Nicaragua

Israel - Nicaragua Relations:

Nicaragua recognized Israel in 1948, but its relationship started prior to that, as Nicaragua assisted the Haganah in purchasing weapons in Europe. In 1957 Israel sold Nicaragua 45 used armored vehicles confiscated from the Egyptian military in 1956, as “repayment” for Nicaragua’s prior help to the Haganah. During the period 1970-1974, the two Arava airplanes that Nicaragua purchased from Israel constituted 98% of Nicaragua’s arms imports during that period. 

Israel played a much larger role in providing military supplies to the contras fighting the Sandinistas, working in coordination with the United States.  Most of these were transport or other aircraft, but in 1986/7 also included 450 surface-to-air missiles.  Israel was the main supplier of arms to the Somoza regime in Nicaragua until its fall in 1979[1]

Since then, Nicaragua’s relationship with Israel has been more mixed. Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with Palestine in 1980. It suspended relations with Israel from 1982 – 1992 because of the invasion of Lebanon, and again from 2010 – 2017 because of the Gaza flotilla raid.  Diplomatic relations between the two countries were reestablished in 2017 upon the initiative of Israel, and involved extensive secret negotiations, third-party assistance, and meetings between the foreign ministers.

In July 2020, Nicaragua announced that it did not support Israel’s planned annexation of Palestinian territory, emphasizing that the establishment of a Palestinian state was necessary for peace.    

In terms of trade Israel in 2019 imported $669,000 of goods from Nicaragua, with clothing, tobacco, coffee and tea being the most trade products.    Nicaragua imported $5,975,000 of goods & services from Israel, with the largest categories including chemical products, pharmaceuticals, and machinery (both consumer & industrial).[2] 

Human Rights Violations:

There have been human rights concerns during two main periods.  The first occurred during the Contra wars (1979 – 1990).   A 1985 report to the International Human Rights Law Group and The Washington Office on Latin America[3] reported violations by the contras against civilians that included murder, torture, kidnappings, rape, and property destruction.  Beginning in 1990 when the Sandinistas were in opposition and Washington support for the Contras diminished, there was a corresponding decrease in Contra violations of Human Rights, according to Human Rights Watch 1989[4].  However, according to Human Rights Watch 1992 Report[5], violence and human rights violations began to increase in the 1990s.  In addition, the government forces were responsible for a series of murders. 

More recently in 2018, the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega violently suppressed anti-government demonstrations with kidnappings, torture, rape, and the murder of over 300 people[6],[7]

Sales Records Table:

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Nicaragua

Nicaragua recognized Israel in 1948, but its relationship started prior to that, as Nicaragua assisted the Haganah in purchasing weapons in Europe. In 1957 Israel sold Nicaragua 45 used armored vehicles confiscated from the Egyptian military in 1956, as “repayment” for Nicaragua’s prior help to the Haganah. During the period 1970-1974, the two Arava airplanes that Nicaragua purchased from Israel constituted 98% of Nicaragua’s arms imports during that period. 

Israel played a much larger role in providing military supplies to the contras fighting the Sandinistas, working in coordination with the United States.  Most of these were transport or other aircraft, but in 1986/7 also included 450 surface-to-air missiles.  Israel was the main supplier of arms to the Somoza regime in Nicaragua until its fall in 1979[1]

Since then, Nicaragua’s relationship with Israel has been more mixed. Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with Palestine in 1980. It suspended relations with Israel from 1982 – 1992 because of the invasion of Lebanon, and again from 2010 – 2017 because of the Gaza flotilla raid.  Diplomatic relations between the two countries were reestablished in 2017 upon the initiative of Israel, and involved extensive secret negotiations, third-party assistance, and meetings between the foreign ministers.

In July 2020, Nicaragua announced that it did not support Israel’s planned annexation of Palestinian territory, emphasizing that the establishment of a Palestinian state was necessary for peace.    

In terms of trade Israel in 2019 imported $669,000 of goods from Nicaragua, with clothing, tobacco, coffee and tea being the most trade products.    Nicaragua imported $5,975,000 of goods & services from Israel, with the largest categories including chemical products, pharmaceuticals, and machinery (both consumer & industrial).[2] 

There have been human rights concerns during two main periods.  The first occurred during the Contra wars (1979 – 1990).   A 1985 report to the International Human Rights Law Group and The Washington Office on Latin America[3] reported violations by the contras against civilians that included murder, torture, kidnappings, rape, and property destruction.  Beginning in 1990 when the Sandinistas were in opposition and Washington support for the Contras diminished, there was a corresponding decrease in Contra violations of Human Rights, according to Human Rights Watch 1989[4].  However, according to Human Rights Watch 1992 Report[5], violence and human rights violations began to increase in the 1990s.  In addition, the government forces were responsible for a series of murders. 

More recently in 2018, the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega violently suppressed anti-government demonstrations with kidnappings, torture, rape, and the murder of over 300 people[6],[7]