13th welsh delegation to nicaragua – part 2

miguel descoto
Padre Miguel D’Escoto

After 4 days on the Caribbean Coast, the delegation returned to the Pacific Coast to continue their visits and meetings. The group had two busy days in Managua, including:

  • a visit to Los Quinchos, to hear about their troubles over the past year – like a lot of organisations which depend on international support, Los Quinchos lost a lot of donations and workers last year
  • another meeting with Domingo Perez frmo UNE, to discuss practical links
  • a meeting with Centro Estudios Internacionales, to discuss sexual diversity in Nicaragua, and the organisation’s work on human rights
  • an inspirational meeting with Father Miguel D’Escoto, founder of Orbis Books, a leading proponent of liberation theology; Foreign Minister in the Sandinista Government of the 80s; a President of the United Nations General Assembly last year
  • a meeting with Pedro Haslam, Minister for Families, Community, Co-operatives and the Associative Economy, who explained the attempts of the Sandinistas to revive the rural economy and establish food sovereignty
  • a discussion with Centro Humboldt, the main environmental organisation, on renewable energy
  • a meeting with the Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua (MAM), to hear about their concerns about the situation women face in the land

mapa-La-Dalia-1

The delegation spent two days in the company of Accion Medica Cristiana, a Tearfund partner, to hear about their food projects. During the two days the group had a meeting with Dr Teresa Bobadilla Castrillo, Dr Gerardo Gutierrez and Dr Francisco Gutierrez, with viewpoints on community development and food, women’s situation in the country, and the drugs problem across Central America and the economic and social effects.

After a meeting of presentations, the Campaign travelled with Dr Reyna Cordero to La Dalia, an hours drive to the north of Matagalpa. After a night in the remote community of Santa Luz, the delegation visited San Benito, to meet with members of the community, where we were guided around coffee farms, and treated to a lunch meeting with the residents of  El Progreso.

san benito
El Progreso

The group travelled back to Matagalpa, to meet an old friend, Santiago Dolmus of CECOCAFEN, one of the biggest co-operatives in Nicaragua. He gave a clear explanation of the benefits of fair trade, the need to make it even fairer (the roasters in the rich countries still take most of the money), and how the co-operative economy is developing in Nicaragua, in agriculture, but also in the service and manufacturing sectors.

Back in Managua the timetable finished with two of the best events – a visit to La Chureca again, to see how the joint project between Managua Council and the Spanish Government has transformed the rubbish dump, including providing 500 jobs in the recycling plant; 250 houses; a school and a new community centre; and a tour de force presentation by Dr Paul Oquist, Minister for National Plans, about the National Development Plan (more than one member of the delegation said they couldn’t imagine a Welsh politician presenting a similar wide-ranging vision for the direction of the nation).

The fortnight finished with two free days (that included another two meetings!). The first was spent in Granada, during the International Poetry Festival, and a short meeting with Gioconda Belli, renowned poet and author of one of the best books about Nicaragua. The second day was spent in Laguna de Apoyo, swimming and watching howler monkeys, shopping in Masaya, and meeting with John and Abigail (a Sandinista councillor) on their farm.

Thanks to everyone who helped organise the visit, including Jaime, Liz, Johnny, Juliette and Guizell. There will be a series of articles in the near future, based on the information from the delegation. 

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13eg dirprwyaeth i nicaragua – rhan 2

miguel descoto

Padre Miguel D’Escoto

Ar ôl 4 diwrnod ar Arfordir y Caribi, dychwelodd y ddirprwyaeth i Arfordir y Môr Tawel i barhau gyda’i hymweliadau a chyfarfodydd. Cafodd y grŵp 2 diwrnod brysur ym Managua, yn cynnwys:

  • ymweliad â Los Quinchos, canolfan ar domen sbwriel La Chureca, i glywed am eu gwaith a’u trafferthion dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf – fel llawer o fudiadau sy’n dibynny ar gefnogaeth ryngwladol, mae Los Quinchos wedi colli llawer o roddion a gweithwyr y llynedd
  • Cyfarfod arall gyda Domingo Perez o UNE, i drafod cysylltiadau ymarferol
  • Cyfarfod gyda Centro Estudios Internaciones, i drafod amrywiaeth rhywiol yn Nicaragua, a’i gwaith dros hawliau dynol
  • Cyfarfod ysbrydoledig gyda Padre Miguel d’Escoto, sylfaenydd Llyfrau Orbis, lledaenydd diwinyddiaeth rhyddhad; Gweinidog Tramor Llywodraeth y Sandinistiaid yn yr 80au; a Llywydd Cynulliad Cyffredinol y Cenhedloedd Unedig y llynedd
  • Cyfarfod gyda Pedro Haslam, Gweindog dros Deulueodd, Cymuned, Cydweithfeydd ac Economi Cydweithredol, a esboniodd ymdrechion y Sandinistiaid i adfywio’r economi wledig a sefydlu sofraniaeth bwyd
  • Trafodaeth gyda Centro Humboldt, prif fudiad amgylcheddol y wlad, ar ynni adnewyddol
  • Cyfarfod gyda’r Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua (MAM), i glywed eu pryderon am sefyllfa merched yn y wlad

mapa-La-Dalia-1

Treuliodd y ddirprwyaeth 2 ddiwrnod yng nghwmni Accion Medica Cristiana, partner Tearfund, i glywed am eu prosiectau bwyd. Yn ystod y 2 ddiwrnod cafodd y grŵp gyfarfod gyda Dr Teresa Bobadilla Castrillo, Dr Gerardo Gutierrez a Dr Francisco Gutierrez, gyda safbwyntiau ar ddatblygu cymuned a bwyd, sefyllfa merched yn y wlad, a phroblem cyffuriau ar draws Canolbarth America a’r effaith economaidd a chymdeithasol. Wedi bore o gyflwyniadau, teithiodd yr Ymgyrch gyda Dr Reyna Cordero i La Dalia, ardal awr i’r gogledd o Matagalpa. Ar ôl noson yng nghymuned ddiarffodd Santa Luz, ymwelodd y ddirprwyaeth a San Benito, i cwrdd ag aelodau’r gymuned, a chael ei tywys o gwmpas ffermydd coffi, a chinio a chyfarfod gyda thrigolion El Progresso.

san benito

El Progresso

Teithiodd y grŵp yn ôl i Matagalpa, i gwrdd  â hen gyfaill, Santiago Dolmus o CECOCAFEN, un o’r cydweithfeydd mwyaf yn Nicaragua. Rhoddodd esboniad eglur am fudd masnach deg, i gamau hanfodol i’w wneud yn fwy teg (mae’r roasters yn y gwledydd cyfoethog yn dal i gymryd y mwyafrif o’r arian), a sut mae’r economi gydweithredol yn datblygu yn Nicaragua, mewn amaethyddiaeth, ond hefyd yn y sectorau gwasanaethau a chynhyrchu.

Yn ôl ym Managua, gorffenodd yr amserlen swyddogol gyda dau o’r digwyddiadau gorau – ymweliad â La Chureca eto, i weld sut mae prosiect ar y cyd rhwng Llywodraeth Managua a Llywodraeth Sbaen wedi trawsffurfio’r domen sbwriel, gan gynnwys darparu 500 o swyddi mewn canolfan ail-gylchu; 250 o dai; ag ysgol a chanolfan gymunedol newydd; a chyflwyniad tour de force gan Dr Paul Oquist, Gweinidog dros Bolisiau Cenedlaethol, ar Gynllun Datblygu Cenedlaethol (dywedodd mwy nag un aelod o’r ddirprwyaeth nad ydy gwleidyddion Cymru yn gallu cyflwyno gweledigaeth mor gynhwysfawr am gyfeiriad y genedl).

Gorffenodd y daith gyda 2 diwrnod rhydd (a oedd yn cynnwys 2 gyfarfod). Treuliwyd y cyntaf yn Granada, yn ystod yr Wyl Farddoniaeth, a chyfarfod byr gyda Gioconda Belli, awdur  un o’r llyfrau gorau am Nicaragua, a’r ail yn Laguna de Apoyo, i nofio a gweld mwnciod howler, siopa yn hen farchnad Masaya, a chyfarfod gyda John ac Abigail (cyngorydd Sandinista ym Masaya) ar eu fferm.

Diolch i bawb a helpodd i drefnu’r daith, gan gynnwys Jaime, Liz, Johnny, Juliette a Guizell. Bydd cyfres o erthyglau eraill yn y dyfodol agos, yn seiliedig ar wybodaeth gan y ddirprwyaeth.


13eg dirprwyaeth i nicaragua – wythnos 1

dorothy

Newydd ddod yn ol o Arfordir y Caribi ddoe, ar ol wythnos o ymweliadau.

Ymysg y bobl dan ni wedi cwrdd a hwy roedd:

  • Jorge Capelan o Radio Primerisima, gyda trosolwg o’r sefyllfa yn Nicaragua, a rhai o’r gwelliannau roedd y Llywodraeth Sandinistaidd wedi eu cyflawni dros y 5 mlynedd ddiwethaf
  • Croeso yn y Cynulliad Cenedaethol gan Arturo Valdez AS, cyfarwyddwr Radio Zinica ym Bluefields, ymwelydd i Gymru yn 2001, a hen gyfaill i’r Ymgyrch
  • Cyflwyniad gan Menna Machreth o Gymdeithas yr Iaith yn Casa Ben Linder i internacionalistas ym Managua, am y frwydr iaith adre

Ar ol diwrnod a hanner ym Managua, hedfanodd y criw o ddeg o bobl i Bluefields, am 4 diwrnod ar Arfordir y Caribi. Roedd y rhaglen yn cynnwys:

  • cyfarfod gyda Johnny Hodgson, Ysgrifennydd Gwleidyddol y Sandinistiaid ar yr Arfordir, y person sy’n gyfrifol am gydlynu’r rhaglen ddatblygu yno, ac ymwelydd i Gymru yn 1989, 1998, a 2003.
  • cyfarfod gyda Bluefields Sound System, lle trafodwyd y posiblrwydd o gysylltiadau cerddorol gyda Chymru, a chefnogaeth gan yr Ymgyrch – un o’r aelodau o’r BSS yw Rocco, roedd yn byw ym Merthyr Tudful yn ystod y 2000au, a chwarae reggae mewn gigs ledled De Cymru!
  • cyfarfod gyda CEDEHCA, i drafod gwaith ieuenctid mewn cyd-destun awtonomi’r Arfodir
  • araith gan Ben Gregory mewn cyfarfod gyda 50 o aelodau UNE, undeb y sector cyhoeddus, i gryfhau’r cysyllitadau rhwng yr undeb ac UNSAIN Cymru
  • cyfarfod gyda Sheira Thomas, Vice Rector o Brifysgol cymunedol URACCAN

Wedyn aeth y ddirprwyaeth i Pearl Lagoon, pentref diarffordd, mewn cwch cyflym. Treuliwyd mwyafrif y diwrnod yn siarad ag aelodau Accion Medica Cristiana, partner Tearfund, am ei gwaith gyda phobl ifanc ac offeriaid, i weithio ar nifer o faterion lleol, yn cynnwys cyfiawnder rhyw a chyfiawnder hinsawdd.

Rhwng y sesiynau gyda’r AMC oedd cyfarfod gyda Noel Cambell o Black Farmers Back to the Land, a maer Pearl Lagoon, i drafod eu hymdrechion i ail-ddechrau’ r economi amaethyddol lleol, a’r her a phroblemau maent yn eu hwynebu.


13th delegation to nicaragua – week 1

dorothy

The Campaign delegation arrived in Managua on the 12th February and have recently returned from the Caribbean Coast, after a week of visits.

Before flying out to Bluefields we had a number of meetings in Managua:

  • Jorge Capelan of Radio Primerisima, with an overview of the situation in Nicaragua, and some of the improvements carried out by the Sandinista government over the past five years
  • Welcome in the National Assembly from Arturo Valdez MP, director of Radio Zinica in Bluefields, a visitor to Wales in 2001, and an old friend of the Campaign
  • A presentation by Menna Machreth of Gymdeithas yr Iaith in Casa Ben Linder to internacionalistas in Managua, about the language struggle back home

After a day and a half in Managua, the crew of ten people flew to Bluefields, for four days on the Caribbean Coast. The programme included:

  • meeting with Johnny Hodgson, Political Secretary of the Sandinistas on the Coast, who is responsible for co-ordinating the development programme there. Johnny visited Wales in 1989, 1998 and 2003
  • a meeting with the Bluefields Sound System, where the possibility  of musical connections with Wales, and support from the Campaign was discussed  – one of the leading lights of the BSS is Rocco, a reggae musician who lived in Merthyr Tydfil during the 2000s, and played gigs throughout South Wales!
  • a meeting with CEDEHCA, to discuss their youth work in the context of autonomy
  • a speech by Ben Gregory in a meeting with 50 members of UNE, the public sector union, to strengthen links with UNISON Cymru-Wales
  • a meeting with Sheira Thomas, Vice Rector of the community university URACCAN

Afterwards the delegation travelled by panga (speedboat) to Pearl Lagoon, a remote village north of Bluefields. They spent most of the day speaking with members of Accion Medica Cristiana, a Tearfund partner, about its work with young people and pastors, working on a number of local issues, including gender justice and climate justice.

Between the sessions with the AMC there was a meeting with Noel Campbell of Black Farmers Back to the Land, and the mayor of Pearl Lagoon, to discuss their attempts to re-start the rural economy, and the challenges and problems that they face.


13th welsh delegation to nicaragua

On February 12th eleven people will leave behind Wales’s cold weather and travel to Central America. The Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign is sending its 13th delegation to the country it has been supporting for over a quarter of a century.

The itinerary includes a meeting with a Caribbean Coast MP and a visit to the Nicaraguan Parliament; meetings with co-operatives; a four day visit to Bluefields and Pearl Lagoon on the Caribbean Coast to discuss autonomy and bi-lingualism; a two day visit to food projects in a remote rural community with Accion Medica Cristiana, a Tearfund partner; and a visit to the Granada International Poetry Festival.

The delegation will also strengthen links between UNE, the public sector union in Nicaragua and UNISON, and will visit the Los Quinchos project, which works with children from Managua’s rubbish dump, to give a donation, the most recent in four years and over £24,000 of support.

“It’s nearly twenty years since the first delegation,” said one of the organisers, Ben Gregory, from Penygroes. “It’s tremendous that Wales can send so large a group, and it’s a sign of the interest of younger people in wanting to share the experience of a country like Nicaragua.”

Ben has visited the country every two years since the beginning of the 90s, and this time his family will be travelling with him. David McKnight, from Mold, the other organiser of the visit, is very familiar with the country by now, having recently spent a year there. It’s 19 years since Siân Howys, a social worker from Aberystwyth, and over a decade since Angharad Tomos, the author from Penygroes, visited the country. Angharad is looking forward to seeing the changes. “This is the first time for us to visit during a Sandinista government,” she said.

The rest of the crew will be visiting for the first time, and are all members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith. After a busy period organising the Census rallies and the meeting with Carwyn Jones, Colin Nosworthy, Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Communications Officer, is looking forward to seeing the political situation in Nicaragua. Haf Elgar works with Friends of the Earth Cymru, and is interested in learning about the environment in the country. Sioned Haf is an experienced traveller, but hasn’t been to Central America before. She is a Research Student in Bangor University.

Having been busy working on Y Bont, the Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production recently, Catrin Dafydd is looking forward to a break, and will be performing some of her poems in the Granada festival. Her trip is a bit different.

She will be joining two other delegation members, Osian Rhys and Menna Machreth, who will remain in Central America after the delegation finishes, to visit other countries in the region. Osian works as a translator, and lives in Cardiff, whilst Menna, who lives in Caernarfon, works for the Welsh Communities Federation and is a former Cymdeithas yr Iaith Chair.

The youngest member of the group is Hedydd Ioan, 9 years old from Penygroes. This will be his first experience of flying. It’s the first time that a child has come on the delegation. But he will be with his parents, Ben and Angharad, so the country is very much part of his history. When asked what he is looking forward to most his answer was “Seeing monkeys”.


13eg ddirprwyaeth o gymru i nicaragua

Ar Chwefror 12, bydd criw o Gymry yn gadael tywydd oer Cymru am Ganolbarth America. Mae Ymgyrch Nicaragua Cymru yn anfon eu trydydd dirprwaeth ar ddeg i’r wlad y maent wedi bod yn ei chefnogi ers dros chwarter canrif.

Mae’r amserlen yn cynnwys cwrdd ag Aelod Seneddol Arfodir y Caribi ac ynweliad i Senedd Nicaragua; cyfarfodydd gyda mentrau cydweithredol; ymweliad 4 diwrnod i Bluefields a Pearl Lagoon ar Arfordir y Caribi, i drafod awtonomi a dwyieithrwydd; ymweliad 2 ddiwrnod i weld prosiectau bwyd mewn cymuned anhysbell gefn gwlad gyda Accion Medica Cristiana, partner Tearfund; ac ymweliad a Gwyl Farddoniaeth Granada.

Bydd y ddirprwyaeth hefyd yn cryfhau’r cysylltiadau rhwng UNE, undeb sector cyhoeddus Nicaragua ac UNSAIN, ac yn ymweld â phrosiect Los Quinchos, sy’n gweithio gyda phlant y domen sbwriel ym Managua, i roi y rhodd ddiweddar mewn pedwar mlynedd o dros £24,000 o gefnogaeth.

“Mae bron i ugain mlynedd ers y ddirprwyaeth gyntaf” meddai un o’r trefnwyr, Ben Gregory o Benygroes. “Mae’n wych fod Cymru yn gallu anfon cymaint o griw, ac mae’n arwydd fod diddordeb ymysg pobl ifanc i rannu profiadau gyda gwlad fel Nicaragua.”

Mae Ben yn ymweld â’r wlad yn rheolaidd bob dwy flynedd ers cychwyn y 90au ond y tro hwn, mae ei deulu yn teithio gydag o. Mae David McKnight, o’r Wyddgrug, yn bur gyfarwydd â’r wlad hefyd, a bu’n byw yno am dros flwyddyn y llynedd. Aeth deng mlynedd ers i Sian Howys, gweithwraig gymdeithasol o Aberystwyth ac Angharad Tomos, awdures o Benygroes, ymweld a’r wlad, ac maent hwy yn edrych ymlaen at weld newid. “Dyma’r tro cyntaf inni gael ymweld â’r wlad dan Lywodraeth Sandinistaidd”.

Mae gweddill y criw i gyd yn ymwelwyr tro cyntaf, ac maent oll yn aelodau o Gymdeithas yr Iaith. Wedi cyfnod prysur yn trefnu raliau’r Cyfrif ac ymweliad â Carwyn Jones, bydd Colin Noseworthy, Swyddog Cyfathrebu Cymdeithas yr Iaith yn edrych ymlaen at weld y sefyllfa wleidyddol yn Nicaragua, a chael cwrdd â Johnny Hodgson Gweithio gyda Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru mae Haf Elgar, a’r amgylchedd yw ei diddordeb hi. Mae Sioned Haf wedi hen arfer teithio, ond nid yw wedi bod yn America Ganol o’r blaen. Myfyriwr ymchwil yw hi ym Mhrifysgol Bangor.

Wedi bod yn gweithio ar brosiect Y Bont yn ddiweddar, bydd yr awdures a’r bardd, Catrin Dafydd yn edrych ymlaen at saib o’i gwaith, a bydd yn adrodd rhai o’i cherddi mewn gwyl i feirdd yn Granada. Mae ei thaith hi dipyn yn wahanol.

Rhan o’r daith yw y ddirprwyaeth iddi hi ac Osian Rhys (o Gaerdydd, cyfieithydd) a Menna Machraeth (o Gaernarfon, gweithiwr Cymdeithas yr Iaith a chyn-gadeirydd y mudiad). Maent ar daith 2 fis o amgylch Canol America. “Bum yn Ne Affrica 2 flynedd yn ôl, ond hwn yw’r ymweliad cyntaf â chyfandir arall” meddai Menna.

Yr ieuengaf ar y daith yw Hedydd Ioan, 9 oed o Benygroes sydd yn cael ei brofiad cyntaf o hedfan hefyd. Dyma’r tro cyntaf i blentyn ddod ar ddirprwaeth. Ond gan mai yn Nicaragua y cyfarfu ei rieni, (Ben ac Angharad) mae’r wlad yn rhan o’i hanes.

Pan ofynnwyd iddo beth mae’n edrych ymlaen fwyaf ato, ateb Hedydd oedd “Gweld mwncis!”