Posibilidad News and Events
Unfortunately, the political unrest in Nicaragua, that began in Spring of 2018, continues to have major negative effects. The street protests have largely been suppressed, with a quite significant number of protestors either killed or injured.
A larger number have been imprisoned, or fled the country. The government used Social Media footage, and other footage, to identify individual protestors. This had a chilling effect, on the protests directly, but more generally as well.
Nationwide, many students that were studying at the National University (UNAN) have been unable to return to classes, because of fear of repercussions, having participated in the protests.
The Nicaraguan economy has been negatively affected. The economy has never been great, since an earthquake devastated Managua in 1972. Recently it was improving, with more foreign investment in Call-Centers and similar operations. And the SW Pacific coast was popular with tourists, especially surfers.
After the unrest began, many of the international operations were either cut back or eliminated, and tourism decreased. This had a negative economic impact, and other jobs have disappeared, especially health related jobs, like clinics and pharmacies.
Our college graduates have been affected, to varying degrees, by the economic issues described above.
Fatima has returned to work, after the birth of her son. But her work as an Attorney and Notary has been significantly reduced, due to the general economic slowdown. But she’s doing well, is very happy as a Mom, and her partner has a good job.
Jorlenys has been working as a Pharmacist, but only part time, due to the slow economy. Like her sister Fatima, she is doing well as a Mom, with her son’s father actively involved.
Daniela has a full time job as a Teacher at a primary school near her home. She has built a home on her parent’s property, and she’s happy, as her daughter is healthy at her 3rd birthday. Daniela continues to perform with www.teatrocatalina.org.
Luisa is also now a registered Pharmacist, although she is struggling to find a professional position. She is working in agriculture, as she continues to seek professional employment. Luisa and her fiancé are happy, and living with her mother.
Joseling has completed her training as a Nurse, and is in the process of becoming certified to practice. But she also has to jump through a number of hoops, with the government, in order to qualify for most nursing positions. She’ll be guest of honor at the www.teatrocatalina.org 10th anniversary celebration this year, and she remains active with them as an actress.
Hector, Luisa’s brother, has completed his study of Physical Education. He recently married his girlfriend, the mother of his child, and he is actively seeking a professional position
Deysi is starting her 2nd year @ UNI (National Engineering University) in Managua. Her grades last year were excellent, and she’s enthusiastic about her studies. But it’s expensive, as she can’t qualify for student housing for political reasons. Her mother Hilda has been traveling to Costa Rica, to sell small items that she can purchase more cheaply in Nicaragua, then sell for a tiny profit. And Hilda was mugged and robbed, in Costa Rica, including losing her Attorney Certification card.
Jareli is entering her final year of English Language study at UNAN Somotillo, and her skill in English is impressive. UNAN Somotillo has been less affected by politics, and continues to function nearly normally. Jareli has two lovely daughters with her husband Saul, who wants to begin college study this year.
Oscarina, Jareli’s sister, is also studying English Language @ UNAN Somotillo, in her third year. She is now married and is happily so. A very pleasant person, Oscarina is also very careful in her behavior, and she is a natural leader.
Martita is in her 2nd year of study to become a Nurse. She has recently fallen in love and seems happily so. Her older sister is ahead of her in this program, which Joseling recently completed. Martita is a lovely, responsible young woman.
Judeymi is studying Aquaculture on weekends. She’s glad that her son is doing well, at age 6, despite suffering a major burn to his L foot at age 2. She aspires to become a Teacher but admission to Teacher’s Training is now difficult, and requires volunteer teacher service prior to application. But volunteer positions aren’t easy to find, although she’s actively looking.
Several Posibilidad students have stopped studying due to circumstances, personal or political. Ana Bessi was entering her final year of study, toward a degree in Analytic Chemistry, when she was forced to discontinue. Rossmery was entering her 2nd year of Accounting study at UNAN, when the political unrest began, and she chose not to continue. Her sister Milagros had completed 3 years of study in Accounting, when she married and became pregnant. She left Posibilidad, but planned to complete her degree, although she has not been able to do so yet.
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.