I will be taking a very short trip to Nicaragua. With only two days, I will be busy trying to see as much as the city of Granada as possible and enjoying some time in nature.
Columbus explored the land in 1502, but the first Spanish settlement was founded in 1524. Granada is the oldest European city in the Americas.
Most of Nicaraguans are Mestizos, a mixed Spanish-indigenous background.
Nicaragua became independent in 1838. The first years were rough, with civil war between the two main cities: Leon and Granada. Today, the capital city is Managua.
The USA became quite involved in Nicaraguan politics in the 20th century. From having the Marines occupy the country to supporting dictatorships to the horrid Iran-Contra Affair, the US-Nicaragua relationship has been fraught with tension.
Although now technically a democracy, President Ortega changed the constitution to run for a third term, and his rule has been certainly controversial. One major debate is the idea of a Nicaraguan Canal, with support from the Chinese. Supporters believe it would boost the economy enormously, and as evidence cite how Panama is the wealthiest country in Central America. Those opposed fear environmental destruction, loss of indigenous culture, opportunities for mass corruption and foreign influence.
Photo: of Granada, by Elemaki , Wikipedia, free distribution