Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
300Trip End Nov 04, 2008
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Where I stayed
Benmoral,$16 USD per room, nice, clean, cable TV
Short bus drive from Selva Negra to Matagalpa
An endless bus drive from Matagalpa to Esteli (even though the roads were good)
And a final bone crushing trip from Esteli to Ocotal with two dozen people standing up and our rucksacks hitting fellow passengers on their heads.
The best part was stopping 17kms away from Ocotal, where there was a huge line of lorries and cars. We initially thought it would be a car accident, but we soon found out it was a Sandinista strike...believe it or not!
Apparently local farmers are up to their eyebrows in debt with banks so have decided that the best way to pay them off is to block the main road.
Happily they allow people to walk by, so we had to take our stuff from the bus, walk for 300 metres and then catch a taxi for the last 17 kms to the hotel. So much for the happiness the Comandante Ortega shows while the country is rotting slowly.
Anyway, we are a few kilometres away from the frontier, and up to now we have kept our comments back on the current political situation of Nicaragua in order to see as much as possible, but now is the time....it stinks!
We have been talking to workers, farmers, business people, foreigners, listening to radio and reading newspapers, and everything points at a gradual collapse of Nicaragua due to a lack of reality from the current power. The latest worries are the most probable pull back of aid agencies and proyects who are not happy with the direction Comandante Ortega is taking (making other political parties illegal - MRS and PC; getting way too close to Chavez of Venezuela; constantly threatening Mr Bush and the "Empire", etc, etc).
The official radio is a continous brain washing attempt, praising themselves and bringing on board as special guests 3 FARC fighters which have been given political asylum from Colombia. From Ortega´s version of the events on the radio, the FARC guerrilla are planting poppies of peace and stretching hands to all human kind while everyone seems to be bad with them...
Also the country is plastered with photographs of Ortega even though elections are not on (yet), and the FSLN party keeps going round waving their flags and calling to nationalism and to the power of the poor.
In conclusion, it is not surprising the European Union and others are raising their eyebrows and starting to look elsewhere. Perhaps even Mr Zapatero from Spain will decide to change sides and stop supporting Chavez and Ortega...but that would mean prejudicing the spicy contracts that spanish telecommunications companies have in Nicaragua, etc.
Anyway, after all the above. We have really enjoyed Nicaragua, and most of its people are friendly and adorable. We just hope that all the work of the last few years doesnt collapse in the power drive of Mr Ortega and his allies.
Cheerio for the time being.
P.D. We tried to upload some photographs but will have to wait until Honduras.
P.D.2 We will be in a national park in Honduras for the first few days so we have no idea if we will have access to internet for 3-4 days, so silence will relate to that.