NicaNotes: Ortega Wins Big in Presidential Contest

Published by the Nicaragua Network, a project of Alliance for Global Justice!

NicaNotes is a blog for Nicaragua activists and those interested in Nicaragua, published by the Nicaragua Network, a project of the

Alliance for Global Justice. It provides news and analysis from the context of Nicaragua Network’s long history of struggle in solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution.


This article from the blog Informe Pastran, although written early in the counting, provides an excellent overview of the election. With 99.8% of the polling stations ballots counted, Ortega increased his lead to 72.5%. On Monday, a US State Department spokesperson declared the United States “deeply concerned” about what he called “flawed elections.” Since an August spate of editorials and op-eds in the US corporate press, it has been obvious that that would be the position the US would take. The invited international election accompaniers, mostly electoral experts, had a different view in the article translated into English below. – Chuck Kaufman


President Ortega Reelected with More than 71% of the Vote

65.3%of electorate participated based on valid votes says Supreme Electoral Council (CSE)

The first preliminary report of today’s general election, presented after 11pm by the Supreme Electoral Council in plenary, that the electoral participation was 65.3% of the electorate, which is to say an abstention rate of 34.7% which is 10 percent more than the historical level of 25% in past elections. 3.8% cast null votes with 21.3% of the votes counted in a little more than 14,000 polling places.

The results in the ballot for president from the 21.3% are:

Sandinista Party (FSLN) – 71.3%
Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) — 16.4%
Conservative Party (PC ) – 2.6%
National Liberal Alliance (ALN) – 1.1%
Alliance for the Republic (APRE) – 4.1%
Independent Liberal Party (PLI) – 4.5%

In the vote for National Assembly deputies there are surprises [the FSLN legislative ticket ran behind the president], with 19.8% of ballots counted the percentages are as follows:

FSLN – 60%
PLC – 17.7%
PC – 3.9%
APRE – 5.1%
ALN – 1.3%
PLI – 4.9%

Chief Magistrate of the CSE Roberto Rivas said that the people of Nicaragua participated actively, likewise the political parties conducted a civil campaign, quiet and uneventful. He is to release another bulletin within half an hour and the full count tomorrow [Monday].

Sandinista supporters launched themselves into the streets to celebrate in the Plaza of Victories in Managua with a caravan of vehicles and motorcycles and, once the first report by the CSE was completed, set off rockets and firecrackers in different parts of the capital.

Nicaraguans voted on Sunday in elections in which President Daniel Ortega had no serious rival and was expected to comfortably win a third consecutive term driven by an environment of progress that has neutralized allegations of authoritarianism.

Support for Ortega and is wife and running mate, Rosario Murillo, was around 70%, according to the polls, thanks to their successful social programs and a better business climate in one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

The voting stations closed at 6pm in an exercise without incidents in which thousands of citizens exercised their right to vote.

The president has promised to defend the gains of his “socialist, Christian, and solidarity revolution” under which he reduced poverty by 13 percent in the last decade, said officials.
“On this day we are ratifying our our commitment to peace that has cost our people to win. Much blood has flowed, much pain,” said Ortega as he voted. “This is a vote for peace, for stability, for security for Nicaraguan families,” he said.

Clean Process, Say Electoral Accompaniers

Election accompaniers, who were invited by the CSE, told the media that the elections today were transparent, orderly, in peace and tranquility and tolerance. They saw high levels of citizen participation in the various municipalities to which they traveled, especially in the afternoon, said Paraguayan Senator Francisco Pereyra.
He said they found a lot of maturity in the Nicaraguan people and a lot of discipline at voting time.

Meanwhile, Sixto Peña, an electoral expert from Costa Rica, said that the notable progress they found was that there were no incidents during the voting and that this is an important advance in Nicaraguan democracy because citizens behaved in a civil manner.

Salvador Ramos, a Dominican Republic electoral expert, valued the high level of participation of women and youth in the political life of Nicaragua. “In all the voting centers, there are women. And I also saw a good turn-out at the voting centers. Women are well integrated in to the political process and to the strengthening of democracy,” he said.
The expert Raul Alconada, stated that that the integration of women and youth in the whole electoral process is an important measure of the consolidation of Nicaraguan democracy. “What has impacted many of us who are participating in this tour of Managua, is seeing the great participation of youth. It comforted me to see young people,” he said.

Alvaro Saenz of the National Alliance Movement of Ecuador stated that he was able to see in Nicaragua organizational capacity and a very complete voter registration list and a very orderly preparation of infrastructure and polling places. He added that he had visited several polling stations and found voters moving, voting in an orderly and tranquil manner that contrasts with media noise, and that they saw a normal, regular electoral process; a very smooth operation.

The former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, stated that the process witnessed in Nicaragua today was historical, beyond the skillful process, because a socio-political process is unfolding here, because people are going to the polls to protect their social victories. He also said the Nicaraguan people have matured politically and electorally, giving priority to peace, democracy and peaceful coexistence.

FSLN legislative caucus coordinator, Edwin Castro, told TV Noticias on Channel 2, that it was a civic election day betweenNicaraguan brothers and sisters and that the day was an election devoid of conflicts and quarrels, with high organizational capacity. He appreciated that there was more participation today than in previous elections and voters had a greater ability to vote quickly and easily.

On opposition calls to not vote, Castro rejected an alleged 80% abstention rate and challenged them to ask Nicaraguans who has an inked thumb and who does not, because it is easy to speak from a hotel room and promote the strategy of the no vote toward an international audience than it is within Nicaragua where the majority of Nicaraguans want to live in peace.

Castro said that after these elections, advice and alliances will continue to keep changing Nicaragua and defeat the real enemy which is poverty and social exclusion.

Divided Opposition Hurriedly Declares Victory

Citizens for Freedom (CPL), led by former PLI National Assembly deputies, and the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD), led by the MRS, and former allies of the CPL, proclaimed victory based on a supposed high abstention rate.

CPL claimed that 80% of voters stayed away from the polls while FAD claimed an abstention rate of 70% and said it was thanks to the boycott calls they made over the last three months. [The actual abstention rate was about 35%.

Despite this, the FAD-MRS insisted that the elections were a farce and a constitutional fraud, ignoring the popular will expressed at the polls, stating that there was a civil disobedience led by them and that therefore the elections were null and void and new elections must be called immediately although the Constitution and Electoral Law do not allow for it. They called on the population to take to the streets to demonstrate.

US Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, interviewed before any official results were in, nevertheless asserted that the elections were fraudulent and that only the NICA Act she is sponsoring will ensure the “restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.”

A Huge Success in Marvin Salazar!

Our latest water project in the community of Marvin Salazar has been a great success! Working closely with the leaders of the community, we supported the installation of an electric pump that brings water to the homes of 200 families, benefitting about 1000 people. Projects like this one not only have health implications by providing families with clean water, but also social ones, as the system brings water directly to the homes of community members and women are no longer required to spend their days retrieving water from the well.

The community faced a small hiccup in directing electricity to the well since it is not in a densely populated area. However, with a letter of support from our volunteer coordinator Rosa Gómez, the water committee spoke to City Hall and resolved the issue. This is a great example of what can come from organization and collaboration.  Cooperation between the Arco Iris team, Marvin Salazar leaders, Tipitapa’s City Hall and CAPS, the organization of water committees on a national level, allowed the project to overcome challenges and run smoothly.

Reflections on Teen Work in Tipitapa and at Home

By: James Nightengale, Teen Board Member

Four years ago, I went with my dad to a small informational meeting hosted by the mother of a girl I barely knew, about a trip to a country I'd never heard of. Little did I know that that would mark the beginning of my incredible relationship with Dos Pueblos and the community we have created around these youth delegations to Nicaragua. That first trip - the first time Dos Pueblos had ever sent an official delegation - was life changing for me. I became really close with my fellow delegates and was surprised and delighted at how much I bonded with the Nicaraguan teens. I adventured outside of my comfort zone and was rewarded with memories I will hold on to forever. What I didn't sense was that this trip would lay the groundwork for even greater trips that would go farther and achieve even more.

As the years went by, I saw the youth delegation reach even higher, creating change that resounded within the Tipitapa community. I've watched the Nica teens become more self-confident, happy, and heard stories about their plans for the future. There is something so unique about the connection between this group of New Yorkers and the group of Tipitapans that makes each delegation more powerful than the last. We are able to easily overcome the language barrier and instead focus on relating to one another through jokes about pop culture, playing games together, or sharing a day at the pool. Although I was unable to continue going on the delegations after the second trip, I have kept in contact with the teens and have heard the stories about every trip since. I participate in the Youth Board and help address any issues that may come up throughout the year as we prepare for the next trip. 

Being a part of Dos Pueblos has taught me what it means to be a human in an international context, how to make friends despite a difference in language, and has caused me to rethink what entitlement really means. Watching the small youth delegation of 2010 grow to a group of 40 in 2016 has been exciting and a privilege to be a part of. I look forward to the future of the delegation and know that things can only get better from here. 

Finding New Connections in Nicaragua

By Dylan Harris and Joey Propper, teen delegates ‘15

We became intrigued to go on a trip to Nicaragua because experiencing a new culture seemed essential to broadening our global horizons. The Dos Pueblos board talked about the strong connections they made with communities in Nicaragua, and how amazing it feels to immerse oneself in a foreign culture. We were sold. The minute we arrived in the capital Managua, we were thrown into speaking Spanish as soon as we unloaded our luggage. Our group mission was to have a meaningful cultural exchange with Nicaraguan teens and finish building a library in Tipitapa, a more rural town than the capital. We also went to visit Ometepe, a two-volcano island that featured something very amazing that we never experienced before—black sand. As New Yorkers, we were first struck by seeing only one-story buildings, but we soon observed how a more rustic and slower lifestyle made the Nicaraguans really value community and family. On this trip, our Spanish skills improved remarkably as we strived to connect with our new friends. We also learned something we did not know about ourselves living in New York—that we enjoy living and working as a group with a unified goal. What we most loved, and the reason we want to return, is the warmth and friendliness of the teens that we have gotten to know and now consider good friends.

Queremos volver pronto!

The PEACE Process : Working Towards Equitable Communities

Read about the challenges and rewards of the PEACE Process, and how it fits into Dos Pueblos' work in this informative piece by Paul Martin:

Texas Lutheran University MASA. From L to R Brendon Huron, Brittany Flores, Jacob Almaguer, Paul Martin, Jennifer Garcia, Professor Jennifer Mata.

By Paul Martin

I have been struggling to articulate and learn about efforts toward a (mostly theoretical) process of conservation and development of sustainable communities since the 1980s. Over time I have come to call these efforts: positively ethical applied community ecology*. Moreover, in my attempts to begin to get the rubber to meet the road toward facilitating the realization of this process, I have been working with Ogallala Commons in local community gardens along with other organizations.  I have especially enjoyed working with Dos Pueblos in New York—a model NGO—on this grassroots PEACE process that is humble yet comprehensive in achieving social and ecological justice and equity.

On Wednesday, April 8th, Lupe Romero Ramsey (Executive Director of Dos Pueblos-NY-Tipitapa, Nicaragua Sister City Project) and I were invited into a wonderful Mexican American Studies class at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas by Professor Jennifer Mata.  We began by getting to know the class and inviting them to express their current goals toward a life of equity for all, and how this has been informed by their class at TLU.  Then Lupe gave an overview of Dos Pueblos’ work in Nicaragua that improves access to health, education and environmental awareness, and her life in international development in building sustainable communities with people-centered approaches.

As a class we discussed the reasons for the process of regeneration and conservation toward a resilient, sustainable community and why it makes sense, the need for a bottom-up approach, and the challenges of developing confidence amongst all of the stakeholders including local leaders, the poorest and most disenfranchised.

With a focus on the local Seguin community, and to some extent community gardens, we invited dialogue from the students concerning successes and failures, and how we learn to succeed from our failures.  For me, this was particularly empowering and energizing.  The students of the class provided real world community reality for the theory—some of it sobering.  In fact one delightful student, Brendon, beautifully summarized the rewards of service to local community (All of these very pleasant students provided great input and feedback!) This empowerment and recharging for me was reinforced when I chatted with Brendon later in the week at his workplace in a local food market, and then ran into Profesora Mata (and her lovely family) unexpectedly on two other occasions that week in Seguin.  (These students truly made me wish I were “back in the classroom” again.)

Real and lasting relationships are highly rewarding yet challenging. This is truly what PEACE is about.  I will be forever be grateful for these relationships afforded to me by Lupe and Dos Pueblos, here in Seguin, Texas, and in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.

…………………..

*This is basically lowering the individual and collective ecological footprints of the haves, curbing population growth rates, empowering the have nots, and regenerating/conserving habitat for other species  … and realizing ecological economics.  More specific actions are rapid appraisals of community/local ecosystems, facilitating holistic participation, goal-setting/policy development/action plan realization, assessment and replanning.  Some necessary, and somewhat more specific actions include ecology across curricula & campuses of community entities, implementation of agroecology, use of appropriate technologies & processes, cooperatives, community supported agriculture, microenterprise financing, more native and perennial crops for agriculture, and appropriate governmental carrots and sticks.

Martin, P.B. and P. Prather. 1991.  Sustainable agriculture: a process at the community level.  American J. of Alternative Agriculture. 3(1)

Martin, P.B., K. Schantz and P. Sechrist. 2003.  Toward conservation and development of sustainable community (locally and globally).  Proc. Coloquio Internacional de Desenvolvimento Local, Universidade Catolica Dom Bosco, Campo Grande-MS, Brazil www.ucdb.br/coloquio/arquivos/Paul.pdf

¡Misión Cumplida! : 2015 NY Youth Delegation Home from Building a Library in Tipitapa!

The 2015 NY Youth Delegation has returned from their Feb. 13-22 trip to Nicaragua. This was the third consecutive Youth Delegation trip undertaken by Dos Pueblos. A group of 17 Youth Delegates and 5 Adult Chaperones, under the leadership of General Counsel Susan Light, Chair Ann Garvin, and Board Member Arlene Tolopko, participated in a busy schedule of cultural exchange and service activities while in Nicaragua.Our delegates hauled, sawed, nailed, sanded, painted, varnished, and completed the final stages of construction and inaugural celebration of the first lending library in San Benito, a community in the Tipitapa Municipality. The library was built with adobe compressed earth blocks made by community members. Inside the library there is a beautiful mural, designed and painted by a collaboration of youth/teens from NYC and Tipitapa. The mural features the Earth encircled by two rainbow arms with clasped hands, flanked by the Nicaraguan and US flags. In Nicaragua, our delegates collaborated with the Arco Iris Youth Team in Tipitapa as well as with students from Saint Dominic’s School in Managua. As part of the trip, the delegates brought 1250 lbs. of books (for the existing and new libraries); school supplies, art supplies, and sports equipment that can be used by the entire community. In addition, boxes of fabric and ribbons were donated to a local women’s sewing cooperative. At the end of the trip the group visited Ometepe, an island in the middle of beautiful Lake Nicaragua, home to two active volcanoes, many organic farms, and habitat for the much beloved Howler Monkey.

Congratulations to the Youth Delegation on a very successful trip! ¡Enhorabuena, chicos!

2015 Youth Delegation

The mural in the San Benito Lending Library

San Benito Lending Library

The Youth Delegates

Watch Our Youth Delegates in Action!

  Have you ever wished you could experience Tipitapa from the viewpoint of our Youth Delegates? One of our 2015 delegates, Caleb Berman, created a video using footage from the 2015 Youth Delegation trip to Nicaragua. In this video you can witness the final stages of construction of the San Benito Lending Library, fun times with our Nicaraguan friends, and the formation of strong friendship bonds. Check out Caleb's video here:

An evening with Juan González

On November 10th, Dos Pueblos (the NY-Tipitapa Nicaragua Sister City Project) is honored to host an evening with award-winning journalist, author and co-host of Democracy Now! Juan González speaking on the current state of immigration in the United States.

gonzales_juan300-300x199
 Image provided by: Williams College

Juan González is ideally equipped to address issues such as:

  • Why the influx of child migrants from Central America includes many Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans, but very few Nicaraguans.

  • How immigration from Latin America is driven by failed US foreign and trade policies.

  • The politics of comprehensive immigration reform in this electoral season.

A hard-hitting columnist for the New York Daily News since 1987, Juan González received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences and wrote Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.

This event will be held at the landmark West Park Presbyterian Church located at 165 W. 86th St., at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue, New York 10024, an institution with a history of working for change and transformation in NY and the world.

 

Register for this event at Eventbrite.com by clicking here.

Meet the new intern: Laine Mackey

Laine  Hello everyone! My name is Laine Mackey and I'm the Social Media Intern for the summer. I was immediately drawn to Dos Pueblos because it reminds me of the work I did as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia (2011-13). Dos Pueblos' dedication to human rights, environmental awareness and social justice make this an ideal organization to work with. I am currently enrolled in graduate school at The New School. I'm seeking an MA in International Affairs with a Media and Culture concentration. I look forward to enhancing the presence of Dos Pueblos on social media. This summer I plan to update the website, manage Dos Pueblos' social media accounts, and expand our support base through increased exposure on the internet. 

The picture above was taken during my time as a PCV in Namibia. The adorable girl in my lap, Naledi, was born the first week I arrived in my village. This picture was taken on the day of her baptism (hence the cute pink dress). The dress I'm wearing reflects the clothes of the tribe I lived and worked with, the Damaras. Fun fact about Damaras: they speak a Khoisan (click) language called Khoekhoegowab. Being a Peace Corps Volunteer taught me so many invaluable things, but what stands out the most is the importance of sustainability. This is why I am so excited to be working for Dos Pueblos. This organization's commitment to improving social conditions and collaborating with the community is evidenced by its successes and longevity. I look forward to spreading the mission and work of this organization.

26.2 miles on London's roads for Tipitapa

Helen & Rafe 1

Congratulations to Dos Pueblos' Board Member Helen Shannon, who just (successfully) ran the London Marathon!

On Sunday, April 13th, Helen and several teammates ran the marathon, raisings funds for Dos Pueblos and The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC) by doing so.  The NSC "works in solidarity with Nicaraguan organisations and social movements fighting for social and economic justice by promoting and seeking support for their activities in the UK".  Please visit their website for more information.

Helen completed the race with a teammate in 3 hours, 56 minutes, and 29 seconds, and shared that, "to do all this on behalf of projects to support and strengthen communities in Nicaragua was an honour, and especially important right now since Nicaragua is in the news once again due to a natural disaster - this time a series of earthquake tremors that are rocking the capital.  Thinking of our friends there and sending them our thoughts".

Marathonfinisherscropped_Helen April 14_small

Helen with Teammates of the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, who ran for the NSC and for Dos Pueblos.

Congratulations to all the runners and thank you for your generosity and commitment!

 

 

Nicaragua on High Alert After Recent Earthquakes

Over the last 2 weeks, Nicaragua has experienced 3 serious earthquakes, the largest of which measured 6.6 on the Richter Scale (somewhere between "Noteworthy" and "High", according to the scale), and which was also felt in El Salvador and Costa Rica.  The government has placed the country on high alert and advised citizens to sleep outside until further notice, removed from the risk of shaky infrastructure, and is taking proactive measures, such as erecting tent hospitals, in anticipation of disaster.

The BBC reports that "two have died and dozens have been injured".  According to ABC News, this recent bout of earthquakes is resurfacing memories of the 1972 earthquake, when 10,000 people lost their lives, and is generating anxiety about a repeat occurrence.  The 1972 quake hit the capital city of Managua and destroyed a large part of the city.   It is possible that the fault line running under Managua has been reactivated, although that cannot be confirmed at this time.

Dos Pueblos has been in contact with our community in Nicaragua and can report that no one has been harmed in Tipitapa.  Please keep our Nicaraguan brethren in your thoughts during this time of high anxiety.

 

 

A Wonderful Evening Supporting Amazing Work

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to the Spring fundraising event last Friday! It was a fantastic night all around. The foot-stomping music by Jesse Lége and the Bayou Brew got many of us out on the dance floor. Delicious cocktails made by the staff of Cafe Tallulah added to the all around fun ambiance of the downstairs speakeasy. The live and silent auctions raised some of the much-needed funds for the work Dos Pueblos is doing in Nicaragua. And the wonderful supporters of Dos Pueblos provided lively and entertaining conversation all evening long. All in all, the event was a big success and a lot of fun for everyone involved!

If you weren't able to attend Friday's festivities, you can still contribute to Dos Pueblos! Your support brings human rights, children's literacy, economic empowerment and clean water to all.

And be sure to learn more about our work by:

 

Bring your dancing shoes on June 14th!

Join us at our Spring Fundraiser Fiesta and support health, education and human rights. Your solidarity with Tipitapa, Nicaragua means that we can provide clean water to families, libraries to children, and health and economic empowerment to women.

Girls dancing in Tipitapa

Featuring Jesse Lége, the master of foot-stompin’ Cajun dance hall music (put on those dancing shoes and have a listen: http://tinyurl.com/cjsaqj5).

And if that wasn't enough reason to celebrate with us, this year we are holding our event at the recently opened Cafe Tallulah, an exclusive and beautiful bistro on the Upper West Side. Tailor-made cocktails will be available (with bartenders from Employees Only) to help get you in the mood for dancing!

The details:

Friday, June 14th, 2013

6:00pm - 9:00pm

 

@ Cafe Tallulah

240 Columbus Ave

New York, NY 10023

 

See Tipitapa through the eyes of our youth delegates

Dos Pueblos led a youth delegation to Tipitapa, Nicaragua in February of 2013. It was a wonderful experience for the teens---both those from the US and the Nicaraguan friends they made. In addition to exploring volcanoes and swimming in lakes, the U.S. students had the chance to learn about the culture and history of the region and participate in community-building projects. Watch the amazing video that Esther Duran, documentary filmmaker and mom to youth delegate Miranda Ranghelli, created:

Meet Lily, the New Intern!

Hello Everyone! My name is Lily and I am the new Development and Communications Intern with the Dos Pueblos organization.  I am truly grateful and excited for this opportunity to work with such an inspiring and welcoming team.  As the new intern, I will be working under the guidance of Lupe on many projects and activities but primarily the event planning and outreach, foundation research, and managing the social media and database sites.

I am currently a graduate student at The New School for Public Engagement pursuing my Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs with a concentration in development.  Eager to join the many New School alumni at this organization, I am hoping that I can provide any useful ideas and skills that I have learned with the Dos Pueblos community.  Apart from studying for my degree, I also work for the English Language Studies Department at the New School.  In my free time I enjoy following in my father’s footsteps by taking photos, taking in the city culture, undertaking new adventures, and travelling as much as I can.

Dos Pueblos to me, is an excellent opportunity to truly make an impact on the lives of others.  I am thrilled to work for a non-profit that is dedicated to the improvement of the living standards of the people of Nicaragua.  Personally, I feel that growth and development comes from the individual needs and wants of the people who have been greatly impacted by poverty.  Everyone deserves clean water, proper nutrition, an education, healthcare, and so forth.  These are luxuries that most of us Americans have and I feel it is my responsibility to assist those in need and lend a hand where I can.  I believe that with appropriate communication, respect, and understanding of diverse communities and cultures, our society can positively aid and improve the dire situations of others.

Many people ask me how I got interested in International Affairs and development.  I think that came from the values that my family instilled in me.  My family and I emigrated from the very poor, disorderly country of Bulgaria when I was pretty young.  Watching my parents work so hard to give me the opportunities they never had was very humbling and inspiring. They encouraged me to be respectful, compassionate of others, and to be understanding and moved by the different and beautiful cultures surrounding us.  I had the ability to travel a lot when I was younger, learning more and more about this fascinating world we live in.

Eventually, I knew that I was meant for a greater good, some way to help others.  Learning about the tragedies and hardships going on in the world really affected me.  I became very interested in conflict studies and in particular, genocide.  I was appalled and greatly moved by the atrocities occurring all over.  With the implications involved in politics, I decided the most reasonable and rewarding way to go about helping those enduring such hardship was through the development route.  And now here I am!

That’s all about me!  Thank you everyone for having me on board.  I look forward to meeting all of you at Dos Pueblos and I hope to discover more about the people of Tipitapa and their path to success and happiness.

Sincerely,

Lily