still here

From the Nicaragua Network:

Eighteen indigenous Mayangna leaders in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) have graduated from a program to become proficient in their ancestral tongue offered by the Autonomous Regional University of the Nicaragua Caribbean Coast (URACCAN). The Mayangna are the smaller native group in the region dominated by the Miskito people. Indeed, one of the reasons the language is in danger of extinction in some Mayangna communities is that the Moravian Church conducts services in Miskito. As a result of work by the Institute for the Promotion and Investigation of Language and Culture (IPILC), of URACCAN, some Moravian churches are now offering church services in the Mayangna language. Music and storytelling in the Mayangna language are also being revived. Orlando Salomon said that it is now the responsibility of the leaders of the communities of Fruto de Pan, Dibakil, Kalmata, Musawas and others, who graduated from the program to see that the language does not disappear but rather that its use increases among the population. (La Prensa, Aug. 21)

One of the things that the Campaign has done since the start of our contact with Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast is look in detail at the developments to try to save the Coast’s languages. The news last week about the Mayangna people is another step forward in the process. The URACCAN, the Coast’s community university, has been central to supporting indigenous people in rescuing their languages and cultures. Solidarity has also played a part. Amongst the people who have worked with the Mayangna over the years is Jane Freeland, from Southampton University, and an old friend of the Campaign.

Since 1994 many from Wales have travelled to Nicaragua, to see the struggle of the indigenous people on the Coast. One of them is Angharad Tomos, who spoke in the El Sueno Existe conference about the influence of Nicaragua on her. ESE has newly published an interview from a member of UNITE with Angharad, and also with other speakers in the conference, the Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada, and Dafydd Iawn. See  here for details.

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yma o hyd

O Rwydwaith Nicaragua:

Eighteen indigenous Mayangna leaders in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) have graduated from a program to become proficient in their ancestral tongue offered by the Autonomous Regional University of the Nicaragua Caribbean Coast (URACCAN). The Mayangna are the smaller native group in the region dominated by the Miskito people. Indeed, one of the reasons the language is in danger of extinction in some Mayangna communities is that the Moravian Church conducts services in Miskito. As a result of work by the Institute for the Promotion and Investigation of Language and Culture (IPILC), of URACCAN, some Moravian churches are now offering church services in the Mayangna language. Music and storytelling in the Mayangna language are also being revived. Orlando Salomon said that it is now the responsibility of the leaders of the communities of Fruto de Pan, Dibakil, Kalmata, Musawas and others, who graduated from the program to see that the language does not disappear but rather that its use increases among the population. (La Prensa, Aug. 21)

Un o’r pethau fod yr Ymgyrch wedi gwneud ers ddechrau ein cysylltiad gyda Arfordir y Caribi yn Nicaragua yw edrych yn manwl ar ddatblygiadau i geisio achub ieithoedd yr Arfordir. Mae’r newyddion yr wythnos diwethaf am pobl Mayangna yn cam mawr ar gyfer y proses. Mae’r URACCAN, prifysgol cymunedol yr Arfordir, wedi bod yn canolog i gefnogi’r pobl cynhenid i achub eu ieithoedd a diwylliant. Mae solidarity wedi chwarae ei ran hefyd. Ymysg y pobl sydd wedi gweithio gyda’r Mayangna dros y blynyddoedd yw Jane Freeland, o Brifysgol Southampton a hen gyfaill ein Ymgyrch.

Ers 1994 mae llawer o Gymru wedi teithio i Nicaragua, i weld frwydr y pobl cynhenid ar yr Arfordir. Un ohonynt wedi bod Angharad Tomos, a siaradodd yng nghynhadledd El Sueno Existe am ddylanwad Nicaragua arni. Mae ESE newydd cyhoeddi cyfweliadau gan aelod o UNITE gydag Angharad, a gyda siaradwyr arall yn y Cynhadledd, Llysgenhad Venezuela, Samuel Moncada, a Dafydd Iwan. Gweler fan hyn ar gyfer y manylion.


the death of the dollar

Latin America is again making strides in their plans for greater regional co-operation and integration. This week UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations) has been meeting in Buenos Aires. The bloc has been working on strengthening economic and political ties for a number of years, co-ordinating approaches at an international level. One example already highlighted by this blog has been the case of Palestine, where contacts between UNASUR and the Arab League led to a wave of recognitions for Palestine from Latin American countries, something which has led to the imminent UN vote on recognition.

The Buenos Aires summit saw agreement on economic issues, less on diplomatic issues. UNASUR failed to agree a common line on Libya, unsurprising as Colombia has already recognised the TNC, whilst Venezuela still vocally supports Gaddafi. The remaining countries have been fairly consistent in calling for, together with the African Union, a negotiated and peaceful process to resolve the conflict in Libya.

Economically the biggest decision was to take steps to create a new multilateral payments system, which will lead to the replacement of the dollar in inter-country trading. It follows a similar initiative by the ALBA countries, where trades have started to take place in the SUCRE. Neither payment system will lead to a new currency like the euro – the new ‘money’ will be for recording trades only (see here for more details).

This was one of the subjects which cropped up in the discussion led by Pablo Navarette in his ALBA workshop in the El Sueno Existe festival in Machynlleth last week. Pablo took the view that the number of ALBA countries were unlikely to increase in the near future. The most likely candidate for a new ALBA member is Peru. But Pablo’s view is confirmed by statements that Ollanta Humala, the new President of Peru, made in the election campaign.

Whilst the growing confidence and reach of UNASUR is a welcome development, it lacks one of the main planks of the ALBA, the relationships based on solidarity. The latest film by Tortilla con sal examines how ordinary Nicaraguans have benefited from signing up to ALBA, something Daniel Ortega did the day after taking power in January 2007.


25 mlynedd o gefnogaeth i nicaragua yng nghymru

I wlad lle mae rhyng-genedlaetholdeb yn pwysig, nad oes llawer o ddadansoddiad o le mae’r cefnogaeth yn dod. Yn ei haraith yn y Steddfod yn Wrecsam, dadlodd Ben Gregory, aelod Ymgyrch Cefnogi Nicaragua, nag oedd gwrthddywediad rhwng cenedlaetholdeb a chenedlaetholdeb yng Nghymru. Yn ddau astudiaeth, un gan aelod o’r mudiad heddwch, y llall gan aelodau Marcsaidd Cymru Cuba, roedd tystiolaeth i dangos fod cred rhyng-genedlaetholdeb ac mewn hunan-llywodraeth yn cryf iawn yng Nghymru.

Mae’r araith hefyd yn canolbwyntio ar gyfraniad Cymru a’r Cymry at frwydr Rhyfel Sbaen, yn frwydr yn erbyn caethwasiaeth, a’r cysylltiad gyda Paul Robeson. Mae’n edrych hefyd ar ddatblygiadau diweddar yng gefnogaeth ‘sifil’ i wledydd ar draws y byd, ond yn arbennig yn yr Affrig.

Mae’r araith llawn ar gael fan hyn: cefnogaeth i nicaragua

Ac oes neges i bobl heddiw? Un syml, gan neb llai na Super Furry Animals….

Ni yw y byd

Ni yw y byd

Glynwn fel teulu

Achod ni yw y byd.

Ni yw y byd

Dewch bawb ynghyd

Paratown am chwyldro

Achos ni yw y byd.


help support the los quinchos children’s project on managua’s rubbish dump

Photo: David McKnight

Last week Wales NSC member David McKnight visited the Los Quinchos children’s project on La Chureca, Managua’s rubbish dump. There is clearly good progress being made with the building of the new houses and the capping and sealing of the dump – key aspects of the redevelopment of the site funded by the Spanish Government in cooperation with the municipal council in Managua. However, the children are finding all the changes traumatic and the uncertainty of the future of the centre only increases their insecurity and distress. We are currently working with ProNica (who provide the food for the children) and Los Quinchos (who manage the project on La Chureca) to ascertain what support the project will require over the next 12 months.

What’s clear is that we still need to raise around £400 per month to keep it going – probably up until March next year when we hope that the families will be able to move into new houses and start new jobs. Since setting up our new online fundraising page in April we have raised over £1800. Thanks to all those who have donated and supported the project over the years – we still need you! We have been working with and funding the project since 2007 – raising more than £20,000 to keep the centre open. This money has paid for the salaries of the staff who work with the children – a coordinator, a teacher, two vocational instructors, a cook, a nurse, a nightwatchman – 7 staff in all, for the small sum of £6,000 a year.

Los Quinchos helps support the children and develop them. Some of the street children they’ve worked with in the past now work for the organisation. Others have gone on to higher education. All have had a respite from the punishing conditions in La Chureca.

You can join our ‘Appeal for the Children of La Chureca, Nicaragua’ facebook page here to receive regular news and updates.

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regional integration in latin america – one big union

Integration projects continue apace, both regional and continental, with Nicaragua playing a key role in many of the forums. This week has seen another step forward in Central American integration, a dream as old as many of the countries themselves. In the SICA summit earlier this week in El Salvador (see here), the countries signed another round of agreements. This time the emphasis was on working together to fight organised crime and drug trafficking, a growing problem in some countries which we have previously highlighted.

The news comes after the hiccup for regional integration earlier this month. The founding meeting of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States -the OAS without the US and Canada) was postponed because of Hugo Chavez’ ill health (see here for the announcement).

However the ALBA carries on. Made up of eight nations, including Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas isn’t just a way of distributing Hugo Chavez’ largesse. Below the headlines and the grand-standing, specific mechanisms are being developed to promote ‘fair trade’ between the countries. The links between Nicaragua and Venezuela are particularly advanced, which makes the outcome of Nicaragua’s November elections important for the development of the ALBA.

One of the leading experts on the ALBA, certainly in the UK, is Bristol University’s Thomas Muhr. He has written several interesting papers, detailing the ALBA mechanisms, including TINA Go Home!

What does this mean for a country like Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America? Here’s a brief summary of what ALBA has helped Nicaragua achieve under the Sandinista government:

  • The Roof Plan aims to improve the houses of 250,000 families. 150,000 have received zinc sheets and nails already. The Plan is funded by ALBA
  • Zero Hunger is on target. It will support 75, 000 families over five years to help them enter the rural economy. $150 million is being spent , in the form of animals, seeds, a bio-digestor and training and advice. Funding comes from ALBA and bilateral and multilateral agencies.
  • A similar model is being used for Zero Usury, 80,000 women are receiving small loans (about $200) in a micro-credit scheme to help set up small businesses. ALBA and other countries have provided the finance.
  • ALBA is also supporting the re-paving of roads with the Streets for the People programme and also funds new homes with the Houses for the People programme.

The mechanisms are not without their critics, particularly over financial transparency, a debate which is still ongoing. A good summary of some of the concerns, aired in Envio by a worker from a Basque NGO in Nicaragua, can be found here. It is interesting because it also analyses other development assistance provided by European countries to Nicaragua. Tortillaconsal have added their contribution to the discussion, with interviews with some of the leading officials within the Sandinista government managing ALBA. The video seeks to challenge ALBA’s critics. Watch this below:

The debate, though, is as much political as it is about whether the ALBA process is managed efficiently and transparently. In neighbouring El Salvador, there is disagreement within the FMLN, between their President, Mauricio Funes, and leading members of the party, on how far to go with their links with the ALBA – so far Funes has favoured an ALBA-lite approach, taking advantage of some of the packages without signing up to the Alliance (see here for more from Envio).