Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 441 | Abril 2018



Nicaragua briefs


Heading into the second week after Carlos Alvarado, the presidential candidate for Costa Rica’s Citizen Action Party, trounced Evangelical candidate Fabricio Alvarado in the second round of elections on April 1, the Nicaraguan government had still not congratulated the new President of our neighbor country. It was, however, quick to congratulate Vladimir Putin, the reelected President of Russia; Abdelfatah Al-Sisi, the reelected President of Egypt; Gaston Browne, the elected Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda; and Keith Mitchell, the elected Prime Minister of Grenada, the previous month. Ortega’s message to Putin included the following: “With you at the head of the Russian Federation, we are sure you will continue defending international dialogue and negotiation as invaluable and indispensable resources for attending to the conflicts afflicting the world.”


Daniel Ortega participated in the Summit of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) on March 6. In an extensive speech, he offered a historic summary that started with the Cuban Revolution in 1959, continued with the Nicaraguan revolution 20 years later and wrapped up with the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2010. “How far we have managed to advance!” he proclaimed. “And now the outrages being committed by the US government and those being committed by the Latin American governors…. This is an attempt to again provoke division leading to disintegration of what we have succeeded in building. Because what we have constructed is here to see, and this entire battle is being waged within what was constructed.… It is clear that self-interested policy, which is the essence of imperialism, is being confronted here.… And what shall we say to the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian people on this day of the fifth anniversary of Comandante Chávez passing into immortality? That the work he and Fidel constructed is here… and all of us are here, ratifying the principles, the foundations of this project; and as Nicolás [Maduro, Chávez’s successor as President of Venezuela] said, seeing Chávez as the root and tree that keeps growing, seeing it grow more gigantic every day”.


The following week President Ortega sent a letter to then President of Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (he resigned on March 21), advocating the presence of Venezuela and President Maduro at the seventh Summit of the Americas to be held in Lima in mid-April. In his letter, Ortega said that prohibiting it is an “act contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and to the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of State and of Government of the member countries of CELAC.” Without specifically responding to Ortega, Peru’s foreign minister reiterated that as the host nation, Peru “decides whom to invite and whom not to invite.”.


Since signing on to the Paris Agreement on climate change last October to improve its deteriorated image and access international resources to help meet the agreement’s objectives, Nicaragua’s government has yet to present the planned and determined national contributions for adapting to and mitigating climate change. The deadline is December 2018 and all other government signatories have already complied. Víctor Campos,,director of the Nicaraguan environmental organization Centro Humboldt, pointed out that none of the country’s environmental organizations have any information about how the government is putting together this indispensable instrument. He added that national measures must appear in it, especially for agriculture and livestock raising, sectors that generate the most greenhouse effect gases in Nicaragua. The government has also not produced any audit of the damage and losses climate change has already caused in our country, even though that statistical tool is a condition for accessing Green Climate Fund resources. The Fund’s goal is to collect US$100 billion from the most developed countries to support the environmental efforts of the least developed ones.


The murder of a woman in Pantasma by her partner precisely on March 8, International Women’s Day, as hundreds of women were marching in Managua calling for justice in response to the increased killing of women and viciousness with which the crime is so often committed, moved the government spokeswoman to use the word “femicide” for the very first time the following day. Ignoring the prodigious work Nicaragua’s women’s organizations have been doing on the issue for years, she announced in her daily address on the official media that the government would prepare “a folder that will be distributed by the thousands, in which we will warn about the signs and signals of violence and of disrespect that could indicate a path to fatal violence or femicide.”
The first page of that folder, which was indeed quickly produced, says: “There is a force more powerful than blows, shouting and arguments; that powerful force is love.” Days later the police presented a “Map of Violence against Women”. Of the 58 women murdered in 2017, the Police only recognized 25 because a regulation the presidency issued on the Comprehensive Law against Violence Against Women (Law 779) twisted various aspects of that law, including redefining the murder of women as femicide only if it occurs in the couple’s private sphere. According to the Nicaraguan organization Catholics for the Right to Decide, there have been 16 femicides in the first quarter of 2018, with another 23 frustrated attempts.


Caribbean human rights defenders Elba Rivera, María Luisa Acosta and Dolene Miller were guests on the TV magazine program “Esta Noche” on March 16 to denounce the critical situation in that half of Nicaragua for Miskitu, Mayangna and Afro-descendent women. They are being expelled from their communities and sometimes kidnapped and raped by mestizo settlers from the Pacific side of the country who are occupying indigenous lands. “The settlers carry weapons of war and burn down houses, sometimes even entire communities, forcing the displacement of the inhabitants. At least 1,700 women have had to flee to Honduras, crossing the Río Coco, or to Waspam and Bilwi,” reported María Luisa Acosta, a lawyer from that region. Dolene Miller, a black Creole, added that the women are often leaders in the communal territories who are left alone when the men run from the armed settlers. This situation is nothing new; it has been going on for years given the government’s failure to address the problem. The settlers’ invasion of those territories and refusal to leave or abide by the territories’ rules stem from the government’s failure to comply with the territorial demarcation law in already demarcated and titled indigenous territories by applying its “title clearance” section, which would require illegal inhabitants to leave. Education specialist Alba Rivera underscored the lack of educational quality in the majority of coast schools, where rather than fostering critical awareness in the students, “a culture of fear” is being inculcated by encouraging silence in the face of such injustices.”

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