, like the July 2014 shooting of busloads of government supporters, there is a moderate risk that self-styled insurgent groups will pursue violent activities to oppose President Daniel Ortega's increasing control over public institutions.
Territorial disputes with Costa Rica and Colombia are unlikely to lead to armed conflict. A ruling on a maritime border dispute with Costa Rica is expected from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in early 2018. A lack of diplomatic resolution of a territorial dispute with Colombia increases the likelihood that fishing vessels will be seized and offshore oil concessions in the Caribbean may experience delays; although relations have improved since the removal of a 35% trade tariff on Colombian imports in March 2017. Colombia has a greater military capacity but open-war risks remain low.
Protests are frequent in Nicaragua with environmental protections, land titles, and the political system acting as flashpoints. Political protests as a means to express opposition within a majority-government system are likely to persist following the November 2017 municipal elections, concentrated in the capital, Managua and departments with strong opposition support. An interoceanic canal project has sparked concerns over environmental protections and potential land expropriations. Small landholders and farmers are most likely to organise marches in the departments of Carazo, Chinandega, León, Managua, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, and the RAAS.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The rainy season (April/May to October/November) often brings floods, particularly in September and October.
Furthermore, hurricanes and tropical storms have the potential to hit the country between June and November, during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Hurricane Otto made landfall in the country in November 2016, causing infrastructural damage and resulting in several deaths.
Nicaragua is home to numerous active volcanoes including the Momotombo, Telica, Cerro, Masaya, and San Cristobal.
Earthquakes can strike at any time, notably along the Pacific Coast. There were a total of nine earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.0 or higher on the Richter scale in 2016. There is the risk of tsunamis in the event of an offshore earthquake.
The country, located in Central America's "Dry Corridor," regularly experiences droughts.
Despite years of steady economic growth, Nicaragua remains an impoverished country, the second poorest in the Americas after Haiti. As such, transportation, electrical, medical, and tourist infrastructure is lacking, particularly outside of cities, and is highly vulnerable in the event of natural disasters.
Nicaragua's climate is tropical, hot, and humid. The rainy season lasts from May until October in the west of the country and until January along the Caribbean coast where hurricanes can strike between July and October. Torrential rain is not rare and often causes flooding. It rains much more along the Caribbean coast than in the center of the country or along the Pacific coast.
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