Nicaragua, probably the poorest country after Haiti and Cuba in Latin America has established a Space Ministry, a grandiose piece of nonsense you can be sure will produce no rockets.
One would think its left wing dictator Daniel Ortega, the darling of the Western left when he first emerged back in the 1970s, might better serve his people by establishing a Ministry of Baking to provide his dirt-poor subjects their daily bread.
Currently Nicaragua’s main export is its people, they fleeing in their thousands from the country’s pervading Police brutality for neighbouring Costa Rica.
In the late 1990s I had an amusing encounter with their thuggish police when there with Paul Holmes. We were lost in Managua, surely the most boring capital city in the world, trying to find our hotel, when we were stopped by a Police road block.
They tried to shake us down and copped an earful from me. A shouting standoff ensued then over swaggered their dark-glassed chief who spoke English.
I launched into him about the extraordinary ugliness of his personnel who were loitering sullenly watching. He broke into a grin, slapped me on the back and said we were free to go. When I said we were lost he ordered the most aggressive of our earlier antagonists into the back seat to show us the way, which proved to be some distance.
“How will he get back?” I asked. The boss shrugged and said, “Who cares?”.
Currently our refugee intake, confined to a miserable 1500 annually, is mainly drawn from the Middle East.
I’d like to see us double this number to include Nicaraguans, Guatemalans and Hondurans whose plight for a multitude of reasons is currently pretty desperate. Apart from heading to the haven of Costa Rica, organised by people smugglers, they’re also marching in their thousands to Mexico, then on to America.
America, the great melting pot nation, under Biden intends taking a softer and long term smarter approach than his ignorant oafish predecessor and step-up acceptance of them.
I have no doubt that will prove a great investment, just as the mainly Asian migration of recent years to New Zealand has been for us.