DATE :7/21/65

Bluefields, Nicaragua. Central America.                                                  February 10, 1926

The United States Government.                                                                               
Secretary of State. Foreign Affaire     
State Department, Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                    

Honorable Sir:

We the undersigned Miskito Indians, aborigines of this section of the American Continent, known as Central America, who possess an reside in the territory of Miskito, together with the natives of amalgamated Indian ancestry do hereby beg to petition the United States Government which has always stood for justice, liberty and peace to intervene, adjust and settle for all time because of our grievances against the Nicaraguan Government.

Thirty two years of the most humiliating experience that has never before befallen a nation has been our lot since the incorporation of our race and territory under the terms of the Miskito Convention by the Republic of Nicaragua.

This Covenant which was witnessed and signed by the representatives of the United States Government and also by those of the British, is the ground on which we base our complaint, and also the proof of our argument.

As this Treaty in question proves that we were a recognized nation capable of negotiating a Political Agreement in which we relinquished certain Rights to come in possession of these granted by the second contracting party. We therefore, having not received our part of this Political Agreement; and having been maltreated and ignored: not being, at anytime, since the inauguration of this Treaty recognized as one of the contracting parties, do, by Virtue of our Political Autonomy and Historical Rights, prior to the year 1894, humbly beg the United States Government, that having acted as guarantee and witness to this Agreement, and in view of the willful and persistent violation of this Treaty on the part of the Nicaraguan government; to act in a similar capacity in the abrogation of said Treaty and further request that we be reestablished on the same political status as we were prior to the year 1894.

This political farce in which we have been acting under during these many years has forcibly appropriated and misused over Thirty million dollars of our revenue-- and have also debarred and denied us of every political and local right, thereby inflicting undue universal punishment which has pauperized and crippled our race.

We dare not attempt to detail our manifold grievances and just causes of complaint against the Nicaragua government, for being confident that the United States Government is perfectly acquainted with the facts and also of the existing economic condition of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, let is be known, that under such mal-administration, abuse of individual rights and illegal taxation of this section of the state, have only served to create animosity, while the continuance of such policy will soon reach the end of human endurance.

We continue to plead our cause for we are confident that it is Just, and in our appeal to the United States, which is also a member of the League of Nations, we are assured that the articles embodied in this universal contract may be practically applied in our case which will facilitate the solution thereof. Having always been in constant intercourse with the nations of Anglo-Saxon civilization training and religion and being of a different race we cannot under existing conditions assimilate or amalgamate with the people of Latin civilization, therefore we are looked upon and treated as enemies by them, which is in direct opposition to the terms of the Miskito Convention.*

In conclusion we beg that for the future economic prosperity and universal welfare of our race that the consideration solicited be only granted to this Petition, and that the United States Government will in the name of Christian Civilization, Progress and Humanity, hearken to the pleading voice of a helpless race, for relief from untold suffering and misery. With humble, nevertheless profound and sincere thanks, we beg to subscribe ourselves, the Miskito Indian Patriotic League.


George A. Hodgson

*Our emphasis denote the different socioeconomic on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua.

Bluefields, Nicaragua. February 12, 1926.

Subject: Petition of the Mosquito Indians.

The Honorably

The Secretary of State



I have the honor to transmit here with a petition of the Miskito Indian Patriotic League, addressed to the Secretary of State. The League was organized more than a year ago for the purpose of devising methods to bring about an amelioration of the economic conditions of the Indians and natives of Indians ancestry on the Atlantic Coast.

In the petition, as will be noted, they complain that they have been impose upon by Nicaraguan officials since 1894, and have enjoyed none of the benefits stipulated in the Treaty under which the Mosquito Reserve was transferred to Nicaraguan jurisdiction.

Since my arrival at Bluefields in September, 1924, two commissions have investigated complaints of the Indians, but no redress has been granted. It is true that resolutions were adopted by both commissions directing or counseling relief; but up to the present nothing has been done. I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, A. J .Mc Connico American Consul.



Statutes of The Autonomous Regions of Eastern Nicaragua

The President of the Republic hereby notifies the Nicaraguan citizens that:

The National Assembly of (House of Representatives)

The Republic of Nicaragua


In Consideration of:

La Gaceta # 238

Managua, Friday 30Th of October 1987

Public Law No. 28


The fact that in all Latin America and other regions of the world, most if not all indigenous populations have been subjected to a progressive process of oppression, segregation and discriminatory treatment against their will, which has brought them down to the level of poverty in which they currently exist, under a constant threat of extinction; conditions which warrant a quick and profound global change of heart in the political, cultural and socioeconomic values in modern society, in order to bring such practices to a halt and effectively fulfill the aspirations and demands of its people.


That the Eastern (Atlantic) Nicaraguan region comprises approximately 50% of the size of our national territory and that over 300,000 thousands of its inhabitants are descendents of native tribes and which represent 9.5% of the Nicaraguan population, distributed between 182,000 thousands Spanish speaking Mestizos; 75,000 thousands Misquito Indians that speaks their own dialect; 26,000 Creoles that speaks English; 9,000 Sumus Indians that speaks their own dialect; 1,750 Garifonas Indians aloof whom have lost their native dialect or tongue and 850 Rama Indians, of which only 35 members currently preserve or speak in their native dialect.


That the multi ethnic heritage of the Nicaraguan people is firmly inspired and founded by the heroic legacies of our Indian American leaders of the past like Diriangen, Cuahtemoc Caupolican and Tupas Amaru who never surrendered their quest for freedom, as was the gesture of Augusto C. Sandino who planted the seeds of hope and determination in the minds of the indigenous population along the Rio Coco when he introduced his concept of cooperative farming and who proudly proclaimed to the world: "I'm a Nicaraguan and I'm proud to be one, through my veins flows the Indian blood which I inherited from my ancestors along with the mystery of being a loyal and sincere patriot."


That the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan people to build a new nation with multi ethnic society of diverse cultural values and language, founded upon the principle of democracy, pluralism and the elimination of any kind of imperialism, social exploitation and oppression in any way, shape or form, demands the institutionalization (the promotion by the governments) of the process of granting autonomy to all the Eastern Nicaraguan communities provided that political freedom and right of association of its inhabitants will prevail, that equal rights within and among the diversity of its ethnic heritage (Population) is exercised, that the national unity and integrity of its territory is not threatened, but reinforced with profound democratic values of the revolution principles which remind us at all times of the treatment by the governments of the past, from which, exploitation and dependence of the people is the legacy we now have.


That the process of autonomy will enrich our cultural heritage by recognizing and encouraging ethnic identity and promote within their tribes, cultural exchanges; That this process will facilitate the compilation of historical events within the population, will guarantee the right ownership by the communities of communal land, will reject any kind of discriminatory practices, will guarantee the free practice of religious faiths without interference of any sort, will guarantee the right of association which shall be the basis upon which this nation will strengthen its national unity.


That the experience accumulated through the process of autonomy, has proven that to the extent all tribal social conquest to this date, as well as their civil and labor right is preserved, this (the autonomy process) will represent the ultimate fulfillment of a genuine solution to its peoples desires.


That the autonomy of these communities will effectively provide them with the necessary legal means of self management, self preservation and disposition of their natural resources as well as the determination of how to share or reinvest revenues derived there from within the Eastern Nicaraguans and the rest of nation, by creating the natural revenue source that will guarantee funds for the survival of its inhabitants and the development of their cultural values.


That the new Nicaraguan constitution provides for and recognizes the multi-ethnic origin of its citizens and therefore; guarantees the right of the Eastern Nicaraguans to preserve their heritage, religious beliefs, art and cultural values, the right to use and enjoy their waters, forestry and communal lands; the right to create special programs that may lead to the effective fulfillment and develop-ment of these rights; the right of its people to organize in groups and to live in accordance with their legitimate cultural, social and traditional heritage. (Nicaraguan Constitution, paragraph 8, 11, 49, 89, 90, 91, 121, 180, and 181)


And in use of the authority vested upon this National Assembly:

Has ordered the passing of this:


Title I


Chapter I

The Autonomous Regions

Sec. 1 It is hereby established and recognized by these statutes, that the communities of Eastern Nicaragua shall become autonomous. It is also recognized by these statutes that the constitutional rights and responsibilities of each citizen as contained in our political constitution remain unchanged.

Sec. 2 Eastern Nicaragua is an indivisible and inseparable part of the Republic of Nicaragua and its inhabitants are Nicaraguan Citizens with all the rights and responsibilities that they are entitled to, under the provisions of the Nicaraguan Constitution as amended from time to time.

Sec. 3 It is the intent of this revolution and of the act of this government by granting autonomous status to these regions, that the togetherness, fraternity and solidarity among the inhabitants of Eastern Nicaragua and the rest of the nation, will remain strong under one nation and one flag.    

Sec. 4 The inhabitants of the regions that comprises Eastern Nicaragua, will enjoy within the Republic of Nicaragua all of their constitutional rights and of all the privileges contained in this statute as well as the right to preserve their historical heritage.

Sec. 5 Although the Spanish language is the official Nicaraguan Language, the language of each of the tribes within the Eastern Nicaraguan communities is also deemed official within that region.

Chapter II


Sec. 6 For ease and simplicity in the administration of this statute in the best interest of its people and communities along the east coast of Nicaragua, which was once known as the Department of Zelaya; it is hereby established, that said territory shall be divided in two political regions: 1. The Autonomous Regions of North Eastern Nicaragua whose jurisdiction shall comprise the territory Known as military Zone No. I, its islands and adjacent keys thereto. The Administrative Capital shall reside in the City of Puerto Cabezas. 2. The Autonomous Regions of South Eastern Nicaragua whose Jurisdiction shall comprise the territory known a military Zone No. II, its islands and adjacent keys thereto. The administrative Capital shall reside in the city of Bluefields. During special circumstances, these administrative capitals may temporarily reside in any city within their corresponding jurisdiction.

Sec. 7 The political sub-division of each of these regions for administrative purposes shall be divided into municipalities; which must be incorporated in any way possible in accordance with currently established traditions; notwithstanding, and in its implementation, common law provisions with constitutional jurisdiction shall prevail. The task of establishing and administrating each of these municipalities is hereby delegated to the regional counsel members in accordance with established traditions.

Sec. 8 Each Autonomous Region, under these statutes are granted legal entity status with constitutional rights and responsibilities regarding political rights and the right to organize and to lead national issues.

Further, all administrative agencies of these Regions are hereby endowed with the following statutory rights:

1. To actively take part in the planning and execution of social and economic program of national interest within their region, In order to ascertain that the interest of the Eastern Nicaraguan communities are not jeopardized.

2. To administer all health, educational cultural, communal supply transportation, services, programs, etc., in coordination with the corresponding Ministry of the National Government.

3. To promote economic, social and cultural projects of their own initiative.

4. To promote the rational use, enjoyment and benefits of the waters, forestry, communal lands, and the protection of the environment.

5. To stimulate the study, growth, development, preservation and further the traditional culture of all tribes in the various communities of the Region, including their artistic, linguistic, cultural and historic heritage.

6. To promote our national culture among all Eastern Nicaraguans.

7. To encourage the exchange of traditiona1 culture between the Caribbean countries and Eastern Nicaragua, in accordance with applicable national rules and regulations.

8. To encourage the flee flow of intraregional and inter-regional commerce and to assist in the accomplishment of a unified national commerce system.

9. To establish regional tax in accordance with statutory provisions or applicable national law.

Sec. 9 In the rational (controlled) extraction of natural resources such as precious metal/stones, forestry, fishery and any other natural resources of the Autonomous Regions, it is hereby acknowledged that the proprietary right on communal properties is vested unto its inhabitants, and as such, the benefits of its exploitations, shall be just and shall insure proportionately to the benefit of its communities pursuant to agreements between the Regional and National Government.

Chapter III


Sec. 10 All Nicaraguans shall have in the Autonomous Regions, equal rights, duties and guarantees under this statute and the political Constitution of the Republic.

Sec. 11 The inhabitants of Eastern Nicaragua have the right:

1. To absolute equal rights and duties among them, regardless of the size or development of their communities.

2. To preserve and further their dialect, religious and cultural values.

3. To use, enjoy and benefit from the waters, forestry and communal lands, provided this does not conflict with national development programs.

4. To promote without censorship and join into social and productive organizations of their choice.

5. To promote and preserve their native dialect, to receive basic education in their dialect and in the Spanish language in accordance with established national educational programs.

6. To have vested rights in all communal property, to own property collectively or individually and the right of disposition thereof.

7. To vote for and be voted into public offices within their Region.

8. To rescue from extinction or secure in a scientific manner, jointly with the National Health System; all Indigenous medicinal knowledge and practices accumulated over the passage of time.

Sec. 12 All members of all the communities of Eastern Nicaragua have the right to trace and identify their ethnic roots

Sec. 13 The defense of life, country, justice, piece, smooth development and preservation of the nation, is a primary duty of all Eastern Nicaraguan.

Sec. 14 In Nicaragua (Central and Western Nicaragua), the national defense is entrusted unto the organized forces of the people however, in the autonomous regions, this will be directed by the Sandinista Popular Army and the Security Forces of the Interior. Notwithstanding; the inhabitants of these regions, preserve the right to defend the sovereignty of their regions.

Title II


Chapter I


Sec.15 Each Autonomous Region, in its administration shall observe and abide by Constitution of Nicaragua and by this statute, which hereby creates the following offices:

1. The Regional Counsel Members (Regional Representatives).

2. The Regional Coordinator (The Governor).

3. The Mayors and Local Counsel Members.

Sec. 16 The Regional Counsel Members and the Coordinator, (The Governor) each within their corresponding authority (Offices), will represent the maximum authorities in their Region.

Sec. 17 The administration of each municipality shall be governed by this statute and corresponding legal (City) ordinances. All others offices shall be governed by resolutions of the Regional Counsel Members.

Sec. 18 The administration of justice in these autonomous Regions shall be made pursuant to special regulations which must be representative of the unique cultural values of each community provided these provisions do not conflict with the political constitution of Nicaragua.

Chapter II


Sec. 19 Each Regional Counsel shall be constituted by forty-five (45) publicly elected members, elected publicly during universal election of one citizen one vote and by secret ballot, with the participation and representation of all ethnic groups, under the supervision and guidelines of the national electoral law.

Sec. 20 In addition to the 45 elected Regional Counsel Members, each Representative of the House for the Autonomous Regions before the National Assembly (Nicaraguan Congress), is hereby incorporated as statutory counsel members of their corresponding Regional Counsel, with right to voice and vote.

Sec. 21 To be eligible to run for the office of the Regional Counsel, the candidate must be: a native born of Eastern Nicaragua, or have at least one parent who is a native born of Eastern Nicaragua, be 21 years of age or older, must not have any of his/her constitutional right suspended and must have taken residency in his/her region at least one year prior to the date of election. for any other Nicaraguan to be eligible, his/her must have resided in his/her respective Region, at least five consecutive year prior to the election date.

Sec. 22 To be eligible to vote during the election of Regional Counsel Members, all voters must be eligible to vote pursuant to the national electoral law, must have resided for at least three months in his/her region before election date, if he/she was born in Eastern Nicaragua or have a parent who was born in Eastern Nicaragua, otherwise, the residence test is one year before the election date.

Sec. 23 The Regional Counsel Members shall have the following attributes:

1. Administer and regulate the provisions of Sec. 8 of this statute and dictate all necessary ordinances to enforce and uphold it.

2. Act upon and prepare regional tax legislation.

3. Act upon and participate in the planning, implementation and observance of all economic, social and cultural programs and policies that may affect or be of interest to their Region.

4. Preside over and resolve community disputes in connection with geographical borders lines within their respective jurisdiction.

5. Prepare their regional pro-forma fiscal budget.

6. Supervise the correct utilization of all development and social program funds in their region, which shall be funded from the tax revenue derived from their internal and external resources as well as from other extra ordinary sources.

7. Act upon and prepare proposed municipal (County) and community (City) geographical limit demarcation and charter all municipalities within their respective Region without hindering any ethnic, social, cultural and economical values.

8. Elect, from within and remove from office, the Regional Coordinator (The Governor).

9. Adopt or designate through resolutions, the administrative residence site of all the municipal sub-division within their Region.

10. Act upon and prepare proposed legislation leading to the rational use and preservation of the natural resources in their Region.

11. Request for accountability from and to appeal the findings of the representatives or Officers of the Ministries of the National 'Government and its agencies in their dealings or operations in Eastern Nicaragua.

12. Elect their board of directors from within.

13. Have jurisdiction over and act upon the resignation of its counsel members and of its Boards Directors.

14. Promote the integration and participation of all females in all aspect of political, social, cultural and economical activities in their Regions.

15.Prepare and approve its administrative code.

16.Have jurisdiction over all matters created by this statute and other related laws.

Sec. 24 All resolutions and ordinances dictated by the Regional Counsel Members, must be in harmony with the political Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Sec. 25 The period of office of the Regional Counsel Members, shall be four years, starting on the first date in which each member is sworn in, pursuant to Sec. 40 hereof.

Sec. 26 In all business matters of the Regional Counsel, There shall be quorum 51% or more of its members are present and any resolution therefore, must be approved by a majority of members present in person, unless exceptional situations provided for in the administrative code, states otherwise.

Chapter III


Sec. 27 The Board of directors of the Counsel Member of each Region shall he conformed by a president, two vice presidents, two secretaries and two directors at large, in any event, all members of the various ethnic communities must he proportionately represented therein. The period of the Board shall be two years and their duties shall be those indicated by this statute and the administrative code.

Sec. 28 It shall be the responsibility of the Board of Directors to:

1. Coordinate their activities within their members and of the Counsel, with the office of the coordinator (the Governor) through which, they may address issues with other officers of the Region and of the National government.

2. Call all ordinary or extra ordinary meetings of its Counsel Members, through the office of the president of the board and prepare the agenda thereof.

3. Appoint temporary and permanent committee members to review and report back to the board, on all matters related to the administration of their Region. 4. Pursue all necessary matters to further and to enhance the interest and welfare of their Region. 5. Have jurisdiction and act upon all matters of public interest created by this statute and other rules and regulations.

Chapter IV


Sec. 29 The executive functions (Authority) of the Region, are vested unto the Regional Coordinator (The Governor) and he/she shall:

1. Represent his or her Region.

2. Appoint his or her administration's Executive Director.

3. Organize and chair the executive functions of his or her Region.

4. Pursue the compliance of statutory matters of his or her Region, before the officers or representative of the national government.

5. Abide by and enforce the policies and/or recommendations of the president of Nicaragua, in accordance with the provisions of this statute, laws and regulations.

6. Administer the special development and social fund in accordance with resolutions established by the Regional Counsel, and periodically, account to the board of the Counsel, on the manner in which said funds are being disbursed.

7. Abide by and enforce the ordinances of the Regional Counsel.

Sec. 31 The Office of the Regional Coordinator (The Governor) in each Region, is compatible with that of representative of the Presidency of Nicaragua in the Region.



Single Chapter Sec 32 It shall be the responsibility of the Regional Counsel to prepare in coordination with the Ministry of Finance (of the national government), the proposed regional fiscal budget as required to finance all regional projects, which shall composed of:

1. Regional and local tax revenue pursuant to local and regional tax ordinances which shall include business income tax assessments, to be assessed to all businesses operating in the Region.

2. Funds from revenue sharing program as designated in the National Government general budget.

Sec. 33 The creation of a special social development fund, funded by unbudgeted internal and external resources, which shall be earmarked to finance any social, productive and cultural activities unique to the regions.



Single Chapter

Sec. 34 The patrimony (Equity) of each Autonomous Region is comprised by all its natural resources, rights and obligations resulted from the acquisition in its legal capacity, of properties from third parties.

Sec. 35 The Autonomous Regions has ample capacity to acquire, administer and dispose of its assets which constitute its patrimony under the provisions of this statute and compatible laws.      

Sec. 36 Communal Property is hereby defined as the rural lands, water and forestry that traditionally belonged to the indigenous communities in Eastern Nicaragua and that are subject to the following conditions:

1. All communal land is inalienable, they cannot be donated, sold, garnished or encumbered, and they are imprescriptible.

2. The inhabitants of the communities have the statutory right to work parceled communal land and to harvest the benefit thereof as a result of his or her work therein.

Sec. 37 All other manner of property ownership of the Autonomous Regions are those granted by the political Constitution of Nicaragua and compatible laws.

Title V


Single Chapter

Sec. 38 Two thirds of the joint meeting of the Counsel Members of Both Regions can concurrently request the reform of this statutes, provided they follow the mechanism established therefore by the Political Constitution of Nicaragua and the statutes of the National Assembly (House of Representatives) and its regulations thereof.

Title VI


Sec. 39 The National Assembly (House of Representatives) subsequent to the passing of these statutes as public law, shall call for general elections of the Counsel Members for each of the Autonomous Regions. The Supreme Electoral Counsel, shall proceed to organize, direct, proclaim and publicize the results of said election and shall certify these results by issuing corresponding credentials to the elected members.

Sec. 40 The National Assembly (House of Representatives) shall determine the official date of installation of each the Regional Counsel Members. The president of the Supreme Electoral Counsel shall swear into Office, all of the Counsel Members so elected and will chair over the first members meeting in which, the first board of directors shall be elected.

Sec. 41 A Special Committee in each Region shall proceed to record the minutes of the solemn act of installation in the presence of the president of the Republic or his/her representative, The president of the National Assembly (the Speaker of the House), the Justice of the Supreme Court and of the Supreme Electoral Counsel or their representatives.

Sec. 42 All the territories that are currently under other jurisdictions but located in these regions, shall be annexed to their corresponding Autonomous Regions in an orderly fashion; notwithstanding, these territories shall be identified and claimed by each Autonomous Region in coordination with the National Government.

Sec. 43 All the National Government officers and representatives that are currently functioning as authorities in these jurisdictions, may continue in their post until such time that they are duly substituted by their lawful successors, pursuant to these statutes.

Sec. 44 These statutes are to be regulated and given sufficient national publicity in Spanish and in all the languages spoken by the inhabitants of Eastern Nicaragua.

Sec. 45 These statutes shall be effective on the first day of its publication in LA GACETA the official diary of the National Government.

Issued in the chambers of the National Assembly (House of Representatives) on this second day of September Nineteen hundred and eighty seven. "Aqui no se rinde Nadie." Carlos Nunez Tellez, president of the National Assembly (Speaker of the House). Rafael Solis Cerna, Secretary of the National Assembly.

This is a public law of the Republic of Nicaragua. It must be made public and enforced. Managua, September seventh nineteen hundred and eighty seven. "Aqui no se rinde Nadie."

Daniel Ortega Saavedra,

President of Nicaragua.



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