It's been just over thirty years since Nicaragua dominated U.S. headlines during the famous Iran-Contra Affair. The scandal revealed that senior members of the Reagan administration had been secretly funding Nicaraguan rebel groups fighting the leftist Sandinista government by conducting clandestine arms sales to Iran.
Since Iran-Contra and the end of armed conflict in 1990, the poor Central American nation has largely managed to stay off the front page of American newspapers.
But that could all change this fall.
Nicaragua, once again, is on the verge of complete collapse, as protests that began this spring over government cuts to social security have steadily escalated and are now turning deadly. Over 400 people have been killed as a result of the on-going conflicts between demonstrators and pro-government security forces since the crisis began.
Opposition forces are focused on forcing the early removal of husband and wife duo President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, from office.
Yes – you did read that correctly. The vice president is married to the president.
Leaders of the opposition charge that Ortega, now poised to enter his twelfth consecutive year in power, is running the country like a dictatorship. They charge that Ortega and his wife have been cracking down on peaceful protests, cutting off all non-state media propaganda as well as banning opposition parties. Demonstrators are hoping to force early elections; yet, with Ortega and his loyalists are standing firm, the risk of the country spiraling into civil war is looking increasingly likely.