NicaNotes: More Sanctions on Nicaragua Will Deepen US Migration Crisis: A Conversation with Barbara Larcom and Jill Clark-Gollub

(This interview was published by on March 12, 2024.)

For Barbara Larcom and Jill Clark-Gollub, increased US economic warfare waged against Nicaragua will only translate into a worsening of the already delicate migration problem in the US and affect supply chains for Central American and Caribbean countries that trade with Nicaragua. The two activists from the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition were interviewed by Orinoco Tribune on March 6.

You can watch the full interview with Barbara Larcom and Jill Clark-Gollub by Jesús Rodriguez Espinoza of the Orinoco Tribune by clicking here.

Barbara Larcom is the current chair of the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition, an international alliance of organizations and individuals that support Nicaragua’s sovereignty. She also coordinates Casa Baltimore/Limay, a friendship project linking Baltimore, Maryland, with San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua. Rita Jill Clark-Gollub is active with the Maryland-based solidarity group Friends of Latin America and serves on the Coordinating Committee of the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition. She organizes study tours to Nicaragua and has published articles on Nicaraguan issues in independent news outlets.

When questioned about the current political and economic developments in Nicaragua, the activists explained that Sandinismo has promoted people’s participation in every aspect of social life, improving people’s lives in areas including human rights, healthcare, and gender equality, among others, and leading to an increase in infrastructure projects for citizens.

They explained that the smear campaign launched against Nicaragua and Sandinismo has drawn people into a defensive position, constantly responding to US accusations while losing sight of the vast number of achievements that the Sandinista Revolution can claim, from fighting poverty to reducing child mortality and malnutrition. “Part of this smear campaign is to prevent, to suppress, the good news coming out of the country and make us just devote our time to refuting them,” said Jill Clark-Gollub.

They explained that in the first 15 years after the Sandinista Front came back into office in 2007, maternal mortality went down from 99 to 33 per 100,000 births. Additionally, Sandinismo has improved education and healthcare. And, the violence rate is very low by Central American standards. The homicide rate in the US is about the same as Nicaragua, around seven per 100,000 inhabitants, they added.

The activists remarked on the particularities of the Sandinista Revolution that came to life supported by what became a strong cooperative movement along with the support of significant religious organizations, many of them connected to liberation theology. They explained that the revolution also gave autonomy to the Caribbean region of Nicaragua, which is home to a significant Afro-Nicaraguan and Indigenous populations that regained control of their ancestral lands.

On the criticism from “armchair communists” about the lack of Marxism in the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution and Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, Clark-Gollub explained that it is “a reflection of the fact that both revolutions are very much rooted in their own reality and the people, that it is not dogmatic formula that is driving what is happening. Rather, it is a social movement.”

On gender equality, Barbara Larcom explained that in Nicaragua, by law, there is a 50/50 rule for any elections for public office. “All the countries in the world are ranked as to their level of gender equity, and Nicaragua continues to be ranked very high. I think it was ranked fifth one year and, more recently, seventh in the world,” Larcom said.

On the economic performance of Nicaragua, Larcom explained that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicaragua’s strategy was to avoid shutting down the economy while providing proactive healthcare attention for the entirety of its population. As a result of this strategy, the economy of the country was not heavily affected. Unemployment currently is at 4%, and inflation is very low. They added that Nicaragua reported positive statistics during the pandemic in terms of overall COVID-19 deaths.

Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition work

Jill Clark-Gollub explained that, among members of the Coalition, Casa Benjamin Linder does amazing work organizing delegations to Nicaragua and holding courses about women’s rights and the autonomous regions. Barbara Larcom explained that the coalition includes members in the United States and in Nicaragua, Mexico, Bolivia, and the UK. Webinars are also part of their recent work, and they are working to provide resources for people around the world about Nicaragua.

Barbara Larcom explained that the Coalition is revamping its website and it distributes a weekly newsletter through which people can learn more about the reality in Nicaragua from a perspective that is different from the mainstream media narrative. The Alliance for Global Justice, another Coalition member, publishes NicaNotes, a weekly update with information about Nicaragua. Larcom and Clark-Gollub invited individuals to contact them if interested in participating in webinars, delegations, and other initiatives.

Barbara Larcom explained that the threat of new illegal US sanctions motivated them to launch a campaign to put pressure on US Congresspersons to oppose this strategy. The Coalition is inviting all concerned US citizens to join the campaign to prevent these new illegal sanctions that will deepen the already complex US migration issues and affect the food supply that many Central American and Caribbean countries count on from Nicaragua. The coalition joined forces with the Americas Without Sanctions initiative to push harder on that front.

How to respond to smear campaigns

Barbara Larcom explained that a recent UN report about alleged violations of human rights in Nicaragua is one of the fronts they are working on, pushing United Nations organizations to properly report on the issue. The Coalition is working to protest the inaccuracy and bias and have created a URL for people to join the initiative by signing a statement explaining why the report is inaccurate. The statement has already been signed by a former UN rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

The Nicaraguan initiative at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to charge Germany, with supporting the Israeli genocide against the defenseless Palestinian population in Gaza while defunding UNRWA was also highlighted. Jill Clark-Gollub explained that Nicaragua has a history of proactive actions at the ICJ and that it possesses skilled experts in international law, including Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the ICJ, Carlos Arguello.

The Palestinian issue was discussed, as people all over the world are realizing which countries truly respect human rights. On that front, the Global South, including Nicaragua, South Africa, Venezuela, and other nations, has played an important role by speaking up against the ongoing Zionist genocide in international forums, a trend that is expected to increase in coming years.


By Nan McCurdy

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Speaker: JOHNNY HODGSON, recognized as a Father of Autonomy of the Caribbean Coast, for leading the movement to restore the rights of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.

Nicaragua Takes Germany to Court Over Supplying Arms to Israel
Nicaragua, a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause, is broadening the legal battle over the Gaza conflict at the International Court of Justice by bringing a case against Germany, a major supplier of arms to Israel. In hearings that opened on April 8 in The Hague, Nicaragua argued that Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide in Gaza and violating the Genocide Convention by providing Israel with military and financial aid. Nicaragua asked the court to issue emergency orders, saying that as a party to the Genocide Convention, Germany must immediately suspend military aid to Israel and ensure that its supplies already in the country are not unlawfully used. Lawyers say that Germany has granted full jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court. But the United States denies its jurisdiction, except in cases where Washington explicitly gives its consent. The court has not yet accepted the case, but it is obliged to react quickly to requests for emergency measures. Supporting Israel is seen as a historic duty in Germany in light of the Holocaust, but the mounting toll in Gaza has pushed some German officials to ask whether that backing has gone too far. (New York Times, 9 April 2024)

Nicaragua Closes its Embassy in Germany
Nicaragua has closed its embassy in Berlin. The background to this move is the Nicaraguan lawsuit over German aid to Israel, which is being processed in the World Court. An employee of the Nicaraguan embassy in Vienna confirmed that the Nicaraguan diplomatic representation in Austria will take over its official functions. Several hundred Nicaraguan citizens live in Germany and about a thousand Germans live in Nicaragua. Earlier, the Government of President Daniel Ortega had announced in the official bulletin the accreditation of the Nicaraguan ambassador based in Vienna, Sabra Murillo, as ambassador to Germany. Nicaragua accuses Germany of contributing to the genocide in the Gaza Strip by supplying weapons to Israel. Nicaragua demands, among other things, the immediate cessation of arms deliveries and the resumption of funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). (La Primerisima, 11 April 2024)

Baptist Church: Complete Freedom to Preach the Gospel
The board of directors of the Baptist Convention of Nicaragua issued a statement about the full freedom of worship that it says exists in the country and the support it receives from the Government for its evangelistic work. “As an institute we want to share that the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, presided over by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, have always supported our evangelistic work, and have favored the carrying out of all our activities as well as the strengthening of our institutions that are at the service of Baptists and society in general,” reads part of the communiqué. The Baptists said they thank God “because in the midst of a world that threatens the miracle of life and the world peace of families, that promotes wars, pain and death –  in our country we enjoy full religious freedom to celebrate and worship,” to continue announcing the gospel, and to promote actions in favor of the poorest and most disadvantaged. (La Primerisima, 17 April 2024)

More than 300 Public Servants Trained in Sign Language
The Comandante Carlos Training Center of the National Technological Institute advances with its comprehensive training program for public servants with the basic level course in Nicaraguan sign language. The objective is to improve communication with people with hearing disabilities. The course is for 368 public servants from different institutions such as INATEC, MINSA, and MIFAMILIA, among others. It is important to improve skills when providing effective care, said Katherine Aguilar from the Silvia Ferrufino Health Center. The training module has a duration of 36 theoretical-practical hours. It is divided into three thematic blocks: generalities of sign language; Nicaraguan Sign Language Dictionary, and Sign Language Vocabulary. The teaching methodology is theoretical-practical, participatory, interactive and demonstrative, which allows participants to acquire skills and abilities, incorporate values and transfer their learning to concrete life situations. The course is taught in the cities of Managua, Masaya, Estelí, Matagalpa, Juigalpa, Chinandega, Jinotepe, San Marcos, Granada and Bluefields. (La Primerisima, 10 April 2024)

TikTik Kaanu University Prepares Agricultural and Livestock Technicians
Students from Bluefields and the Desembocadura de Río Grande set out for the recently inaugurated Carlos Fonseca Amador Indigenous University located at TikTik Kaanu in the Rama-Creole Bluefields territory. This trip represents a significant milestone in regional education, since previously there was no similar institution. For many of the students, this trip marks a crucial step towards access to quality higher education. The Indigenous University not only offers education, but also fosters respect for and preservation of the Indigenous cultures of the region. See photos:
(La Primerisima, 14 April, 2024)

More than 15,000 Study at Trade Schools
The National Technological Institute and Nicaragua’s municipalities reported that the accumulated enrollment in the Municipal Schools of Trades is 15,047 students, of which 11,435 are women (76 percent) and 3,612 are men (24 percent). See photos:
(La Primerisima, 10 April 2024)

INTA Registers 426 Bean Landraces
The Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technologies (INTA) has identified a total of 426 landraces (locally adapted and traditional varieties) of beans in different departments of the country. Of these, 385 are red bean varieties, 21 are black bean varieties, 15 are bayo bean varieties and five are white bean varieties. These varieties have evolved as resistant to climatic variability, which is why they are very useful for genetic improvement and to increase production yields. The INTA study also encourages the exchange between producer families by detailing the characteristics, climate requirements and location of the best native varieties used in each of the production zones. Nicaragua is in the center of origin of bean cultivation and the study reveals the great diversity and genetic richness of this crop, which is distinguished by its flavor and aroma. The study is useful for positioning Nicaragua as a reference in bean exports in Central America. Information about the study is available on the website, digital platforms and social networks of the institutions of the National Production System, as well as through this link. See photos: (La Primerisima, 16 April 2024)

Second San Francisco Libre-Los Zarzales Road Section Ready
On April 18, the Sandinista Government will inaugurate the second, 12 kilometers long, section of the San Francisco Libre – Los Zarzales highway. This second section concludes a 26-kilometer-long road which provides an alternate route between Managua and Leon. In addition, the road will provide facilities for the expansion of agricultural production, promote economic diversification, stimulate trade and provide facilities for domestic and foreign investment. The new road will also facilitate agile and safe transportation, reducing travel times and provide easier access to the Punta Huete International Airport located in this sector. See photos:
(La Primerisima, 15 April 2024)

Nicaragua Ratifies Condemnation of Ecuador and Solidarity with Mexico
Condemnation of Ecuador and unlimited solidarity with Mexico: this sums up the position of the Sandinista Government expressed on April 16 at the virtual summit of heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The summit was convened by Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who is also President ad-tempore of CELAC, to discuss the extremely serious actions of the Ecuadorian government which attacked the Mexican embassy in Quito with a military assault and then kidnapped the former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas, who had received political asylum from the Mexican government. The message from President Daniel Ortega was read by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Colindres.

President Ortega stated “that the actions of the Government of Ecuador violate International Law. It has become a transgressor government, by disrespecting and failing to comply with the obligations on privileges and immunities of diplomats.”

Likewise, the Sandinista leader reaffirmed the solidarity and support of the Sandinista Government for the Mexican Government and people. (La Primerisima, 16 April 2024)