The Chamorro government had great difficulty translating its electoral victory into increased foreign aid, although much of its foreign policy during its first years appeared aimed at that end. The high levels of international interest that attended the Sandinista years (1979-90) and the 1990 electoral process quickly waned after the Chamorro inauguration. The end of the Cold War and the transfer of dependence from the Soviet bloc to the United States created a dilemma for the Chamorro government, which viewed foreign assistance as crucial to its economic recovery and development, and which had acquired a popular image during the campaign as the political force that would attract foreign funding, particularly from the United States. The Chamorro administration sought to address the declining international interest, particularly in the United States, with an active international lobbying effort. The United States, which many Nicaraguans had believed would help Nicaragua substantially if Chamorro were elected, became ambivalent about the Chamorro government when the UNO's policy of accommodation toward the Sandinistas persisted. As a result, the Chamorro government rapidly followed the path of other Latin American governments, seeking to diversify its foreign relations and decrease its reliance on the United States, despite United States predominance in the country's economic and political affairs.
By the end of the first year of the Chamorro government, Nicaragua was still highly dependent on foreign aid. Promises of foreign aid in 1990 totaled over US$700 million, more than twice the country's export earnings from its major products--coffee, cotton, and bananas. Nicaraguan experts estimated that it would take three years of aid at that level to generate economic recovery and growth and to service a US$9.9 billion debt. Soon after the government took office, it estimated the country's foreign aid needs at US$907 million for 1990 and US$582 million for 1991.
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