I waited in line an hour today to throw out the bums running things in the U.S., but meanwhile an election held in Nicaragua this past Sunday has got more than a few people nervous.
The standard tourism line on Nicaragua has been that the Iran-Contra days are long gone, the Sandanistas aren’t a force anymore, and the country is on the upswing. That may all be down the toilet as Sandanista party man from the past, Daniel Ortega, looks to have won the presidency with only 38.6 percent of the vote. (And Bush thought having 49% of the country hating you was bad…)
Depending on who you listen to, this is either a huge disaster or a great question mark. The only people seemingly cheering the results are those aligned with the “let’s all stay poor through socialism” movement led by Chavez and Castro. Pragmatists are ready to give Ortega the benefit of the doubt though, as they feel it’s unlikely he’ll roll back trade policies that have finally lifted trade and investment out of a long rut.
For tourists, who knows? Most of the current building and investment boom has been spurred on by incentives put in place by the outgoing administration and the feeling from expats that the country was finally on the rise. Whether it all stops or not will determine whether the infrastructure keeps improving and more facilities open for tourists. If investment slows down, this will remain a wild frontier for only the most hardy travelers. Good news for Panama and Costa Rica, not so good news for Nicaragua. To keep an eye on what locals are saying, check out GotoNicaragua.com.