Here are a couple more reads to consider, if your plans include a trip to Nicaragua. Much like other countries in Central and South American, Nicaragua has been a hot spot for war, corruption and human rights abuses during the past decades – especially in the 70’s and 80’s during the height of the global Cold War. Unfortunately for the Nicaraguans, the war was not so cold for them during the 80’s. During that decade, the infamous US backed Contra vs. Sandinistas war unfolded in the country and accounted for thousands of lost lives and a gutting of the economy that has not fully recovered even today.
Blood Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua is the story of the ousting of the Somoza regime, the Nicaraguan Revolution and the rise of power of the Sandinistas and their war with the Contra army that split as well as devastated the Nicaraguans for years. It is written by an ex-New York Times and Boston Globe foreign correspondent, is a fascinating story and a real page-turner from beginning to end. I thought it presented a balanced view of both sides and did not take an overly political view (although I am sure there are many out there that will disagree). Unfortunately, it is quite disheartening to learn more of the shenanigans that the CIA and US government created in the region (and around the world for that matter) in an effort to stem the growth of Communism during the Cold War. Fans of Reagan may have a different opinion after reading this book and understanding Castro’s role in ending the war may add complexity to opinions of this leader as well. It is not on Kindle and may be hard to find but worth the search.
Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua is another non-friction, Nicaraguan story of intrigue but with the trashy, sensationalized, real-crime approach of a Dateline episode. It is not high-brow stuff but could suck you in. And it is an especially compelling read if you find yourself in Nicaragua reading it as it will have you wondering what would you do if you found yourself locked up for a year in a prison in Nicaragua!