A Message from the Miskitos
Each and everyday we find ourselves bearing witness to more changes within societies around the world. As 'change' is inevitable, and the 'only' constant in the universe, 'change' is only good or bad depending upon the perspective. We are seeing more and more Original people being active in their own lives, seeking changes and life outside the parameters established by the 'state' and imposed by colonization. These 'changes' and the struggle to achieve them will not doubt create some friction in our/their lives as we engage the world's governmental systems in order to re-take control of our people's destinies and re-establish our own cultural sovereignty. Despite the mirroring struggle of many of these systems to resist these changes, as we have struggled to resist their tyranny, it must and will happen. For it is, as I understand it, 'universal law'. Justice. Because the ways and actions of those seeking to oppress and exploit the caretakers of the planet and her resources, for their own economic gain, have not and can not be justified. Regardless to how much they try to lie to themselves, they can not lie to the universe or Mother Earth. As she still bears the scars. Likewise, no matter how much some of us may try to lie to ourselves, compromising the 'truth' with fabricating compassion for the atrocities of the past 517 years, the changes taking place both socially and 'scientifically' (climate, nature, etc.) are the evidence of a struggle for justice, a struggle to regain balance and harmony. They are the voice of an uprising, rooted not simply in people's desire to alter the course of history, but rather, deeply rooted in a cosmic, bio-chemical and 'spiritual' struggle for 'peace'. It is the awakening of ancestral memories seeded in each and every sub-atomic particle of existance, an intelligence that flows and 'knows', and seeks to re-establish itself as the foundation for this 'cipher' of human civilization.
Unbeknownst to the western world, many of us are seperating from them. Not separating to become many, but separating to realign with each other and with the oneness of the mind, the oneness of the universe.
An Independence Claim in Nicaragua
PUERTO CABEZAS, Nicaragua — After declaring independence from the rest of Nicaragua in April, a group of indigenous activists from the Mosquito Coast readied a grand celebration to commemorate the occasion. Their feast would be ruined, however, when the regional government sent in the police to seize the main course.
Commercial sales of turtle meat, which has long been a delicacy here, is restricted in Nicaragua because of declining populations of endangered green sea turtles — one of many cultural clashes that the people in this remote corner of Nicaragua, who have eaten turtle for generations, say have propelled them to create their own country, which they have dubbed the Communitarian Nation of Mosquitia.
The Council of Elders of the Miskito people has an extensive list of grievances. For as long local residents can remember, the federal government has allowed outside companies to exploit the raw materials in their jungle territory — everything from lobster to lumber to gold. Little benefit has come to the people who eke out a living here, they say.
Fed up, the separatists seized the region’s ruling party headquarters on April 19 and appointed Héctor Williams as their wihta tara, or great judge. Mr. Williams, a local religious leader whose thin black mustache stretches out toward his deep dimples, said the region suffered from a variety of woes — devastating hurricanes and rat plagues to a mysterious disease known as grisi siknis, which is marked by collective bouts of hysteria.
“We have the right to autonomy and self-government,” declared Wycleff Diego, the breakaway movement’s ambassador abroad, as he held up the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Over the weekend, the ruling party, Yatama, literally “Sons of Mother Earth,” retook the headquarters in what it said was a peaceful operation. The separatists denied that, saying weapons were used, and vowed to continue to fight for independence.
Despite the setback, the budding independence movement is giving the Nicaraguan government headaches and rekindling some of the ire from the contra war that tore through this country in the 1980s. Mr. Diego was a soldier in that war, a fighter for the American-backed contras.
Many Miskito people, who make up one of several ethnic groups on Nicaragua’s diverse Atlantic coast, joined with the contras. They were inspired by their historic animosity toward the rulers in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, which is 15 hours distant over bumpy dirt roads.
As in the rest of Nicaragua, the contra war would leave lasting pain along the coast. The Sandinista government’s armed forces led a fierce campaign to remove Miskitos from their native lands along the Coco River.
President Daniel Ortega, who led the Sandinistas in the 1980s and then returned to power in January 2007, is widely distrusted by local residents, even more so after his government’s lackluster response to Hurricane Felix, which leveled many coastal communities in September 2007.
The breakaway movement, some say, has also been fueled by the Ortega government’s failure to support thousands of impoverished contra war veterans, who had been promised land, housing and other assistance during his presidential campaign.
Even the government’s allies, while condemning the independence movement, concede that Managua could have responded better to the Miskitos’ needs. “We haven’t been the best administrators of public things, but that doesn’t mean we should spill blood,” said Steadman Fagoth, a former Miskito independence leader and contra commander who has since allied himself with Mr. Ortega.
A top Sandinista leader, Gustavo Porras, has accused Robert Callahan, the American ambassador to Nicaragua, of conspiring with the separatist movement in cold war-era fashion. Mr. Callahan, who worked in the American Embassy in Honduras when it was the command center for the Reagan administration’s contra campaign, denies involvement.
“The question regarding any contentious issues that may exist between parts of the Miskito community and the government of Nicaragua is a matter for the Nicaraguans, and one that they themselves must resolve,” he said in a statement.
Two major drilling concessions have been granted off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, but officials involved in those efforts said that the separatist movement might scare away future investors. “It’s going to send the signal that you can’t do business in Nicaragua,” said Stan Ross, chief executive at Infinity Energy, a Denver-based company.
Concerned about provoking further instability, regional authorities had refrained from forcibly removing the independence leaders from the party offices. Puerto Cabezas has twice been racked by violent protests in recent years: in 2007, when residents complained that the government was not helping them enough to recover from the hurricane, and in 2008, when Mr. Ortega’s government postponed mayoral elections.
“We’re not going to fight between Miskito and Miskito,” Reynaldo Francis, the regional governor, said before this weekend’s action. “It’s not that we’re afraid of that movement.”
Mr. Williams, the separatist leader, who has enlisted the support of hundreds of Miskito lobster divers who are protesting a drop in pay as lobster prices plunge, said he had to discourage the divers this weekend from attacking the party offices.
The only weapons visible during a recent visit — before the weekend eviction — were slingshots, although the separatists said they were seeking financing to train and equip an army of 1,500.
“We’ll defend our natural resources,” vowed Guillermo Espinoza, the movement’s defense minister, who was known as Comandante Black Cat during the contra war. If no guns can be found, he said, the separatists will make weapons themselves.
Blake Schmidt reported from Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and Marc Lacey from Mexico City.