Nicaragua A Town That Peace Forgot

In a long-besieged village, the residents remain skeptical

The menu at Alejandra Mirano's restaurant on the dusty main street of Pantasma is as sparse as the surroundings. Brown beans, rice and corn tortillas are the staples, served sometimes with eggs from the hens that cluck about the bare concrete floor. The ancient refrigerator no longer works, so the syrupy sodas are served at room temperature, an oppressive 90 degrees F at midday in April, as the town awaits the onset of the annual rains.

If the food and ambience at Mirano's restaurant are spartan, they mirror life in Pantasma, a garrison and farming town in Nicaragua's Jinotega province that...

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