In 2018 the US Congress imposed sanctions on Nicaragua, blocking development loans from international financial institutions even though the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank were praising Nicaragua’s use of funds and the effectiveness of its programs. The loans that Nicaragua was receiving were improving conditions for ordinary Nicaraguans through poverty reduction, education, health care, infrastructure development, and economic growth during an 11-year period in which GDP grew almost 5% annually. This prosperity was widely shared in the country that has Latin America’s second-most egalitarian economy (World Bank, 2017).
The impact is compounded by additional Trump administration sanctions against Nicaraguan banks, companies, and individuals in an effort to isolate Nicaragua’s economy from the international community. It is part of a U.S. strategy of using its dominance of the international financial system to isolate governments it doesn’t like, thereby punishing one-third of the world’s population. In Nicaragua the initial effect is to discourage direct foreign investment and stifle businesses that use imported components and software.
The sanctions are to remain in place until the U.S. State Department unilaterally determines that the country meets its definition a democratic government.
The United Nations has declared that such “unilateral coercive measures” are illegal because they punish an entire population for disagreements between governments. Sanctions have been proven to cause suffering and death around the world and are a form of warfare.
Finally, the U.S. State Department’s website is wielded as a weapon to discourage travel to Nicaragua and further damage the economy by hitting the tourism industry. Claims that the country is unsafe, particularly for Americans, are not only false and detrimental to Nicaraguans, they also maliciously deceive Americans to deprive them of their right to visit the country and judge it for themselves.
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