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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.
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 1,743,591/female 1,874,025)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 116,153/female 138,809) (2011 est.)
conventional short form: Nicaragua
local long form: Republica de Nicaragua
local short form: Nicaragua
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2012)
Females age 16-49: 1,552,698 (2010 est.)
The continuity of a relationship with the IMF reinforces donor confidence, despite private sector concerns surrounding ORTEGA, which has dampened investment. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Energy shortages fuelled by high oil prices, however, are a serious bottleneck to growth.
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