We Gave Them an Opportunity

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.

“We gave them an opportunity and our confidence. But they failed us.”

“The problems started in 2012. Settlers would come into the communities, drink alcohol, shoot at the community members. They grew marijuana and would try to sell it to our youth.

“Before the attack, they had sent letters threatening the community that it will be a Red Christmas with a lot of bloodshed.”

They stole our cattle. They then started making parcels in community parcels. When we protested, they threatened to kill us. They stopped us from hunting saying it was their land. I was told, “if you come again, you will be killed.”

As the traditional judge of the community, I went to meet with the governor and other authorities. But was told by Carlos Alemán and others that they cannot implement Saneamiento unless authorized to do so by the central government.

And then the settlers attacked Santa Clara in 2015. Before the attack, they had sent letters threatening the community that it will be a Red Christmas with a lot of bloodshed. When they attacked Wisconsin on December 17, 2015, we were ready. They had AK 47, Uzi and the community resisted with slingshots and machetes. But we were not taken by surprise like the other communities. We had three injuries and no deaths.

Today women and children have left for Bilwi and Waspam, so they can be safe, while men stay behind to resist. The conflict remains unsolved. We have stopped going to our farms. But we die of hunger and starvation. We are waiting for the government to implement Saneamiento. If the government does not act, we will have to take the decision to protect our land. This is our land and we will never give up. Government wants us to live together and cohabitate. We tried this earlier but the colonos see us as marginalized and disrespect us. We gave them an opportunity and our confidence. But they failed us

We want our land back. Till that happens we have no peace or freedom. They have destroyed our land, contaminated our water, creeks, rivers and cut down our forests.”

–Interview with a traditional judge at a community hearing, Santa Clara.