The Republic of Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American isthmus. It borders both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Since then, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, and economic crisis. This led to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 70s. Today, Nicaragua is a representative democratic republic.
"It should look democratic - but we have to hold the reins," former East German communist head of state Walter Ulbricht once said. Venezuela and Nicaragua appear to function along those same lines, says DW's Uta Thofern.
A Chinese company is set to construct a canal across Nicaragua which will be three times longer and two times deeper than the Panama canal. Nicaragua's president hopes to boost the economy, but critics are wary of high costs, huge environmental damage and tens of thousands of displaced farmers and indigenous people. Protests continue, and some are ready to defend their land at gunpoint.
Thousands of poor Miskito indigenous people are risking their lives every day diving for lobsters in the waters off Honduras and Nicaragua. What was once an easy and stable source of food and income has been transformed into a multi-million dollar business at the expense of the workers.
More than 70,000 Cubans fled to the United States in 2015, making it one of the largest Cuban migrations to the United States in decades. This time, migrants are not arriving on the Florida shores by boat, but take a roundabout route through South and Central America to the Texan border. Recently their journey was interrupted by Nicaragua - a close ally of Cuban President Raul Castro.
Nicaragua has sent thousands of Cubans back to Costa Rica after the US-bound migrants stormed the border, accusing San Jose of sparking a crisis. Cuban influx fueled by rumors US will reverse its liberal asylum policy.
In Nicaragua, young transgender people face violence and discrimination on a daily basis. Often, their families won't accept their identity change and throw them out of the house at an early age. These homeless youths often have to resort to sex work to survive. Pulse tracked some of them down on the streets of Managua to find out more.