Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Reflecting on Nicaragua in the face of CAFTA

The present attention on the so-called Central America Free Trade Agreement finds me reflecting on my experience in Nicaragua back in the mid to late '80s when the Sandinista revolution was under siege by the same players now scheming to literally rule the word:

As part of the Western Massachusetts building brigade, Construyamos Juntos, I had the privilege to join with scores of other activists from the Northeast U.S. and untold numbers of Nicaraguan citizens in the completion of an elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago in the Chontales region in 1986. This was my first trip out of the states (other than Canada) and served as both a vital educational experience and an endless source of inspiration. The time spent in Nicaragua is never far from my mind even after a quarter of a century has passed (did i say a quarter of a century??).

Perhaps one of the most significant lessons learned from our stay began with a meeting our brigade had in town with the Catholic bishop of the region, a very vocal opponent of the Sandinista government and a person better suited for down in the gutter politics than for the priesthood. The meeting was strained due not only to his condescending and pompous attitude, but to his obvious bias in favor of the Contras, the very forces who were committing horrible atrocities against his fellow countrymen. We were cordial, but let it be known where our sympathies lie. The next day the bishop was overheard misrepresenting and lying about our group to a gathering of parishioners. The night after that the town was attacked by the Contras. Luckily for us, San Pedro de Lovago was well enough defended by the local militia to drive off the attackers, though things did get dicey for awhile with the Contras right outside our door and the tracers flying all around.

The timing of the incident left little doubt in our minds about the connections between the Catholic hierarchy, Nicaragua's former ruling class under Somosa, and the CIA/Reagan-funded Contras. If they thought we'd be intimidated they miscalculated. The incident served to further energize our support for the ideals of the Sandinista revolution and, upon our return to the States, served as a handy news hook to raise the profile of the Nicaraguan solidarity movement. We proceeded, along with thousands of other U.S. activists, to pull out all the stops in the effort to prevent a full-scale U.S. invasion. That worked, but the slow strangulation and undermining of the revolution by the forces of darkness in Washington took its toll on Nicaragua. Those forces are today, back in the White House and Congress. The vigilance we learned from our friends in Nicaragua will serve us well in the ongoing work of saving El Norte from the death-grip of the neo-cons. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido!

[CAFTA coverage here:]

[Also checkout Nica Net here:]


Blogger Gothamimage said...

Is not the church split? Tip O'Neil cut aid to the contras, because of nuns testimony.

2:49 AM  
Blogger d.o. said...

Split indeed! Fr. Miguel D'Escoto, a Catholic priest, was Nicaragua's Foreign Minister under the Sandinista government and the priest, Ernesto Cardenal was Nicaragua’s Minister of Culture.

5:14 AM  

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