NicaNotes: Help Nicaragua Recover from Hurricane Julia!

Last week, on October 13th, we launched a campaign to raise emergency funds to support the Nicaraguan government’s efforts to rebuild damaged infrastructure and support the millions of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Julia. You can donate to the Nicaragua Solidarity Fund “Padre Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, to help hurricane victims.

Nearly four million of Nicaragua’s 6.6 million people were affected by Hurricane Julia. Photo: El 19 Digital

The hurricane made landfall in the early morning hours of October 9th, on Nicaragua’s Southern Caribbean Autonomous Region in the areas of Bluefields, Pearl Lagoon and Tasba Pauni. Torrential rains followed, devasting large parts of the rest of the country. Almost four million people in 123 municipalities were affected to some degree. Government preparedness in evacuating 20,000 persons and placing 12,858 in 33 shelters was key to saving lives. Dr. Guillermo González, Director of the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention (SINAPRED) noted that “no deaths due to the hurricane were reported. Saving lives was priority number one.” Click here to donate!

Initial reports of damages and losses have been estimated at US$400 million, 2% of the GDP but that number is preliminary given that the basic infrastructure and services damages in areas like El Rama, Laguna de Perlas and Bluefields are still being calculated and losses in the agricultural, fishing and tourism sectors nationwide are also still under study, according to Ivan Acosta, Nicaragua’s Minister of Finance.

At present, teams of specialists are working around the clock to restore basic services of communications, electricity and water.  Food packages and roofing materials are arriving for families in El Rama, Bluefields and Corn Island and other municipalities of Nicaragua’s Southern Caribbean Autonomous region.

Nicaragua needs support to help rebuild.  

We can show our support by donating to the “Padre Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann” Nicaragua Solidarity Fund. Donations received will be sent to SINAPRED’s disaster emergency fund. We will also try to make an additional donation to the Municipality of Bluefields.

Please make a tax deductible contribution today at or send a check to Alliance for Global Justice, 225 E 26th St., Ste 1,  Tucson, AZ 85713. Please put “Nicaraguan Hurricane Recovery” in the memo line.

And please share this post! Mil gracias!

Here are some links to photos and information about the hurricane’s impact:
Nicaragua presentará informe consolidado de daños ocasionados por el huracán Julia
Cuadrillas de ENATREL trabajan para restablecer energía en comunidad Orinoco

More Information about the Padre Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann Nicaragua Solidarity Fund

This is the second time that fundraising for the Fund has been activated for hurricane relief.

In 2020, we raised money for Hurricanes Eta and Iota relief and reconstruction efforts on the North Caribbean Coast. AfGJ/Nicaragua Network sent $27,500 to SINAPRED, the country´s award-winning disaster prevention and mitigation agency.

The Nicaragua Solidarity Fund, established in 2020 via the AFGJ, is an opportunity for US citizens to support the needs of the Nicaraguan people at a time when the United States continues to violate international law by placing sanctions against Nicaragua. These sanctions, over the past several years, have prevented Nicaragua from accessing concessional loans, grants or debt relief from multilateral sources such as the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It should be noted that the United States still has the moral and legal responsibility to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (World Court) of 1986. The Republic of Nicaragua vs. the United States of America was a case where the World Court held that the U.S. had violated international law by waging war against the Nicaraguan government utilizing the Contras to mine the harbors as well as kill Nicaraguans and destroy schools, health centers, electricity towers and more. The World Court ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States awarding reparation to Nicaragua. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the World Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. also blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any compensation. The US pressured the post-FSLN government of Violeta Chamorro to withdraw the complaint from the court in 1992.

In 1986 the damages to Nicaragua were calculated at approximately US$17 billion dollars. Thirty-six years of cumulated interest makes the amount due the country more like US$160 billion. Although the Nicaragua Solidarity Fund does not replace the debt owed by the US, it is an opportunity for US citizens to recognize their government´s
responsibility and to assist Nicaragua in responding to the needs of its people.

Please make your donation online using the secure form.

If you would like to donate by check instead, please make it payable to Alliance for Global Justice with Nicaragua Solidarity Fund in the memo line, and mail to 225 E. 26th Street, Suite 1, Tucson, AZ 85713

Your donation is tax deductible! Nicaragua Solidarity Fund “Padre Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann” is a Project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a 501c3 non profit.

Defending Worker Rights and Building Food Sovereignty, Brick by Brick
By Friends of the ATC

[Friends of the ATC is the solidarity network with the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (Rural Workers’ Association) of Nicaragua]

Born in 1978 within the context of the Sandinista Popular Revolution, the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC) is an organization of struggle that represents more than 50,000 workers in unions and cooperatives. Active in 13 of the country’s 15 departments (Nicaragua’s equivalent of states), the ATC organizes at the departmental level in federations. This structure allows for the ATC in each federation to respond to the similar but unique realities of rural people in the different agricultural regions of Nicaragua.

One such federation — ATC Estelí — advocates for workers and cooperative members in Nicaragua’s substantial tobacco and cigar-making industry. The department has over 60 world class cigar factories whose owners make large profits from US and European markets. Employing over 30,000 workers, the industry is rife with both abuse and resistance. For this reason, ATC Estelí organizes and trains about 2,500 workers to defend their rights and it negotiates with cigar companies to improve working conditions. A landmark achievement of ATC Estelí was the opening in 2014 of the School of Tobacco where youth can go to learn the trade of rolling cigars in free month-long courses. Graduates receive a certification of competency registered through the government, which has helped thousands of workers (many young, single mothers) obtain employment in Estelí.

The cigar industry employs over 30,000 workers. The ATC organizes cigar workers to defend their rights and negotiates with cigar companies to improve conditions.

The ATC also works in rural areas, but with farmer cooperatives growing tobacco and small farmers growing corn, beans and other food crops for the local community.

The 2020 publication, “ATC Estelí: Three Times Heroic” features the testimonies of four ATC Estelí leaders who share their own stories of growing up in rural areas, working in tobacco, and the ATC’s organizing in the department. The testimonies speak to the ATC’s steadfast work in defending the rights of workers, and their defense of the Sandinista Revolution, including defeating the 2018 coup attempt.

After the time this publication was released, the ATC Estelí began to ramp up their initiatives with farmers in the area to promote a transition toward agroecology, a model of agriculture based on harmony with Mother Earth and breaking away from the logic of production promoted by the Green Revolution (monoculture, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, etc.). To that end, the federation began to implement different agroecological demonstration parcels located on the farms of ATC members, modeling different techniques for soil and water conservation, diversification of production by introducing different fruit and vegetable crops, and building infrastructure for ecological and compassionate raising of animals.

ATC demonstration parcels promote water conservation, diversification of crops, and compassionate raising of animals.

These agroecological demonstration plots are considered to be like schools for federation members, allies and visitors. At the flagship demonstration plot in La Montañita, regular trainings, exchanges and meetings are held with ATC membership and ally organizations. It’s also been the host to a number of Friends of ATC brigades who have come to help plant dragon fruit, make garden beds and compost, and learn about this territorial work to promote agroecology.

There are currently four agroecological demonstration plots in the La Montañita, Tomabu and El Porvenir communities of Estelí. You can have a look at what these parcels have looked like in development by checking out these videos:
General explanation of the agroecological demonstration parcels project
Explaining the deep bed system for raising pigs
Visit to Tomabu (where there are two demonstration parcels in development)

Interested in learning more about and supporting this work? Here are two concrete ways to be involved:

Brick by Brick Campaign: From now until the end of 2022, Friends of the ATC is fundraising so that the ATC Estelí can build an auditorium at their central office in town. This will make it possible for the organization to hold larger meetings, events and trainings in town for union members and farmers, rather than having to rent space in other locations. Fitting with Estelí’s nickname “city of murals” the auditorium backdrop with be a 13m x 3m (42.6ft x 9.8ft) mural, honoring ATC leaders who have passed away, symbols of ATC, and international solidarity. Donate before October 22nd and be entered into a raffle to win ATC prizes!

Brick by Brick Brigade to Nicaragua: Join the delegation to Nicaragua taking place March 18th – 27th, 2023 in Estelí. You’ll get to see all of the different facets of the ATC’s work in the department, put your touches on the new auditorium mural, and celebrate alongside the ATC its 45th anniversary. Find additional information and application link here.

By Nan McCurdy

Government Releases Reports on Losses from Hurricane Julia
Both the National Evaluation Commission of Nicaragua and the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation, and Attention (SINAPRED) have been releasing reports in the last few days about the impact of Hurricane Julia on the country and the government’s response.

The Evaluation Commission reported on Oct. 18 that damages and losses from Hurricane Julia so far total US$402.6 million, 2.6 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Iván Acosta, Minister of Finance, stated that there is damage in 96 municipalities in the country’s 15 departments and two Autonomous Regions of the North and South Caribbean Coast. Those most affected are Corn Island, El Rama, Laguna de Perlas, Kukra Hill, Bluefields, El Tortuguero, La Desembocadura del Río Grande, La Cruz de Río Grande, Juigalpa, Teustepe, and also Managua in Districts V, VI and VII. In his Oct. 14 report, Acosta explained that “the impact is fundamentally in infrastructure, energy, transportation, road networks, communications.”  He said that losses in the productive sector had not been quantified. “We need to visit the farms of the sector of the hurricane’s path and see the post-hurricane effects from floods, etc. to be able to make a thorough evaluation.” Losses are still being quantifying in the fishing and tourism sectors. “Evaluation is ongoing in all the municipalities in the path of the hurricane, and of those flooded by rivers. El Rama was completely flooded and is still in the process of normalization,” Acosta reported. “SINAPRED has provided a good response to the demands of the citizens of the Caribbean Coast,” he indicated. “Progress continues distributing food packages to our population and Plan Roof is working to gradually return to the basic conditions necessary for the tranquility of our families,” Acosta concluded.

On Oct. 13, SINAPRED reported that four million people in 123 municipalities were affected to some degree by the hurricane: 20,000 people in areas of greater impact had to be evacuated and 12,858 were placed in 33 shelters. The hurricane destroyed 700 homes; 820 homes were flooded and 15,000 were partially damaged; 12 schools were partially damaged and the Arlen Siu Port in El Rama suffered partial structural damage due to the flooding of the Escondido River. Dr. Guillermo González, Director of SINAPRED, noted that “no deaths due to the hurricane were reported. Preserving lives is and will always be the priority.” The priority at this time is the attention for affected families, rebuilding houses through Plan Roof and rehabilitation of schools, he stated. (Nicaragua News, 14 Oct. 2022; Radio La Primerisima, 15 Oct. 2022; Radio La Primerisima, 18 Oct. 2022)

Another Shipment of Food and Supplies for El Rama
On Oct. 17 a new convoy with food and supplies left for El Rama, in the South Caribbean Autonomous Region, to be delivered to all the families in that area affected by the floods caused by hurricane Julia. Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, head of SINAPRED said that some 6,000 families have received humanitarian assistance to prevent diseases and also psychosocial care. “In El Rama we had an aggregate phenomenon, a flood that had almost 80% of the families under water,” said Gonzalez. Today’s shipment included 45 tons of food. (Radio La Primerisima, 17 Oct. 2022)

Restoring Potable Water after Hurricane Julia
On Oct. 12 the Water and Sewage Company (ENACAL) reported on progress in restoring potable water service to the 85,000 homes nationwide that had lost that service. Of these, 95.7% of affected homes have now recovered potable water service. ENACAL Director Ervin Barreda explained that “potable water service has been restored to most of the homes, because interruptions were mainly due to suspension of electricity service used to pump water and to operate the wastewater treatment plants. We have not yet been able to restore water service in 3,700 homes in Rama, La Esperanza and San Sebastián de Yalí municipalities affected by overflow of rivers that prevent staff from accessing the plants; however, we expect to restore service by Oct. 13,” Barreda said. (Nicaragua News, 13 Oct. 2022)

China: First Country to Donate after Hurricane Julia
On Oct. 17 the SINAPRED Emergency Fund received a donation from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the first country to offer a donation for the families affected by the hurricane. The announcement of the donation said that the resources will be used directly for the benefit of Nicaraguan families. China’s ambassador in Managua, Chen Xi, said that the will of his government is to cooperate with friendly peoples and he highlighted the immediate response of the Nicaraguan government before, during and after the hurricane. (Radio La Primerisima, 17 Oct. 2022)

Progress in the Electoral Process
On Oct. 12 the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) presented a report on progress in the electoral process leading up to the November 6th municipal elections. The electoral ballots for the 153 municipalities have been printed and approved by the political parties and alliances in accordance with the Electoral Law. 515,924 identification cards were issued between January 03 and October 7 this year. Of these 107,901 were new enrollments; 181,111 renewals and 226,912 were replacements. CSE Vice President Cairo Amador stated that “in the elections there will be 3,106 Voting Centers, 7,931 Voting Stations and 18,000 electoral police [citizens] to ensure an agile and transparent process for the 3,722,884 citizens that make up the electoral registry and are eligible to exercise their right to vote.” (Nicaragua News, 13 Oct. 2022)

FAO Recognizes Successes in the Fight Against Poverty and Hunger
The Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, recognized the successes achieved by Nicaragua in the implementation of strategies to combat poverty and hunger, wherein the authorities guarantee access to quality food for the population. He also recognized the investment potential and economic growth rates achieved by Nicaragua. Qu Dongyu thanked Foreign Minister Denis Moncada for the constant commitment of the Nicaraguan government to the implementation of programs and projects with the FAO. Among other topics discussed were the government’s priority areas of cooperation, which include promoting resilience to the impact of the climate crisis, agro-ecological transformation, and resource mobilization in support of small producers. The meeting was held on the occasion of the World Food Forum and the Investment Forum, organized by the FAO. (Radio La Primerisima, 18 Oct. 2022)

A Million Children to Be Dewormed Throughout Country
The Ministry of Health has launched the II National Day of Deworming and Vitamin A Application. Health authorities intend to give vitamin A to 100,000 children from 6 months to 5 years old and treat for parasites 1.2 million children from 1 year to 12 years old. They intend to reach all the neighborhoods of Nicaragua, “going house-to-house, at schools and at all medical posts, hospitals and health centers and, of course, it is all free,” said Dr. Mar Ekaterina Lanzas of the Francisco Buitrago Health Center. (La Primerisima, 17 Oct. 2022)

Agreement to Protect Nicaraguan Workers
The Governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica signed a “Binational Agreement to Regulate the Temporary Hiring of Nicaragua Agricultural Workers in Costa Rica.” The Agreement seeks to guarantee full compliance with the labor rights of Nicaraguans including social security, healthcare, and movement of Nicaragua agricultural workers in Costa Rica. Nicaragua Labor Minister Alba Luz Torres stated that “the Agreement will allow for collaboration between the two governments to advance the social and economic development objectives of our countries through specific actions that guarantee complete respect for the rights and well-being of Nicaragua workers.” (Nicaragua News, 14 Oct. 2022)

Nicaragua and Colombia to Strengthen Diplomatic Relations
On Oct. 14, Foreign Affairs Minister Denis Moncada accepted the credentials of the new Ambassador of Colombia to Nicaragua, Leon Freddy Muñoz, who thus began his duties in the country. Moncada welcomed the diplomat and reaffirmed the fraternal relationship between both nations.

Moncada highlighted the almost 100 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries and recalled that Nicaragua is a nation respectful of its international obligations which allows it to maintain good diplomatic relations with countries of the region. “Nicaragua and Colombia are two states with nearly a century of diplomatic relations. Our foreign policy is premised on strengthening relations in keeping with the Vienna Convention, the principles and foundations of international law, the United Nations Charter, the sacred respect of our countries for the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs, [of other states], and of the sovereign equality among states, which are fundamental principles for relations between our countries. That mutual respect also characterizes our countries, our peoples and our governments,” he said.

For his part, Ambassador Muñoz said he was very happy to be in Nicaragua, where he has been received with respect by the Government. “It is an honor to be here. I have been very well received. From the first moment I got off the plane, officials received me with open arms. And that is indicative of this new stance, of the new government we have today since August 7th.  We have a new government in our beautiful country Colombia and the approach of our President Gustavo Petro is to rebuild relations, relations that never should have deteriorated. Our policy from this new perspective is to reestablish relations with all fraternal countries”, he said.

Muñoz emphasized that one of the new guidelines of his government is to strengthen diplomatic relations with sister countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, with whom they have already been working towards greater unity. “The border with Venezuela was reopened; it was beautiful to see all the trucks carrying merchandise, food supplies to the sister country of Venezuela, and today in Nicaragua, these relations must be rebuilt. We must embrace each other; we are sister countries. Here the only ones who are hurt when relations are broken are the people, it is the pueblo. For us, it is essential to rebuild relations …. And that is what we are going to do, build good relations. The message for President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario is we have come here to rebuild relations and it would be great to continue building on what we have already started,” he concluded. (Radio La Primerisima, 14 Oct. 2022)