The New Nicaragua

Lessons in Development, Democracy, and Nation-Building for the United States

by Steven E. Hendrix


From the era of the Sandinistas and Iran-Contra to the present, the United States and Nicaraguan governments have clashed. But recent years have seen the return of a less overtly antagonistic Daniel Ortega to power and a noticeable shift in U.S. policy from "right versus left" to "right versus wrong." Has a new era of democracy and partnership with the United States really begun?

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Cover image for The New Nicaragua

September 2009


Pages 286
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/U.S. Foreign Policy
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An insider's look at the changes going on in Nicaragua—the internal political maneuvering of Daniel Ortega, the responses by the United States, and the success of recent American pro-democracy civil society efforts there.

At the time of Ortega's return to the presidency, attorney and award-winning author Steven Hendrix was on the ground in Nicaragua working for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The New Nicaragua: Lessons in Development, Democracy, and Nation-Building for the United States is Hendrix's eyewitness account of the changes going on there.

What Hendrix found in the new Nicaragua is a decidedly mixed bag: a presidential campaign marked by dirty tricks and backroom deals, yet an election held under the first neutral comprehensive observation ever in the developing world; an overt effort to appease the United States even while attempting to undermine U.S. policy in the region. Yet despite this, Hendrix saw U.S. pro-democracy, civil society efforts succeed, disproving the many skeptics who doubt that nation-building is even possible.


  • Helps readers understand the long history of U.S. involvement with Nicaragua and Central America
  • Offers firsthand observations of the changes going on in Nicaragua from one of the foremost experts on the region
  • Reveals the striking levels of corruption and political deal-making that ultimately put former Sandinista leader and American gadfly Daniel Ortega back into power
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Steven E. Hendrix is a crisis, stabilization and governance officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development and a Fellow with the International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, IL. He is an attorney licensed in Bolivia, Guatemala and the United States, and has published over 80 international development and policy-related articles and an award-winning book. This book reflects his personal views rather than those of the U.S. government or USAID.



"In the spring of 2005, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) asked its erstwhile agent Hendrex (law, DePaul U., Chicago) to go to the Central American country to spearhead the US government's democracy building. Here he recounts his two years in Managua, of which he is very proud. Among his topics are jumpstarting the rule of law in August 2005, international collaboration and turkeys in November, the Atlantic Coast regional election in March 2006, the Organization of American States engages in August, the election and its aftermath in November, the new Ortega administration begins to show its stripes in February 2007, and toward sustainability in counterweights and democracy in June."Reference & Research Book News

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