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Nicaraguan Diary

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

Friday January 12

 

On reflection, the most impressive element of the FSLN ceremony was President Evo Morales, of Bolivia. He said quietly, firmly, "Three things: fulfil your campaign promises; reclaim Nicaragua´s natural resources; join ALBA." Then he added, for good measure, "Death to Yankee neo-liberal imperialism!"

Living in a barrio popular and seeing the frightful destruction wrought by 16 years of neo-liberalism to innocent children and families ... he makes complete sense.

Especially because he was also speaking as an indigenous person, subjected to centuries of unthinkable abuse in all parts of the world. Read Toni Morrison´s "Beloved", to get some idea. It focusses around a woman who kills her baby rather than let her be taken as a slave. "Beloved" makes you taste and smell slavery. From the temporarily-dominant white male perspective, indigenous peoples are of exactly the same no-account race to which the African-American slave belonged. To which so many 'people of colour' still belong.

ALBA is the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, challenging the North´s (not just the US´s) supposedly ´free trade´model, so heavily weighted towards the Me First World. Following Simon Bolivar and Sandino, ALBA is setting up a just trade block, where social consequences and concerns are as important as shareholder profits. Or even more so.

It´s good to see Ortega back. Reagan and Bush 1 really screwed up his first presidency. By the end of the '80s, 50% of Nicaragua's GNP had to be spent on defending the people against the US proxy-atrocities.

But even better that he´s back as part of a tremendously positive larger movement. Hugo Chavez calls it socialism. I prefer communalism. The miracles our hands magic into being are possible precisely because - only because - the individual fingers work in harmony, in community. Essentially. That is, it is of their essence, of their very being, so to be, so to do. To be individual/community, community/individual. The two are symbiotic, not in contradiction.

So it is with us.

The tragedy of the current temporarily dominant civilization is that, for all its magnificent capacities and even achievements, it cuts the individual from community, the fingers from the hand. Therefore it's withering.

ALBA is just in time, not just for Latin America. For the whole planet.

 

Wednesday January 10

Just back from the FSLN inauguration. Too tired to write but here´s an inspired image from Channel 4 and 12 TV which says it all. Sandino Lives!, showing through the stage backdrop.

 

 

And one which must send shivers through the Bush White House: Ortega and Murillo, with Chavez and Morales. Singing the great Chilean anthem: El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido. The people united will never be defeated.

 

(better do better than this. Not uploading. Watch this space. Meantime some photos on today's national paper sites. www.elnuevodiario.com.ni and www.laprensa.com.ni)

 

Tuesday January 9

 

Talking of the ´wee bus´(Saturday 6th), we got it cheap because some great yellow behemoth had bashed it up the bum. "It´s a great vehicle," said the seller. "Only drawback - apart from the dent - is it runs on propane." "Drawback! My dear sir, we´ll pay you extra!"

He was right in one way. Being non-contaminating and cheap is a drawback here. Just one propane filling station in all Nicaragua. Close by, luckily.

In actual fact, a bunch of such stations are ready to go. But the state energy oversight body is dragging on permission. Could it possibly be that noble old Exxon, Shell and co. are blocking us switching to cheaper, less-contaminating fuel? Could transnationals really be that greedy/stupid/criminal? Unfortunately the overwhelmingly "Yes" evidence is frying us as we speak.

Just as the same oil clique forces Nicaragua to get most electricity from oil. It could be the Alternative Energy Saudi Arabia of the Americas, given its vast sun, water, wind and geothermal power potential. But that would be a) too sensible; b) make it too independent: c) cut shareholder profits. Shareholders in stupidity, not the planet.

 

Monday January 8

 

Excellent news! As soon as he´s sworn in, the FSLN´s education minister, Miguel de Castilla, will repeal the disgusting "School Autonomy Law". Under the swindle of "offering parents more control over education", the successive neo-liberal/fascist governments effectively shut down free education in Nicaragua. As a result, approximately 1 million school age children could not attend school under their regime each year,largely because the 'autonomous' schools were forced to rely on parents´contributions to keep going. That´s about one third of all eligible children.

Speaking from within a family that has eight school age kids, even with a half-decent income the burden has been almost too much. Most parents get a fraction of our monthly 'wage'.

De Castilla emphasized that his ministry will take up all costs again, while still leaving parents free to have more say in their children's education. "Education is a basic human right," he stated.

 

For more see today's El Nuevo Diario (www.elnuevodiario.com.ni)

 

Sunday January 7

 

Could this be the winner of the ultimate bad taste award?

 

 

Maybe a tie with a barrio preacher I just heard: "The Tsunami was the hand of God. 250.000 men (sic) were washed away. Why? They were like Sodom and Gomorrah, fornicating, drinking ... ". So that was it! While we thought they were just ordinary folks, there they were Sodoming and Gomorroming behind our backs. Chocho!

Every time I got close to take a photo, he thought I was a lost sheep returning. He was a he, of course. The flock a collective she. There were only 6, but his sound system was loud enough not just to wake them, but to get the dead boogying in the aisles. Alleluia!!

Whatever about aural contamination, guitarists practising (I wish!), babies sleeping, the Lord was offering forgiveness. LOUDLY! Take it now. Or else. They never explain why a self-styled ´just god´ infects ´souls´with Original Sin at conception. They never celebrate beauty, life, justice for the street children.

The pious claptrap is everywhere. US Carpenters for Christ clutter Sandino´s airport, buses and cabs rant Radio Holy Roller, preachers froth on every corner. Many former FSLN barrio leaders now spout Paul the Misogynist instead of Marx.

Even Daniel and co. are pals again with Cardinal Obando y Bravo and his gang of cutthroat clerics, obsessed with sex. Ignoring rabid violence and ravening injustice, they condemn family planning, chop down therapeutic abortion, lock people into pseudo-sin.

This newly-fervent Frente? What will it have up its cassock?

 

Saturday January 6

 

Well, that was a disaster. Got a great shot of Sandino but it was so dark, the building didn´t show up at all. Try again tomorrow, in the gloaming.

 

Meantime, more good news. The Frente is to end "mega-salaries". If memory serves, that´ll put about equivalent of whole health budget back into pockets of the people.

Now just need to dump the Stupid Uglies. Saw a long procession of dodo SUVs rolling, glugging oil, air conditioners gnawing at the very sinews of the planet. Beneath the shadow of Sandino, heart of Managua. Quite apart from their stunning contribution to global warming, each one costs about as much as roofing maybe 250 houses in our barrio. Why would the servants of the people ride in these?

A suggestion: Melt down the Stupid Ugs. to make wee buses like this:

 

It runs on propane, virtually contamination-free. Deceptively small-looking, has plenty of room for El Comandante and four or five bodyguards. With space left over for the guns.

The yearly savings on gas (propane is 2/3 the price of regular), spares, etc. go to roof more houses.

 

 

 

Friday January 5

 

More good news. Rosario Murillo announced FSLN Government of Appropriate Austerity will NOT use the ridiculous Aleman/Bolaños presidential palace. Unfortunately, because it costs so much to run, it´s not suitable for a children´s home, as they had hoped. It will be used to house a range of governmental departments. Let´s see what happens with the children, but the way they´re shaping looks like they´ll have plans.

And Cuba apparently achieved 12.5% growth in 2006.

See article on

alai-amlatina@listas.alainet.org

04 Jan 2007 11:31

alai-amlatina Cuba: Crecimiento con equidad

 

Going out to get a better photo of Sandino in lights. Stand by.

 

 

 

Thursday January 4

 

Talk about 'emotional'! Just look at this photo. It's a brandnew outline of Sandino on the former Bank of America building. One of the few structures to survive the 1972 earthquake in downtown Managua, it has become part of the National Assembly. Sorry photo´s a bit blurry; so excited I nearly crashed trying to get it.

 

 

Wednesday January 3

 

Orlando Nuñez on tele again this morning. He´s a key figure in new Ortega government. Great. Director of CIPRES, of course. Looks like the Frente is making good on its earlier commitment to the CIPRES "food independence" programme. US$30 million to eradicate food hunger in Nicaragua. Cero hambre: Zero Hunger!

More good news: Orlando re-emphasized the Frente´s commitment to a government with 50% of its members women. About time, not only are you women the majority of the world´s population but you do most of the world´s work, and are so much more in touch with the world´s real life and death than us guys.

Of course, you are emotional. Not like us with our beer and football, Playboy and politics.

 

 

 

Tuesday January 2

 

The NGOs are back. Thank goodness. Solidarity with the poor can finally be resumed. Too bad those with whom we’re in solidarity are not just poor in working hours.

They aren´t 'the poor' of course. They are the impoverished, the actively-being-made-poor. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Constantly exploited, they get nothing, or even less. Thanks to them, their cheap labour, virtually slave, their precious resources, effectively stolen, we get holidays with pay. And benefits.

And ‘Consume-mas’? The worst of times to AWOL. What are we thinking? Santas abound. But toys (or even food) for ‘our partners’’ children? They should be so lucky.

Meantime, we bump off our birds, let out our waistbands, suck on our cancersticks, swill down the Coke or Flor de Caña or Johnny Walker, chomp on McDonald’s or Freedom Fries. Not to mention the Nescafé, the wrappings, the obligatory trip in the Stupid Ugly Vicious to go see grandma.

The children starve, the planet burns. We take our ‘well-earned ´rest. Nero wouldn´t miss a beat.

 

Monday January 1

 

2007. The year when we finally begin to roll back global warming. Which means changing the Me First World deathstyle back into a lifestyle. Which means genuine happiness based in cooperation and sharing, justice, peace and beauty. Rather than feeding greed, by definition insatiable.

Following the Cuban model, competition becomes friendly emulation. Instead of standing on someone else's face.

Another world IS possible. THIS one. THIS year.

 

Sunday December 31, 2006

 

New Year's Eve, Managua

 

 

Just another day at the office for wee Cristina Susana. All of 6 years old. All alone. In all the traffic. We gave her a dollar and took her photo. The camera cost US$260.00.

She blessed US as we drove away.

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