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The invasion of lands corners the natives of Nicaragua | International

It was a single shot. The detonation resonated on the banks of the Tingni kipla river, amplified by the natural echo caused by the almost intact nature of the Wangki Twi Tasba Raya indigenous territory, in the northern Caribbean of Nicaragua: a place crossed by streams, covered by tall trees and wildlife whispering Just seven minutes from the riverbank, in the Miskita community of Santa Clara, Berty Wislaw German heard the shot, followed by the cry of his two nieces, who had gone to the river to bathe. The woman ran in the direction of the screams and found Jahaira Lacayo Wislaw, 17, with a fractured denture by a projectile.

Jahaira bled in abundance and writhed in pain. Janira Lacayo Wislaw, 15, in shock and dismay, told her aunt and mother what happened: “They were settlers.” The police, however, denied in a brief statement that the attack that left the injured teenager was recorded in Santa Clara.

Colonists It is the nickname that the indigenous people of the Nicaraguan Caribbean have put to the armed groups that invade their ancestral territories, and that in the first two months of 2020 they have redoubled the violent attacks against Miskitos and Mayangnas, the main ethnic groups of that Central American country. The aggression against the two young women in Kipla Tingni occurred on February 16, but weeks before another young Miskito was kidnapped, and on January 29, four mayangnas were killed in cold blood in the community of Alal, located in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve . The settlers also burned all the houses and killed all of Alal’s animals, while community leaders denounced the disappearance of eight indigenous people.

“Many settlers are ex-military who have been illegally occupying indigenous territories for timber exploitation, mining, monoculture of African palm and livestock,” said Lottie Cunningham, director of the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast from Nicaragua (Cejudhcan). The majority of the colonists seize by the force of the territories before the resistance of the indigenous. Then, they present documents without legal weight with those who claim the properties. The Cejudhcan hHe denounced that many of these settlers are close to the Sandinista Front, the political party of Daniel Ortega.

The characteristic profile of the settlers is that of loggers, farmers, ranchers and miners, who expand their industries over the indigenous territories of the Caribbean, a vast, sparsely populated, forested and pregnant area of ​​natural resources. Although the law prohibits the invasion of indigenous lands, the settlers began a violent advance on them in 2015. From that date to the present, 40 indigenous people were killed and more than 44 kidnapped.

The data belongs to Cejudhcan, the only non-governmental organization that enters the remote communities to document the usurpation of the territories and violence. The agency estimates that land invasion affects 270 of the country’s 304 indigenous communities. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights extended protection measures for the Miskito in February, arguing that the situation has worsened.

Complicity of the Government of Ortega

The settlers have the complicity of the Government of Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista administration that in its political rhetoric ensures that it protects the native and Afro-descendant peoples. However, a series of endorsements of lands that THE COUNTRY knew showed how middle and high government officials and the Sandinista party have trafficked with the communal territories.

A endorsement It is a document without legal weight that, however, is presented as a title deed, that is, it gives power to a “settler” on a specific indigenous land. They violate the law, because indigenous lands cannot be transferred, sold, or dismembered on any grounds, unless there is community consent, something that has not happened in any case. The endorsements in favor of settlers have been turned by the Regional Government Coordinator, Carlos Alemán, and councilors Waldo Müller and Adrián Valle Collins. All of them Sandinistas. None responded to the request for explanations in this newspaper. In September 2015, the colonists pointed out to Alemán and Müller that they had been granted a series of guarantees, thus reacting to the Miskito’s complaint about the escalation of invasion and violence they suffered.

“We are not invaders. Those of us who live here have been endorsed by communal, territorial and even regional authorities,” said a “settler” who did not want to give his name. He spoke on behalf of the Association of farmers and ranchers of Tasba Pri, a group of settlers who invaded communal property and who has settled to live in it with an agricultural farm. The source supported its version with another file of documents signed by the Sandinista authorities. That same year, the judiciary suspended five notaries public who were writing the guarantees, but soon returned to exercise.

Many of the complaints of the natives were known by the Attorney General’s Office, controlled until recently by an official loyal to President Ortega: Hernán Estrada. However, Attorney Estrada was also involved in communal land trafficking. THE COUNTRY has a copy of another endorsement signed by the same attorney, through which he gave a lot of 6,000 apples of indigenous land to two people. Neither the beneficiaries nor Estrada ever answered the questions posed by this newspaper. Estrada resigned from the position in May 2019 without major setbacks, claiming health problems.

The main claim of the indigenous people to the Sandinista Government is that they fulfill “the sanitation of the territories”, that is to say to expel the colonists who occupy the communal land. Ortega turns his back on this cry, while the natives resist the armed advance of the invaders, either in the communities or in a hospital bed, like the young Miskita Jahaira, who a week after being shot tries to recover his speech.

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