Country Listing

Nicaragua Table of Contents


Labor Unrest

By 1990 labor unrest was rampant. Urban workers vied with their rural counterparts to protest deteriorating economic conditions. The workers' protests, however, were soon drowned out by demands by the business class for government trade subsidies, preferential investment, and credit, particularly in the historically dominant agricultural sector. Drought in several food-producing areas in 1990 decreased the amount of food available, increased prices, and exacerbated already severe poverty. In addition, as many as 500,000 refugees returned to Nicaragua, including thousands of former Contras. They, along with thousands of former private- and public-sector workers, further swelled the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed, and increased the burden of grievances with which the new government had to deal.

One of the most troublesome problems for the Chamorro government was ongoing support for the Sandinista revolutionary ideals from a large segment of the population and high expectations for government help to address the needy. The Sandinista administration had permanently altered the "psyche" of the Nicaraguan poor. From inauguration day onward, President Chamorro was confronted by a strike-ready labor force motivated by pressing needs and a suspicious, foot-dragging private sector.

Data as of December 1993