W. Alejandro Sanchez
Security, Latin America
Nicaragua is proving to be a more reliable, and stable, partner than Venezuela.
As the crisis in Venezuela continues, certain states that have supported the Maduro government may be looking for more stable partners. For the Russian Federation, its new crown jewel in the Western Hemisphere, nowadays at least, is Nicaragua.
Managua and Moscow enjoy cordial diplomatic relations, with recent high-profile meetings. Just this past September, Gustavo Porras, president of the National Assembly, met with Sergey Zheleznyak, a member of the State Duma, who was visiting the Central American state.
Additionally, Russia has sold military platforms to Nicaragua in recent years, like fifty T-72 battle tanks last year, among other heavy platforms. While it is true that Managua has not spent billions of dollars on Russian military platforms like Venezuela, such sales help promote defense relations. In fact, Moscow’s military training center “Marshall Gregory Zhukov,” located in the headquarters of the Nicaraguan Army’s mechanized infantry brigade, opened in 2013, a move that has fortified the two countries’ defense relations beyond weapon sales. Moreover, Russia and Nicaragua may hold small-scale exercises soon, as an undetermined number of Russian airborne troops visited the country in April to discuss this possibility. President Daniel Ortega justified his government’s relations with Moscow on September 1 during the Nicaraguan military’s anniversary celebrations. He stated that upon his 2006 electoral victory, he approached Washington and Moscow for help to replace obsolete military equipment and that Russia responded.