Home soil, foreign troops

Russian troops in Nicaragua as Managua embraces Moscow.

Pariah meets pariah as the administration of Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega (“Ortega”) allows Russian troops to be stationed on Nicaraguan soil for the first time. Russian naval vessels will also have unfettered access to the country’s strategic deep-water ports.

A retired general resident in Nicaragua and an opponent of president Ortega explained, “Nicaragua’s top military brass used to train at West Point and the School of the Americas, now they fly to Moscow whilst Putin entrenches his geostrategic influence in Central America.”

“Nicaragua’s top military brass used to train at West Point and the School of the Americas, now they fly to Moscow whilst Putin entrenches his geostrategic influence in Central America.”

Retired General, Nicaragua

Under Mr Ortega’s rule, Nicaragua remains diplomatically isolated – the military apparatus which sustains his regime by suppressing the opposition ticks along with the support of Cuban intelligence, Venezuelan oil and now Russian arms. Managua is unlikely to be planning an invasion of its Central American neighbours anytime soon but its proximity to the US and ability to influence regional political-economic dynamics means it can position itself as a more assertive hemispheric actor with Moscow’s backing.

Ortega’s former special envoy before denouncing the regime explained, “The modernisation of the military infrastructure of a totalitarian regime like Ortega’s requires agreements with Russia because the West would not sell Ortega weapons over his abuses of power and for his systematic attacks on democratic institutions.”

“The modernisation of the military infrastructure of a totalitarian regime like Ortega’s requires agreements with Russia because the West would not sell Ortega weapons over his abuses of power and for his systematic attacks on democratic institutions.”

Former special envoy to Ortega

Cuba has traditionally been Moscow’s launching pad for Latin America but the former soviet ally has had a more frosty relationship with Russia in recent months; Havana had reportedly looked for investments and debt write-offs as a trade off for an expanded Russian presence on the island. This bothered Moscow which has now turned greater attention to what it perceives as a more pliant partner in Managua.

The realty of Managua’s isolation means that Putin has in essence spotted an opportunity for Nicaragua to become a client state, that is until either leader leaves or is forced from power. To Russia’s advantage, Mexico and its current administration, which has been hesitant to criticise Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has been equally timid in condemning Ortega and rallied strongly against the exclusion of the country along with Venezuela and Cuba from this month’s Summit of the Americas. Antipathy to Washington plays to Moscow’s advantage.

“Ortega is in a relationship of interdependence with Putin. Honestly, I find it hard to think that there is a next step, I think for now this is the limit of where Russia could go in Latin America and especially now more so that the Russian war on Ukraine has so significantly strained Russia’s economy and its capacity to invest abroad,” explained the former special envoy.

Relations are likely to blossom for so long as Russia sees Nicaragua as a useful partner in countering US influence in the region, once Ortega leaves or is removed from power, Russia is likely to look further south or back to Havana.

Important Notice
While the information in this article has been prepared in good faith, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking (express or implied) is or will be made, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by Deheza Limited or by its officers, employees or agents in relation to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of this article, or of any other information (whether written or oral), notice or document supplied or otherwise made available in connection with this article. All and any such responsibility and liability is expressly disclaimed.
This article has been delivered to interested parties for information only. Deheza Limited gives no undertaking to provide the recipient with access to any additional information or to update this article or any additional information, or to correct any inaccuracies in it which may become apparent.

Most recent in Geopolitics

Power Party 

Evaluating the Brasilia Consensus ahead of the 2024 summit. 

What’s in store for the rest of 2024?

Challenges and opportunities for Latin American investors in 2024. 

A better barter

Strengthening India-Latin America relations through trade.

China: Knock-Knock. Who’s there? US. US who?

China strengthens its foothold in Central America.

Balancing act

Lula attempts to simultaneously court Russia, US, Europe and China, but will he succeed?

Three Amigos Summit 2023

Biden, Trudeau and AMLO met but was there any advance in geopolitics or trade?

UNASUR-vival

Growing calls for greater regional integration as Latin America’s political winds blow leftwards.

Left in peace

Can Colombia’s leftist President Petro bring peace to the Colombia-Venezuela border?

On the blink

Blinken visits Colombia, Chile, and Peru as he seeks to improve US relations with the region.

EU-Mercosur

Brussels contemplates circumventing EU member states with Mercosur trade deal.