Posibilidad News and Events
The ongoing social and political unrest in Nicaragua, which began last Spring, has caused significant problems with the Posibilidad program of sponsorship for impoverished students. The best analysis that we have found of this complex situation, and relevant Nicaraguan and regional history, is by Professor Rebecca Gordon, as broadcast on TUC Radio in July (attached).
The Sandinista Revolution in 1979 successfully replaced the brutally repressive Somoza regime. U.S. Marines had occupied Nicaragua from 1909 until 1933, when the first Somoza dictator was installed. In 1934, Somoza’s forces captured and executed Augusto Sandino, the Nicaraguan freedom fighter who had been resisting U.S. occupation, and then the Somoza regime.
The U.S. responded by organizing and funding a resistance to the Sandinistas, composed of Somoza supporters and mercenaries with U.S. technical support and CIA interventions, including mining the main port at Corinto. The efforts of these “Contras” were terrorist in nature, including attacks on components of the social infrastructure – hospitals, agricultural cooperatives and other soft targets.
In 1984 Nicaragua sued the U.S. in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which ruled in their favor and ordered significant reparations from the U.S., to be paid for war crimes. The U.S. has always ignored this judgement and continues to meddle in Nicaraguan affairs via the Endowment for Democracy and USAID.
But the Sandinistas have grown corrupt, and are now in bed with certain reactionary right wing elements. When the support that Nicaragua had been receiving from Venezuela decreased early this year, the Sandinistas responded by decreasing Social Security pensions and health benefits. This prompted street protests, beginning in April, which were met with consistent and violent repression. Students involved in street protests are afraid to return to UNAN, as it is controlled by the Sandinistas, who took photos of young people participating in the protests.
For updates on our students – please see – Student Profiles.
Update – July 2017
News from the Meza Ampie sisters.
Fatima (26) graduated from Law School
(and qualified for the Nicaraguan Bar) in July 2015.
She finally received her Legal License last month.
She has married and is expecting her first child very soon.
Jorlenys (24) has just completed her University Practicum.
This allows her to apply for her License as a Pharmacist.
Her son Larry is healthy and will be 3 in January.
Both girls are happy to be done with school and are
ready for their first professional positions.
News from Judeymi and her son Christopher.
Christopher’s burned foot is well healed and he continues
to receive therapy at APROQUEN Hospital in Managua.
Judeymi is entering her second year of
Nurses Training at UNAN.
Milagros has graduated from Posibilidad.
She married and has a healthy baby boy Roberto.
Her University training in Accounting is nearly complete.
Her husband Carlos is now supporting her with her education.
For news and updates about our other students
please see our Student Profiles Pages.
Update (July 2016)
Successful fund raiser held July 16
with the assistance of ICRME Denver
All funds directed to our General Fund
(Please see Activities page for details)
Thanks to ICRME (John Menchaca,
Savannah and Manny Sexton)
Update (June 2016):
Posibilidad also provides other services as needed. For example, Judeymi’s two year old son Christopher jumped into a trash fire pit in August 2015 and suffered 3rd degree (full thickness) burns to his foot. The public hospital in Chinandega provided terrible care – and Judeymi left there very discouraged after two days. And she was then fearful of seeking further care for her son, as he’d suffered burn care with no anesthesia and other insults.
With great difficulty, I convinced Judeymi to let Lidia drive them to the burn center in Managua, a 3 hour drive. This facility (APROQUEN) was founded by Vivian Pellas (a Cubana who is the wife of the richest man in Nicaragua) after they were amongst only a few survivors of a fiery plane crash (1989). Vivian suffered significant burns and Charles had orthopedic injuries from the crash. Lidia had to hand carry photos of Christopher’s foot burns to APROQUEN, and show them to the staff, because the local free hospital in Chinandega had refused to refer Christopher there for his care.
Christopher had a four day initial hospitalization, as his burns were infected, requiring IV antibiotics and anesthesia for burn debridement. Judeymi and Christopher have had to return to the clinic for skin grafting, follow up appointments and for other minor surgeries (twelve visits, so far). Luckily, most of the care at APROQUEN is free, though patients are sometimes required to buy their own medications).
But Christopher’s foot is doing well, and Judeymi has been inspired to become a nurse. She’s completed her GED (studying on weekends) and is now in Nurses Training @ UNAN Somotillo. It’s even inspired her husband Cesar, who’s completing his GED. But Lidia has had to drive Judeymi and Christopher to APROQUEN for each appointment, as public transportation from Chinandega would require 4 different buses and a taxi, and sometimes Lidia has had to stay overnight in Managua.
In some ways Posibilidad operates in loco parentis. This is because there are so many circumstances (some predictable, some not) that must be dealt with in order to enable the educational path (and the life course) of each of our sponsored students. Therefore our sponsorship process is comprehensive, and we strive to provide whatever is needed for each of our students.