Names and details that could reveal the identity of those interviewed have been withheld to ensure their safety. The fear of invasions, killings, and kidnappings, that is silencing the Indigenous communities in Nicaragua, makes this report all the more urgent.
“Afternoon of December 17, 2015, around 70 settlers arrived at my house where I ran a small shop.
With a pistol held against my head, I was asked to hand over everything, including the inverter and the radio that we used to communicate with other communities. When my 26-year old nephew, who I had raised as my own son, entered the house, they told him to stop. He stood there with his hands in the air when they shot him in the head. He fell right there. As the community watched, they then shot my neighbor in the leg and asked me to walk with them.
“When the colonos took me, they told me, ‘you have no government. We own the government.’”
They took me to my sister’s house and threatened to rape me, but let me go since I am a widow. They asked if I own a gun. They brought me back to the house to take my dead husband’s gun that he used for hunting and then eventually left. We were the only family left in the village—all neighbors had run away to hide in the bush.
I have often wondered why I was picked by them—perhaps because of the radio. Just that morning we had heard about the trouble with the colonos in Wisconsin and then we were attacked. My sister went to the police to report the killing of her son but they refused saying that they have no money or orders from the national police to investigate. When the colonos took me, they told me, “you have no government. We own the government.”
The government has done nothing. I went to the international court in Costa Rica and finally my voice was heard. But I don’t know if our government will comply. The government pushes us to dialogue with the settlers who shot two men and kidnapped three, who are still missing, in my village. The government wants us to rent out our homes and lands to the colonos who terrorize us.”
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx Esperanza Rio Wawa.