- Opposition say legislation was rushed through without proper scrutiny
- Nicaraguan military says it plans to buy Russian jets and patrol boats
This article originally appeared in The Guardian
Nicaragua’s parliament has authorised the establishment of a Russian satellite ground station in the Central American country.
Officials say the base will permit the operation of a system similar to GPS for peaceful uses, such as mitigating natural disasters.
Opposition legislators object that the measure, which originated as an urgent presidential decree sent to parliament this week, was fast-tracked through without proper time for study.
The lawmaking body is dominated by President Daniel Ortega’s ruling party.
Nicaragua and Russia signed an agreement in 2012 to cooperate on space exploration and activity, including ground installations for Glonass, a satellite navigation system designed to be an equivalent of the United States’ GPS.
Cooperation between Managua and Moscow has increased over the last decade with the return to power of Ortega, who cultivated close ties to the Soviet Union as president in the 1980s.
Nicaragua’s military has said it is negotiating the purchase of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets as well as patrol boats to guard the coasts. The Central American country has also acquired Russian buses, taxis and tractors.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin visited Nicaragua last year.