Who will fight for Autonomy, now?

Bluefields, RAAS, Nov. 19-The overwhelming majority of eligible voters from the South Atlantic Caribbean coast of Nicaragua voted across the board for the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) during the presidential and congressional elections held on November 4, 2001. Now many ask if they really understood the difference between electing a president and deputies to represent them in the national assembly.

 Two native sons campaigned for deputy in hopes of representing the people of the South Autonomous Atlantic Region (SAAR): Incumbent William Schwartz, an avid defender of Autonomy, candidate for the FSLN; and Lawrence Omeir, the former mayor of Bluefields, candidate for Yatama who was removed inconspicuously from the PLC to make room for an unknown from the Pacific coast.

For the last four years, William Schwartz has been the only indigenous representative from the Southern region to hold a deputy seat in the national assembly. Schwartz has put forth the concerns of the coast people to the congress in Managua Monday thru Friday. He returns to Bluefields every weekend to inform the communities of his work and any developments transpired during the week on his Sunday morning radio program.

Unfortunately, Prof. Schwartz was not able to receive the votes of the people this time around and lost his bid for reelection. Likewise, Lawrence Omeir was not able to persuade enough voters to win, receiving most of his votes from the indigenous communities. He decried the lack of his people support in the city.  

The outcome of the elections has left Bluefields and its surrounding communities without any native representation to the national assembly. The deputies elected do not reside in Bluefields. They have never lived and conceivably have no intention of living on the Atlantic coast.

The peoples of the South Autonomous Atlantic Region have lost their voice in the assembly. To whom will they expose their needs? Through whom will they complaint now? They have chosen representatives who do not share their goals, struggles, or culture. They have chosen candidates who perhaps do not support Autonomy.

Electing the president of the country was everyone’s duty. One voted for the candidate he/she deemed fit for the job. But not voting for your own sons and daughters is quite ludicrous. The deputies are the region’s liaisons to the government. They are the ones to address the plight of the people before the national assembly. What makes this situation even more dangerous is the fact that you have your own black people fighting against the local candidates to keep them out of office thus helping a total stranger to win. This is a very sad and serious situation.

Coast people …Wake Up! The coming years will define the outcome of your vote.  Maybe you will learn a lesson for not choosing your native sons to represent you. Did it matter their party affiliation? ... You let them down! Then again maybe you will be satisfied with the little to none representation you have always had.

Mr. Schwartz, we commend you for championing the cause of the people and for demanding the respect and fruition of our much beloved Autonomy.   


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