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Deep Poverty Persists Despite Signs of Economic Improvement in Nicaragua

LADB Article ID: 80385
Category/Department: Nicaragua
Date: 2017-08-24
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

While hundreds of thousands of people descended on the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, last month for a pro-government rally commemorating the overthrow, on July 19, 1979, of the Somoza family dictatorship (1936-1979), a much smaller gathering—but also focused entirely on Nicaragua—took place 2,100 miles away in New York City, in the offices of the credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service. In Managua, onlookers cheered and waved the red-and-black flags of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) as the powerful president and party leader, Daniel Ortega, delivered his annual Liberation Day speech. “We’ve made progress in the fight against poverty, but there’s still a long way to go. And to reach our goal, we need to maintain cohesion, national unity,” the 71-year-old Ortega said in what proved to be his shortest July 19 oration—just 15 minutes—since returning to power in 2007.And yet, the Ortega regime is not without its challenges, particularly on the economic front. Nicaragua’s relatively strong growth numbers in recent years suggest that the economy is improving. But just because the situation may be better than it was doesn’t mean it’s good. Nicaragua is painfully impoverished still, with an annual per capita income of just US$5,452, according to Moody’s.

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