Growing Food, Building Revolution

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Report from the July 2022 Food Sovereignty, Agroecology & Victorious July Delegation

Editors’ Note: In collaboration with the ATC, Friends of the ATC facilitates a small internship program for learners (usually university students or recent graduates) who are committed to solidarity with social movements. Each intern has a unique experience and brings a unique perspective and contribution to the ATC while they are in Nicaragua. In this post we share with you an article written by Friends of ATC intern, Jordan Deskins.

From July 12-22nd twenty-three international delegates joined Friends of the ATC’s Food Sovereignty, Agroecology & Victorious July Delegation in Nicaragua. The delegates joined from countries all over the world, including the US, the Philippines, Ireland, Greece, and the UK, along with other nations not represented by passports or current countries of residence. During the delegation, delegates witnessed the peacefulness of Nicaragua. We got to spend time learning from Nicaraguan youth, women, and campesinos/campesinas represented by the ATC.

(Group with Sandino. Photo by delegate Luis Sifuentes)

Our trip began with educational presentations by leaders in the ATC, teaching us about the history of Nicaragua and its historic fight against US imperialism and intervention. Delegates learned about the liberation from the Somoza dictatorship through the Sandinista Revolution, representing the first time that Nicaraguans could govern for themselves rather than have US-controlled puppet government. However, when US-backed neoliberalism took over from 1990-2006, much of the previous progress of the Revolution had been diminished. The Sandinistas never gave up though, and after strong campaigns from the FSLN in 2006, Daniel Ortega was voted back into power and popular support remains strong – the model is known as “Pueblo Presidente”. Delegates were impressed with the advances in Nicaragua from 2007-2020 (the second phase of the Revolution) such as food sovereignty levels now at 80%, electricity coverage improving from 54% to 99%, drinking water in urban areas from 65% to 91% and in rural areas 26.7% to 55.4%, more than 1.2 million children have now receive access to free school meals in all the country, and 19 hospitals, 192 clinics, 178 maternity wards have been constructed, along with other medical achievements.

Delegates also learned of the integral role that the ATC, Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (CLOC), and La Via Campesina hold in improving the lives of people in the campo all over the world. All these organizations fight for food sovereignty, international solidarity, water, land, agroecology, climate justice, migrant workers, women’s rights, and more.

(Student at IALA. Photo by Luis Sifuentes)

Our delegation continued with a 4-day visit to the ATC’s Rodolfo Sanchez Bustos Institute in the Santa Emilia community, department of Matagalpa. The delegation spent time with the current cohort of Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA) students, learning from their coursework in technical agroecological farm work practices, along with the more theoretical coursework of revolutionary political education and social consciousness. During the visit to Matagalpa, we were welcomed by the Mayor of San Ramón, Consuelo Moran, a campesina who was part of the ATC and came to San Ramón for the land reform in the 80’s that came with the Sandinista Revolution. One of her biggest passions is building agroecology in San Ramon. Currently, the city does not use any harsh chemicals in agricultural production, and they have programs for seed protection and food security. The city has also opened a new market for farmers to go and sell produce daily. Additionally, the city has implemented a recycling center that employs women from the community. She has had to overcome much adversity as a single mother as San Ramon’s first female mayor.

(Mayor of San Ramon, Consuelo Moran. Photo by delegate Luis Sifuentes)

During the delegation, we also got to spend time with various women’s cooperatives. With them, we got to understand the true impact women have on the Sandinista Revolution. We heard from strong single mothers who do the hard work of community building in the campo through systems of agroecology and food sovereignty. These women have been empowered through this work with the support of the Sandinista Revolution which gave women the right to land ownership and to be leaders in cooperatives. The women accredit the Sandinista Revolution for much of their achievements, however it is overly apparent that the Sandinista Revolution, socialism, and community systems of agroecology and food sovereignty are not possible without the strong dedication of women.

Towards the end of the delegation, we experienced the absolute euphoria of what is the anniversary of the Sandinista Popular Revolution at the Central Act in Managua, seeing the President and Vice President speak of power, love, and anti-imperialism that goes into the revolutionary movement especially by empowering youth to continue the struggle and by having a strong representation of women from the government present as well. Seeing the representation of women and youth in the central act– something we experienced first-hand during our delegation – certainly tied together the reality of the achievements furthering this amazing revolution, along with its widespread support from people all over Nicaragua, in the cities and the countryside. All our delegates were able to see that this is far from the false depictions of Daniel Ortega’s so-called dictatorship shown in the US.

(Delegates & Students at the Central Act on July 19. Photo by Friends of ATC)

I think all of our delegates would agree that it is crucial to experience Nicaragua with an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist lens. Seeing the reality of Revolutionary Nicaragua was incredible and refreshing, especially apart from US propaganda.

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