By Chuck Kaufman
Committed to negotiations for peace
In a press release issued March 20, the Negotiations Round Table announced that “Thanks to the efforts of the Apostolic Nuncio, as witness and companion, and the Special Delegate of the OAS Secretary General, and taking into account the greater coinciding of positions, the negotiation process at the INCAE campus was resumed. This afternoon the Negotiations Round Table received a communication from the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity in which it states its decision to release, within a period not exceeding ninety days, all persons arrested and detained in the context of the events that occurred since April 18, 2018, in full compliance with the legal framework of the country. The Negotiations Round Table approved the Agenda of the Negotiation which will be announced to the people of Nicaragua and the International Community. The Negotiations Round Table has decided to extend a formal invitation to the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States to resume work on issues of electoral reform. The Negotiations Round Table also agreed to extend a formal invitation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to accompany the Negotiations Round Table in the process of releasing all individuals imprisoned or detained.” (Nicaragua News, Mar. 21)
Latest update on peace negotiations
In a press release issued March 22, the Negotiations Round Table announced that “On March 21 and 22, 2019, the eleventh and twelfth sessions of the Negotiations Round Table were held at the INCAE Campus. As a result of these working sessions, a number of topics were agreed upon, including the incorporation of Mr. Luis Ángel Rosadilla as Witness and International Accompanier of the negotiation in representation of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States. The agenda for the following week will begin with the theme of strengthening civil rights and guarantees on Monday, March 25 and will include the content of an agreement to follow up on the process of release of prisoners and detainees in the context of the events that occurred as of April 18, 2018, in accordance with the legal framework of the country, for which the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been requested. The follow-up mechanism for the process of release of prisoners will begin by reconciling and updating the lists of the Government, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Civic Alliance. While the release process is underway, the parties agreed to request that the inmates be placed in the normal prison regime, in compliance with the rules established by the United Nations for treatment of prisoners, and that they be allowed visits in special situations and emergencies.” (Nicaragua News, Mar. 25)
The Viper cannot be free
According to Informe Pastran, one of the negotiated agreements that has caused controversy in general is the release of prisoners within 90 days “in accordance with the country’s legal system” and that there will be “truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition” for all. Those convicted of murder and other crimes will not go unpunished, nor can they benefit from release, as in the case of Christian Josué Mendoza, a.k.a. El Viper, a confessed murderer like others who murdered Sandinistas and police officers at the roadblocks. “Does the opposition want the Viper to be free despite his having confessed to his crimes?” asks Informe Pastran. One of the basic aspects that the negotiation seeks is peaceful coexistence among Nicaraguans and that must meet with the satisfaction of all those who were direct and indirect victims of last year’s violence and the negotiation must establish a stable and lasting peace. (Informe Pastran, Mar. 21)
Firmly committed to peace and security
In remarks during the inauguration of the new Nejapa overpass yesterday, President Daniel Ortega reiterated that his government is firmly committed to peace, security and the wellbeing of all Nicaraguan families. “We are pleased to see that we are moving forward on the path of peace and reconciliation. That peace that is fundamental to build new highways, hospitals and schools and to continue to advance in our main goal which is the fight against poverty”, President Ortega said. (Nicaragua News, Mar. 22)
Strengthening capabilities in agriculture sector
The Nicaragua Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Taiwan Technical Mission in Managua signed a cooperation agreement to promote the cultivation of fruits and vegetables in Nicaragua. “The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen capabilities in agricultural production, pest control and climate change mitigation,” an INTA statement says. (Nicaragua News, Mar. 22)
Attractive tourism destination
A report published in British newspaper The Telegraph, states that Nicaragua is one of the best tourism destinations to spend an unforgettable spring break vacation. “Safety and normalcy have returned to the land of lakes and volcanoes. Nicaragua has stunning colonial cities rich in culture and tradition, amazing beaches for surfing and the best volcanoes to practice sand boarding”, The Telegraph article states. (Nicaragua News, Mar. 21)
Human rights of prisoners respected
The Ministry of Governance reported that the Nicaragua government is guaranteeing full respect for the human rights of all prisoners in the National Penitentiary System. “Between March 9 and 15, the National Penitentiary System authorized 7,500 visits, 538 judicial diligences, 133 medical appointments and 10 medical emergencies. Likewise, 39 religious services were held during this period,” the official report states. (Nicaragua News, Mar. 19)
Washington and OAS support negotiations
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said today that he recognizes “in a note from the Government of Nicaragua a fundamental element for committing the General Secretariat to a process of dialogue, a necessary condition for peace, justice, respect, human rights and democracy, fundamental objectives of the Nicaraguan people.” For his part, the U.S. Ambassador in Managua, Kevin Sullivan commented on Twitter that the approved negotiating agenda “marks a path towards the return to full democracy in Nicaragua” adding, “there is no time to lose, real solutions are needed in real time.” Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier said that “the negotiations agreed to yesterday are a positive first step” adding that “We expect immediate action, including an early unconditional release of all political prisoners. The time to restore democracy in Nicaragua is long overdue.” (Informe Pastran, Mar. 21)
Border Delegation Announcement from our sister organization Witness for Peace Southwest! Register HERE.
Friends of the ATC Delegation Announcement:
Solidarity with Nicaragua!
Explore the history and current context of Nicaragua through the eyes of the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (Rural Workers’ Association), a mass organization that represents the people who feed Nicaragua: farmworkers and small farmers. We will exchange with peasants and workers organized by the ATC and other groups in the city and countryside, studying the role of unions, cooperatives, women, and youth in building Nicaragua’s popular economy and national sovereignty.
For more information, please visit friendsatc.org/
USFSA Political Education Webinar w/ Nils McCune & Peter Rosset
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance’s political education collective is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, April 3, beginning at 9am Pacific / noon Eastern. Our presenters – Peter Rosset and Nils McCune – will highlight their experiences, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, with rural peoples who have mobilized to scale-out agroecology, construct the pillars of food sovereignty, and strengthen internationalist connections. In addition to taking questions from webinar attendees, Peter and Nils will discuss opportunities and challenges to advance political education in U.S. contexts.
Please write this into your calendar and prepare by reading “Agroecology Formacion in Rural Social Movements,’ written by McCune, Reardon, and Rosset. You can download a PDF of the article by following this link. See the call info below.
Immediately afterward (10:15-11am Pacific / 1:15–2pm Eastern), the political education collective (open to USFSA members and allies) will debrief from the webinar presentations and discuss next steps for advancing consciousness-forming and base-building processes in the USFSA. Priorities identified on previous calls of the collective included: create educational materials; organize more agroecology encounters; and develop a national political education course to reach shared analysis on emerging and perennial problems faced by USFSA members and partners in allied social movements.
USFSA Political Education Webinar and Collective Meeting
Wednesday April 3 – 9-11am Pacific; 12-2pm Eastern
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.