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Nicaragua has suffered the longest-running dictatorship in modern Latin American history and has long been associated with violence.1 The armed forces were used to repress social protests in 2018, causing hundreds of deaths. Since then, many people have fled the country. In 2021, 30 years after the end of civil war in the country, the government suppressed opposition parties and staged a rigged election in favour of President Daniel Ortega.2 Nicaragua has a substantial arms trade, with a large number of illegal weapons in circulation. It is also used as a starting point for illicit arms flows to Costa Rica and Mexico.3

The country’s guiding gun control legislation includes the Firearms Act of 2005. Nicaragua has not signed the Arms Trade Treaty.4


1 Dennis Rodgers and José Luis Rocha, “Turning Points: Gang Evolution in Nicaragua,” in Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers, Small Arms Survey (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2013),

2 “Nicaragua,” International Crisis Group, 2022,

3 “Global Organized Crime Index: Nicaragua,” Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, 2021,

4 Philip Alpers, Amélie Rossetti and Leonardo Goi, Nicaragua – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

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Map of Nicaragua

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, two accidental explosions have been reported in Nicaragua.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Nicaragua (1979–2021)








State (military)





State (military)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Nicaragua.


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Nicaragua.


No reported needs have been identified for Nicaragua.

Source: Nicaragua, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Nicaragua to the UN, 2022), https ://

Published Date: Monday 21 of August 2023