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Former U.S. Ambassador To Nicaragua Dies at Age 58

March 19, 2010

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – After a lengthy battle with cancer, former United States Ambassador to Nicaragua Barbara Moore died on March 11 in her home state of Maryland, in the U.S. She was 58.

Moore was ambassador from 2001 to 2005. Originally from Buffalo, New York, she was nominated to be ambassador to Nicaragua by U.S. President George W. Bush after she served for four years as deputy chief of missions at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Before that, Moore – a 32-year member of the U.S. Foreign Service – held posts in Venezuela, Chile, Mexico and Canada.

In Nicaragua, Moore worked closely with the administration of President Enrique Bolaños to finalize negotiations on the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. (CAFTA) and secure a $175-million Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) grant. That development aid was cancelled in 2009 due to U.S. concerns about President Daniel Ortega’s commitment to democracy and good governance.

Moore’s term as ambassador coincided with Nicaragua’s investment, tourism and development boom – much of which was fueled by the U.S. market. In 2004, near the end of her tenure as ambassador, Moore said she felt positive about the future.

“Nicaragua and I have been working to address the stuck-in-the-past image, the image of the 1980s, of a war-torn country with much civil strife. That has not been the case for 14 years, but that was the last time Nicaragua got a lot of news coverage,” she told The Nica Times in a 2004 interview (TT, Nov. 12, 2004). “There is a lot of good that is happening in terms of getting the macroeconomic picture back in focus, a democratic government firmly taking hold, a successful transfer of power over the years.”

Still, Moore was never wide-eyed in her appraisal of Nicaragua, or underestimated its political vulnerabilities.

“We still have a challenge in the judicial sector,” she said. “Judicial insecurity will be a longer-term problem to correct.”

She also didn’t pull any diplomatic punches when it came to saying what she thought about Ortega or Liberal Constitutional Party boss Arnoldo Alemán.

“The U.S. government does not think that Daniel Ortega, nor Arnoldo Alemán, represent viable leaders for the future,” she told The Nica Times in 2004.

Moore is survived by her husband, Spencer, her son, Nicholas, and grandchildren Cassidy and Austin.

–Tim Rogers

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