Sir, We’re Taking on Water

November 20, 2009

The threat of Nicaragua losing its  distinction as Central America’s safest country should be plastered all over the airwaves and newspapers. Most Nicaraguans don’t know this fact, but would be very proud to learn about this distinction and work to keep it if they knew their country was at risk of losing it.

The tourism industry prides itself on advertising to the world that Nicaragua is a safe destination to come expecting a secure and rewarding experience with all the natural beauty that Nicaragua has to offer.

Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake here if Nicaragua’s image reverts back to the point where it’s viewed as a place to avoid, instead of a place to enjoy.

It has taken a decade of hard work and decent press to open the doors for Nicaragua and get it involved in the international tourism industry. But that can be lost in a heartbeat if Nicaragua is deemed “undemocratic and unsafe.”

Tourists come here to enjoy themselves, and don’t want to have to worry about their lives being in jeopardy.

Let it be known that most Nicaraguans want prosperity and are willing to work for it. They will not tolerate a government that will jeopardize their future because of greed and corruption.

A year ago we were just beginning to see our four years of building a small beach hotel in northern Nicaragua as a potentially profitable and exciting endeavor. We had poured our life savings into making Nicaragua “a destination, not just a place”.

At the time, we knew we were taking a reasonable risk, but the future looked good and the government was promoting international investment in Nicaragua.

When we first opened, we started to get reservation requests from Europe and North America, with comments like “Wow, we didn’t even know something like this existed. We want to come, tell us more!”

Now we have clients asking “Do you think it is safe enough to even think about coming?” It doesn’t take much time or bad press to change things. Demonstrations in the streets and death in the headlines spell disaster.

Latin America is seen as “troubled” and Central America has a long history of poverty and political corruption.

As stated in The Nica Times Oct. 30 article “Citizen Insecurity Growing Across Region,” the northern triangle of countries do affect the southern triangle, and Nicaragua is a “tweener.”

World opinion has a lot to do with generating prosperity or poverty. In nautical vernacular, “Sir, we are taking on water!”

David Cardin has a degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from the University of California and was a General Engineering/Civil Engineer for 30 years in Hawaii and California before moving to Nicaragua in 2005.

 

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