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.

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