Summary and links, “Yes to Sovereignty! No to Sanctions!” Nicaragua Delegation
From March 13 – 23, 2021, the “Yes to Sovereignty! No to Sanctions!” Nicaragua Delegation was organized in collaboration between the Rural Workers’ Association (ATC), Friends of the ATC, and the Sanctions Kill Coalition. The delegation was comprised of 13 North Americans traveling from different parts of the United States and Central America, with the objective of understanding the current reality of Nicaragua in its struggle against different forms of imperialist aggression (including unilateral coercive measures, also known as “sanctions”), and how the Nicaraguan people and government have organized to build resilience against these types of attacks.
The delegation program was organized into three parts. The first took place in Managua and nearby Pacific departments, with presentations about the history and current context of Nicaragua and the peasant movement represented through ATC, the CLOC, and La Via Campesina. This first part of the delegation included a thorough presentation from Dr. Paul Oquist, Private Secretary for National Affairs for the Republic of Nicaragua, who spoke specifically about the use of sanctions against Nicaragua and their effect on both the government and individuals. The delegation also visited historic and recreational sites, which included the Plaza of the Revolution, Laguna de Tiscapa, the Salvador Allende Port, and the isletas of Granada.
In the second part of the program, the delegation divided into two groups to travel to two northern departments for community homestays organized by the local Federations of the ATC in Estelí and Jinotega. This was in part to see how rural communities are building food sovereignty, a key pillar of popular sovereignty and a weapon against sanctions.
In Estelí, the delegation stayed in the community of La Montañita, where the ATC has been organizing with community members to create an agroecological demonstration parcel (supported by Friends of the ATC with a 2020 campaign). The delegates participated in a workshop on planting dragonfruit, a nutritious and high-value crop that will contribute to the community’s food sovereignty. After visiting the countryside, the group finished their visit in Estelí by touring a cigar factory (Estelí’s biggest industry) where the ATC has union presence.
In Jinotega, after meeting with the mayor Leonidas Centeno, the delegation stayed in the community called La Virgen, participating in different aspects of daily rural life such as making tortillas and bread and roasting and grinding coffee. The group also toured some of the farmers’ agroforestry parcels where they grow coffee, cacao, citrus fruits, and beans. The group learned about the community’s defense of the land, thanks to the support of the ATC, which they defended after the 1980s agrarian reform was threatened under the 1990s neoliberal governments.
After the delegation’s visit to Estelí and Jinotega, the third part of the program began by traveling to the Northern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, which represents around one-fourth of Nicaragua’s national territory. The delegation met with the Coordinator of the regional government, Carlos Aleman Cunningham, who explained all of the advances in development and construction of autonomy on the Caribbean Coast, especially since 2007 with the return of the FSLN to executive power. This included explaining the true reality about the “Conflict Beef” media manipulation story that has circulated in US media for the past few months. The delegation also participated in an exchange with the Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua University (URACCAN), a community-based and intercultural university for all of the different peoples that inhabit the Caribbean Coast.
The delegation also made some highly impactful visits to Miskitu communities in the area – Wawa Bar, Karatá, and Tuapí. These three communities were impacted heavily by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November of 2020, but were all in the process of reconstruction. Thanks to the organization of the communities and the support from the government at all levels, no lives were lost, despite both hurricanes hitting land in this region.
The delegation produced a number of pieces during the trip. In the coming weeks and months, the delegation will be periodically publishing other articles and videos, as well as one full-length documentary. Here we share a selection of these published pieces. Please help us share this information far and wide!
Nicaragua Against Imperialism | Unmasking Imperialism Ep. 3 – Interview with delegates Ramiro Funez, Aminta Zea and Camarada Cero