ANNEX No. IV
CLASSIFICATION CANCELED AUTHORITY LETTER OF 1-8-58 FROM W. H. ANDERSON,
Bluefields, Nicaragua. Central America.
February 10, 1926
The United States Government.
Secretary of State. Foreign Affaire
State Department, Washington, D.C.
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
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 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.
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA
Statutes of The Autonomous Regions of Eastern Nicaragua
The President of the Republic hereby notifies the Nicaraguan citizens
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
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:
STATUTES OF THE AUTONOMUS GOVERNMENT OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH EASTERN
REGIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA
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
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.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGIONS AND ITS INTERNAL
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
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
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.
RIGHTS, DUTIES AND CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE AUTONOMOUS
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
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
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.
THE REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION
THE REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE
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
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.
THE REGIONAL COUNSEL MEMBERS
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
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
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.
THE COUNSEL MEMBERS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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.
THE COORDINATOR (GOVERNOR)
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.
FISCAL BUDGET OF THE REGIONS
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
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
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.
THE EQUITY OF THE REGIONS AND COMMUNAL PROPERTY
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.
AMENDMENTS TO THESE STATUTES
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.
FINAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
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
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
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
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
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
Daniel Ortega Saavedra,
President of Nicaragua.