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Nicaragua (2004)

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Nicaragua 2004 year

Administrative divisions 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonomista); Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas
Age structure 0-14 years: 38.1% (male 1,038,887; female 1,001,518)

15-64 years: 58.9% (male 1,570,494; female 1,586,706)

65 years and over: 3% (male 71,125; female 91,029) (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products
Airports 176 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 165

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 23

under 914 m: 141 (2004 est.)
Area total: 129,494 sq km

land: 120,254 sq km

water: 9,240 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than the state of New York
Background The Pacific Coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and again in 2001 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Birth rate 25.5 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Budget revenues: $672.5 million

expenditures: $954.9 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2003 est.)
Capital Managua
Climate tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
Coastline 910 km
Constitution 9 January 1987, with reforms in 1995 and 2000
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua

conventional short form: Nicaragua

local long form: Republica de Nicaragua

local short form: Nicaragua
Currency gold cordoba (NIO)
Death rate 4.54 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Debt - external $5.833 billion (2003 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara Calandra MOORE

embassy: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur, Managua

mailing address: APO AA 34021

telephone: [505] 266-6010

FAX: [505] 266-9074
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Salvador STADTHAGEN (since 5 December 2003)

chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570, [1] (202) 939-6573

FAX: [1] (202) 939-6545

consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Disputes - international territorial disputes with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank region; the 1992 ICJ ruling for El Salvador and Honduras advised a tripartite resolution to establish a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca, which considers Honduran access to the Pacific; legal dispute over navigational rights of San Juan River on border with Costa Rica
Economic aid - recipient Substantial foreign support (2001)
Economy - overview Nicaragua, one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, faces low per capita income, massive unemployment, and huge external debt. Distribution of income is one of the most unequal on the globe. While the country has made progress toward macroeconomic stability over the past few years, GDP annual growth of 1.5% - 2.5% has been far too low to meet the country's need. Nicaragua will continue to be dependent on international aid and debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Nicaragua has undertaken significant economic reforms that are expected to help the country qualify for more than $4 billion in debt relief under HIPC in early 2004. Donors have made aid conditional on the openness of government financial operation, poverty alleviation, and human rights. A three-year poverty reduction and growth plan, agreed to with the IMF in December 2002, guides economic policy.
Electricity - consumption 2.388 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 17 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 2.549 billion kWh (2001)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Ethnic groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Exchange rates gold cordobas per US dollar - 14.2513 (2003), 14.2513 (2002), 13.3719 (2001), 12.6844 (2000), 11.8092 (1999)
Executive branch chief of state: President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)

election results: Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (PLC) elected president - 56.3%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 42.3%, Alberto SABORIO (PCN) 1.4%; Jose RIZO Castellon elected vice president
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $632 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, bananas, beef, sugar, gold
Exports - partners US 35.9%, El Salvador 17.2%, Costa Rica 8.1%, Honduras 7.3%, Mexico 4.6%, Guatemala 4.3% (2003)
Fiscal year calendar year
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
GDP purchasing power parity - $11.6 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 28.9%

industry: 25.4%

services: 45.7% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,300 (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.3% (2003 est.)
Geographic coordinates 13 00 N, 85 00 W
Geography - note largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
Highways total: 19,032 km

paved: 2,094 km

unpaved: 16,938 km (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 0.7%

highest 10%: 48.8% (1998)
Illicit drugs transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
Imports 17 million kWh (2001)
Imports $1.658 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products, consumer goods
Imports - partners US 24.9%, Venezuela 9.7%, Costa Rica 9%, Mexico 8.4%, Guatemala 7.3%, El Salvador 4.9%, Japan 4.3% (2003)
Independence 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Industrial production growth rate 4.4% (2000 est.)
Industries food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood
Infant mortality rate total: 30.15 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 33.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 26.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 5.3% (2003 est.)
International organization participation BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Irrigated land 880 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (16 judges elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly)
Labor force 1.91 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 42%, industry 15%, services 43% (1999 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,231 km

border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km
Land use arable land: 15.94%

permanent crops: 1.94%

other: 82.12% (2001)
Languages Spanish (official)

note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
Legal system civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; members are elected by proportional representation and party lists to serve five-year terms; one seat for previous President, one seat for runner-up in previous Presidential election

elections: last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)

election results: percent of vote by party - Liberal Alliance (ruling party - includes PCCN, PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCN 2.12%; seats by party - Liberal Alliance 53, FSLN 38, PCN 1
Life expectancy at birth total population: 70.02 years

male: 67.99 years

female: 72.16 years (2004 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.5%

male: 67.2%

female: 67.8% (2003 est.)
Location Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
Maritime claims territorial sea: 200 nm

continental shelf: natural prolongation
Merchant marine none
Military branches Army (includes Navy), Navy
Military expenditures - dollar figure $30.8 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.2% (2003)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 1,399,356 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 858,022 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males: 61,869 (2004 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Nationality noun: Nicaraguan(s)

adjective: Nicaraguan
Natural hazards destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Natural resources gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Net migration rate -1.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Pipelines oil 54 km (2004)
Political parties and leaders Conservative Party of Nicaragua or PCN [Mario RAPPACCIOLI]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Anibal MARTINEZ Nunez, Pedro REYES Vallejos]; Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path or PCCN [Guillermo OSORNO Molina]; Nicaraguan Resistance Party or PRN [Salvador TALAVERA]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [leader NA]; Unity Alliance or AU [leader NA]; Liberal Constitutional Party or PLC [Jorge CASTILLO Quant]; Alliance for the Republic or APRE [Miguel LOPEZ Baldizon, Oscar WENDOLYN Vargas, Karla WHITE]; Liberal Salvation Movement or MSL [Eliseo NUNEZ Hernandez]; Christian Alternative Party or AC [Orlando TARDENCILLA Espinoza]
Political pressure groups and leaders National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including - Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN; Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including - Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS; Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups
Population 5,359,759 (July 2004 est.)
Population below poverty line 50% (2001 est.)
Population growth rate 1.97% (2004 est.)
Ports and harbors Bluefields, Corinto, El Bluff, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur
Radio broadcast stations AM 63, FM 32, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 6 km

narrow gauge: 6 km 1.067-m gauge (2003)
Religions Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Suffrage 16 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: inadequate system being upgraded by foreign investment

domestic: low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System

international: country code - 505; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 171,600 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular 202,800 (2002)
Television broadcast stations 3 (plus seven low-power repeaters) (1997)
Terrain extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
Total fertility rate 2.89 children born/woman (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate 22% plus considerable underemployment (2003 est.)
Waterways 2,220 km (including lakes Managua and Nicaragua) (1997)
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