traditional and ancient medicine in nicaragua

“The name of the revolution on the Caribbean Coast is autonomy. If you are working to create autonomy here you are a revolutionary.” Johnny Hodgson

Nicaragua has led the way in Latin America on indigenous people’s rights. As a response to the Contra war, and the greivances of indigenous people on the Caribbean Coast, the Sandinista Government passed the Autonomy Law in 1987.

In 2003 Law 443, the Land Demarcation Law, was passed, which recognised the communal land rights of Nicaragua’s indigenous people. With the new Sandinista administration in 2007, the demarcation process has accelerated. Out of 22 territories, 17 have already been through the process, covering 22,000 sq kms – more than the size of Wales.

Last month the autonomy process took another step forward. The National Assembly passed the Traditional and Ancient Medicine Law. The Welsh Campaign has kept an eye on these developments for over a decade, particularly through our links with the URACCAN, the Bilwi Clinic, and Dr Alta Hooker from Bilwi, who has done much to both record and develop the links between traditional medicine and Nicaragua’s national health provision.

You can read more about the Law here.

Nicaragua joins Bolivia in putting into practice indigenous rights, which exist on paper in many countries, but in practice are negligible. Bolivia recently presented it’s bill on the Law of Mother Earth (click here), a world’s first for recognising environmental rights and protection. It’s deeply rooted in the relations between the indigenous people and Pachamama (Mother Earth).


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