Archives: 2021 Nicaragua Webinar Series

Nicaragua’s Popular Economy and Creative Development

Nils McCune has a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture from the Universidad Central de Las Villas in Cuba and a PhD in Ecology and Sustainable Development from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico. He has carried out research on agroecology, food systems education and alternative economies in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. He is currently a Research Associate at the University of Vermont, a Visiting Researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico, and the Regional Communications Specialist of La Vía Campesina North America. He is author of the chapter “Popular Economy: Nicaragua’s Anti-shock Therapy” from Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup? (Alliance for Global Justice, 2019).

Daniel McCurdy, a Nicaraguan, has degrees in Economics and Sustainable Territorial Development. Throughout his time in Palestine, France, Switzerland, the US and Nicaragua, his work has focused on issues of economic and social development and monetary policy. He is author of the chapter “Tourism in Nicaragua: Breaking with the Defunct Idea of Development” from The Revolution Won’t Be Stopped: Nicaragua Advances Despite US Unconventional Warfare (Alliance for Global Justice, 2020).

Building Food Sovereignty in Nicaragua

Nicaraguans are hard at work on a multi-faceted approach to ensure people’s freedom from hunger and for adequate nutrition. The speakers in this webinar, Erika Takeo and Rita Jill Clark-Gollub, will discuss Nicaragua’s efforts toward food sovereignty, including farmer associations like the ATC, agroecology projects, and government programs such as Zero Hunger and school meals.

Erika Takeo is a North American based in Managua, Nicaragua. She is the coordinator of the Friends of the ATC, the solidarity network with the Rural Workers Association, and also a part of the international staff team in the Continental Operating Secretariat of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations, CLOC, the expression of La Via Campesina in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rita Jill Clark-Gollub has lived in the United States most of her life, but has family roots in Nicaragua. While always generally in support of the Sandinista Revolution, since 2018 she has been studying the situation in the country more closely in an effort to sort through the misinformation published in U.S. corporate media. The past two years she attended two study delegations to Nicaragua, learning lots and making new connections with social movements on the ground. She is an active member of Friends of Latin America, a solidarity organization in Maryland, and she is an Assistant Editor/Translator at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

U.S. Exceptionalism: Its Story in Nicaragua and Beyond

“U.S. American Exceptionalism” is a concept promoting the United States as the Shining City on the Hill.  The first among nations. The example all other states should follow.  This webinar will address the notion of US exceptionalism, with special but not exclusive focus on Nicaragua.

Brian Willson will describe the history and origins of the dogma of US American exceptionalism – the fear and trickster psychology behind it, the adolescent culture which produced it, and its origins in Nicaragua and Central America in the 1800s and 1900s.

Kathy Hoyt will focus on American exceptionalism as an ideology to justify punitive sanctions on other nations. She will discuss sanctions in general, with emphasis on the illegality and harm caused by U.S. unilateral sanctions, and she will review current U.S. sanctions on Nicaragua.

Sofia Clark will examine American exceptionalism in the global context – how it is used to justify US foreign policy around the world.

Media Disinformation on Nicaragua: A Tool in U.S. Unconventional Warfare

April 18 is the third anniversary of the U.S.-led coup attempt. The speakers will address the role of Nicaraguan and international media in the attempted coup and its aftermath, the new Foreign Agents Law and its use by the Sandinista government to control misinformation in the run up to the November 7 election, and media claims of censorship.

Our speakers are John Perry, who lives in Masaya and has written about Nicaragua for The Nation, London Review of Books, COHA, Counterpunch and FAIR; and Louise Richards, who is the Trade Union and Communications Co-ordinator for the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group.


Amazing Advances on Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast: Discrediting U.S. Media Attacks

Ambassador Francisco Campbell and Rick Sterling are the featured speakers at this 75-minute Zoom webinar. Nan McCurdy will also update us briefly on recent Nicaraguan news.  Attendees can address questions to the speakers, and the recorded event will be shared afterward with registrants.

The webinar will focus on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, where there have been remarkable advances in recent years, including new highways and hospitals.  Ambassador Campbell will describe these achievements in greater detail.

Unfortunately, such success has not prevented U.S. media attacks – for example, alleging the Nicaraguan government has failed to protect indigenous people from land encroachment by cattle ranchers.  Rick Sterling will discuss how these attacks are being promoted by billionaire-financed foundations and provide contrary evidence based on recent interviews with indigenous leaders and other Caribbean residents.

U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua’s Elections Since 1984

This webinar will cover the most blatant U.S. intervention in each election. Speakers Chuck Kaufman and Nils McCune will address the US funding of the opposition; the RAIN United States Aid for International Development destabilization project; US sanctions and other recent US interference. This will be the day before the July 19 celebration.

Sofia Clark and Saul Arana will address why this is such an important election, why the US has spent so much money and effort to try to keep the Sandinistas from winning; why the new Electoral Council that oversees the process is the most progressive and diverse group ever seen in a nation. They will respond to questions about the elections.


What’s at Stake in Nicaragua’s 2021 Elections

The national elections in Nicaragua, to be held on November 7, are caught in controversy. This month’s webinar speaker, Sofia Clark, will address such questions as the following:  How is the Supreme Electoral Council working to assure elections are free and fair?  What will be the electoral effects, if any, of U.S. policies and practices?  Are the media accurate in their portrayal of the elections?  Is the FSLN trying to eliminate other candidates, as it is accused of doing? (75 minutes total length)

Sofia Clark is a political researcher and analyst with deep ties to Nicaragua.  A Master of International Law, she was Deputy Chief of Staff for her uncle, Fr. Miguel d’Escoto, when he presided over the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.  She has served in UN field missions in Rwanda, South Africa, and Haiti, and worked in OAS conflict resolution programs in Guatemala, Bolivia, and Colombia.   She is currently at the Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann Center for Development Studies at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) in Managua.

Nicaragua Advances, Despite Attacks from Left and Right

In the run-up to Nicaragua’s November elections, prominent left-wing figures and others are criticizing Daniel Ortega’s government. Our September speakers will carefully examine claims of the critics. John Perry asks what these detractors are calling for, and how this squares with what Nicaraguans want and need.  Becca Mohally Renk will discuss attacks on Nicaragua’s universal health care and its Covid response.  Under the neoliberal governments in Nicaragua, 1990-2006, health care was essentially privatized and patients actually died, untreated, in the street outside public hospitals. Since 2007, what healthcare advances have occurred under the Sandinista government, and how has Nicaragua handled the Covid-19 pandemic?

John Perry has lived and worked in Masaya, Nicaragua, for the past 18 years.  He writes about Nicaragua and Central America and has been published in a number of journals including NACLA, The Nation, London Review of Books, Counterpunch, Council for Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), The GrayzoneOpen Democracy, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
Becca Mohally Renk has lived in Nicaragua for 20 years, working with the Jubilee House Community and its project, the Center for Development in Central America, in Ciudad Sandino, just outside of Managua.  She recently authored a NicaNotes about disinformation on Covid-19 cases.

A Conversation with Denis Moncada, Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Minister

U.S. regime change operations in Latin America have a long, sordid history and continue to do enormous harm in the places where they are active today. Today, Nicaragua is the target of these operations.  As elections approach in the country, we see increasing U.S. efforts to interfere and undermine the sovereignty that the Nicaraguan people work for every day.

On Thursday, September 23, H.E. Denis Moncada, Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Minister, shared with us an account of the efforts with which the Nicaraguan people have confronted the illegal sanctions and the importance of our solidarity in confronting these attacks.

In spite of sanctions, Nicaragua does not pose any threat to the United States. Nicaragua is a small nation of 6.3 million, in the bottom ten countries in armament. Contrary to regime change narratives, sanctions only harm the people, especially the most vulnerable, by blocking aid from other countries or organizations. This kind of unilateral pressure seeks to pressure the country to choose new leadership favored by the United States.

Nicaragua’s Amazing Advances in Gender Equality

In this webinar, Nan McCurdy describes awards and recognition Nicaragua has received for gender equality and overall advances for women. Yorlis Gabriela Luna considers the effect on her life and on the lives of women around her, of advances for women since 2007 when the Sandinistas regained the presidency.  Shaira Downs Morgan discusses advances for women on the Caribbean Coast and more.

Shaira Downs Morgan is an Afro-descendant woman from Corn Island on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua.  Since her youth she has been dedicated to community advancement including cultural promotion, access to health and education, and sports and recreation.  After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2008, she was elected to the Municipal Council of Corn Island.  In 2014 she was elected to the Southern Caribbean Coast Regional Autonomous Council, holding the position of Government Coordinator from 2016 to 2019 before becoming President of the Directive Board.  

Yorlis Gabriela Luna is a Nicaraguan popular educator and an agricultural researcher specializing in native bees. She is a Facilitator at the Latin American Agroecological Institute of the Via Campesina in Nicaragua. She has a master’s in Mathematical Sciences and is currently working on a doctorate in Ecology and Society.

U.S. Hands Off! Let the People Decide

This 90-minute webinar was held a week before Nicaragua’s crucial national elections on November 7.  Francisco Dominguez addresses the FSLN’s decades-long struggle to bring democracy to Nicaragua and to assert national sovereignty. Netfa Freeman, who was recently in Nicaragua, describes his observations of the atmosphere and conditions there. Sofia Clark summarizes the US attacks against Nicaragua and attempts to delegitimize the elections. Nan McCurdy also presents a brief “Nicaraguan Elections 101” overview, addressing such questions as: What steps are being taken to assure a free and fair election?

Netfa Freeman, Co-host/ producer, Voices with Vision, WPFW 89.3 FM Washington, DC, and Coordinating Committee member, Black Alliance for Peace

Francisco Dominguez,  Head of Research Group on Latin America, Middlesex University and Executive Committee member, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group

Sofia Clark, Political Research Analyst, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann Center, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) in Managua