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Nicaragua Solidarity News

NSC News | Monday, 24 September 2018 |

Funds for Fair trade coffee co-operative CECOCAFEN: Our thanks to everyone who donated to our appeals in 2017 and 2018. The funds were originally intended for training for families already involved or interested in being involved in CECOCAFEN’s eco-tourism programme.

However, the physical and psychological violence of the road blocks linked to the attempted coup paralysed the functioning of the co-op for over a month. Tourists stopped visiting Nicaragua which has meant that the eco-tourism programme also stopped.

Therefore, the funds will  be used for a programme of uniting the co-op and restoring its activities including the tourism programme. We received a message from the co-op thanking us for the funds, telling us how positive this support is in restoring the functioning of CECOCAFEN and sending solidarity greetings to all NSC members.

NSC solidarity with the Council for the Social Economy (CES): 73% of Nicaragua’s working population is employed in what is called the social economy, represented in the Social Economy Council. They include ‘informal sector’ self-employed workers such as street sellers represented through their trade union, the CTCP; agricultural, transport, fishing, craft, and co-operatives; an  umbrella organisation of small and medium businesses called  CONAMIPIYME, and the Community Movement (MCN).  

These organisations developed and expanded as a result of social programmes and political and economic support from the Sandinista government including the setting up of a government ministry responsible for training and enabling them to market their products. 

The violence, particularly the opposition road blocks, and the economic downturn has profoundly affected this sector with tens of thousands of micro, small and medium businesses being forced to close. Most affected are those most impoverished who were already living in precarious circumstances struggling to meet their basic needs.

Support for the reactivation of the social economy is particularly critical. In the coming months NSC will be publishing a series of interviews with representatives of the organisations involved  and also possible lessons for the UK in a world where large capitalist interests require less and less workers because of robotisation and artificial intelligence.

Nicaraguan trade unionist Maritza Espinales to visit UK:  Maritza is the General Secretary of higher education union FESITUN and Vice President of the Nicaragua National Assembly. She will visit the UK in November/ December to do a speaker tour and will be one of the keynote speakers at the annual Latin America Conference on Saturday 1 December, see below.  For further information contact Louise  on nscag@nicaraguasc.org.uk

Building peace through building a pre-school:Over the past 25 years Friends of Morazán and Bristol Link with Nicaragua (BLINC) have raised over £40,000 to build nine pre-schools some with wells, latrines and water filters.

The partnership of the Ministry of Education, local people, and funds from Bristol mean that for the first time hundreds of children have been able to attend schools that have good conditions.

Parents, secondary school students and builders came together in July to build the ‘La Casita de Paz’ school complete with peace murals which the children helped to paint. A children’s peace festival took place on World Peace Day on 21 September. Further information: https://bristolnicaragua.wordpress.com/

Santa Rosa Fund, Tavistock continues  its work in support of the Santa Rosa school in Managua, projects in El Viejo and the Assocacion Quincho Barrilete who are working with families of abused children. https://www.santarosafund.org/newsletters/srf51-final-version/

Forthcoming Events

Thursday 27 September, 7.30pm, Shipley. The Tisma Project will host a skype conversation with John Perry who lives in Masaya,Nicaragua, to talk about the unrest of the past 6 months and how it might affect social programmes and twinning links. For details:  https://www.facebook.com/vivabradford/

Tuesday 16 October. AGM of the Oxford Leon Association. 7pm Wesley Memorial Church, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford OX1 2DH. Speaker: Professor  Valpy Fitzgerald of St Antony's College who will give an informal talk about the current crisis in Nicaragua and take questions. https://www.oxleonlink.org.uk/events/ 

22 November:  A children’s celebration of Oxford’s twin cities including Leon in music. 1.30 – 3.30pm. Assembly Room, Oxford Town Hall. Further information: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/events/event/496/musicians_needed_a_celebration_of_oxfords_twin_cities_in_mu

Saturday 1 December, 9.15 Annual Latin America Adelante Conference, Congress House.  The Trump Presidency has overseen a worrying rise in US interventions in Latin America, with the blockade of Cuba being tightened, sanctions threatened on Nicaragua, and Trump pushing for military intervention in Venezuela. But the resurgent right-wing in Latin America is facing resistance, with the Left winning the Mexican election, and trade unionists and popular movements mobilising to defend social progress across the region. Come along to hear eyewitness accounts and get involved in standing up to Trump’s interventions in Latin America.

SPEAKERS TO INCLUDE: Dr Mariela Castro, Cuban MP & director of CENESEX; Maritza Espinales, Nicaraguan trade unionist and MP; Guillaume Long, former Ecuadorean Foreign Minister; Rocio Maneiro, Embassy of Venezuela;  Tariq Ali; Chris Williamson MP & many more to be confirmed. https://latinamericaconference.wordpress.com/