South America / GoM
Country profile: Nicaragua
||Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
||tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
||extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
||129494 sq. km total (Land area: 120254 sq. km Water area: 9240 sq.km)
||5,785,846 (July 2008 est.)
||Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
||civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
||gold cordoba (NIO)
With hardly any domestic hydrocarbon reserves, Central American countries rely heavily on imported oil for their energy needs. The countries of Central America, including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, have traditionally been dependent upon agricultural exports for a large portion of their economic activity. However, in recent years, these countries have begun to diversify their economies towards manufacturing and tourism. As a result, the countries have been especially affected by high world oil prices in recent years. Partially offsetting this, many have been able to secure preferential pricing for oil from Venezuela and Mexico. Central America does have a large amount of installed hydroelectric capacity, but the region still relies upon imports for some three-fourths of its total energy consumption. Despite the lack of sizable oil reserves, Central America remains an important transit center for oil via the Panama Canal and as a potential energy transit center between North and South America.
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 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting in 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt.
Energy production and consumption
||28,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
||1,397 bbl/day (2005 est.)
||15,560 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Other countries in this region
- Costa Rica,
- Dominican Republic,
- French Guiana,
- Gulf of Mexico,
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