Google caused a minor fuss in the "Land of Lakes and Volcanoes" today when it attempted to salute Central America on the anniversary of its 1821 independence but apparently put El Salvador's flag on Nicaragua's landing page.
To be fair to Google, El Salvador and Nicaragua have similarly colored flags with similar-looking coats of arms. But to be fair to Nicaragua and El Salvador, they're different.
Here's a side-by-side look at the coat of arms for El Salvador and Nicaragua (note: El Salvador's coat of arms has flags coming out of the sides of its crest, and Nicaragua's does not):
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Google's doodle of El Salvador's flag looks closer to accurate:
It may seem like a minor detail, but the issue has set Nicaraguan social media abuzz with patriotic fervor on its Independence Day, which is celebrated all throughout Central America on Sept. 15. All of the other Central American Independence Day doodle flags — Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica — are accurate. Google Doodle did not immediately respond to Fusion's request for comment.
But Google's apparent confusion about Nicaragua's national symbols can be forgiven, considering the Nicaraguan government is equally confused. Since Sandinista president Daniel Ortega returned to power in 2007, his eccentric wife, Rosario Murillo, has insisted that Nicaragua use a new, cartoonish coat of arms designed by her own twisted plume.
When the Sandinistas first unveiled Murillo's version of the coat of arms in 2007 and tried to pass it off as normal, the opposition raised a brief stink by complaining that the cartoon was an affront to Nicaragua's national symbols. But eventually, the opposition did what it does best by going quiet and allowing the ruling party to run roughshod over the constitution.
Today the Sandinistas use the Murillo's doodle symbol on all official reports and communiques except — interestingly enough— on official correspondences with Cuba. Apparently the Castro brothers prefer Nicaragua's traditional coat of arms.
In any event, with the newest addition from Google doodles, Nicaragua now has a coat of arms for every occasion. And not every country can claim to be so versatile.