In all the mountains of coverage of the crisis in Nicaragua the perspective of small scale farmers such as the ones BLINC regularly works with,  is rarely, if ever, heard.

 Here are a couple of pieces on the NSC website based on  information we have received from CECOCAFEN, an umbrella co-operative of over 2, 100 farmers based in Matagalpa producing Fair Trade coffee.

CECOCAFEN is a member organisation of a ‘Mesa Social’ that is made up of co-operatives, associations, the ATC (the agricultural workers union), UNAG (an organisation of small and medium farmers)  and community organisations.

CECOCAFEN describes their perspective on government social programmes, the dramatic impact of the crisis on the livelihoods and well being of the farmers and their families, and their hopes for the future.

http://www.nicaraguasc.org.uk/news/article/306/nicaragua-crisis:-the-perspective-of-a-fair-trade-coffee-co-op

http://www.nicaraguasc.org.uk/news/article/305/nicaragua-crisis:fairtrade-co-op-advocates-peace-through-dialogue

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NSCAG supports dialogue to end deaths and infrastructure destruction in Nicaragua

NSCAG supports dialogue to end deaths and infrastructure destruction in Nicaragua

The trigger for the protests

As is the case with countries globally, Nicaragua is struggling with the issue of how to strengthen its social security system to address the needs of an aging population. There is currently a yearly deficit of $80m in social security funding. In order to plug this gap, the government proposed an increase of 0.75% in employees’ contributions and 3.25% increase for employers, with the retirement age remaining at 60. In addition 5% would be deducted from pensions to ensure full health care coverage. Pensions would also be restructured. These measures were agreed by the government, trade unions and the Union of Retired People but not the private sector who demanded a retirement age of 65, no increase in contributions, and other measures that would effectively cut the value of pensions by 13% a year.

Protests turn violent

 The government announced the introduction of their version of the social security law on 18 April. There had previously been protests by pensioners and on 19 April university students started demanding the repeal of the law which they interpreted as cuts to pensions. The protests started at the technical university in Managua and rapidly spread to other state universities and cities: Leon, Granada, Estelí, Masaya, San Marcos, Bluefields, Ocotal and Jinotega.

 Some initially peaceful protests tipped over into violence. Riot police used teargas, rubber bullets and in some situations live ammunition. A minority of the protestors used Molotov cocktails and mortars.

 Several independent TV channels were temporarily taken off the air on 19 April.

 According to human rights organisations over 30 people have lost their lives. This includes protesters, FSLN members, a journalist, police officers, and one person in Leon who died in a building that had been set alight by protesters.

 In addition to the deaths and injuries there has been widespread destruction of infrastructure including social security offices, police stations, municipal authority offices in Estelí and Granada, university buildings in Managua and Leon, Sandinista party offices in Chinandega and Masaya, government offices in Managua, and medical supply stores of the Ministry of Health. There have also been attempts to break into the “Denis Martinez” baseball stadium in Managua, and the new Fernando Velez Paiz Hospital.

 In the resulting chaos opportunistic looting followed of shops, vehicles and businesses.

 The protests by the students and opposition groups have gone beyond calling for the repeal of the social security law to calling for justice, democracy, the end of repression, and the release of those arrested. Some are also calling for Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo to step down accusing the government of refusing to listen to their demands, corruption and implementing repressive measures against them.

 On 22 April, President Daniel Ortega announced the repeal of the social security reforms and invited the private sector and the Catholic Church to form part of a dialogue to look for consensus regarding the most viable way of securing the future of the social security system. He thanked the Pope, OAS and European Union for messages calling for the restoration of peace and security and endorsed their calls for an end to the violence and senseless loss of life.

 On 26 April, all protesters who had been arrested were released.

NSCAG support for peace initiatives without foreign interference

NSCAG condemns the excessive use of force by the Nicaraguan police including firing on protesters resulting in deaths.

NSCAG condemns the actions of some politically motivated protesters who also carried out acts of violence resulting in deaths and damage to and the destruction of buildings and institutions.

NSCAG is concerned that there is a politically motivated and co-ordinated attempt to manipulate people’s grievances into calls for regime change as has happened in Venezuela.

NSCAG supports the call of the Organisation of American States, the European Union, and the Pope for dialogue involving all sectors including the government and protesters to bring about a political solution to end all violence.

NSCAG fully supports the Government initiated national dialogue- with the Episcopal Conference acting as mediator – involving all sectors to unite the country in reaching consensus on how to continue addressing the key challenges the country faces in maintaining social and economic stability at the same time as combatting poverty and unemployment.

NSCAG applauds Nicaragua’s many advances in achieving economic stability and poverty reduction over recent years and reiterates our ongoing solidarity with the Nicaraguan trade union movement.

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group Executive Committee

28 April, 2018

Addressing Culture and Inequality in Latin America (ACILA) at Bristol University

Addressing Culture and Inequality in Latin America (ACILA) at Bristol University

 

Here’s a new project at the University of Bristol called Addressing Culture and Inequality in Latin America (ACILA). Ithas a series of events coming up over the next few months, which members and friends of BLINC might be interested in. They include seminars, lectures, book launches, documentary films and small concerts (including with Nicaraguan musicians!). 

Below is the PDF download of the events calendar, please be aware this is updated regularly. This will give you an idea of the day. An updated online version is available through the link at the bottom.

PDF calendar Download

ACILA events calendar 23.04.18

Online calendar
Attached is the latest calendar, which is updated regularly. You can also find it on their blog at:https://acila688039829.wordpress.com/blog/

COPA SANDINO 2018, Sunday 20 May

COPA SANDINO 2018, Sunday 20 May

This year we are trying to raise enough funds to build a pre -schools in Puerto Morazan for under fives.  Come along and sponsor one of the teams. Meet our special guest the Nicaraguan Ambassador, HE Guisell Morales. Have some delicious latino food and Mexican beer and try out a sports massage from the experts.
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Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork (BCMB) will be supporting us on the day by supplying a team of massage therapists to help ease aches and pains and improve your performance and recovery time. The team will be made up of therapists who are training in Sports and Remedial therapy together with fully qualified therapists and tutors to supervise treatment. They will be available throughout the day to treat competitors and/or spectators and will be able to provide pre, post or inter match treatments.
Treatments can be booked in advance at the start of the day or you are welcome to drop in and wait your turn. Treatments will be available for a suggested donation of  £5  for a 15 minute treatment. Any profits made after covering expenses will be donated to the pre school building project for Puerto Morazan. Visit the treatment tent for details of low cost massage options at the BCMB clinic in Clifton available year round.