The Political Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Nicaragua
Given the dramatic differences between both state and society in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, it is inevitable that NGO assistance would also take on a different political significance in the Nicaraguan setting. Civil society was relatively well-developed in Costa Rica, but it lacked autonomy because of the strength of the hegemonic state. In pre-revolutionary Nicaragua, by contrast, civil society was barely allowed to exist because the state ruled on the basis of repression, not legitimation. When NGOs did emerge during the 1970s they were closely allied with the revolutionary project. After the revolution, most NGOs identified so closely with the new regime that, at least initially, they did not view themselves as playing a role in an independent civil society.