cofiwch! remember!

milan kundera

Diweddariad ar ddau post y mis hwn. Ddoe roedd pwt ar Radio Cymru am benblwydd 30 mlynedd Côr Cochion Caerdydd. Bydd yr Ymgyrch yn cynnal stondin yn eu dathliad ar Fedi 14 yng Nghaerdydd. Dyma’r cyfweliad ary  Post Cyntaf ddoe.

Updates on two recent posts. Yesterday there was an item on Radio Cymru about the 30th birthday of Côr Cochion Caerdydd. The Campaign will be running a stall during their celebrations on Sept 14 in Cardiff. Here’s the interview on Radio Cymru.

Mae cyswllt rhwng hyn a’r diweddariaid nesaf. Mae Dafydd Iwan yn cyfrannu at y darn ar Radio Cymru, ac mae’n perfformio dros y penwythnos yn El Sueño Existe ym Machynlleth (bydd yr Ymgyrch yno gyda’n stondin eto). Tynnom sylw at ddigwyddiadau arall sy’n digwydd yng Nghymru i gofio 40 mlynedd ers coup Pinochet. Mae manylion y dangosiadau ffilm ym mis Medi yn Theatr Clwyd ar gael nawr fan hyn.

There is a link between this and the next update. Dafydd Iwan contributed to the piece on Radio Cymru, and he is performing over the weekend in El Sueño Existe jn Machynlleth (the Campaign will also have a stall there). We drew attention to other events happening in Wales to mark 40 years since Pinochet’s coup. The film screenings in September at Theatr Clwyd can be found here.


nicaragua canal 3

The Great Oceanic Canal continues to make waves in Nicaragua. The news outlets from the country report the ‘progress’ being made on deciding on the route, and assessing its suitability. The best summary is usually put out by our friends in the US Nicaragua Network. Their recent Environmental Delegation reports, from a visit in June (see here) includes updates on what Nicaraguan organisations are thinking about the canal.

NicaNet’s news summaries also give frequent reports on the canal. Their latest update, on August 20, carried news of two conferences held in Managua by gatherings with diverging viewpoints:

Opposition figures, among them losing 2011 presidential candidate Fabio Gadea and his running mate Edmundo Jarquin, filed at the Nicaraguan Supreme Court over 30 different challenges to the National Assembly June 2013 law that gave a concession to the HKND company to perform feasibility studies and build a shipping canal across Nicaragua. Gadea said that the concession had been awarded before the studies were made, noting “To use a Nicaraguan phrase, they are putting the cart before the oxen.” Supreme Court general secretary Ruben Montenegro said that the Court would rule on all the challenges at the same time but gave no date.

Bill Wild, principal advisor to the canal company, returned with a multinational team on Aug. 17 from a helicopter and boat trip of several days reviewing the possible routes for the canal. He told reporters, “At this moment the selection of the route is beginning.” He said they had visited a number of villages in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region as well as various nature reserves. He remarked that in the villages they were received with “open arms” and that he was most impressed with the Indio Maiz Nature Reserve, adding that a priority of the studies is the conservation of Nicaragua’s environment.

Two conferences were held on Aug. 13 in Managua to discuss the canal. The Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences invited Nicaraguan environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez, who teaches at Rice University in the United States, jurist Alejandro Aguilar, and water ecologist Salvador Montenegro to speak about the environmental impact that the canal could have on Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua) and on the rest of Nicaragua. That conference was held in the morning. In the afternoon was the conference organized by the American-Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) where the principal speakers were Ronald MacLean-Albaroa, spokesman for the canal company HKND, and Alberto Vega of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) which is carrying out the environmental impact study for the canal. Recurring themes at both conferences were the continued strength of the half millennium long Nicaraguan dream of a canal, the concern about the impact of a canal on the environment, and a concern about the lack of information for the public about the canal concession including how confiscation of property on the eventual canal route would be carried out. (El Nuevo Diario, Aug. 13, 17; La Prensa, Aug. 14; Informe Pastran, Aug. 16; Radio La Primerisima, Aug. 16)

In the meantime Envio, in its July edition, carried an article by Victor Campos Cubas, Deputy Director of Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua’s leading environmental organisation.  The article – The Canal will irreversibly damage Lake Cocibolca (see here) – raises many concerns about the impact of the canal on one of the largest lakes in the Americas. In particular it asks whether the lake will best serve the Nicaraguan people’s interest as a shipping route, as a source of irrigation for agriculture, or as a source of drinking water.

Our past posts have raised issues concerning how the canal will affect the Caribbean Coast’s indigenous people. In 2003 Campaign members produced a short film about Nicaragua called ¡Viva! Young People, Nicaragua and Globalisation, to be used in schools. Below is an extract with the interviews with Ariel, a Rama who lived in Rama Cay at the time of the interview, and Simon, a Miskitu who lived in Bilwi.

Two things should be remembered about the clips. Firstly they are over a decade old, so the conditions, and the Nicaraguan government’s attitude to the Coast, have changed markedly since then. Secondly, Rama Cay is to the south of the favoured route for the canal, and Bilwi far to the north. Both communities will not be affected directly. However the concerns they raise about control over their lives, and the impact of a ‘dry canal’ (Nicaragua’s dream of a canal is an ever present reality in the country) will be shared by many indigenous people as they see the consultants criss crossing the country – and their land – to see if the canal is ‘feasible’.

el sueno existe in machynlleth

Next weekend (aug 29-31) the Victor Jara festival, El Sueno Existe, will be held in Machynlleth. The festival is held every two years. In addition to the music programme (see here), there is a political session on the Friday (see here), and workshops during Saturday. Amongst the performers is Dafydd Iawn, whose Song for Victor Jara helped raise awareness of the events in Chile amongst Welsk speakers. This year the festival is remembering 40 years since the coup against the Salvador Allende government. One of the speakers is Victor Figueroa Clark. Victor launched his new book this month about Allende’s life – Salvador Allende, Revolutionary Democrat (Pluto Press).

Victor will be familiar to some within the Welsh Campaign as the union worker with our sister organisation NSC in London. Victor created a lot of discussion after writing an article about Nicaragua for the Red Pepper magazine (see here for 21st century Sandinismo). Some saw the article as being too supportive of the Daniel Ortega government. The Campaign was invited to respond to Victor’s article by Red Pepper, but we declined as we agreed with a lot of the points he raised.

The Campaign will be taking part in a workshop during the festival, about the impact of the ALBA on Nicaraguan people.

More details about the events being organised to mark the coup can be found here. Future events include film screenings in Theatr Clwyd in Mold and a meeting in the National Assembly in Cardiff.


el sueno existe ym machynlleth

Y penwythnos (Awst 29 – 31) nesaf bydd Gwyl Victor Jara, El Sueno Existe, yn cael ei chynnal ym Machynlleth. Cynhelir yr Wyl pob dwy flynedd. Yn ogystal a rhaglen gerddorol lawn  (gweler fan hyn), mae sesiwn wleidyddol ar y dydd Gwener (gweler fan hyn), a gweithdai yn ystod dydd Sadwrn. Ymysg y perfformwyr mae Dafydd Iwan. ‘Roedd ei gan Victor Jara yn gyfrifol am ledaenu’r neges am y coup i Gymry Cymraeg.

Eleni mae’r Wyl yn cofio 40 mlynedd ers y coup yn erbyn Llywodraeth Salvador Allende yn Chile. Un o’r siaradwyr yn ystod dydd Gwener yw Victor Figueroa Clark. Mae Victor wedi lansio ei lyfr am fywyd Allende – Salvador Allende, Revolutionary Democrat (Pluto,) – yn ystod y mis.

Mae Victor yn gyfarwydd i rai o fewn Ymgyrch Gefnogi Nicaragua fel gweithiwr undebau llafur ein cyd-ymgyrch NSC yn Llundain. Creodd Victor dipyn o drafodaeth ar ôl iddo ysgrifennu erthygl am Nicaragua yn y cylchgrawn Red Pepper (gweler fan hyn am 21st century Sandinismo). Gwelodd rhai’r erthygl fel un rhy gefnogol i Lywodraeth Daniel Ortega. Cafodd yr Ymgyrch wahoddiad gan Red Pepper i ateb erthygl Victor, ond roedden ni’n cytuno gyda llawer o’r pwyntiau ynddo.

Bydd yr Ymgyrch yn cymryd rhan mewn gweithdy yn ystod yr Wyl, am effaith ALBA ar bobl Nicaragua.

Mae mwy o fanylion am weithgareddau i gofio’r coup fan hyn. Mae digwyddiadau ar y gweill yn cynnwys ffilmiau yn  Theatr Clwyd yn yr Wyddgrug a chyfarfod yn y Cynulliad yng Nghaerdydd.


launch of tecafé on the eisteddfod – wales’ fairest coffee

The Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign decided to start marketing the coffee after years of supporting fair-trade coffee, and visiting fair-trade farmers in Nicaragua.

“We’ve been inspired by the dozens of fair-trade producers we’ve met and stayed with over the past decade,” said Ben Gregory, member of Wales NSC. “We’ve also been fortunate to have hosted many visitors from Nicaragua. One of them, Janixce Florian of SOPPEXCCA, works with the women’s co-operative that produces tecafé.”

Another, Porfirio Zepeda, described the benefits of  fair-trade when he visited Wales:

“We can change the relationship between consumers and producers, and the relationship between prices, so that it a relation that allows us to live.”

“We are dedicating our coffee to the memory of Porfirio, who was tragically killed shortly after his visit to Wales,” said Ben.

Why is tecafé  Wales’ fairest coffee? David McKnight, another Wales NSC member, explains:

“The economics of coffee, in fact of all commodities, is pretty simple,” said David.  “Most of the ‘value chain’ (from growing to preparation to transport to packaging to retailing) is captured by large multinationals. The producers usually receive the smallest share, and this is dependent on the fluctuations of international prices. Fairtrade seeks to address some of these problems. Through a guaranteed price the fluctuations are ironed out. Through technical and other support, producers can improve the quality (and thus the value) of their product. Through coming together, and working through larger co-operatives like CECOCAFEN (a co-operative of co-operatives) they can increase their negotiating power with the buyers from the large companies. But this still leaves most of the value chain outside of Nicaragua.”

Wales NSC have partnered with a Nicaraguan organisation, ETICO, which is  attempting to do something about this. It will ensure that more of the money stays in Nicaragua. The Campaign has long standing links with the partners of ETICO. ETICO’s aim is to promote co-operation rather than competition as a means of achieving efficiency, and delivering the best coffee at the best price for consumers.

tecafé brings together a lot of our contacts over the years. We visited SOPPEXCA in 2009, and have met with CECOCAFEN on many of our visits,” said David.

On their last visit to CECOCAFEN in February, Santiago Dolmus explained why initiatives like tecafé were needed, even in the world of fair-trade. Fair-trade producers get $1.50 a lb for their coffee. By the time it gets to a supermarket, it sells for $10.80 a lb. “So where does the other $9.30 go?” asked Santiago. tecafé means that more of this will go back to Nicaragua.

 And why the name?

“ ‘Tecaf’ is the Welsh word for ‘fairest’, so in this instance it definitely does what it says on the packet,” said Ben. “We hope to grow its sales quickly, so when we return to Nicaragua next year, we can say we are doing our bit to ensure that fairtrade is getting even fairer.”

Read the rest of this entry »

lansiad tecafé ar faes yr eisteddfod – coffi tecaf cymru


Penderfynodd  Ymgyrch Gefnogi Nicaragua gychwyn marchnata y coffi wedi blynyddoedd o gefnogi coffi masnach deg, ac ymweld a ffermwyr masnach deg yn Nicaragua.

“Cawsom ein hysbrydoli gan ddwsiniau o gynhyrchwyr masnach deg, llawer yr ydym wedi eu cwrdd ac wedi aros gyda hwy yn  ystod y deng mlynedd diwethaf” meddai Ben Gregory, aelod o’r ymgyrch. “Yr ydym hefyd wedi bod yn ddigon ffodus i groesawu nifer o ymwelwyr o Nicaragua. Mae un, Janixce Florian o SOPPEXCCA, yn gweithio gyda cydweithfa merched sydd yn cynhyrchu tecafe.”

Disgrifiodd un arall, Porfirio Zepeda, y budd o fasnach deg pan ymwelodd a Chymru, “Gallwn newid y berthynas rhwng prynwyr a chynhyrchwyr, a’r berthynas rhwng prisiau, fel ei bod yn berthynas sydd yn caniatau i ni fyw.”

Yr ydym yn cyflwyno ein coffi mewn cof am Porfiro, a laddwyd yn drasig wedi ei ymweliad a Chymru”, meddai Ben.

Pam mai tecafé yw coffi tecaf Cymru? Mae aelod arall o’r ymgyrch, David McKnight, yn egluro:

“Mae economi coffi, ac unrhyw nwydd arall, yn ddigon syml” meddai David. “Y cwmniau mawr rhyngwladol sydd yn cipio y rhan fwyaf o’r gadwyn gwerth (y ‘value chain’ o’r tyfu i’r paratoi i’r cludo i’r pacio i’r gwerthu). Y cynhyrchwyr gaiff y rhan lleiaf fel rheol, ac mae hwn yn ddibynnol ar lanw a thrai prisiau rhyngwladol. Mae masnach deg yn ceisio ateb rhai o’r problemau hyn. Gyda phris gwarantiedig, does dim cymaint o godi a gostwng prisiau.

“Trwy gefnogaeth technegol a chefnogaeth arall, gall cynhyrchwyr wella safon (a gwerth) eu cynnyrch. Drwy ddod ynghyd, a gweithio drwy gwmniau cyd-weithredol mwy fel  CECOCAFEN (casgliad o gyd-weithfeydd) gallant gynyddu eu gallu i drafod gyda phrynwyr o’r cwmniau mawr. Ond mae hyn yn dal i adael y rhan fwyaf gadwyn gwerth tu allan i Nicaragua.”

Mae Ymgyrch Gefnogi Nicaragua wedi creu partneriaeth gyda mudiad o Nicaragua, ETICO, sydd yn ceisio gwneud rhywbeth ynglyn a hyn. Bydd yn sicrhau y bydd mwy o’r arian yn aros yn Nicaragua. Mae gan yr ymgyrch gysylltiadau maith gyda partneriaid ETICO. Nod ETICO yw hyrwyddo cyd-weithio yn hytrach na chystadleuaeth fel dull o sicrhau effeithlonrwydd, a dod a’r coffi gorau am y pris gorau i brynwyr.

“Mae tecafé yn dod a llawer o’n cysylltiadau dros y blynyddoedd at ei gilydd. Buom yn ymweld a SOPPEXCA yn 2009 ac rydym wedi cyfarfod CECOCAFEN ar lawer o’n hymweliadau” meddai David.

Ar eu hymweliad diwethaf â CECOCAFEN yn Chwefror, eglurodd Santiago Dolmus pam roedd angen mentrau megis tecafé, hyd yn oed mewn byd o fasnach deg.

Caiff cynhyrchwyr masnach deg $1.50 y pwys am eu coffi. Erbyn iddo gyrraedd yr archfarchnadoedd, mae’n gwerthu am $10.80 y pwys. “Felly i ble yr aiff y $9.30 sy’n weddill? gofynna Santiago. Mae tecafé yn golygu y bydd mwy o hwn yn mynd yn ol i Nicaragua.

A’r rheswm tu ol i’r enw?

“Mae’r cyfan yn yr enw” meddai Ben. “ tecafé yw’r coffi tecaf. Gobeithiwn y bydd yn gwerthu yn dda. A phan ddychwelwn i Nicaragua y flwyddyn nesaf, gallwn ddweud fod Cymru yn gwneud ei rhan i sicrhau fod masnach deg yn dod yn decach.”

holi ac ateb yn steddfod dinbych


Cynhaliodd yr Ymgyrch gyfarfod ar Faes yr Eisteddfod ar ddydd Gwener, gyda 4 aelod o’n dirprwyaeth ym mis Chwefror. Holodd Angharad Tomos am brofiadau Haf Elgar, Catrin Dafydd a Sian Howys ar y daith – gwybodaeth ddefnyddiol i unrhyw un sy’n meddwl mynd gyda ni yn Chwefror 2014 (gweler fan hyn).

(Fel unrhywun sydd wedi bod ar y Maes, byddech chi’n gwybod na fu’r amodau yn berffaith i recordio pobl!)

Cyflwyniad a phenderfyniadau

Y pryderon

Yr uchafbwyntiau

Nicaragua a gwleidyddiaeth Cymru