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Descripción de editorial
The author was a member of the second of four brigades organised by the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign for the 1988-89 season, and their experience was quite different from those who’d visited in earlier years. There’d been a Sandinista unilateral ceasefire for nine months, so the Contra War was much quieter. Hyperinflation had returned and, due to the economic crisis, Managua was no longer one of the safest capitals in the world. Although the Contra War was coming to an end with the Sandinistas having succeeded militarily, the country had been devastated by Hurricane Joan.
The brigade picked coffee on a state farm for two-and-a-half weeks, meeting a teacher and a trade unionist. However, the brigade was somewhat insular and there were disputes between those who wanted to have a good night’s sleep and pick as much coffee as possible, against those who wanted to reach out and meet Nicaraguans (or go to the pub and get drunk, as the first group put it). The most memorable parts of the time on the farm were finding out about the military experiences of the Sandinista Youth attached to the brigade; at Christmas when the mandador in charge of the farm gave a moving speech to the orphans and to the children of those who’d been killed, kidnapped, or disappeared in the war; and the death of a baby on the farm, creating a feeling of powerlessness.
There was a political program for a few days after the farm, and these included some of the most inspiring parts of the trip: visiting Matagalpa Prison, which was movingly humane; and going to a military hospital, which brought home what war really means.
After the brigade the author helped with reconstruction in Bluefields on the Atlantic Coast, the region worst-affected by the hurricane. He also visited Bradford and Halifax’s twin towns, which showed what the Revolution meant to ordinary people and how it was helping their lives.
While the author was in Nicaragua, a Central American peace agreement was finally accepted by all sides. Everyone, including the US and the opposition, expected the Sandinistas to win the following year’s elections.