Independent since 1821, Nicaragua is a unitary republic. According to a2zdirectory, Nicaragua is a country in Central America. On the basis of the 1987 Constitution, amply modified by the 1995 amendments, the President of the Republic, who is also head of the Government, exercises executive power assisted by the cabinet of ministers appointed by him. Elected by universal suffrage, his mandate lasts six years, like the National Assembly, which instead holds legislative power. The administration of justice is based on European continental law; the rules of the International Court are admitted without reservation. Among the bodies responsible for the administration of justice, the Supreme Court is at the highest level, whose members are appointed by the General Assembly. Courts of appeal and minor courts are also present. The defense of the state is entrusted to the three traditional armed forces. The compulsory conscription has been abolished and the military service is carried out only on a voluntary basis from the age of 17. The education system was reorganized starting in 1868, receiving new impulses from 1912, with the contribution of the religious orders. Since 1979 both primary education, which is given from 7 to 13 years of age, and secondary education, lasting 5 years, has been free and compulsory. There are also several technical, agricultural and veterinary education institutes. A considerable boost was also given to teacher training. Despite these efforts, access to education remains difficult, as demonstrated by the illiteracy rate in the country which remains at high levels: 23.3% (2006).
Geographical conditions and historical events have contributed to making Nicaragua a country of marginal and reflected culture, since the pre-Columbian era. During the three centuries of the colonial age, Nicaragua had significant literary manifestations. The sec. XIX brought, together with political independence, the country’s first university (in León), some versifiers and historians (including Tomás Ayón, 1821-87, author of a great Historia de Nicaragua), but in no case did their fame exceed the narrow borders of the country. Nicaragua’s literary history truly begins with one of the greatest names in Ibero-American modernism: the poet Rubén Darío, which however operated and imposed itself outside Nicaragua (in Chile, Argentina, Europe). The poetic renewal he promoted aroused echoes in Nicaragua thanks above all to Santiago Argüello (1872-1942), poet (Ojo y alma, 1908), playwright (Ocaso, 1906) and critic (Siluetas literarias, etc.) of considerable personality. Other writers moved along the path thus open, especially poets, such as the priest Azarías H. Pallais (1886-1954), author of Camino and Bello tono menor, Manuel Tijerino (1885-1936), Lino Argüello (1886-1937), Salomón de la Selva (1893-1959), author of El soldado desconocido (1922) and other texts up to Evocación de Horacio (1948), and above all Alfonso Cortés (1887-1963), an original neo-symbolist and teacher of the next generation. In prose and theater, the first important figure was Hernán Robleto (1894-1969), a pugnacious publicist, and therefore forced to emigrate, author of a novel read throughout Latin America (Sangre en el trópico, 1930, on the bloody civil war of 1926) and various dramas, from La rosa del paraíso (1920) to Tres dramas nicaragüenses (1948). The twentieth century gave Nicaragua a brilliant poetic flowering, especially with José Coronel Urtecho (1906-94), sensitive and versatile religious lyricist, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, intense poet and tied to his own land (El jaguar y la luna, 1959), as well as a prominent essayist and playwright (Pastorela, Satanás entra en escena, Por los caminos van los campesinos); Alberto Ordónez Argüello (b. 1914), also a poet and playwright, and Joaquín Pasos, who died immaturely (Poemas de un joven, postumi, 1962). A few years later other important voices of avant-garde poetry were born, such as Enrique Fernández Morales (1918-1982), also a painter, Francisco P. Estrada (1919-1982) and Juan Francisco Gutiérrez (1920-1995). The most original and prestigious voice of the contemporary literary panorama is certainly that of Ernesto Cardenal, to whom poetic collections are due, narrative poems of civil and political denunciation and historical-sociological essays which testify to his passionate participation in the international cultural debate. Clever poets are also considered Ernesto Mejía Sanchez (1923-1985), Carlos Martínez Rivas (1924-1998), Ivan Uriarte (b.1942) and Beltrán Morales (1945-1986), leading elements of the so-called generació traicionada, a generation betrayed. And then Fernando Gordillo (1940-1967) and Sergio Ramírez (b. 1942), founders of the Ventana group; Leonel Reegama (1950-1970), Felipe Pería (1957-1979) and Ernesto Castillo (1958-1978), who died in the Sandinista war; Erick Aguirre (b.1961), journalist and literary critic, as well as a poet (Pasado meridiano, 1995, Conversación con las sombras, 1999); Fernando Antonio Silva (b.1957). Female voices are also of great importance: Gioconda Belli (b.1948), a passionate witness to the painful condition of living in Nicaragua in the 1970s (Linea de fuego, 1978), then published more mature collections, such as El ojo de la mujer (1991) and Apogeo (1997); Daisy Zamora (b.1950), established herself with the collection La violenta espuma (1981) which was followed by volumes of verses of great intensity, such as A cada quien la vida (1994) and Tierra de Nadie, Tierra de Todos (2007), Rosario Murillo (b.1951), founder of the Grada group, Yolanda Blanco, Vidaluz Meneses, Ana Ilce Gómez, Karla Sánchez. Despite the marked domination of poetic over narrative vocations, there is no lack of important contributions in prose and non-fiction, often given by poets. Prosecutors of birth and training were Adolfo Calero Orozco (1899-1989) and Manolo Cuadra (1908-1957). Among the novelists who emerged in the second half of the twentieth century, we note the work of Horacio Peña (b.1936), Carlos Alemán Ocampo, Orlando Núñez (b.1948), Douglas Carcache (b.1960), Leonel Delgado (1965-2001). Among the women, in addition to the aforementioned G. Belli (The inhabited woman, 1988; The parchment of seduction, 2007), Mónica Zalaquett (b. 1954; Tu fantasma, Julián, 1992), Gloria Elena Espinoza, María Lourdes Pallais (b.1953, Peru). In the theater, Rolando Steiner (1936-1987), an original and very innovative author who died, has returned to more traditional and classic seasons.