Nicaragua is a Central American nation with a population of more than six million people. While Latin America is not the center of the current refugee crisis, there is a long history of asylum seekers in the region. Here are 10 facts about Nicaraguan refugees.
- Many who decide to flee one of Latin America’s many countries attempt to head north to the United States. However, most Nicaraguans who leave their home country head south instead because visas are often cheaper, there’s more work and the pay is good.
- The United States has a long history of involvement in the politics of Central and Latin America. Nicaragua is no exception. Because of civil war and a U.S. trade embargo in the 1980s, many Nicaraguans sought refuge at that time.
- In 1983, more than 2,400 Nicaraguans were in refugee camps in Costa Rica, and around 1,750 more followed in 1984.
- In addition, more than 100,000 undocumented Nicaraguan refugees were likely to have crossed the border into Costa Rica in the 1980s because of the military draft, economic reasons or other dangers.
- Today, not many Nicaraguan migrants live in the U.S. compared to migrants of other Central American nationalities. The majority of Nicaraguans in the United States live in Miami and northern California.
- Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and almost half the population lives on less than two dollars a day. However, Nicaragua has a low rate of crime and violence, two large factors in migration.
- According to the Huffington Post, polls indicate that more than half of Nicaraguans would prefer to migrate.
- Costa Rica is the place to go for Nicaraguan refugees. Costa Rica is close, has no language barrier and the education system is good.
- Many Nicaraguans who flee to Costa Rica face discrimination, exclusion and tough legal processes once they arrive.
- Nicaraguan refugees make up most of Costa Rica’s immigrants–around 75 percent of Costa Rica’s immigrants are Nicaraguan.
The refugee crisis is not limited to any one region in the world. These 10 facts about Nicaraguan refugees illustrate the need to think about the refugee crisis on a global scale.
– Shannon Elder