What happened to Nicaragua? In the 1980s it was a byword for revolution, a bogeyman for U.S. governments and a symbol of Latin America's quest for new paths to development and social justice. But since the Sandinistas' electoral defeat in 1990 it has dropped out of the headlines. In the 1990s Nicaragua has continued to be buffeted by international forces, although rather than troops, the U.S. now sends the Internatinal Monetary Fund (IMF). Nicaraguans' daily lives are dominated by a history of poverty, one which makes them the most indebted country in the region, although they retain a vibrant civil society and rich culture. The country has resurfaced in the international media due to disastrous effects of Hurricane Mitch, the worst natural disaster to hit Central America this century. Yet in spite of hurricanes and earthquakes, Nicaragua is still a country of great natural beauty, with lakes and volcanoes creating a spectacular landscape.