Sample Nicaragua Delegation Themes
The Impact of Neoliberal Policies and Free Trade Agreements
In this program, delegates focus on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and its consequences for Nicaraguans. Delegates meet with a variety of individuals and organizations to discuss the impact of neoliberal policies on labor rights, the environment, food security, and the majority’s standard of living. Delegation participants will have the opportunity to visit a maquila and hear from maquila factory workers. In speaking with activists, women’s groups, health care workers, teachers, social workers and farmers, delegates experience the extraordinary ways in which Nicaraguans combat economic challenges on a daily basis. Rural homestays focus on small-scale agricultural producers struggling to compete in the global market. Delegates see firsthand the difficulties that free trade policies pose as well as the alternatives that individuals and small cooperatives use to overcome these obstacles - from permaculture to fair trade and beyond.
Free Trade and the Roots of Migration
Why are so many Nicaraguans leaving the country to seek work abroad? To
answer this question, delegates learn about the policies that drive
people to increasingly dangerous border crossings in search of a way to
sustain the families they’ve left behind. Delegates witness the effects
of U.S. policies, investigating how the Central America Free
Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and other economic programs contribute to
forced migration. Delegates meet with activists, farmers, women’s
groups, teachers, students and civil society organizations to discuss
the effects of migration on families, women, children, health care, and
communities. The delegation also focuses on emerging economic
alternatives that provide Nicaraguans with local employment
opportunities for its citizens.
From the Field to your Coffee Cup: A Case Study of Fair Trade vs. Free Trade
Coffee is one of Nicaragua’s main export crops and an essential part of
life for thousands of agricultural workers, whose entire income depends
on its sale. This delegation focuses on the complexities of the coffee
industry and the vulnerability many coffee workers face under the neoliberal
model. Delegates stay in a community that produces organic coffee and
follow the coffee’s path to export through the fair trade market. By
meeting Nicaraguan farmers, fair trade cooperatives, and economists,
delegates gain an understanding of the alternatives to free trade.
Effects of U.S. Policy in Central America: Nicaragua and Honduras
After Nicaraguans overthrew the brutal Somoza dictatorship in 1979,
Washington did everything in its power to quell the revolution and
preserve U.S. corporate interests. Three decades later, the United
States is doing everything in its power to defend the Honduran post-coup
government, which is sympathetic to U.S. business interests. By
visiting both Nicaragua and Honduras, delegates gain insight into two
countries that have been heavily affected by U.S. foreign policy.
Delegates also delve into
the effects that neoliberal economic policies and CAFTA are having on
both countries. In Nicaragua, delegates
experience a homestay in a rural community, interacting with community
leaders that experienced the Contra War and can speak to the effects
that U.S.-supported neoliberal policies have had on their livelihoods. In
Honduras, delegates investigate the human rights crisis that has been
escalating since the coup, and the ways in which U.S. support for the Honduran government affects the safety of Honduran people.
Youth Encounter: Teen Delegation to Nicaragua
Teen delegates have the unique opportunity to experience the reality of Central American rural living, contribute to a community project, live with a Nicaraguan family and develop their activist skills through this Witness for Peace delegation. The program provides an introduction to how free trade and other neoliberal policies affect Nicaragua – the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Delegates engage with Nicaraguan community leaders, go to schools and health centers, visit a program for street children, and get to know Nicaraguan families on a personal level through both urban and rural homestays. In the process, teens arrive at a deeper understanding of the challenges that U.S. economic policies pose to families. The cross-cultural personal relationships cultivated by this delegation have the power to inspire young delegates to spend their lives working for social justice.
Health Care & Human Rights in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, health care is often a luxury instead of a human right. This
delegation focuses on how U.S.-promoted neoliberal economic policies
affect the quality of and access to care. Delegates
have the opportunity to assist with providing much-needed medical and
health services in rural communities affected by these economic
policies. This service component will be coordinated with Acción Medica
Cristiana, a Nicaraguan organization that follows a sustainable,
community-based health care development model. Medical professionals are
encouraged to join this delegation.
Witness for Peace can also customize delegations for your group. Please contact Ken Crowley at Ken@witnessforpeace.org for more information.
Click here for the Nicaragua delegation schedule.
Click here to see where delegations travel in Nicaragua.