Nicaragua political violence sees US expats heading home

Published:  19 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Citizenship
Once seen as one of the top ten expat hubs for American expatriates, Nicaragua’s escalating political violence is resulting in a mass exodus of US nationals back to the home country.

As the death toll resulting from Nicaragua’s political protests mounts and violence spreads from Managua to the expatriate havens of Leon and Granada, foreign residents are packing up and heading home in a hurry. One thing’s for certain, the country’s reputation as a peaceful expat hot spot is now on hold, with no-one sure what will happen next. The decision to leave is even harder for those with properties as they’re fearing for the safety of their homes should they leave them empty even for a short while until the situation quietens down.

Over the past few months, social media and expat forums have been busy with reports of possible dangers to expatriates posed by protestors, with many claiming those in smaller cities and rural areas woudn’t be affected. However, recent reports from foreign residents in gated communities are causing real concern about the future of expats in the country. One US retiree posted life in his development was still safe, but visiting his doctor in Managua had become very dangerous.

Many expats are blaming the government for the escalating violence, saying they’d expected the military and the police would be able to keep order but are now desperate as the authorities are hunting down and murdering protestors whilst calling the protests a coup in order to justify their actions. Long-stay US citizens are totally unsure of their futures, with one saying he has investments and can’t just pack up and go, adding he doesn’t know how expats can carry on their lives as it’s hard to identify the good guys from the bad.

The majority of expats who’re desperate to leave have no real idea where they’ll end up, and only a few are planning a return to the USA. Mexico and Colombia are seeing increasing drug-related violence in previously safe regions, with Panama or Ecuador seen as the only options at present. Most US expats hate being forced to leave and have wonderful memories of their time in Nicaragua, but realise it’s now time to move on.

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