Glossary -- Nicaragua

Central America
Here, used in a geographic sense. Central America is considered to be the entire isthmus between Mexico and Colombia, including present-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. A more traditional political view of the term, most often used in the region itself, is that Central America encompasses only the five successor states to the United Provinces of Central America (1821-38): Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
Literally, "copaternity." A system of ritual "coparenthood" that links parents, children, and godparents in a close social or economic relationship.
Constituent Assembly
A deliberative body made up of elected delegates who are charged with the responsibility of drafting a new constitution and, in some instances, electing a new president. Traditionally, after it completes its work, a Constituent Assembly reverts to a Congress (former title of Nicaraguan legislatures), which then serves as the country's legislative body until the next scheduled elections.
A diplomatic initiative launched by a January 1983 meeting on Contadora Island off the Pacific coast of Panama, by which the "Core Four" mediator countries of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama sought to prevent through negotiations a regional conflagration among the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In September 1984, the negotiating process produced a draft treaty, the Contadora Acta, which was judged acceptable by the government of Nicaragua but rejected by the other four Central American states concerned. The process was suspended unofficially in June 1986 when the Central American governments refused to sign a revised Acta. The Contadora process was effectively superseded by direct negotiations among the Central American states.
Short form of contrarevolucionario (counterrevolutionary). Member of the Nicaraguan Resistance, an armed resistance movement in the 1980s supported by the United States and fighting against the national Sandinista government.
córdoba (C$)
Nicaraguan monetary unit from 1912 to 1988. Relatively stable for most of that period, the córdoba's value plummeted in 1985. By mid-1988 the official rate was US$1 = C$20,000 (US$1 = C$60,000 on the black market), and the córdoba was replaced by the new córdoba (C$n; q.v.) at a rate of 1,000 córdobas to 1 new córdoba.
In Nicaragua a term used for an English-speaking person of African or mixed African and indigenous ancestry.
Enterprise for the Americas Initiative (EAI)
A plan announced by President George H.W. Bush on June 27, 1990, calling for the United States to negotiate agreements with selected Latin American countries to reduce their official debt to the United States and make funds available through this restructuring for environmental programs; to stimulate private investment; and to take steps to promote extensive trade liberalization with the goal of establishing free trade throughout the Western Hemisphere.
European Currency Unit (ECU)
Instituted in 1979, the ECU is the unit of account of the European Union (EU). The value of the ECU is determined by the value of a basket that includes the currencies of all EU member states. In establishing the value of the basket, each member's currency receives a share that reflects the relative strength and importance of the member's economy. One ECU was equivalent to about US$1.15 in 1993.
fiscal year (FY)
Nicaragua's fiscal year is the calendar year. Where reference is made to United States aid appropriations or disbursements, the United States government's FY, which runs from October 1 to September 30, is used with the date of reference drawn from the year in which the period ends. For example, FY 1992 began on October 1, 1991, and ended on September 30, 1992.
gold córdoba (C$o, sometimes C$)
Nicaraguan monetary unit divided into 100 centavos. Introduced in mid-1990, the gold córdoba replaced the new córdoba at a rate of 1 gold córdoba to 5 million new córdobas (q.v.). In mid- 1993, US$1 = C$o6.15.
gross domestic product (GDP)
A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
gross national product (GNP)
The total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding the gross domestic product (q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
import-substitution industrialization (ISI)
An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods over primary products.
International-Monetary Fund (IMF)
Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations (UN) that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance-of- payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients.
Liberation Theology
An activist movement led by Roman Catholic clergy who trace their inspiration to Vatican Council II (1965), where some church procedures were liberalized, and the Second Latin American Bishops' Conference in Medellín, Colombia (1968), which endorsed greater direct efforts to improve the lot of the poor. Advocates of liberation theology--sometimes referred to as "liberationists"-- work mainly through Christian Base Communities (Comunidades Eclesiásticas de Base--CEBs). Members of CEBs meet in small groups to reflect on scripture and discuss its meaning in their lives. They are introduced to a radical interpretation of the Bible, one that employs Marxist terminology to analyze and condemn the wide disparities between the wealthy elite and the impoverished masses in most underdeveloped countries. This reflection often leads members to organize to improve their living standards through cooperatives and civic improvement projects.
new córdoba (C$n)
Nicaraguan monetary unit from 1988 to 1991. Replaced the former currency, the córdoba (q.v.), in an attempt to control inflation; the value of the new córdoba dropped to US$1 = C$n3.2 million in less than three years. Replaced by the gold córdoba (q.v.) in 1990 at a rate of 5 million new córdobas to 1 gold córdoba.
San José Accord
An agreement between Mexico and Venezuela, signed in 1980 in San José, Costa Rica, whereby the two oil producers committed themselves to supply crude oil on concessionary terms to ten Central American and Caribbean nations.
Originally a member of the Marxist group attempting to overthrow the Somozas or their hand-picked president in the 1960s and 1970s. The group took its name from Augusto César Sandino, who led a guerrilla struggle against United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s. The political arm of the group, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional--FSLN), was the national government of Nicaragua from July 1979 to April 1990. After the late 1970s, the term Sandinista is used for a member or supporter or the FSLN or as the adjectival form of the FSLN.
World Bank
The informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans at market-related rates of interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in less developed countries. The MIGA, founded in 1988, insures private foreign investment in developing countries against various noncommercial risks. The president and certain officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The four institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).