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Brief history of Nicaragua and summary geo- politics. You try to give you an idea of the situation of the areas on the Atlantic Coast and the indigenous peoples of those places.



The Autonomous Regions of the Atlantic Coast

Puerto Cabezas

The Communities of the Rio Coco

A small country in Central America , Nicaragua , a land of 131,847 km ² nestled between Honduras and Costa Rica and bathed by the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean . According to the estimates of 2001, the Nicaraguan population is around 4,918,000 inhabitants, among whites, mestizos (note 1) , blacks and mulattos and indigenous peoples.

Nicaragua

 

The form of government of Nicaragua is a presidential republic . The current president is Daniel Ortega ( Spanish , English), took office in January 2007, following the elections of November 2006 .

Nicaragua of its past still bear signs ; into its places, its people , its culture . Land conquered by the Spaniards in the course of 1500 , the purpose of employment by the U.S. government to maintain control over Central America since the early 1900s , Nicaragua is remembered , among other things , for the figure of General Augusto Cesar Sandino . The great revolutionary was in charge between 1927 and 1933 , the first guerrilla war against the Conservative regime and the occupation of the United States who were forced to retreat , then . The United States continued to maintain control of the country through the political and economic support to the dictator Anastasio Somoza Garcia , who ushered in the beginning of a long and ruthless family dictatorship that lasted FORTY YEARS ( 1936-1979 ) . The dictatorial government facilitated the wealthy classes and encouraged the entry of foreign capital in the country. Anastacio Somoza Debayle in 1970 came to own 20 % of the best agricultural land, and the farmers are forced to work on large plantations receiving salaries that did not exceed the dollar daily . The period of the Somoza dictatorship was for the majority of the Nicaraguan population a hard process of impoverishment .

The victorious revolution Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional 's , inspired by the ideology of revolutionary Cesar Sandino in 1979 marked the end of the regime and the beginning of a new government under a provisional junta headed by Daniel Ortega ( age thirty-five ) and which included Violeta Chamorro .

"We won the war against the somozismo . Now we have to deal with the war against ignorance and economic backwardness , the war to rebuild our country. " So Ortega spoke in the aftermath of the triumph of the revolution. The Sandinista government during the years when he was in power , he tried to overturn the neocolonial economic framework , promoting agrarian reform is able to support the efforts cooperativistiche , social interventions , and especially a tough fight against illiteracy and the disastrous health situation .

Immediately after the triumph of the Frente , the Sandinistas began to develop a work integration of the communities of the Atlantic Coast (English), part of a program of integral development of the country. On the economic nationalized most of foreign ownership and encouraged the development of local projects ; reactivated some mines supporting the organization of workers into trade unions .

Since 1979 , however, some religious leaders and some leaders of the indigenous communities of the Atlantic Coast began to express some hostility to the revolutionary government in Managua. The beginning of the disputes arose following the expropriation of certain territories which the British crown had given in earlier centuries the Miskito (Spanish, English ) . Despite the Sandinistas had promoted , in favor of the indigenous peoples of the coast , the proposed reaffirmation of national identity and the claim of a self-management of their own destiny , they did not fully understand the socio-cultural situation in this area of the country. They tried to apply it to the Atlantic Coast patterns of interventions available for the area of the Pacific.

The Atlantic Coast has in fact diametrically opposed to the characteristics of the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua , due to the different process historical, political, social and economic development that has characterized . The Atlantic Coast has suffered the English colonization that , unlike the Spanish, was sent to involve indigenous peoples in economic and political activities of the Crown , while preserving the internal structures of the Miskito . The contacts with traders , pirates and sailors brought about profound changes in the Miskito culture. In 1786 the British signed a protectorate on the Atlantic Coast to the Spaniards who were not able , however, to break the indigenous resistance . And after obtaining the independence of Central America from Spain , the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Coast resumed their contacts with the British. In 1860 the British Crown left the region , and the government of Managua occupied the Atlantic coast , in that action known as " reintegration " . For the Miskito Nicaraguan government represented a continuation of Spanish colonial rule , and it was for this reason that resisted the troops sent . These facts justify the anti- ispanismo widespread among the peoples of the Atlantic Coast, which is now part of the culture of the Miskito and that contributes to the definition of their identity.

The bad knowledge of this historical and cultural process that characterized the indigenous peoples , meant that the Sandinista government did not understand the demands of the leaders of the community , and was the background to the brutal procedures implemented by the revolutionary government against the indigenous resistance , which were justified by the doctrine of the socialist state in which the Sandinistas were inspired . The conflict between the Sandinista government and Miskito sharpened when the Sandinistas tried to extend to the region 's economic policy of the country that could hardly agree with the semi-autonomous subsistence economy of the natives. Within the community of Miskito had the better positions radicals who demanded autonomy and who accepted a break with the wing hardest of the Sandinistas . The association Misurasata , whose leader was Fagoth , was at the head of the separatist movement . This polarization led the Miskito to take more extreme positions up to accept support in North America. The Miskito preferred to ally with those who had allowed them to achieve the goals they set for themselves , for that matter, for the natives , the Americans as the Sandinistas were " foreigners." The Sandinista government , however , saw the closeness to the Americans by some indigenous fringes as a betrayal of the revolution and the nation. The violent clashes between Sandinistas and Contras ( Miskito separatists who enjoyed the support of the U.S. troops ) were fought on the shores of the Rio Coco (English), on the border between Nicaragua and Honduras. That was a terrible time of war, violence , torture , fire , which has left a profound mark on the memory of the people of the Atlantic Coast . In 1987 the project of autonomy on the Atlantic Coast of North America was complemented by the parliament in the new constitution , and Nicaragua was recognized as a nation " indivisible " and " multi- ethnic " .

In 1990 the Sandinistas were defeated in the elections by the neoliberal government of Violeta Chamorro (Spanish, English ) . It was a pseudo- democratic government , which ended with a record of everything negative economic depression , social inequalities , institutional crisis , a division of political parties. This was followed by the government of Alemán (Spanish, English), until the electoral victory in 2001 , the wealthy industrialist Bolaños (Spanish, English ) . A succession of governments who , in the name of democracy and economic neo-liberalism , actually implemented a corrupt political banner of the further impoverishment of the already poor population . The Government of Nicaragua is currently chaired by the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega (Spanish, English ) who, after sixteen years of Conservative government , won the elections in 2006.

 

AUTONOMOUS REGIONS OF THE ATLANTIC COAST

Raan - Raas

 

The autonomous regions of the Atlantic Coast ( RAAN - Spanish, English - and RAAS - Spanish, English ) are characterized by their diversity than the rest of the country. Since the arrival of the Europeans, and especially since the mid- nineteenth century , with the entry into the territory of the Moravian Church (English), a map showing the distribution of the indigenous people of the Caribbean coast records the existence of family groups organized settlements in thunderstorms along the coast, along the banks of major rivers and in the mountainous interior . The majority of the population is allocated along the coast and the banks of the rivers that flow into the Caribbean Sea ( including the Rio Coco - English -) . The ethnic and socio- cultural landscape is made ​​up of three types of communities : indigenous communities Sumu / Mayangnas (English), Miskito (Spanish, English ) and Rama (English); communities of African descent - and garifoni Creoles (Spanish, English ) - mestizo communities (note 1) , and multi-ethnic communities in which different indigenous communities live together , result in economic history , social, cultural , religious and political , regional and national levels. Not only Nicaragua , therefore, is multi -ethnic , but it is also the same autonomous region , hence the need to build a state that recognizes the diversity and strengthen the cultural identity of the Coast. In the two Autonomous Regions debate on multiculturalism and the recognition and respect for differences is very strong.

More than half a million inhabitants of the Autonomous Regions are mestizos to their historical memory , to the social relations that have woven , language and culture . We are witnessing a gradual reduction of the indigenous people , Afro- descendant , and ethnic communities who call themselves " people of the coast " because of the settlement of immigrants mestizos, from the north -west of the country, over the last fifteen years. Indigenous peoples and the Afro-Caribbean constitute themselves as minority groups in both regions .

Currently, indigenous peoples and Afro-Caribbean communities are engaged in a process of re - legitimation of authority and power structure of government and municipal powers they claim as their traditional territorial and municipal organs of power and government. These processes have enhanced the construction of an institutional capital since the basic spaces of local power : the Community and that of the indigenous territories .

Regarding the economy , the lack of coherent policies to promote the development of productive activities and low productivity conditions of the autonomous region impede the autonomy of the Caribbean Coast nell'approviggionamento of primary goods . The major urban centers, including Puerto Cabezas (Spanish, English) ( Bilwi , in the indigenous language ) have a very low level of human development and for the isolation in which they are compared to the rest of the country, and the flow of immigrants who have arrived in recent years , which was not matched by a sufficiently developed urban infrastructure . The towns and villages are poorly connected to each other : for example, to reach Puerto Cabezas (Spanish, English ) from Siuna (English), and then travel 200 km, it takes from six in eleven hours. This inefficiency of the links between urban centers profound impact on trade and slows local productive activities , making it difficult for the sourcing of products of first necessity . Puerto Cabezas (Spanish, English ) is one of the municipalities where the fishing industry is developed , which could represent an important factor of economic and productive development , were it not that the infrastructure supporting piers connected to the other is deficient and , with regard to small-scale fishing , the boats have difficulty to dock , thus limiting the operations of loading and unloading . Aside from fishing , 30% of the population of Costa lives on agriculture , which constitutes one of the main sources of earnings. Among other activities , which are necessary for survival, emerge , for example, household chores , activities of mechanics , carpentry, construction , electricity , trade and woodworking.

The main activity of the Miskito (Spanish, English ) is agriculture , the Sumu / Mayangnas ( English ) and the mestizos of the coast held diversified activities ( agriculture, trade, services). In general, it appears that the sources of employment and income of the people of Côte not mestizos are fragile and vulnerable and utterly dependent on natural resources , weather conditions , environmental, trade and access to markets for agricultural products and fish pond . In recent times, decreased mining as a source of employment and income for the majority of the inhabitants of the coast. The profits of the big companies working in the mining sector are inversely proportional to the benefits and improving the quality of life of the peoples living in this area. The products of the Autonomous Regions of the market are not promoted nor in the rest of Nicaragua, nor in Central America. In addition , since there are no big distributors, all the products in the market are imported from the Pacific Coast. The low market dynamism does not stimulate the development of a financial system to support the production . As for the earth, in the autonomous regions lacking the legal conditions which ensure its continuation . The mestizo population calls for access to land for production, and indigenous peoples and Afro -Caribbeans see a threat to their right to own the land for the lack of regulation of communal lands . The cost of living in the Autonomous Regions is 15-20% higher than in the rest of the country. Many products come to cost 2/3 times more than in the cities of the Pacific coast, and this is probably due to the cost of transporting these goods from the Pacific to the Atlantic area .

Rio

Rio Laya Siksa

 

Karata

Karata

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Rio Wawa

Rio Wawa

 

Market Karata

Market Karata

Photo: Pino De Seta

PUERTO CABEZAS ( Bilwi )

Puerto Cabezas (Spanish, English), or Bilwi (English) in the indigenous language , is a town of 48 709 inhabitants ( UNDP 2005). What characterizes it, among other things , is the reddish earth of the roads that are devoid of asphalt. And ' inserted into a tropical vegetation, and the climate is hot and humid . Puerto Cabezas is not the main streets and the streets do not have names . It is oriented with reference points . The houses are built of wood and raised off the ground mo ' stilts.

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Bilwi is a quite busy city , the streets are lined with taxis , and it seems that buying a car for public transport is for the people who can afford it , a real investment . During the day , it bustles with activity . People go around on foot or by bicycle and crowded streets, shops , simple " comedor " where they serve meals menu. The evening, the streets of Puerto emptying , the light is poor and some streets often serve as the backdrop for unsavory activities . Puerto Cabezas is one of the main hubs of the drug that is transported to Managua ( Spanish, English ) and from there to the rest of Central America and the United States.

Puerto Cabezas is a reality that poor you can tell immediately once outside the airport: barefoot children trying to sell you anything and throw themselves on the cases for possession of elastic plates of recognition with which they play. Elderly begging , while rickety cars whizzing looking for people who need a ride, leaving behind large clouds of red dust .

In the streets of Bilwi there are many open sewers , here sanitary conditions leave much to be desired. The water is difficult , indeed rarely comes out of the taps , and we have to make do with that drawn from wells .

The population of Puerto Cabezas is multi- ethnic : Miskito (Spanish, English) ( indigenous ethnic group ) , mestizos and Creoles (note 1 ) coexist together. Here the economic differences between families are less clear than in Managua , all , more or less , living in conditions of hardship and insecurity, and those lucky enough to work earn too little to be able to live peacefully.

Visiting Puerto Cabezas is easy to feel a sense of isolation from the rest of the world , and indeed the condition of isolation is one of the major inconveniences that complain the locals . They state that they feel excluded from the rest of the country and the world, and for the lack of interest that the national government has always had against them, and the difficulty of communicating with the other cities of Nicaragua even more distant to the lack of means of transportation and communication efficient .

In Puerto Cabezas only less poor families can afford television and , usually , are the same families who can keep their children to college . TV, often also present in some " comedor " of the town, mainly transmits programs or Mexican Americans (especially soap operas and music programs ) , spreading the Western cultural model . The distance between the projected images on TV and the surrounding reality is frighteningly huge : on the one hand large cities lush , swimming pools, women - fashion models, fashionable clothes , love stories intriguing , music videos that stimulate the imagination , on the other wooden houses, dusty roads , beggars, without family histories of sad abandonment and loneliness. And then boys and girls still in front of the TV hoping to get away from Puerto someday not too far away.

Speaking with representatives of the Council of Elders , a political body Miskito (Spanish, English ) , it is clear that for them, strongly attached to indigenous traditions , television is a major organ through which they can give an account of what happens in the world .

In Puerto Cabezas is unlikely that there are any phones in people's homes . Many people , mostly young , have the phone . This is a significant finding which indicates two things: one is that keeping your phone in Puerto costs much less than maintaining a fixed telephone line and the other is that the global market for telephony and telecommunications has also found in this area a fertile ground , relying on the need that people have easy access to communication, and that the pattern of consumption in western Nicaragua has no difficulty in breaking . To communicate the inhabitants of Bilwi also use the Internet. In the town there are some cyber cafe , frequented mostly by young people.

With regard to the educational system, in Puerto there are schools and two universities. The facilities are not in good condition, but they work pretty well. All children wear the same uniform , mandatory for those who go to school.

The Moravian and Catholic Churches have always had a strong influence on society Bilwi . Many activities revolve around religious structures and customs and morals of the people are often " directed " by the Church .

The commercial activities of Puerto are represented by small shops where they sell a little of everything ' and stalls scattered in the streets. The goods are quite expensive for the inhabitants , and even water costs almost more than Coca-Cola . The area of greatest commercial traffic is the pier . The fish is treated to Bilwi and then shipped around the country and abroad.

The health care system is inefficient in Puerto Cabezas , there are many people who find it difficult to get treatment and the lack of adequate facilities and doctors , and to the high cost of medicines.

A Bilwi is easy to die of diseases.

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

 

Puerto Cabezas

Puerto Cabezas

THE COMMUNITY OF RIO COCO

The Rio Coco ( English) is one of the major rivers of Nicaragua and Honduras divides the latter . From the point of view of nature is an absolutely extraordinary landscape . Along the Rio Coco extends the Mosquitia , the land of the Miskito , the indigenous peoples who inhabit this area . In the past it was between the coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua those , and today the Mosquitia has visibly reduced mainly due to the process of emigration to the internal parts of the Autonomous Region .

 

Rio Coco

Rio Coco

 

To reach the indigenous communities of the Rio Coco starts from Waspam ( English). The journey through the waters of the river is expensive (the inhabitants of the communities they move along the river on rowing boats ) and takes place by means of a motor boat with a flat bottom ( " panga "). During the journey is easy to spot small alligators and birds special , and enjoy the ancient beauty of the local flora . The Rio Coco is busy ; indigenous communities is often part to sell rice, beans or bananas Waspam , and the transport takes place on small wooden boats pushed rowing .

 

Rio Coco

Rio Coco

 

Come in one of the indigenous communities of the Rio Coco is an absolutely amazing experience . People here seem to be stopping at a remote time . The houses are of wood piles scattered over green meadows ; live under them , all together, all kinds of animals : cows, sheep, horses, dogs, turkeys , chickens , roosters , chicks, pigs.

The light is not present in all homes and San Carlos ( one of the community ) a couple of houses are lit for a few hours through a small solar system . People live by what self-produced rice, beans , bananas. Life here moves slowly in simple , everyday . Living together , be shared spaces and common property is the basis of social life, and get together to talk , tell and tell is a fundamental aspect of community life.

It is rare to see a tv inside these piles and when you see one stay puzzled : is an object that comes from another planet . In communities globalized technologies have not been able to penetrate. We live simply and the only real means of communication is vital for the Miskito is the radio. It works a few hours a day; broadcasts news about what is happening in other communities , messages (replaces the phone) and music miskita . In a sense, the radio is the means of maintaining the culture of oral type , characteristic of indigenous peoples.

 

San Carlos

Community on the Rio Coco

 

The problem of the community is to isolate the interior of the region . The few messages that do exist are very expensive, and send to school children living in the inner part of the community becomes virtually impossible.

Even in the indigenous communities there are the school and the Church. With regard to the first , is not working properly because the teachers are not always able to reach the place of teaching. The Church , however, is a gathering place and a key reference point for the inhabitants. The faith here is very strong and religious practices for the everyday life of the Miskito .

The business is virtually non-existent; cultivated common land for self- consumption and the money does not circulate for almost anything. The Council of Elders is the governing body of the political and legal communities , it regulates the order and community life, that laws and legal power . It is also responsible for the education of children and young people who , through the story , handed down the ancient culture miskita .

In communities people are jealous guardian of its own culture and identity . In memory of the people is strong memories of the war fought along the coasts of the Rio Coco between Sandinistas (Spanish, English ) and the Contras (Spanish, English), an open wound .

The people who live in the communities along the river is very poor , and this poverty , however, is absolutely dignified and makes every person alike. Unlike Puerto Cabezas , where poverty is added to the misery of drugs and prostitution , and is accentuated by the strong contact with the rich Western world , the poverty here also seems to be part of a different world, a different world.

 

Indigenous community

Community on the Rio Coco

 

Indigenous community

Community Humbra

 

Indigenous community

Community on the Rio Coco

 

Rio Coco

Rio Coco

 

Rio Coco

Rio Coco

 

Indigenous community

Community on the Rio Coco

 

Note 1: The Creoles are exactly the descendants of Europeans who were born in Nicaragua. The mongrels are born from the encounter between Europeans and the indigenous peoples who inhabited the coast.