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Indigenous Peoples’ Conflicts and the Negotiation Process for Autonomy in Nicaragua

Cunningham, Mirna

It was the decade of the eighties. Military conflicts were taking place in Central America. The world was engulfed in the Cold War. In Nicaragua, a mass revolution had toppled a dictatorship that had been supported by the United States for decades. This revolution would bring about profound changes for peoples who historically had been excluded. For Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant communities, and the inhabitants of the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, this revolution was seen as an opportunity to transform the historical relationships between these communities and the state of Nicaragua. Initial steps were taken by the Nicaraguan revolutionary government between 1979 and 1981 to define this relationship, with minimum requirements set forth in the Declaration of Principles and Definitions of the Governing Board of National Reconstruction (in Spanish, JGRN) and the Sandinista Front of National Liberation on the Atlantic Coast it has been scarcely documented due to military conflicts involving Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendants in this region. For the Indigenous Peoples’ and Afro-descendants’ communities of the Caribbean coast, the challenge consisted in finding a solution to the two types of conflicts affecting them, namely the long term historic conflict they had been facing since colonial times, and the military conflict they were facing as part of the anti-revolutionary movement. This meant trying to achieve peace while simultaneously promoting the necessary structural transformations for a multi ethnic coexistence with respect for cultural diversity and, within that context, trying to achieve autonomous self-government. This essay summarizes the conflict resolution process on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. It highlights several events that took place between 1984 and 1990, the date when the first elections occurred for both autonomous regional governments. This date coincided with the first national elections after the signing of the peace accords.

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More Information

Published In
Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Unreported Struggles: Conflict and Peace
Pages
28 - 54
Publisher
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Publication Origin
New York
Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Notes

This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Unreported Struggles: Conflict and Peace". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at https://doi.org/10.7916/D82R5095.

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