The truth about recent violence in Bosawas


The mining camp, scene of the attack at Kiwakumbai PHOTO/Stephen Sefton

For several years now a common front in the relentless propaganda war by Western media and NGOs against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government has involved false accusations that the authorities damage or neglect the rights and well-being of the country’s Indigenous peoples.

In fact, the opposite is the case. Nicaragua’s Indigenous peoples enjoy the most progressive and advanced system of autonomous self-government in the hemisphere. But reporting by the Western human rights industry, in particular by US and European NGOs claiming to defend Indigenous peoples, consistently omits that fact to focus on sporadic incidents of violence, which they systematically misrepresent.

In general, North American and European anti-Sandinista propaganda published by corporate or billionaire-funded organizations like Global Witness or the Oakland Institute and international news media advance three main false claims

  • Nicaragua’s government permits and even encourages invasion by outsiders called “colonos” of Indigenous lands, in particular affecting the Biosphere Reserve of Bosawa
  • the government fails to investigate or remedy incidents of violence against the country’s Indigenous peoples’ communities
  • the Indigenous peoples concerned are invariably innocent victims whose interests are genuinely represented and defended by local foreign-funded NGOs

First-hand reporting over the last year has categorically demonstrated that every one of these propaganda claims is untrue.

Most recently, a team of reporters visited the site of a violent attack that took place in Kiwakumbai in the nucleus of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. Their reporting demonstrated that some members of local Indigenous communities themselves not only promoted illicit use of their people’s lands causing deforestation and contamination of water sources but also participated in murderous violence.

The incident at Kiwakumbai and a subsequent incident involving a nearby community called Palan cast new light on similar events in the community of Alal in January 2020.

All these events demonstrate:

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