"London, March 26, 1787 .... Parliamentary Intelligence."
"House of Lords.--- Censure of the Convention with Spain.
1. "The order of the day being read for the Lords to be summoned, Lord Rawdon rose
to make a motion declaratory that the Convention concluded between his Britannic Majesty
and the King of Spain and signed at London the 14th of July, 1786 did not meet the
favorable opinion of the House. His Lordship stated, that the Miskito Shore, given up to
Spain by the Convention, had been in the possession of Great Britain for more than a
century; that it consisted of a territory between four and five hundred miles in length,
and was nearly of the depth of one hundred miles inland from the sea: That there were on
it various settlements, and that the residents at the time of its ces-sion, consisted of
near 1500 British subject, including whites, male and female, persons of mixed color, and
their slaves; That a regular form of government had been established on it, consisting of
many years since. In exchange for this valuable settlement, he said the
British Ministers had contented themselves with accepting a narrow slip of territory
between eleven and twelve miles in extent only."
Lord Osborne, Marquis of Carmarthen, rose up in favor of the Crown and observed
that: "If he had signed the Convention complained of and given up the Mosquito Shore,
merely for purpose of taking a narrow slip of territory of not more than between eleven
and twelve miles in extent, in exchange for a territory of between three and four hundred
long, and near one hundred in depth inland from the sea, he would be most gracious to
acknowledge, that he deserve every -possible censure, and to have his name branded with
infamy and delivered down to posterity with all that odium and disgrace that ought so
deservedly to be annexed to the name of that Minister, who could so basely have betrayed
the interests of his country. But he had the happiness to know that the convention had
been formed on far different ground than the mere exchange of territory."
The Marquis continued saying that, "In this, as in many cases; where, upon the
face of he transaction, Ministers might appear to be blame, there was strong and
sufficient grounds of justification, if the discretion due from men in high office, teach
them rather to risqué their own character, and to be contented with a consciousness of
their innocence, that resort to that mode of justification, which must necessary for
purpose rest on a disclosure of facts, highly necessary for purposes of national safety,
and continuance of the public peace and tranquility to be kept concealed. On the present
occasion, he would not be the Minister mean enough to justify himself by betraying secrets
that ought not be made public without the consent of the crown, and which, if made public,
might be attended with consequence prejudicial to the country."26
26 The case of Her Britannic Majesty's subjects having Property in and
lately established upon the Mosquito Shore in America, (London, 1789: Page 20)
His Britannic Majesty had ceded the Miskitu shore to the King of Spain for Graytown
(San Juan del Norte)-the Atlantic terminus of the interoceanic route. Nonetheless, the
British Crown vehemently sustained that the Atlantic Coast was an inde-pendent
"nation", not a colony still under its protection. In later times, the ceremony
of investiture or coronation of a new chief of the tribe as "king" was performed
in Jamaica or in the British settlement of Belize.
In 1848, the Republic of Nicaragua and the Miskitu Coast had acquired special
importance in world affairs because of the ship-canal project being initiated across the
American continent through Central America. In response to the United States abetting
Nicaragua's claim over the intero-ceanic route, the English-Miskitu troops took possession
of Graytown. With this military maneu-ver, warlike complications threatened to escalate
between England and the United States of North America-independent from England since 1776
and the most powerful nation in America.
In order to avert the dangers of war and obtain a basis for uniform policy in regard to
the regions along the intended interoceanic canal, the British Government and the United
States signed the Clayton-Bulwer Convention Treaty in Washington, D.C. on the 19th of
April 1850. The first and principal Article of the Convention declared:
Article No.1.- The Governments of Great Britain and the United States hereby
declare that neither one nor the other will ever obtain or maintain for itself any
exclusive control over the said Ship-Canal; agreeing that neither will ever erect or
maintain any fortifications commanding the same, or in the vicinity thereof, or occupy, or
fortify, or colonize, or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito
Coast, or any part of Central America; nor will either make us of any protection which
either affords, or may afford, or any alliance which either has, or may have, to or with
any State or people, for the purpose of erecting or maintaining any such fortifications,
or of occupying, fortifying, or colonizing Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or
any part of Central America, or of assum-ing or exercising dominion over the same. Nor
will Great Britain or the United States take advantage of any intimacy, or use any
alliance, connec-tion, or influence, that either may have possessed with any State or
Government through whose territory the said canal may pass, for the purpose of acquiring
or holding, directly or indirectly, for the subjects or citizens of the one, any rights or
advantages in regard to commerce or navigation through the said canal, which shall not be
offered, on the same terms, to the subjects or citizens of the other.
27 lbid: Papers (known as the Misquito Documents) relating to the
Arbitration of His lmperial Majesty the Emperor of Austria: Page. 2 28 Historical
Documents of Nicaragua: Canal Treaty: Zepeda Juarez/White (26/9/1849) between the Republic
of Nicaragua and the representatives of the American Company Mr. David L. White
authorizing the construction of the Sea. Canal.. No. 89, Page 202 29 lbid: Papers related
to the Arbitration: Page. 41.
To make explicit arrangements over Central America's affairs, the two world powers
signed the so-called Cramton-Webster Treaty-a special proposal to the countries around the
Sea--Canal route -in London on the 17th of October 1856 , as stated in the following
Article No. I. - Her Britannic Majesty and the United States of America agree
jointly to propose to the Republics of Nicaragua and of Costa Rica the arrangements
contained in the following Articles.
Article No. II. - A territory comprise within the following limits shall be
set apart for the Mosquito Indians...
Article No. III. - The Mosquito Indians, confining themselves within the
territory designated by the preceding Article, shall enjoy the right to make, by their
national Council or Councils, and carry into effect, all such laws as they may deem
necessary for the government and protection of all persons within the same, and of all
property therein, belonging to their people or to such persons as have connected
themselves with them.
Their rights of property and of local government within the territory defined, as
describe in the preceding Article, shall be recognized, affirmed by the Republic of
Nicaragua in Treaties to be made by that State with Great Britain and the United States
respectively; and the Republic of Nicaragua, in each of those Treaties, shall stipulate
and engage that it will enact laws to prevent the purchase of lands from the Mosquito
Indians, and that introduction and sale of spirituous liquors among the said Indians, and
that the Republic will pro-tect them from all inroads, intrusions, or aggressions along
their western and northern frontier.
The Mosquito Indians shall not be able to cede their country or rights to any other
State without the consent of Great Britain and the United States, by each separately
expressed; it being however, understood that nothing shall preclude the conclusion of such
voluntary compact and arrangements between the Republic of Nicaragua and the Mosquito
Indians, by which the latter may be definitively incorporated and united with the former;
but it shall be stipulated, in such case, that the Mosquito Indians shall enjoy the same
rights, and be liable to the same duties, as the other citizen of the said Republic of
Article No. IV. 1. - The Republic of Costa Rica shall retain for its citizen
the freedom of navigation up and down the River San Juan, from its mouth to the mouth of
the Sarapiqui River, with liberty to enter and quit the Port of San Juan or Graytown with
their vessels, and to store their cargoes in that port, and with out being subject to any
duties of import or export, tonnage duty, or other tax or public charge whatever, except
for light-money and other necessary port charges.
With this proposed treaty, England tacitly renounced the Protectorate of the Mosquito
Indians under the provision in which the entire territory of the Mosquito within the
boundaries of Nicaragua was to become sovereignty of the Republic with a partial
independent territory for the Miskitu Indians. However, the Republic of Nicaragua
protested against this intrusion into its internal affairs. And in 1860, the Nicaraguan
Government signed the Managua Treaty with Her Britannic Majesty to put an end to the
Protectorate of the Miskitu Indian on the Atlantic Coast.
30 Leslie's Frank, Annex No. I, 1856: Page.3 A) Ibid: Historical
Documents of Nicaragua: Canal Treaty, White/Chamorro/Mayorga (20/8/1851) between the
Republic of Nicaragua and the representatives of the American Company Mr. David L. White
authorizing the construction of the Sea-Canal. No.90. B) Projected Treaty: Cass-Irisarri
(16/11/1857) between the Republic of Nicaragua concerning the construction of the
Sea-canal. 32 Ibid: Papers related to the Arbitration: Page 43.
C. THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT ON THE RESERVE DISTRICT [THE PROTECTORATE] ANDTHE NORTH
AMERICAN COMPANIES ON THE ATLANTIC COAST. (1860 - 1894)
In 1860 .33 , Her Britannic Majesty and
the Republic of Nicaragua with the assistance of United States signed the Managua Treaty.
As a consequence, a district in the Mosquitia was assigned to the Miskitu Indians for
their self-government with Graytown, the mouth of the Sea-canal, under the sovereignty of
Nicaragua with certain immunities for the inhabitants as stated in Articles III and VII:
Article No. III. The Mosquito Indians, within the district designated in the
preceding Article, shall enjoy the right of governing, according to their own customs, and
according to any regulations which may from time be adopted by them, not inconsistent with
the sovereign rights of the Republic of Nicaragua, themselves, and all persons residing
within such district. Subject to the above mentioned reserve, the Republic of Nicaragua
agrees to respect and not interfere with such customs and regulations so established, or
to be established, within the said district.
Article No. VII.- The Republic of Nicaragua shall constitute and declare the
port of Graytown, or San Juan del Norte, a free port under the sovereign authority of the
Republic of Nicaragua. But the Republic, taking into consideration the immunities
heretofore enjoyed by the inhabitants of Graytown, consents that trial by jury in all
cases, civil or criminal, and perfect freedom of religious belief and worship, public and
private, such as has hitherto been enjoyed by them up to the present moment, shall be
guaranteed to them for the future.
33 Ibid: Papers related to the Arbitration: Page 3. 34 Treaty:
Zavala-Frelinghuyen (1884) between the United States and the Republic of Nicaragua
concerning the construction of the Sea-canal. (See Document No. .93)
The Reserve District assigned to the Miskitu Indians, which was not ratified by the
National Assembly of Nicaragua, did not include all the communities of the different
tribes. Furthermore, it was managed by Creoles, miscegenation of African Indigenous people
(slaves), American Indigenous peo-ple and Europeans, skilled laborers who worked for wages
in the banana companies-the enclave economy-owned by North Americans and a few Europeans,
In order for England and the United States to attain a gradual and final decision over
the inter-oceanic route, the self-government.36 of the Miskito Indians, as stipulated in
the Treaty, was accomplished by moving the Miskitu's Chief, George Augustos Fedricks, from
the indigenous community of Sandy Bay Tara to Bluefields, the main city of the
reservation. Then, in 1861 in the city of Bluefields, the Miskitu Chief-the hereditary
president of the Reserve District-summoned the people to a public convention and
instituted the first Autonomous Government on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, as stated
in Article No. III. of the Managua Treaty. And since England once ruled the region, the
Autonomous Government on the Reserve District adopted a constitution based upon laws
similar to the statutes of England.
The Constitution of the Reserve District established two chambers to govern: a General
Council presided by a president whose post was hereditary and forty-three representatives
who made the laws; and an Executive Council, elected from the representatives by the
General Council, to keep track of the treasury and juridical issues.
The constitution also established laws pertaining to the participation in the
Autonomous Government, such as the ownership of a titled property valued at 250 dollars to
become a member of the General Council, and 500 hundred dollars to become a member of the
Executive Council. Since the indigenous people only possessed the lands and produced for
their consumption, it was practically impossible for any of them to become members of
From 1861 to 1894, the General Council, consisting of mostly Creoles, issued several
laws for the proper functioning of the Autonomous Government on the Reserve District. The
laws proclaimed: the harbors in the Reserve District were free; forbade commerce; gambling
and unloading ships on Sunday; controlled the sale and purchase of alcoholic beverages;
established compulsory education; demanded juridical raid for the search of premises;
created a commission responsible for regulating the use and assignment of the land for
planting and management of the forest. The revenue earned from the sales of products and
the lease of the lands were reinvested among the indigenous communities.
35 A) In 1841 slavery was abolished on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua
(Letter from Patrick Walker Esq. to James Bowden: Corn Island September 5th, 1841. B) Karl
Marx: Free laborers in the double sense, they are not a constituent part of the means of
production as the slaves and the serfs, etc. Neither means belongs to them as it is with
the peasants and the autonomous producer, etc., but they are free, independent and
separated from the means of production. The exchange market of commodities polarized in
this way, creates the necessary conditions for the development of the capital Mode of
Production. (1950: Page 203) 36 The dispute between the government of Her Britannic
Majesty and the Republic of Nicaragua on the question of the sovereignty over the
territory assigned to the Mosquito Indians was submitted to the arbitration of Franz
Joseph the First, Emperor of Austria, whose decision was that " the Nicaraguan
sovereignty over the reserve territory is limited by the self-government conceded to the
Mosquito Indians in Article III of the Treaty of Managua. (Ibid: Papers related to the
Arbitration, 1881: Page 12) 37 See Annex No. II: Page 42.
In those years, the city of Bluefields flourished with the construction of new
commercial buildings and private homes on account of the banana boom. Some of the
companies and commercial enterprises conducting business were Bluefields Banana Co., New
Orleans and Central American Trading Co., Emile Brautigham, Belanger, Henry Clay Ingram,
George D. Emery Co., Brown &. Harris, Casa Seegard, Levy & Levis, J. L. Sargent,
John H. Simmons, Siegert and J. A. Paterson, etc. And because of the scarcity of the labor
force, African indigenous slave descendants from New Orleans and particularly Creoles,
skilled laborers, from Jamaica were brought to work on the banana farms. A few Chinese,
such as Wing Sang, Chey-Wisin, Wab-Sin, Henry-Tom, and Henry-James engaged in fishing
activities. The labor force coupled with the Europeans and North Americans increased the
pop-ulation to more than 3,500 people.
During this period, trading was mainly between southern United States and the Reserve
District. According to estimates, the North Americans held more than 90% of the shares in
the commercial enterprises on the Atlantic Coast with investments over ten million
dollars. Nevertheless, the Nicaraguan government, not being content with the independent
nature of the Reserve District, militarily occupied Bluefields on February 12, 1894- and
relieved the Autonomous Government of its functions. On the November 20th of the same
year, the Miskitu Convention, in a palace session in Bluefields, incorporated the Reserve
District on the Atlantic Coast to the national state of Nicaragua by a 1aw decree.
D.THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE NORTHAMERICAN COMPANIES ON THE ATLANTIC COAST (1894
With the incorporation, the government of Nicaragua literally gave away the
region-mainly the indigenous peoples land as a concession to the North American companies,
such as Lomax S Anderson, Bragmans Bluff Lumber Co., Robinson Lumber Co., the United Fruit
Co., Bluefields Steam Ship, Standard Fruit and Steam Ship Co., Cuyamel Fruit Co., Rosano
Resources (NY), Asarco (NY), Booth Fisheries, etc. These companies, organized as enclaves,
exploited the natural resources: tim-ber, banana, gold, copper, silver, rubber, and marine
resources to trade with Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and as before with the United
The North American companies-the enclave economy-made substantial changes after the
days of slavery. For example, they employed the Creoles and Ladinos for salaries; as a
result, the working and middle-class sectors evolved along with the big towns. The
companies extracted the natural resources and hardly reinvested in the region;
consequently, the two social sectors only became skilled as nurses, teachers, accountants,
secretaries, mechanics, navigators, sailors, truck drivers, stevedores, etc.
38 Perez Valle, Eduardo 1978: Page 141. 39 Ibid: Perez Valle, Eduardo
1978: Page 139. 40 The Chief of the Miskitu Indians to the Earl of Rosebery: Bluefields,
1894. 41 A) Historical Documents of Nicaragua: Treaty Hay/Pauncefote (1901) between the
United States and His Majesty Edward the VII King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, abolishing the 1850 Treaty and agreeing that the United States can construct
the interoceanic canal alone. No. 95. B) Gaceta Oficial: Convention Treaty Chamorro-Bryan
(1914) between the United States and the Republic of Nicaragua, for renting the national
territory on perpetuity to the United States for the construction of the Sea-canal.
Nicaragua 8/11/1916. C) Gaceta Oficial: Convention Treaty Guerrero-Bamebey (1970) between
the United States and the Republic of Nicaragua abrogating the Chamorro-Bryan convention
Treaty. Nicaragua 26/4/1971. 42 Letter from the Creoles to the First Secretary of the
United States: 1926. Annex No. IV.
On the countryside, the companies preserved the communal modes of production as it was
previously practiced during the colonial period. First, the communal modes of production
were used to legitimize the Indigenous Nation and to justify the British presence on the
interoceanic route; secondly, the companies held the salaries low. And though the
indigenous people worked at times for salaries in the lower paying jobs due to their
precarious development, they still depended on their communal modes of production to live.
Gradually, the indigenous people became culturally dependent on the capitalist structure:
Christianity amalgamated with natural religion (reli-gious syncretism); all the tribes and
their descendants speak English; they use wheat instead of corn to make bread, despite the
fact that they are American Indians; they used clothes and other commodities, i.e. the
capitalist modes vanquish the communal modes of production.
The companies came and left the Atlantic Coast according to the world markets
performance or the depletion of the resources. Although national investors-the Somoza
regime that governed Nicaragua more than 45 years-ventured into fisheries during the
mid-nineteen sixties in the region, the people still depended primarily upon the companies
for work, the peasants' economy, and the indigenous communal modes of production to
D. THE AUTONOMOUS PROCESS AND THE REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT IN NICARAGUA (1979 - 1990)
The North American companies left the Atlantic Coast in July of 1979 after the triumph
of the Revolutionaries over the Somoza regime. The war decimated the enclave economy and
caused hunger, extreme poverty, and death. However, the rebirth of the Autonomous Process
on the Atlantic Coast was revived, like the phoenix bird renewed from its ashes, because
of the armed conflict.
The ruling class had dispossessed the lands from the peasants and indigenous peoples on
the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua in order to organize the labor force and to achieve
economic and political unity around the national state. However, the Revolutionary
government did not dispossess the lands from the peasants and the indigenous people on the
Atlantic Coast in order to incorporate them into the national state. Instead, it was the
first government in the Western Hemisphere to proclaim an Autonomous Government to achieve
economic and political unity of a nation, based upon the development of the two different
43 Corn as the principal food of the American Indians, can be observed
as follows: Popol Vuh, the Holy Book of the Mayas Quiche, describes corn as "salt of
the earth" for the American Indians. "Then spoke they of creating and forming
Man and Woman. From yellow and white corn their flesh were made. Man's hands and feet were
made from corn. (Page 118) Morgan also points Out: The Oriental Hemisphere had all animals
good for domestication except one (the llama) and mostly every cereal for cul-tivation
whereas the Occidental Hemisphere only possessed one cereal (corn), but it was the best.
(Ibid: Morgan Lewis, Page 93) Conzenius observes: Maize or Indian corn (Zea maysL.
M.:aya;S.;am,ama), which forms the staple food practically all over Central America, is
sparsely cultivated by the Miskitu; however, it was already observed among them during the
latter part of the seventeenth century by Raveneau de Lussann (438) and M.W. (304,3l0).
(Conzenius Edward, 1932: Page 63). 44 If an assumption of labor for a salary and one of
the Historical condition of the capital is free labor and the exchange of this free labor
for money... in the same way another assumption is the separation (expropriation, our
emphasis) of this free labor from its concrete working condition. (Marx Karl, 1960: Page
In March 1987, the Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua issued the
law of Autonomy in favor of the communities and towns on the Atlantic Coast (Law No. 28) 45
in recognition of their ancient rights as stated in the following Articles:
Article No. 89 - The communities on the Atlantic Coast are an insoluble
part of the Nicaraguan people and as such enjoy the same rights and obligations the
communities on the Atlantic Coast have the right to preserve and develop their cultural
identity in the national unity. To endow their own ways of social organization and manage
their local affairs in accordance with their traditions. The State recognizes the Communal
Property of the lands on the Atlantic Coast. Equally it recognizes the use and enjoyment
of the waters and forests on the communal lands.
Article No. 90 - The communities on the Atlantic Coast have the right to free
expression and preservation of their languages, art, and culture. The development of their
culture and values enrich the national culture. The Government will create special
programs for the better expression of these rights.
Article No. 91 - The Government of Nicaragua is under the obligation to issue laws that
will promote and ensure that no Nicaraguan shall be discrim-inated due to his/her
language, culture or origin.
In the same year, the Revolutionary Government initiated a pilot project in the
indigenous communities ofYulu, etc. as a starting point for the development of the
Autonomous Government. This practice of starting from the indigenous community [the
communal modes of production] and not from the towns [the enclave economy] is to leap from
the conception that the movement of this social formation (the society on the Atlantic
Coast) was dependent on the communal mode and not on the Capitalist mode of production.
This approach only misleads the people to think of a future Autonomous Government for
indigenous people (the fourth world position) with a self-determination similar to the
Autonomous Government on the Reservation in 1860, and not as the necessary instrument for
national unity. Nonetheless, it was the starting point for the Autonomous Process within
the national state.
45 Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua, 1996, Pg. ge 55.
46 CIDCA: ( [Wahl, 1986: Pag. 36).
47 Under the assessment of tile Research Center for tile Development and Studies of The
Atlantic Coast (CIDCA-The National Indigenous Institute) lacking a clear understanding of
the economical category Mode of Production, lead the Revolutionary Government to the
conception of an Autonomous Government for Indigenous People. (Demografia Costena, 1982:
In the movements of the stronger economy and its
interaction with the smaller economies we can see the movements (the reflection) of the
During the colonial period, slavery was the principal way to accumulate surplus (
commercial Capital); and from whence, the enclave economy (the Capital), work for a
salary, emerged thanks to the parallel development of technology, of the working class and
of the middle class. During both periods, the communal modes of production were reserved.
legitimize the English Protectorate, and; second, to minimize the salary of the
workers. The indigenous people depended on their community to survive, but became however,
culturally dependent on the capital structures.
F. THE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT AND THE TRANSITORY NATIONAL GOVERNMENT (REVOLUTIONARY VS.
NEO-LIBERAL GOVERNMENT) (1990 - 1996)
In 1990, the first election of the Autonomous Governments coincided with the
presidential elections in which the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Revolutionary
Government) was defeated by the National Opposition Union (Neo-Liberal Government).
Accordingly, the new transitory government (revolutionary vs. neo-liberalism) and the
Autonomous Governments took office. The people of the South Autonomous Atlantic Region
elected forty-eight representatives from the communities and towns to form the general
council. The council, presided by a president, makes the laws. The executive branch is
presided by a coordinator (governor) under the administration of the general council. The
president of the council and the coordinator are elected from and by the representatives.
The second election of the Autonomous Government was held in April 1994 according to
the procedures established in the laws of the North and South Atlantic Autonomous Regions.
This election, like the previous, was held in a civic and democratic manner. Although the
statutes of Autonomy proclaim that to unite the national state in Nicaragua, "the
indigenous people must direct the destiny and dynamics of the Autonomous Government,"
the effective exercise of the statutes has not been fully put to use.
The war decimated the enclave economy, and the people survive today thanks to the
peasants and communal modes of production. There are only a few organizations that defends
the real interests of the indigenous people within the Autonomous Government on account of
the extreme poverty-sub-development-in which they are forced to live. The national
political parties are the cause of our strife by virtue of their powerful control over the
Regional Autonomous Governments.
For example, the representatives of the political parties to the Autonomous Government,
as expected, must follow the principles and political programs of the parties. They decide
who controls the presidency and governor-ship of the Regional Council according to their
immediate interests; thus, the representatives, in coordina-tion with the national
government, make concessions of the indigenous peoples' lands regardless of the instituted
laws. They sell, rent or mortgage the Autonomous Government properties at will. And when
they are faced with any crisis, they travel to Managua to receive instructions in matter
of procedures or steps to follow to appease the masses.
48 United Nations: The United Nations declared (1994-2004) the Decade
for Indigenous Peoples. The principal objectives of this declaration is an attempt to
solve the Indigenous Peoples' problems in matter of "Human Rights, Environment,
Development, Education and Health" (United Nations: 1994, 94-08977). Capital
investment in rural areas is the Modality to integrate the Peasants and Indigenous People,
not by expropriation, into the National State. Cheap labor force in rural areas to
reevaluate the capital (Forest Reserve, free Zones, etc.) slows down the growth of the
cities (the proletarians); however, 400 years of extractive capital on the Atlantic Coast
(slavery and enclave) have proved to only develop the foreign market rather than the
internal market; consequently; it is a very slow way toward progress. 49 Ibid: Statutes of
Autonomy, V Consideration. Page 56.
The presidential elections in Nicaragua (1996), which instated the liberals to power,
laid open the most serious economical and political crisis in the Autonomous Government.
In April 1997, imperceptibly three months after taking office, the central government
critically affected the strict functions of the Regional Autonomous governments by cutting
their budgets. Furthermore, the national political parties, with little sensibility toward
the poverty stricken regions or the indigenous peoples' rights, shared among themselves
greater than 50% of the funds allocated for the Autonomous election campaigns of March 1,
They also required the indigenous organizations to render their inscriptions with the
Supreme Electoral Counsel in Managua, instead of the Autonomous Regions. What outcome
could we have expected from the elections when the ruling party-the liberals-openly
violated the Electoral laws by initiating their campaigns before the legally establish
date with funds of to the state? And to make matters worse, the Liberals publicly
announced their intention to violate the indigenous peoples' rights by amending the
Autonomous laws. We, the indigenous people, are organizing to safeguard the Autonomous
We are aware that we must seize the Autonomous Government-the instrument of national
unity-to guarantee our undeniable democratic participation in Nicaragua.
CONCLUSION I.- The intention to construct an interoceanic canal through the
Nicaraguan territory brought forth the development of a socioeconomic formation on the
Atlantic Coast different from the Pacific Coast. To unite the national state in Nicaragua,
the Autonomous Government was established on the Atlantic Coast.
II.- The first Autonomous Government , established in 1860, was
based on the English laws and was literally "independent" from Nicaragua. The
laws did not allow the democratic participation of the Indigenous People in the Autonomous
III.- The present Autonomous Government, established in 1987,
is based on the laws of Nicaragua. These laws guarantee the democratic participation of
all Indigenous People in the Autonomous Government.
IV.- The extreme poverty, due to the Communal Modes of
Production, presents a serious obstacle for the Indigenous People to participate with
their organizations in the Autonomous Government. There are few indigenous organizations
that advocate the Indigenous Peoples' rights.
V.- The national political parties strongly hinder and
unceasingly manipulate the Autonomous Governments. At the same time, they crave to amend
the Autonomous laws to exploit our lands and natural resources for their collective
benefit in violation of the constitutional statutes of Autonomous Government and the
Indigenous Peoples' rights.
VI.- To guarantee national unity, as stated in the
constitutional statutes of the Autonomous Government, the Indigenous People must fully
participate in the Autonomous Government with their own organizations.
VII.- By safeguarding the Autonomous laws which guarantee the
political and economical participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Autonomous Government,
the Autonomous process will bring forth progress, development on the Atlantic Coast, and
greater national unity in Nicaragua.
50 The Managua Daily Tribune: January 17, 1998. Page I.