So now a new election has come and gone and there are no surprises to the outcome of this past election on November 6, 2011. Daniel Ortega is once again poised to take the helm of the country most consider the second poorest nation in the hemisphere.
The election historic in nature because of the fact that Ortega won an unprecedented, and according to the Nicaraguan constitution an (Illegal) third term in office. When you ask Nicaraguans how they feel about the state of affairs of their country you will find that most are indifferent. They say no matter that rises to political power in this country, they still have to go out and work to find food to feed their families. And you find that the many of them are cautiously optimistic about the future economic stability of their country.
They should be; Nicaragua now has the fastest growing economy in Central America. Millions of investment dollars are pouring in and there is a growing interest from the Europeans to bring their dollars to this country as they ride out the growing economic turmoil facing them at the moment. Nicaragua has set new records for exports and FDI (Foreign Direct Investments). The macroeconomic numbers are encouraging, and at the end of the day, that’s what most people care about. Nicaragua is also the only country in Central America to not only recover the free trade zone jobs it lost during the 2008-2009 global economic slump, but also surpass previous employment highs in that sector.
Tourism is booming as well. Just over 1 million foreign tourists visited Nicaragua in 2010, the first time the country has exceeded that figure; this represents an 8.4 percent increase over the 931,000 foreigners who visited Nicaragua in 2009, said Mario Salinas, president of the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute. In the industrial sector according to PROnicaragua by the end of this year, 97,000 Nicaraguans will be employed in the country’s free zones, producing everything from women’s underwear to blue jeans for the nearby U.S. market.
One of the country’s largest planned ventures is Isla Guacalito, a massive resort that stretches 670 hectares along the Pacific beaches of Guacalito and Manzanillo. Managua’s La Prensa reports that Grupo Pellas will invest $250 million in the project, including $115 million in the first phase, which includes a boutique hotel, 490 residential villas and a golf course. The project’s promoter,
Sociedad Marina de Guacalito SA, claims it will generate 4,000 direct and 12,000 indirect jobs at its peak.
Such luxury resorts cater to the ever-growing numbers of U.S. expats who’ve decided to retire in Nicaragua, lured by the country’s natural beauty and relatively low cost of living. They also boost Ortega’s overall standing in the foreign investment community, which values stability and the rule of law over all else.
From a global view Nicaragua’s next door neighbor Costa Rica, ranks among the safest, happiest countries in the world But it has fallen prey to international organized crime and drug rings that authorities blame for a spike in violence, drug abuse and murder. Concerns over insecurity prompted the United Kingdom this year to amend its travel advice for Costa Rica warning that “gang muggings and armed robberies can occur even in daylight on busy streets” and that foreigners have gone missing. This fact along with an ever growing expat population has made Nicaragua not only a safe but much more affordable travel destination.
So after all the dust settles and the cries of election fraud and corruption continue to sweep through the country in the aftermath of an historic election, the good news is that all eyes are on Nicaragua as it has become Central America’s rising star.