The Blame Game

Everyone blames the mayor of Bluefields Moises Arana for the miscalculated decisions he made not to include the people of the community in the planning of the centenary events. We have all the rights to do so; after all, it’s a free country. Blame him for everything from holding the city hostage while the president visited the city with army soldiers dressed in riot gear and for doing nothing for the community.

Now, let’s stop for a minute and ask ourselves this question: how many black leaders do we have in our community? They need to be blamed as well. Let’s forget about Moises Arana for a moment and focus on our black leaders. They blamed Arana for everything that went wrong during the centenary celebration. However, they themselves did nothing about it. All they did was publicly criticize the man.

The events should have been an opportunity for the local black leaders to stand and shine in the midst of the chaos. This was an opportunity for them to show the people that they care about them, not just their votes come election time. It was an opportunity for all the businesses and non-profit organizations leaders to plant a seed in the community. Unfortunately, it was the total opposite. None stepped forward. It is a crying shame for them to have spent their energies criticizing Arana and not organizing an alternative program for the people.

It took a group of young people headed by Sidney Francis to form an emergency organization called “The Black Alternative Group.” This group had several discussion forums set up around Bluefields to discuss the history, politics, health, and education of Bluefields among other topics. The turnouts to these discussions were fairly ok. But how many people could be found in Bluefields interested in these topics? At some of the discussions, it appears that the same people who organized them were the only ones in attendance. Our people are in their own little world, and it looks like no one will ever get them out of it. They have no interest in learning about their past, culture or future.

Austin and Gregory Lewin, members of SLC INC and native sons of Bluefields delivered and alternative program to the community at large. The Old Bank Neighborhood was the focal point with a free open-air concert featuring Yvonne Curtis and Bill Campbell on October 10th, 2003. Yvonne delivered a magical show that will never be forgotten by those who appreciated what was done for them in the midst of the chaos. Bill Campbell performed his new single and number 1 hit in Bluefields “Bluefields The Land We Love” written by Gregory Lewin and Bill Campbell. The song was arranged, produced, and performed by Bill Campbell for World Sounds Records.

To help organize the event, we asked the Black Alternative Group to seek assistance from the businesses and non-profit organizations in Bluefields. The majority of the doors they knocked on said no. They all closed their doors to the idea.  Many of them said they weren’t interested. They were broke. The bottom line is the black leaders in Bluefields did not help with the event. One thing they failed to realize: “You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down.”

Austin and Gregory Lewin made the event possible financially and would like to thank three foreign organizations for helping out. They are: FOREIBCA (ARJA) and ASDI RAAS (Doleen Miller) in Bluefields, and KEPA (Rene Hooker) in Managua. Also thanks to Governor Guy Cox and Mark Narcisso and Michael Lewin for doing the run around to make sure everything went smooth.

After the concert, a march was announced for October 11 to protest the chaos that had befallen our beautiful city. The march was supposed to leave the Old Bank Neighborhood picking up other protestors in Beholden and Pointeen along the way then joining others in Cotton Tree where speeches would be delivered. The national TV Channel 2 covered the protest march. This was yet another opportunity for our leaders to come to the aid of our community. The small group left Old Bank but found no one in Beholden or Pointeen. They claimed they were scared of the arm forces that were stationed at every corner in Bluefields. Along the way we saw some of our so-called leaders who knew about the march but never bothered to join in. “A leader is one who leads, one who conducts along a way; he guides, to be ahead or at the head.”  

Eustace Wiltshire and Sidney Francis demonstrated that they are true leaders in our community. I respect them both for leading the march. It was a shame to see what was supposed to be a symbolic march on the evening news with this statement. (“The black barrios organized a protest march in Bluefields which turned out to nothing.”)

The so-called leaders are now embracing the passing of Law 28 (Autonomy). Autonomy in the wrong hands could go very wrong. It could be an instrument for those who are already rich to continue getting rich while the poor continue to suffer. I am not opposes to Autonomy, but will it really make a change for our people? Look closely at some of the leaders running it now. They are the same leaders who refuse to give the people an alternative during their centenary celebration. One of them had the audacity to go on radio and asked, “March for what? It will change nothing.” This type of mentality is what our leaders try to instill in our people.

Ironically, all this happened when workers marched in Bolivia and demanded the president’s resignation. He resigned.  If you don’t get up and fight, you will have nothing and will gain nothing. Marching does make a difference. The students in Managua marched for their 6%. The farmers from Chinandega marched, and the people in the north marched. They do whatever is necessary to get attention to their fight. Just a few days ago, the people in Waspam, headed by the leaders of their community, stopped a Costeña airplane from leaving and demanded that the National Transportation Agency show up to discuss the repair of the impassable highway that connects to the Pacific. And what happened? They will show up.

Sometimes drastic measures need to be taken to get your point across.



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