Nicaragua Delegation Destinations
Located four hours north of Managua and tucked into the mountains of Nicaragua, Matagalpa is a large coffee-producing region. Delegations to
Matagalpa spend time with families in a rural community formed after
the Contra War. This community uses subsistence agriculture methods and
sells beans and coffee on the international market. Delegates visiting
the area learn about the impact of U.S. free trade policies, sustainable
agriculture, fair trade, and the struggle of rural communities for
In 1983, a delegation that included the founders of Witness for Peace arrived in war-torn Jalapa immediately after an attack by Contra soldiers. Delegates recorded the stories of the victims, promising to relay the stories to the people and government of the United States. Several months later, a group of 150 U.S. citizens returned to Jalapa. Witness for Peace’s sustained presence in Nicaragua began in October of that year and the organization has been connected with Jalapa ever since. Today, this northern town produces coffee and tobacco and is greatly affected by free trade policies. Community members are also active participants in women’s rights advocacy, artisan groups and agricultural cooperatives.
The first city to declare independence from the Somoza dictatorship in the 1970s, Esteli has a very rich history. Delegations to Esteli spend time with families in a rural community that faced violence during both the insurrection and the Contra War. Near Esteli, the community of El Regadio is a testament to how cheap agricultural imports, a direct consequence of CAFTA, have eliminated farming jobs and spurred immigration. El Regadio is known for its effective and organized agriculture, water and women’s cooperatives. Within the community, concern is growing over a new tobacco factory that residents worry will jeopardize food sovereignty and environmental integrity.
The bustling and sprawling capital of Nicaragua, Managua is a microcosm of the socioeconomic contrasts found throughout the rest of the country. Managua has the largest malls, most reputable universities and biggest factories. At the same time, the city is plagued with unemployment, inadequate access to basic necessities, and homelessness. Managua has an illustrative history: remnants of the Somoza Palace, the destruction left by the 1972 earthquake, and statues of the many heroes and martyrs of Nicaraguan history all tell vivid stories about Nicaragua’s past and present.
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