Inspirational and Influential Women of the World: Nora Astorga

Part I of the Inspirational and Influential Women of the World Blog Series

“The great advantage in representing Nicaragua is that this is a revolution with principles and it bases its foreign policy on its principles” – Nora Astorga 

Nora Astorga was born in 1949, to a wealthy Nicaraguan family, who supported the Somoza dictatorship. In her youth, Astorga attended Catholic school under the instruction of St. Theresa of Avila, in Managua, where she was first introduced to the complex realities of the world that surrounded her. During the time of her schooling Nicaragua was plagued with a corrupt government, social unrest, and pervasive violence. Upon completion of high school, her parents sent her to Catholic University, in Washington, DC, to escape the harsh realities Nicaragua faced.

Astorga was in DC when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. From this moment Astorga recounts, “…a political consciousness was born in me”, and returned to Nicaragua to partake in the struggle to overthrow Somoza. Upon her return, she enrolled in Central American University to study law. There, she was introduced to the FSLN [Sandinista National Liberation Front] by a fellow student, and shortly thereafter joined the Front in 1996, to partake in the fight to end the political corruption and inequality perpetuated by the Somoza dictatorship. Initially, Astorga’s role consisted of operating safe houses for the leaders of the FSLN.

In her late 20s, Astorga became a cooperate lawyer for a Nicaraguan construction company. While there, she saw an opportunity to further her involvement in FSLN. Through her position she met General Reynaldo Pérez Vega, nicknamed ‘El Perro’, a high up member of the National Guard under Somoza known to rape, torture, and kill political prisoners, as well as a notorious womanizer. Astorga used her wit and charm to lure El Perro to her house, on March 8, 1978. The plan was for her FSLN comrades to hide in her house and kidnap the general to exchange him for political prisoners; however, there was a struggle resulting in the killing of El Perro.

After Astorga was implicated in the death of El Perro she fled to the mountains to become a guerilla fighter. In an interview, Astorga recounts, “I finally understood that armed struggle was the only solution, that a rifle cannot be met with a flower… For me it was a moment of conviction: either I took up arms or I wasn’t going to change anything”. While fighting, Astorga acted as the political leader for four squads as well as studied the political reality of Nicaragua to further understand the in-country conditions. 

Photo provided by Liberation News

Astorga training new recruits

Following the overthrow of Somoza in 1976, Astorga’s legal background provided her with the qualifications to become the Chief Special Persecutor in special war tribunals for Somoza war criminals. Upon completion of trying 7,500 members of Somoza’s National Guard, Astorga was appointed Nicaragua’s Deputy Foreign Mister for four years, and then became Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the United Nations. While at the U.N. Astorga was one of four women to act as representatives of their countries. In the male dominated U.N. Astorga worked tirelessly to challenge the United States’ policies of supporting the Contras, blockading trade and cutting off international organizations’ assistance to the Sandinista government. While speaking to U.N. delegates she stated, “the United States treats undeveloped countries like little children… Their attitude is, ‘If you behave, I’ll give you some candy. If not, I’ll spank you.’ ’”. Astorga was recognized by colleagues for the strength of her diplomatic efforts, including her work to encourage Security Council recognition of the landmark World Court case that declared U.S. efforts to topple the Sandinista government illegal.

Astorga at the United Nations

Astorga’s work continues to have importance and impact today. There is a continued need to promote and include non-Western voices within the international community in order to inform as well as guide policies affecting non-Western countries. The United States, and many other Western countries, continues to enter inter-governmental spaces promoting their own agenda, without regard of the potentially detrimental impact on the countries they view as ‘lesser’, such as developing countries. This can be seen through the policies and tactics Nikki Haley utilizes at the U.N., which include the deployment of threats to force other countries to support American ill-informed global policies. The inclusion of non-Western voices in inter-governmental diplomacy will allow for the creation well informed policy based on moral and democratic ground, rather than the self-interests of the strong and wealthy countries.

Up Next: Inspirational and Influential Women of the World: Wangari Maathai, coming March 9th

 

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The NICA Act and the never-ending hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy

The Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 could see action in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks. The “NICA” Act directs U.S. representatives at international financial institutions like the World Bank,International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank to block international assistance to Nicaragua until “the Department of State certifies that Nicaragua is taking effective steps to increase election integrity, promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law and respect freedom of association and expression.” The NICA Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives this fall. The version in  the Senate is slightly different than the House version, additionally calling for a report “on activities of certain regimes” in Nicaragua – specifically, Russia, and Venezuela. Senator Leahy’s co-sponsorship of the current effort with bill author Ted Cruz makes it very possible that this version could pass in the Senate.

At the same time, and going mostly unnoticed in the United States, Donald Trump signed an executive order on December 21 declaring a “state of emergency” as a result of rampant human rights violations and corruption around the world. In the order, Trump promises to use the weight of the U.S. government to crackdown on human rights abuse and corruption by freezing the assets of individuals involved in perpetrating such abuse. The Executive Order goes on to list 13 individuals from around the world that are presumptively immediate targets for action. Among those listed is the president of the Supreme Electoral Council in Nicaragua, Roberto José Rivas Reyes. Reyes seems to be guilty of living a luxurious lifestyle while having a modest official salary. Reyes’ inclusion on this list, and the resulting Department of Treasury investigation, is also referenced in the Senate version of the NICA Act.

The official concerns of U.S. policy-makers stem from actions taken by Nicaragua’s Supreme Court and Supreme Electoral Council in preparation for elections in 2011 and 2016. In 2011 the Supreme Court ruled that Ortega could run for re-election despite a constitutional ban on presidents serving consecutive terms. The Court ruled that such a ban violated another constitutional right, the right of an individual to run for office. However one views this decision, and the Court was and remains clearly in the Sandinista camp, the controversy surrounding the ruling was obviously well covered in Nicaragua’s media – which routinely lampoons Ortega and other political leaders in ways that would make Borowitz blush. Ortega still won 62% of the vote. In 2016 Ortega won again. Prior to the election the Supreme Electoral Council cancelled the legal status of leaders of the Independent Liberal Party, driving a wedge in the opposition Coalition for Democracy. Without an effective opposition Ortega would go on to win with 72% of the vote.

One need not be any kind of cheerleader for Ortega’s institutional maneuvering as head of the Sandinista party to acknowledge that his, and more importantly the party’s popularity is based on improving the lives of many people. Since 2006, the Sandinista government has provided free healthcare services, eliminated school fees (imposed by previous governments under the pressure of structural adjustment programs), invested in rural communities, and significantly reduced poverty. Nicaragua has also enjoyed a growth rate of nearly 5% in recent years. The NICA Act, if passed, would erode the government’s ability to sustain these programs. We must assume U.S. policy-makers are well aware of this; undercutting the popular basis of Sandinista rule is the goal.

As the U.S. government prepares to possibly sanction Nicaragua for what it deems electoral malfeasance, it is standing by the re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras. The comparison is instructive. Hernandez ran for re-election despite a constitutional ban on consecutive terms for the president. He was allowed to do so by a questionable ruling of Honduras’ Supreme Court under the control of his party. This caused little concern for U.S. policy-makers. The election in Honduras was the third since a coup d’etat removed president Manuel Zelaya from office in June of 2009. Hernandez represents the coalition of forces that undertook that coup, and with U.S. support, that coalition has sought to consolidate its control over the country ever since. Despite widespread human rights abuses, the United States continues to provide tens of millions of dollars in assistance to security forces. Those security forces have been implicated in the assassination of dozens of social movement leaders. Honduras remains one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders, journalists, and environmental activists. In the wake of the coup, the murder rate sky-rocketed to the highest in the world; the murder rate for women doubled.

The election in Honduras took place on November 26, 2017. As the tallies were posted by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was running ahead of Hernández. The tallies were quickly taken off-line, and no further public disclosures were made for several days. When preliminary results were then posted Hernández had pulled ahead, a near statistical impossibility given earlier results. Protests increased around the country demanding that there be a transparent recount, and then a new election (given that some ballots had “disappeared”). It took over two weeks for election authorities to make Hernandez the official winner. The Trump administration congratulated him the same day. The Organization of American States has called for a new election, as have the people of Honduras. The U.S. government has accepted the results. Amidst the violent crackdown against demonstrators by government forces that has resulted in at least 40 deaths, the U.S. certified Honduras’ progress in human rights in order to continue funding security forces.

The juxtaposition of U.S. policy toward Nicaragua and Honduras could not be more absurd if one actually believes the guiding issue for United States policy is democratic practice.  However, U.S. administrations have proven over and over that the U.S. government cares little about the integrity of elections in Central America. The U.S. concern is simply that the “right” people win: Those who support unencumbered corporate access to resources and labor.

What to do?

Contact your Senator and tell them to oppose NICA Act. You can call your Senators using the Capital Switchboard (202) 224-3121 Or, send a letter opposing the NICA Act directly to your Senators using our friends at the Alliance for Global Justice’s online platform here.

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Adventures in the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes”

It has been a little over a month since we got back from the “land of lakes and volcanoes,” ‘aka’ Nicaragua, a delegation of six individuals from different lives who willfully spent a week together in another country where language was a barrier for some. It was like a social justice version of MTV’s The Real-World. And, unlike the 90s tv show, it was both a positive and eye-opening experience.

Oftentimes when people from the States go to other countries in the Americas, like Nicaragua, in which not everything is manicured, they talk about a “humbling” experience. But “humbling” seems very pompous and arrogant and overall comes off as if to say, “Oh, look how the poor live. I’m glad I’m not poor.” When humbling is a description of an experience that stems from viewing poverty, it just doesn’t seem appropriate to me.

So Nicaragua, to me, wasn’t humbling; it was different yet familiar. Nicaragua, in particular, Managua, represents a simpler time when people weren’t ruled by technology or social media. Yes, there are phones, internet and all those things related to the technology age but the Nicaraguan people had limits. They enjoy each other’s presence; they converse. And so, naturally, did our delegation. Being the youngest in the group and an admitted Instagram addict, talking to strangers, using my phone to actually make phone calls instead of using it like a computer, going on long car rides to rural areas and simply enjoying the beauty of nature were all a little odd, but refreshing. Being in Nicaragua, I felt like I could breathe freely without being (or watching) a screen. It was great!

The purpose of our trip to Nicaragua was to catch up, face-to-face, with our local partners: the Institute of John XXIII (the Institute) and FEDICAMP. Although we’re in contact via email and Skype from our home office in Maryland, being able to see the work being done and directly talking (in Spanish) to the families affected by such work was fantastic.

We got to see homes being built and spoke to multiple families about the experience of having a safe place to live and raise their family. I was excited for the families  but also because I saw strong community connections developing due to the way our Homes of Hope program responds to the different needs and conditions of the communities in which it is carried out.

The journey to Esteli provided another opportunity to bond with other members of the delegation as we travelled the open road. Once in Esteli, we were able to visit a number of families impacted by FEDICAMP’s work with the community. We spoke to students, families, and women entrepreneurs who are very active in addressing sustainable agricultural needs (such as access to water) for the greater community.

The Institute and FEDICAMP, along with the communities they serve, think like a team and move like a team, because they are one. So, too, was the Quixote Center and our delegation. We looked out for each other’s well-being. Seeing that theme present throughout the trip made me really proud to be a part of the delegation, to be a staff member at the Quixote Center, and to be associated with great partners such as the Institute and FEDICAMP.

I definitely saw some beautiful lakes (not so much the volcanoes) but surrounding those natural elements were the beautiful people and their fight for social change. Nicaragua made me realize even more that I have a responsibility to take care of the planet. On top of that, I have a responsibility to work alongside different communities because, although we may look different, at the end of the day we all want a safe place to sleep, good food in our bellies, and an opportunity to have a positive impact. Overall my trip was great. I highly recommend Nicaragua as your next adventure. Come join us on the next delegation!

 

**Photo: Fertility statue common in Nicaragua.**

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Country Highlights: Central America

Part V of a series on TPS

Missed the last blog?

On November 6th the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of TPS for Nicaraguan migrants. Following this news, 2,550 Nicaraguans were given notice to prepare for deportation in 12 months. Hondurans were given some respite; the Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of six months for TPS holders in order to further assess the living conditions in Honduras. Salvadorans will likely hear in January if they have been granted an extension for TPS.

Taken together, 252,000 TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador have lived in the United States for over two decades. With the current administration debating their TPS renewal, thousands nervously await their fate in an uneasy limbo.

Both El Salvador and Honduras began receiving TPS after Hurricane Mitch caused widespread destruction in 1998. The countries continue to receive TPS due to rampant violence.

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning in January for Honduras stating, “With one of the highest murder rates in the world and criminals operating with a high degree of impunity, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert at all times when traveling in Honduras”. A similar warning for El Salvador was issued in February declaring, “El Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common”.

We must question, if the U.S. government acknowledges the extreme violence in these countries, then why do they want to deport thousands of people to return to these dangerous conditions?

TPS was designed to protect people from living amidst extreme violence.

Honduras faces major corruption and impunity problems within the government and armed forces. During the 2015 presidential election, over 12 opposition candidates and activists were killed, and President Juan Orlando Hernández was linked to a social security embezzlement scheme. The police and army are known to be involved in drug trafficking and extortion. Fewer than 4% of homicides result in conviction, leaving very little hope for protection or justice for Hondurans. Journalists, human rights workers, land activists, and LGBQT persons are at highest risk of violence from gangs and authorities.

The rampant violence in El Salvador is chiefly due to the two of the largest gangs, MS-13 and 18th Street (both exported from Los Angeles). In the 2014 presidential election, the two major political parties, ARENA and FMLN were caught making deals with gang leaders in exchange for votes, highlighting the gangs’ political influence. Gangs have gained control over large portions of the country, and as a result tens of thousands of children have fled north, often unaccompanied, in order to avoid forced gang induction and violence. Police are attempting to crack down on gang-induced violence, causing an increase of lethal armed conflict and an upsurge of gang member and civilian deaths.

Unfortunately, we cannot reverse DHS’s decision to end TPS for Nicaragua, but there is still time and hope for the renewal of TPS for Honduras and El Salvador! Be proactive and call your legislators to urge them to support the renewal of TPS.

 

Up Next:

Country Highlight: Somalia and South Sudan – coming December 1st

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New Staff at the Quixote Center

Hello everyone! My name is Jocelyn Trainer and I am excited to serve as the International Program Coordinator at the Quixote Center this year through Loretto Volunteers. As a Loretto Volunteer I will spend my year living in an intentional community, learning about social justice and simple living, as well as exploring spirituality. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue social justice issues targeting inequitable policies and promoting peace through the Quixote Center.  

In May 2017, I graduated from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles with a double degree in Political Science and Spanish along with a minor in International Relations. While at university I had the opportunity to study abroad and work in London, England as well as Cape Town, South Africa. In London I worked at an NGO named the Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organization, which was established to provide aid and representation to refugees and migrants who came to England from Latin America and Portugal. While working there I served on the voter registration campaign, with the goal to increase the Latin American voter turnout rate for the mayoral election. In Cape Town I volunteered as an English and math teacher for first and second grade Xhosa students with physical disabilities at Tembuletu LSEN school in the Gugulethu township.

I am originally from Boulder, Colorado and love to hike the beautiful mountains. In my free time I enjoy trying new foods, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors. It is my first time living on the East Coast and I looking forward to getting to know the area.

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Mending Our Broken Earth: FEDICAMP in Nicaragua

Even as I write this post, we are waiting to see if the White House will reject the findings in a report on climate change prepared by scientists from 13 federal agencies. This news comes on top of the U.S. official withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change agreement over the weekend.

You might be surprised to learn that Nicaragua never signed the Paris agreement in the first place. Whereas the U.S. withdrew because Trump wanted what he calls a “better deal” for American businesses, Nicaragua did not sign as a protest for the weakness of the Paris agreement, insofar as it lacked an enforcement mechanism. Rather than put their name to a document that only makes greenhouse emission goals optional, Nicaragua chose to take a stand.

Nicaragua may be a small country, but it is doing more than its share to reduce carbon emissions. The World Bank has called Nicaragua a “renewable energy paradise,”in which 58% of energy needs are met by renewable sources. On the front lines of climate change, Nicaragua experiences drought more years than not and the consequences include reduced crop yields and internal and external migration.

Our partners at FEDICAMP, a collaborative of 21 agricultural cooperatives of small farmers in rural Nicaragua, maintain hope that they can respond to these challenges, because they must. The solutions that FEDICAMP engineers and farmers are developing now offer a great hope for Nicaragua, but these strategies will surely need to be duplicated elsewhere in the near future.

In a conversation last month, Miguel Ángel Marín Vásquez, the agricultural engineer who serves as FEDICAMP’s director, made an impassioned plea for support to the Quixote Center. In response to a question I had about how the Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer) methodology works, he explained that farmers and engineers work together to “combine ancestral knowledge and empirical research” and peers train one another in these techniques to pass them along. Even this very efficient and culturally-grounded method requires both infrastructure and staff support.

Their ambitious plan includes creation of reservoirs to store rainwater and irrigation systems to use water most effectively. They will also expand seed banks and use ditches and barriers to conserve existing soil as well build as a tree-planting initiative to prevent further erosion. By engaging a broad network of farmers in training, they will have the opportunity to test out different methods in a sort of living lab of climate change adaptation strategies. If they can dream this big, we must dream with them.

Here is what we are doing: From November 7-13, we will be visiting Nicaragua and plan to spend a day with our partners at FEDICAMP. If you would like to learn more about how these dynamic individuals resolutely confront the challenges of climate change, get in touch by sending us an email at info@quixote.org to join our delegation or learn more about the trip.

If you are moved by concern for climate change and would like to help to mend our broken planet, you could also make a gift to the Quixote Center, specifying that you want to support FEDICAMP.

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Practical Applications in El Regadio

In September I led a delegation to Nicaragua. I knew from the beginning of planning that El Regadio was a ‘must visit’ for our participants. The leaders and activists of El Regadio are some of the most committed and effective in Northern Nicaragua. They are led by Don Augusto, a founding member and the current President of the Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP).

Our visit coincided with a day of community training, led by FEDICAMP Promoter Ecka. The morning started with a screening of a documentary on the impact of plastic. Those in attendance were intimately familiar with the problem, because there is an informal dumping place for plastic trash on the edge of town. They discussed alternatives to plastic containers and the global context of consumption, waste, and environmental degradation.

Climate Change soon became the center piece of the conversation. Subsistence farmers in Nicaragua’s northern mountains are experiencing the effects and grappling with the implications in their day to day lives. At one point, an old man in the back of the room raised his hand and addressed the crowd.

“In the United States, they don’t even believe in climate change. The politicians say it isn’t happening. How can our little country make a change when this is the state of mind in the United States?”

The response from Augusto was profound.

“Think about a child in the United States. He wakes up each morning in the air conditioning. He eats food cooked inside a kitchen with climate control. He rides to school in a car with air conditioning and learns in a classroom with air conditioning. When he goes home to his house that keeps the world outside, the temperature is controlled. His entire life is shielded from the climate. Climate Change is not real for him because he does not live it.”

Nicaragua cannot solve climate change, but FEDICAMP is working with those most vulnerable to its effects to find community-based adaptation and mitigation systems. Their efforts make vulnerable communities more resilient in the face of the coming changes.

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In Doña Maria’s Garden

The following reflection was submitted by Marie Keefe. Thank you, Marie!

Doña Maria is waiting for us at the gate along with other campesinas and a gaggle of kids. It’s day 4 of our trip to Nicaragua to see the work that the Quixote Center supports. We’re in rural Palacaguina, where FEDICAMP has been working with community associations in eco-agriculture to improve the wellbeing of families against a background of harsh terrain, deep drought and a limited diet for families.

Nicaragua September 2014 290

Listening to introductions, it becomes clear that these women are members of the board of their association and very savvy about cultivating their huertos, (small yards) and improving nutrition for their families. They tell us of the techniques for composting, for using indigenous seed, rejecting genetically modified seed, for cultivating with minimal use of water, recycling, changing family meals, even using outdoor earthen ovens that direct smoke away from their casitas and cook with a minimal amount of scavenged wood. The newest improvement is the chicken wire they’ve pooled resources to buy, grateful that it’s keeping the chickens and pigs out of their gardens.

She leads the way into her small backyard which climbs the mountainside. We step into a canopy of green: lemons, avocados, star fruit, papaya and trees we have no English names for: mamones, chaya, calala. Tires are embedded in the hard-packed earth, terracing the vertical, filled with good soil, retaining water, spilling over with onions, garlic, cilantro. Every space is used. Rocks form an upward spiral filled with good earth called a caracol (a snail) with medicinal herbs at the top, lettuce parades down the spiral along with tomatoes and other vegetables. Water trickles down the spiral so not a drop is wasted. The chicken wire fence is home to a wall of beans.

The success of FEDICAMP is visible again and again as we visit the homes of other campesinas who are sharing their knowledge, making do with next to nothing, working to thwart the climate change which has come to their doorstep, learning, always learning and passing it on.

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Walking in Solidarity

The following blog post was submitted by Nancy Sulfridge, Quixote Center Board Member and participant in our September 2014 delegation to Nicaragua. Thanks, Nancy!

I recently spent a week in one of the poorest countries in this hemisphere, Nicaragua, and returned full of hope and determination, inspired by the enthusiasm of the Nicaraguan people and the fine work being done by the Quixote Center and its partners, the Institute of John XXIII and FEDICAMP. In a country where nearly half of the population lives on under US$1 a day, it is a struggle to acquire the most basic necessities of life — food, clean water and shelter. Yet the people we met were optimistic.

This happy family received their home last year.

This happy family received their home last year.

They have seen their situation improve and they have learned skills to continue to improve their circumstances. The programs of the Institute and FEDICAMP are hand-ups, not handouts. People receive training and opportunities, sometimes materials or access to credit, but what they make of that is their own achievement. They feel proud and empowered by what they have accomplished.

The Institute’s Housing First program changes lives. To qualify for a home loan and move from a shack to a solid, secure house with electricity and indoor plumbing transforms a family.

The achievement of FEDICAMP in transforming the lives of poor, rural women is equally striking. By providing women with seeds, some basic tools, and a lot of training and information, FEDICAMP has enabled women to grow food to feed their families in sustainable home gardens that continued to produce even during the drought that ruined most of the major crops on the large farms this year. I asked one gardener what her lot had looked like before she learned to grow food there. She gestured to a neighboring lot—“Like that. . . just weeds.” Now in addition to vegetables she has fruit trees producing abundantly, and she doesn’t object to the children helping themselves to the fruit.

I was impressed repeatedly by the spirit of cooperation we found in the people we visited. New homeowners referred friends and neighbors to the housing program. New home farmers encouraged their neighbors to start their own home gardens. And in one village, a couple donated land from their own plot for a well to be dug for the village and a space for communal showers. Even as they struggle to provide for their families, people take time to help others. It is a privilege to be able to walk in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people.

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Banpro will Finance Social Housing

What follows is a translation of an article which appeared in the August 08, 2014 edition of El Nuevo Diario. This new partnership will allow us to amplify our efforts with the Institute Accion Social Juan XXIII to address Nicaragua’s crippling housing crisis. By Rafael Lara | National (Translated by John Mooney)

Edwin Novoa of the UCA and Julio Ramírez of Banpro. Photo: OSCAR SANCHEZ/END

The construction of at least 250 homes for poor families will result from the Alliance between Banpro, Grupo Promerica, and the John XXIII Institute for Social Action of the Universidad Centroamericana, UCA. This partnership is expected to build homes in Managua, Masaya, Carazo, and Granada. Mr. Julio Ramírez, general vice-director of Banpro Credit, said that for both institutions housing is considered a fundamental right, and one of the major requirements for the development of safe and healthy living conditions for all Nicaraguans. In this case, Banpro made funds available with which the Social Action Institute will build the houses. “The trust’s management will ensure the possible investment of five million dollars in the Department [State] of Managua, and with this structure, Banpro enhance the capacity of the project (of Instituto Juan XXIII) so that it can increase its annual production of houses from 50 to 250,” said Mr. Ramírez. He indicated that benefited families may choose homes appropriate for their needs, built with quality materials, and built within a period sixty days. Edwin Novoa Martínez, director of the Institute for Social Action, said that the hope is to provide housing solutiona by means of integrated services, with funding by the Banpro and construction by the Institute. Novoa pointed out “the innovative nature of this funding mechanism. We have jointly set up this real-estate-development trust, for which the Institute Juan XXII provides a guarantee fund , that will allow Banpro to provide the funding for the construction of housing for people with limited resources.” He said that one of the requirements for beneficiaries is having their own land. This land will then be assessed for construction feasibility and legal ownership title. Prices Prices for houses range from US$ 10,790 for the Malachite model (420 square ft.), to US$16,600 for the Ruby model (506 square ft.), to US$ 19,950 for the Jasper model (624 square ft.) They are built of reinforced masonry and include two to three bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and laundry area, electric, sanitary facilities, interior and exterior doors, windows, potable water, pantry, ceramic floor. Larger models have ceilings of aluminum and fiber-cement board. $ 100 will be the monthly average mortgage payment for the Malachite housing model.
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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)