Surviving Managua’s Government Crackdowns and Torrential Rains

A Refugee Couple Tends Their Garden in Nicaragua's Ruined Capital

On an overcast afternoon, Julio Baldelomar carries his metal ring of bagged chips past a new tourist attraction called Paseo Xolotlán, named for the nearly Los Angeles-sized lake on Managua, Nicaragua’s north side. Families flock to the high-walled complex to see a miniature replica of old Managua and walk on the waterfront promenade. But 31-year-old Julio is not allowed to enter while he’s hawking the plantain and yucca chips that his family makes.

“The government has made a disaster,” he says. “You can’t go in and sell here, because it’s …